Looking to "redefine endpoint virtualzation," yesterday Symantec announced that they bought connection broker software vendor nSuite Technologies. Known mostly in the medical field, nSuite's Desktop Connection Broker product manages ICA or RDP connections to virtual desktops and to Terminal Server / Citrix sessions. They also have a single sign-on solution and a rudinmentary desktop shell management product with Proximity Printing.
Symantec bought Altiris way back in January 2007, adding a whole slew of capabilities to their bag including Altiris' application virtualization product called SVS. In April 2008, Symantec bought AppStream, adding a streaming capability to their SVS product. Since then, we learned at BriForum that Symantec has created a new group within the company called "Endpoint Virtualization." (Watch a video of Symantec's Brian Duckering talking to Brian Madden about this at BriForum 2008.)
When writing about VDI over the past six months or so, I've continually focused on five companies:
Based on this acquisition, I'm now going to officially expand my list to include Company #6: Symantec. Just how important is Symantec? They have a market cap of $18.5B on about $6B in sales. Citrix has a market cap of $5.3B on $1.5B in sales, while VMware's market cap is $13.3B on $1.6B in sales. In other words, Symantec's annual sales are twice as much as Citrix and VMware combined! (Of course I understand that Symantec is a huge company focused on about a hundred different things, but the point is that if they want to make a splash in the VDI space, then they have the resources to do it.)
So, what does Symantec bring to the VDI (or "endpoint virtualization") space? Most of us know Symantec as the antivirus company (or in the corporate space, we know their solutions for backup, security, compliance, etc.). But in the endpoint space, we don't know too much. A quick look to that page on their website shows that most of their endpoint products are based on stuff they got from Altiris, and they focus around software deployment, image management, inventory, etc. But they also own Ghost and Wise.
Much like Quest Software, Symantec really owns most of the pieces / parts they need to build a kick-ass solution in the VDI space. Imagine Ghost for VDI image management? Their endpoint security tools for desktop lockdown? SVS and AppStream for application streaming? Wise for application and user personality packaging? And of course nSuite for connection brokering.
With six strong companies in this space, and various technical components coming out over the next 22 months, the VDI market is poised to become a very interesting place to be for the next few years.
What do you think? Can Symantec pull it off? What are they still missing?