About a month ago, Citrix announced "Project Independence," a Xen-based bare-metal client hypervisor. One of the big elements of this announcement was that Citrix was partnering with Intel to create this new hypervisor. In conversations with Citrix employees, they made it clear that this was a "real agreement" with Intel, with "significant money flowing between the companies." Unfortunately Citrix wouldn't specify which way the money was flowing, although one could make an intelligent guess. (Just think of it in terms of who needs who more.) Another interesting aspect of the Citrix / Intel announcement was that it was non-exclusive, a small point that was probably missed by a lot of people. Until today.
Today at VMworld Europe in Cannes, VMware's Paul Maritz announced that VMware is partnering with Intel to deliver their bare-metal client hypervisor, which is codenamed CVP (for "client virtualization platform"). Reading the text of the announcement, it sounds exactly like what Citrix is doing with Project Independence. Same vPro goodness. Same out-of-band management. Same ability to leverage the new Intel stuff without waiting for Microsoft to add features to the OS. I talked to VMware's Jerry Chen about the announcement, asking "So you're partnering with Intel for this. So what? We'd all assume this. Why is this a big deal?" His answer was something along the lines of "Yes, but our partnership is longer, stronger, deeper. Plus we had Intel on stage."
But is this really true? I mean Citrix used the term "vPro" six times in their press release, while VMware only used it five times. So is VMware really the stronger partner? ;)
So there you have it. The client virtualization arms race has begun. Next month: Citrix partners with AMD; VMware partners with MIPS.
A fun game: Which vendor is each quote from?
The following quotes are lifted word-for-word from either Citrix's or VMware's client hypervisor press release. In each case, I've replaced the word "Citrix" or "VMware" with <vendor>, and I've replaced "CVP" or "Project Independence" with <client hypervisor name>. Can you guess which is which?
- “This collaboration is aimed at producing a client virtualization solution that provides excellent capabilities in every key category from easy centralized image management to a rich, mobile end-user environment,” said Gregory Bryant, Vice President, Intel Business Client Group, and General Manager, Digital Office Platform Division. “This solution also will expand on the management and security capabilities of Intel vPro technology to help IT with its increasingly important objective of reducing costs while providing tools for greater productivity."
- "Intel and <vendor> are joining forces to solve some of IT's toughest challenges," said Gregory Bryant, Intel vice president, Business Client Group, and general manager, Digital Office Platform Division. "By combining <client hypervisor name> and Intel vPro technology, <vendor> provides IT with the tools to deliver the robust user experience that desktop and mobile workers need combined with centralized image management through an innovative use of protected client virtualization.”
- This innovative approach from <vendor> and Intel has the potential to swing the pendulum toward desktop virtualization alternatives and disrupt a traditional desktop management industry that is costing enterprises billions of dollars a year today.
- <client hypervisor name> strengthens our comprehensive portfolio of desktop products and helps us deliver on our vision of the universal desktop — a desktop that follows you across any device, providing a rich personalized experience that is secure, cost-effective and easy to manage.
- Under an agreement with Intel Corporation, <vendor> plans to produce a new class of virtualization solutions that optimize the delivery of applications and desktops to millions of Intel Core2 and Centrino 2 processor-based devices, dramatically reducing the cost of desktop management.
- This collaboration between <vendor> and Intel will enable PC manufacturers to include “built-in” client-side virtualization with new desktop and laptop computing systems for the first time ever.
- <client hypervisor name> is the internal codename for a bare-metal client hypervisor optimized to run on desktop and notebook client PCs utilizing Intel® Core®2 and Centrino® 2 processors with Intel® vPro™ technology.
And of course:
- The initial delivery of <project name>, including the new <client hypervisor name> optimized for Intel vPro, is planned for the second half of 2009.
After reading these quotes, it should be very apparent who the winner will be: Intel! (Second place will go to Microsoft.)