What's the value of Citrix Subscription Advantage?

Citrix iForum 2006 is going on now, and one of the things people are talking about is the fact that Citrix did NOT announce the release of Presentation Server 4.5 ("Project Ohio").

Citrix iForum 2006 is going on now, and one of the things people are talking about is the fact that Citrix did NOT announce the release of Presentation Server 4.5 ("Project Ohio"). The last version of Presentation Server to be released was 4.0, way back in April 2005. With 4.5 not coming until at least Q1 or 2007, Citrix is now looking at about two years between releases.

I totally understand and support Citrix moving away from their old 12-month Presentation Server new product release cycle. (Although it's ironic that they announced that they were going from 12 to 18 months, and now they've missed their first 18 month target.)

So what's the big deal?

The problem with this is the way that Citrix sells license maintenance, which they call "Subscription Advantage (SA)." With so much time between product releases, people have started to openly question whether SA is worth purchasing.

When asked about the value of SA, Citrix produced the following list of SA benefits over the past 12 months:

  • x64 Presentation Server 4.0
  • Web Interface for Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS)
  • Web Interface 4.2
  • Web Interface for SharePoint (WISP)
  • Management Pack for MOM 2005
  • Resource Manager Semantic tool
  • (Just announced) Desktop Broker for Presentation Server (for VDI)

Should you buy SA? (Well, SA is compulsive with new product licenses, so I guess the question is whether you should "renew" SA?)

Here's the problem: If a customer lets SA lapse, then they have to pay for all the lapsed time, plus a "reactivation" fee (read: penalty) to get back in the game when they want to upgrade to a future product. So the real value of SA is not the few little things you get in an off year like 2006, but rather that if you ever want any future product from Citrix, you need to maintain you SA status or pay full price when a new product actually comes out.

In this way SA totally serves the purpose that Citrix pushes--it levels out the payments that a customer makes to Citrix over the years, instead of the customer having huge capital expense spikes whenever a new product comes out.

This is the problem with SA (or any kind of subscription / maintenance plan). Vvendors like them because they guarantee revenue and the SA "income" can be ammortized over several quarters. (The old joke within the halls of Citrix is that SA stands for "Subsistance Advantage.")

The bottom line for customers is that while SA may not provide value during certain 12-month periods, customers will have to continue paying it if they want future Citrix products. The bottom line for Citrix is that they will need to ensure that they keep on adding real value each 12-month period, or their annuity will dry up. And once people stop the maintenance, it will take a lot more to get them to start again.

Join the conversation

25 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

First of, i am completely stunned, i can't understand why Citrix would fail to lift off on the 4.5 version at Iforum, seemed like a perfect place to do it, but i guess we will have to attend Solution Summit in january.
 
As for the SA i can only completely agree with you, that Citrix has been doing poorly as of late when it comes to delivering peoples money worth each 12 month. But as it stands now, i will continue to advice my customers to stay on for a while, simply because it is so damn expensive to get back in the game and you never know what is just around the riverbend.
 
I think the reason Citrix has gotten away with this these last 12 months is that many, of my customers atleast, have been a bit slow to get upgraded to CPS 4.0 so for many they are still getting their money worth from the release in April last year. If this continues for another 12 months after coming release of 4.5 i am seeing a bad case for me arguing the customer should stay on with SA. My customers diserve the best advice and if Citrix doesnt deliver i am sure someone else will. :-)
 
/LamerSmurf.
Cancel
Ok tell me folks what is...Resource Manager Semantic tool. I am paying for SA and I never heard of this tool until I read Brian's article. I tried my old friend google and nuthin.
Cancel
Brian:
Thanks for bringing this up.
 
You are right on...except that you have not mentioned that Citrix is manipulating their position and taking advantage of the customer. The promise of SA was to deliver product updates. They have not met this promise. Another way to look at this is that they have breached the customer trust. This is clearly marketing deception and they have done it with other product features.
 
Citrix is a manipulation company!!!
I don't know if it was different when Ed Iacobuchi was there but I have
never seen a company that does not care to listen to customers or partners.
 
Citrix is still king of the hill with Presentation Server but a lot of people are seeing through their greed and manipulation......
 
Mark Simpleton's self serving big company goal for the past 3 years has been to become a Billion dollar company...... This was the goal above all other goals.
Although this should/could be a byproduct goal.....it should not be "The Goal."
 
Corporate Mission: To make every organization an on-demand enterprise where information is securely, easily and instantly accessible from anywhere, using any device.
 
Citrix Mission is a joke!!! It doesn't have a purpose and it is weak / confusing. A mission statement defines a purpose of being. They are telling us what they do but not giving us a purpose of why.......
ohhhhhhhmmmmmmmm....
I know why......
....to make a billion dollars.....
 
 
"Betfair" recognized for the highest innovation award from Citrix at iForum?
How sad that Citrix would recognize another company of greed who takes money out of families pockets....from people with gambling problems!!!
 
When you sleep with the dogs you are going to catch fleas....
Cancel
No offense, but that is worst argument i have ever seen, if Citrix in some way pissed you off or manipulated you, i feel sorry for you, but this is all a business, i am guessing you are living off the industry as well as many other people looking at this site.
 
If you dont like a company fine, but posting anonymously slandering companies for stealing from families.. comparing companies to mafia-like gambling institutions, well that just kinda ruins what i think Brian tried to start with his article.. a decent debate, maybe even with a bit of constructive critisism that the Citrix people who do keep in touch with the community could take back to the Fortress of Citrix.
 
/Rene
Cancel
The RM Semantic Model is a schema plug-in for SQL 2005 Reporting Services that lets you build reports from the RM Summary Database. To be honest I was surprised to see it in this list as an advantage of SA.. I thought it was free.

Brian
Cancel
Let's be honest, if you look at the Citrix today compared to Citrix 5 years ago, they are at a crossroads.  Their  message is mixxed at best.  What are they VDI broker, SBC, Streaming, WanScaler, EdgeScaler, Appliance Vendor....  Who the heck knows, SA has been a farce for years and years.  So the real question, is Citrix the company i bet my future on. They tell you we are the TS, company, but oh by the way if you want VDI we are your guys.  Reminds me of the the boy at the  ***.  When the PS market is done, it's the me too market now...
Cancel
I personnally don't see SA like that. It is true that it will bring me all new release of the year but... what is my uipgrade rate ? Do I need to get new version every year ?

It is for me the insurance that, if a new feature is available, I could get it without budget question.
Adding to that that I will not pass my time to upgrade and upgrade and upgrad emy architecture, my upgrade cycle is around 2,5 year.

Question to know if Citrix will release a version every year or not is not the one I have... The one I have is : Will Citrix release in the next 3 year valuable additional feature ? At this question the answer is probably YES.

Now, it is just a money question : how much will it cost me to pay a full upgrade rather paying 3 year of SA minus the time I spent to negociate a new budget...

SA is a financial question... Not a technical or a feature releasing one...
Cancel

By the way sorry, I forget to autothenticate myself... I'm the author of the previous thread :

What is your upgrade cycle ????
Posted by an Anonymous Visitor on 26 October 2006
I personnally don't see SA like that. It is true that it will bring me all new release of the year but... what is my uipgrade rate ? Do I need to get new version every year ?
Cancel
I agree to this, in our large telecoms enterprise it can be a complete nightmare getting anything signed off and especially if it is a completely new product, a new product needs a lot of in house testing and has to match our security audits and work with our security policies.  We always re-new SA on the basis that we can easily budget each year for it and if a new release comes along or an add-on we can get it easily as a download and try on a few test servers before deploying.  If we didn't have SA and downloadable versions of the software it would take weeks to sort out a business case and get approvals, the time and money spent on these tasks alone would be greater than the SA as many people would have to be involved.  I think for a small company they may rightly question whether or not they need SA from a financial prospective and because they are probably more flexible in their procedures but for an enterprise/large corp its a real no brainer.

ORIGINAL: Guest

I personnally don't see SA like that. It is true that it will bring me all new release of the year but... what is my uipgrade rate ? Do I need to get new version every year ?

It is for me the insurance that, if a new feature is available, I could get it without budget question.
Adding to that that I will not pass my time to upgrade and upgrade and upgrad emy architecture, my upgrade cycle is around 2,5 year.

Question to know if Citrix will release a version every year or not is not the one I have... The one I have is : Will Citrix release in the next 3 year valuable additional feature ? At this question the answer is probably YES.

Now, it is just a money question : how much will it cost me to pay a full upgrade rather paying 3 year of SA minus the time I spent to negociate a new budget...

SA is a financial question... Not a technical or a feature releasing one...
Cancel
So you'd rather have an unfinished and extraordinarily buggy product released?
 
As for Citrix and SA, compare them to other large software companies and you'll find they are all the same.  For those that bought Microsoft SA years ago, how do you feel that they haven't met an SA deadline yet?
 
ORIGINAL: LamerSmurf

First of, i am completely stunned, i can't understand why Citrix would fail to lift off on the 4.5 version at Iforum, seemed like a perfect place to do it, but i guess we will have to attend Solution Summit in january.

As for the SA i can only completely agree with you, that Citrix has been doing poorly as of late when it comes to delivering peoples money worth each 12 month. But as it stands now, i will continue to advice my customers to stay on for a while, simply because it is so damn expensive to get back in the game and you never know what is just around the riverbend.

I think the reason Citrix has gotten away with this these last 12 months is that many, of my customers atleast, have been a bit slow to get upgraded to CPS 4.0 so for many they are still getting their money worth from the release in April last year. If this continues for another 12 months after coming release of 4.5 i am seeing a bad case for me arguing the customer should stay on with SA. My customers diserve the best advice and if Citrix doesnt deliver i am sure someone else will. :-)

/LamerSmurf.

Cancel
Brian,
 
Thanks for the reply but nothing is free in this world and that even includes air.. I may check out that RM tool but I doubt it is not near as good as www.jasonconger.com :)
Cancel
Not to take anything away from Brian here but...I brought this issue up in my blog days ago...
http://kenzig.blogspot.com/2006/10/what-are-you-getting-for-sa.html
 
Jim K.
 
Cancel
You did? Good one! That's why I linked to you in my article when I wrote this:

"...people have started to openly question whether SA is worth purchasing"

Cancel
I have to agree with the above re. frequency of updates, etc. and the value of SA not being based on the frequency of new versions (to a reasonable degree of course...)

However, i can't help but feel that a lot of the Citrix Presentation Server customer's SA dollars are being poured into things like Citrix Streaming Server and getting the CAG and Password Manager off the ground. And then when it comes to expecting some return on those SA investments, one discovers that it has been spun off into a separate product, with the new version of the Presentation Server product only getting the remaining instances of the word 'Metaframe' removed from dialog boxes. (yes that's bit of an exaggeration, but this is an anonymous post after all!! ), or better yet releasing new enhancements which only apply to the Enterprise edition...
Cancel
Duh guess I should click on the links once in a while. LOL.
Jim
Cancel
Hey Jeff,
 
Ofcourse i do not want a buggy premature release of any products :-)
 
As for Microsoft SA, i think many have had the same doubts that Citrix customers are having now, and its the same situation i agree. It would still be great with more met expectations when it comes to SA :-)
 
/Rene
Cancel
As I recall, PS XP FR3 was released on the same day as Windows Server 2003.  Perhaps Citrix is planning to release PS 4.5 on the same day as Longhorn Server.  We know that Microsoft is planning to enhance Terminal Server Longhorn with several features that have been traditionally Citrix only.  I bet Citrix doesn't want a single day to go by without a PS version that will run on Longhorn.  If Citrix had released  PS 4.5 last week, they would likely not have the subsequent PS version ready in time for Longhorn's release.
Cancel
You really think Citrix would wait another year to 2 years for Longhorn to be released?
Cancel
AFAIK the 4.5 release has nothing to do with Longhorn functionality.  Additionally, the features being added to Longhorn TS have been available in several 3rd party products, for some time, many of them less expensive than Citrix.  The Longhorn TS feature set is no real threat to Citrix enterprise customers. The features are nice additions to the base product, but the base product is still meant to be a platform for 3rd parties like Citrix to extend.
 
I would expect Citrix to release a version of PS4.x or 5 that is certified for use on Longhorn, when Longhorn Server is released at the end of next year, but would expect PS4.5 to be released in the next ~ 90 days.
 
ORIGINAL: Zach Hughes

As I recall, PS XP FR3 was released on the same day as Windows Server 2003.  Perhaps Citrix is planning to release PS 4.5 on the same day as Longhorn Server.  We know that Microsoft is planning to enhance Terminal Server Longhorn with several features that have been traditionally Citrix only.  I bet Citrix doesn't want a single day to go by without a PS version that will run on Longhorn.  If Citrix had released  PS 4.5 last week, they would likely not have the subsequent PS version ready in time for Longhorn's release.

Cancel
According to a few sources we will see presentation server 4.5 in late quarter 1 next year. The technology preview version is already out.
Cancel
http://www.cug.co.nz/features/presentationserver/4.5/technologypreview contains a brief review of the technology preview version and a list of features expect to make it into the final release.
Cancel
Guys, PS 4.5 is a revision release for PS4.0, not a new version, and it's not that compelling either, go check out the feature list and you'll see how superlative it is for most environments already running PS4.0.
 
As for Citrix not mentioning it at the iForum 2006, well I guess the answer to that is already outlined above - it's only a revision release.
Cancel
Yes it is a financial question for sure.   If you are paying say.. $30,000 a year for SA and no new product comes out for 2 years (CPS 4 was released Q1 2005) and you've paid for the 2 years ($60,000) and you still need time to test a new product in your environment so it may go into 3 years before you upgrade to it, ($90,000)how is that a justification? You could put that money in the bank and make interest off of it and still come out ahead if you have to buy the upgrade to the product in 3 years. Wouldn't you?
Cancel
Unless you don't plan on upgrading your Citrix-related infrastructure within 4 - 5 years, it is always cheaper to keep your SA current than dropping it and trying to reinstate it later.
 
This is not to say that I think it is fair or that within any single year the value will be there for that year's money - but over the long run it is better to keep your Subscription current.
 
Regards,

Jack Cain
Cancel
I disagree...  There are a number enhancements and changes to PS 4.5 over 4.0... Many of them are under the hood and others are adminsitrative based.  One nice thing about 4.5 is Tarpon.

4.5 will be a welcome release.

Joe
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchVirtualDesktop

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchVMware

Close