Will Project Independence and vClient kill Virtual Computer? Hardly. They just got $15m funding.

When VMware announced their bare-metal hypervisor and vClient initiative, I wrote that I hoped Citrix would buy a company like Virtual Computer or Neocleus to compete in the space. Instead Citrix built a bare metal solution themselves, announcing "Project Independence" last week.

When VMware announced their bare-metal hypervisor and vClient initiative, I wrote that I hoped Citrix would buy a company like Virtual Computer or Neocleus to compete in the space. Instead Citrix built a bare metal solution themselves, announcing "Project Independence" last week. My first reaction was that Project Independence would kill off Virtual Computer and Neocleus, and their nervousness was confirmed as both companies were among the first to post comments in response to our article about the project. (The only chance I thought they would have would be to be acquired by someone else--Microsoft perhaps?)

For Virtual Computer, rumors of their imminent death may have been premature. Today they announced they received another $15m in funding (on top of their initial $6m). What's most amazing is that Citrix is one of the investors!

Citrix even has a quote in the press release, although in typical Citrix style, the quote doesn't actually say anything about why they're giving Virtual Computer their money, and instead just talks about how awesome their own Project Independence is:

“We’ve been watching Virtual Computer since their company launch in September 2008,” said Andy Cohen, senior director, strategic development at Citrix Systems. “We see great synergy between their use of Xen technology for PC lifecycle management and Project Independence, our recently-announced initiative to dramatically change the economics of desktop computing by enabling devices, desktops, applications and people to operate more independently through the power of client-side Xen virtualization. We look forward to working with Virtual Computer in a mutually beneficial capacity and see our investment as the first step in that direction.”

What exactly is the great synergy that Citrix sees? Maybe Citrix invested just enough money to give them a vote in company decisions? (For example, if the Virtual Computer board was voting to sell the company to a competitor?)

I had a briefing with Virtual Computer last month. If there's one common theme they're trying to push, it's that they don't want to be in the client hypervisor business. Instead, they view themselves as a management company. They view their competition as agent-based management tools, like SMS and Altiris. Virtual Computer feels that every product out there keeps on adding "another agent," and their has to be a better way to handle everything. And that's where they come in. They turn Windows into a managed resource with no agents, by pulling the management out of Windows and going below it with the client hypervisor.

So maybe that's their story with Citrix? Citrix can handle the user personality and the application delivery into the client's instance of Windows, while Virtual Computer will handle the management of that instance?

Virtual Computer's product (called NxTop) is not actually out yet, although they expect it to be ready in a few months. It will cost $149 per seat for perpetual licenses, or $10 per month per seat for subscription-based licenses.

 

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That's the key point... Do you see just a "client hypervisor" or a desktop management solution... I think Citrix were right to build their Project Independance with Intel as it will push down to sillicon a standard hypervisor (Xen based) that could benefits to everybody. If you look for the annoucement, it is the same statement as Virtual Computer... They will provide desktop management that could benefits from the hardware independant hypervisor client based on every desktop...


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[disclaimer, I am Neocleus' CTO]


Brian,


Thank you for mentioning Neocleus in your blog post - we appreciate the coverage.


I believe the recent announcements actually clear up many questions, most notably about the validity of the client virtualization market and some of the larger companies’ go-to-market strategies in client virtualization.


Just to clarify, Neocleus‘ strategy is to complement existing management systems such as  Microsoft's SCCM, Symantec/Altiris as well as VMware and Citrix. We are optimizing the virtualization technology and accompanying management tools to support specific use-cases, while understanding that customers in fact want their virtualization solutions to work within the realm of their physical systems management platforms.


We are executing very well on this strategy and hear from customers that they see a change in IT that will be enabled via client virtualization solutions.


Considering the current global macroeconomic downturn, companies need their IT solutions to help contribute to the bottom line more than ever rather than complicate things (as in "replacing"). We are confident that Neocleus’ technology will help customers achieve this.  


All the best,


Etay.


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Right now, I honestly see very little big time business in regards to VDI.  Right now Microsoft is causing companies to have an SA and VECD's for Virtualized Desktops.  I predict a lot of CIOs wanting to cut Microsofting Licensing costs, especially in the bad economic times were in.  I think citrix and vmware need to focus some time on Linux Desktops.


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U could be underestimating the amount of companies that already have SA.


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@ rahvintzu


I think your overestimating the amount of companies that do have SA on the desktop.


Especially now if they're in the process of renegotiation MS contracts this year...they're cutting off any unnecessary licensing.


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Does anyone know if the details of what this Project Independence is?


It sounds very similar to a product which HP sells which was a joint effort from NSA and VMware called NetTop.  NetTop is more meant for purpose of running multiple systems of multiple classifications on the same hardware. and they've been doing it for almost eight years now.....but really isn't Project Independence the same concept, but without the military grade security?


Here is the info on NetTop:


h71028.www7.hp.com/.../48852-0-0-225-121.html


en.wikipedia.org/.../NetTop


web.archive.org/.../techt00011.cfm


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Maybe your right on SA for the current economic downturn. But if u want App-V then u need SA... so maybe people will keep it for this and Med-V.


[little dissapointed in Med-V so far but thats a different story]


I guess u have to factor in your solution across the stack...and work out costs.


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Also a large of Australian Universities have Desktop SA, im unsure about our federal gov... but.


:-)


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