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Citrix Acquires RingCube

Version 2 of its NetWrix Change Reporter also adds real-time and snapshot reporting capabilities.

In a move that strengthens its XenDesktop product against VMware View, eliminates the tradeoff between user personalization and centralized management, reduces storage costs, and simplifies the migration from physical to virtual desktops, Citrix announced its acquisition of RingCube, which has carved out market share with its vDesk solution set.

When asked during a webinar about how the deal competitively positions XenDesktop against VMware's View product, John Fanelli, Citrix vice president of product marketing for  Enterprise Desktops and Applications, replied, "This is a technology and a capability that they do not have." He underscored that competitive stance by referring to statistics and comments from industry analyst firms indicating that XenDesktop is the desktop virtualization market leader.

Citrix says that the RingCube, which was founded in 2005 and has 24 virtualization patents pending, bridges the gap between the dedicated VDI and pooled VDI models. With dedicated VDI environments, which are most common, "IT hosts a unique, fully assembled desktop for each user in the datacenter, and lets them connect to remotely from any device," Citrix said, adding that this model gives IT all the benefits of central management while enabling end users to realize an optimized level of personalization. The downside here is the expense of storing thousands of unique, fully assembled images in a datacenter.

In contrast, the pooled technique is considered more efficient because it stores only one image of the Windows operating system--along with each application--in the datacenter. It then dynamically assembles each virtual desktop as users need them at runtime. The disadvantage is that each individual user receives an identical desktop, which is problematical in diverse computing environments.

"The RingCube technology breaks down this barrier to enterprise-wide VDI adoption by combining all the benefits of dedicated and pooled desktops with none of the limitations," Citrix said. "It does this by creating a ‘personal vDisk' for each employee that contains only the apps, data and settings that are unique to that user. All the images that each user has in common--including the Windows OS and all common corporate apps--are stored at one time in the datacenter."

With all that data in one location, RingCube provides each individual user with his or her unique personal desktop at each new log-in. For its part, IT benefits from centrally managing a single instance of  Windows and each corporate application for all users.

When it comes to customers moving from physical to virtual desktops, RingCube "isolates all user-specific apps and settings in personal vDisks, so IT can be certain that each user's new VDI desktop will behave exactly the same as their previous physical desktop, making the move entirely transparent to users." Migration is further simplified for desktop administrators because it ensures that their current tools for managing apps and users remain viable.

The RingCube product set is available now and fully supports XenDesktop 5. Citrix, which did not describe the terms of the acquisition, said it will continue to support existing RingCube customers.

About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.

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