Mental Ward

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Through Thick and ThinApp

So now we know, apparently, what VMware's application streaming product will be called: Alessandro Perilli over at virtualization.info reported that the new name is ThinApp. You may remember that VMware, seeking a toehold in the app virtualization market, bought Thinstall last January. Now it has rebranded the product.

And, or course, the virtualization blogosphere is tackling the name change: did VMware deliberately choose a name similar to arch-nemesis Citrix's app virtualization product, called XenApp? Some, namely the always-entertaining and informative Brian Madden, are yawning.

I tend to lean toward Brian's point of view, for the most part. I think it's much more likely that VMware is calling it ThinApp because it was formerly called Thinstall, not because they're trying to trade on any buzz created by Citrix's naming scheme.

I will disagree with Brian on one aspect. I think he's a little too dismissive of XenApp's chances in the market. Writes Brian:

"frankly VMware could call this thing "NoApp" and it would still be faster and way easier to use than Citrix's XenApp streaming capability. And really, how much does this name change cost VMware to "copy" Citrix? I'll bet that it's a lot less than $500 million! A thousand bucks says the name ThinApp is around longer than XenApp."

I can't comment on how well ThinApp works vs. XenApp, since I haven't used either product; I'll defer to Brian's voluminous knowledge on this. But I'd be careful before burying Citrix. For one thing, they should know a lot more about the basics of application delivery than VMware -- insight hard-earned from years of product development. That's a great store of knowledge to leverage. As such, I would expect them to quickly catch up, functionality- and usage-wise, to ThinApp (no guarantee of this, of course, especially if XenApp is as far behind as Brian implies.)

But Citrix isn't some Johnny-come-lately. Like VMware, they have a lot of smart, creative people over there. They also have tons of resources to throw at this, and you can be assured they'll be going full out. As we see again, that $500 million purchase (of XenSource by Citrix last year) is looking like the best thing that could have happened to Xen.

A beta 2 release of ThinApp (which is still going by its codename, North Star, on WMware's Website) is available here.

Posted by Keith Ward on 05/12/2008 at 12:48 PM


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