Citrix Essentials: Enterprise Maneuvering
Lots and lots of virtualization news
this week. I'll break it all down in separate blog entries, to keep things manageable.
First, let's take a look at Citrix
. The way to think about this is that it's another version of the
Terminal Services/XenApp (formerly Presentation Server) relationship. Citrix and
Microsoft have carved out a partnership unparalleled in this industry. They make
a product that basically does the same thing: provide remote access to
and delivery of an application (TS and XenApp, in this case). TS is more
for smaller shops; XenApp is the enterprise version, adding functionality that
makes it a better fit in the datacenter.
In the meantime, Microsoft
continues to improve TS and add features, but not to the point that it can be
seen as a XenApp replacement. It purposely cedes the big datacenter to Citrix,
apparently content to make less money for Citrix' benefit. Citrix, meanwhile,
thrives. Presentation Server, for many years, was
its business -- and
still is, in every meaningful way.
But since the purchase of XenSource,
Citrix is starting to see itself as a major virtualization player. It's a
good fit, because XenApp has always been a virtualization product in a way. But
it's thinking bigger now -- much bigger. Citrix knows enterprise at one level,
and thinks it can ride Microsoft's coattails right into the next level of
And it's counting on the fact that Microsoft
will constrain itself to providing the base hypervisor -- Hyper-V -- and the
management component (i.e. System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)), and not
step over the line into the key piece of the Essentials pie, which is its
StorageLink storage technology. Citrix has well-founded hope in this regard, as
Redmond has never been one to dabble too much into storage. It's not hard to
imagine Microsoft saying "Hey, you guys can have that. It gives us more
resources to pour into making VMM the dominant virtualization management app."
Just like TS/XenApp, Microsoft and Citrix hope to divide the spoils without
encroaching on each other's territory.
However, in this situation there's
a difference, and it's a huge one: Citrix and Microsoft pretty much own the
remote app delivery space. That is not the case with virtualization. To get into
those enterprises, Microsoft and Citrix have to offer a solution that's as
good, or nearly as good, as what VMware offers, for significantly less money.
Will Essentials, in combination with Hyper-V and VMM, be enough, technology- and
price-wise, to overcome VMware's lead in reputation and installed base?
As far as Citrix is concerned, a hidden benefit of
Essentials is that it takes some ammunition away from those who charge that
Citrix is all about XenDesktop and nothing else nowadays. This is a big
datacenter virtualization play, and shows that Citrix is continuing development
on that front. Even that, however, has a desktop virtualization (i.e.
XenDesktop) benefit: VDI requires many, many more VMs than server
virtualization, which is still the virtualization king. Where will those desktop
VMs live in an enterprise setting? You guessed it -- the SAN, which StorageLink
is all about. Very smart move by Citrix.
Posted by Keith Ward on 02/23/2009 at 12:48 PM