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Citrix on Sweet Street with New Microsoft Agreements

Microsoft's announcement today describing new agreements with Citrix designed to bolster their 20-year relationship at the expense of VMware was a huge win for Citrix, which is finally freed from all the unsubstantiated speculation and irresponsible claims that it will somehow be forsaken and devoured by Microsoft.

When you closely evaluate the situation, it simply doesn't make sense for Microsoft to back out of a relationship with Citrix. Hey, don't take my word for it -- ask Brad Anderson, a Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of the company's Management Service Division, who told me, "When I think about the best way to work for us, I use Citrix as the example."

A healthy Microsoft-Citrix relationship only nurtures Microsoft's key markets by providing them with jointly developed solutions that customers can depend on. At the same time, Citrix feeds unabated at the profits trough as it sells its wares to customer after happy customer with Microsoft's blessing.

From the Citrix perspective, what's almost as good as having Microsoft's blessing is VMware's not only not having it, but having to endure insult to injury while Microsoft and Citrix launch two promotional schemes, "Rescue for VMware VDI" and "VDI Kickstart." The former has the effrontery to suggest that disaffected Microsoft customers running VMware View are looking to bail out of their failing implementations, while the latter provides a safe landing pad for said Benedict Arnolds by offering them up to 500 XenDesktop VDI Edition (annual) device licenses, and up to 500 VDI Standard Suite device licenses in exchange for their tawdry View licenses.

Ouch.

What's also sweet for Citrix is the fact that it is bringing a solid contribution to the table with its HDX technology, which has given XenDesktop a leg up on View, and is now being jointly developed by the two companies to "leverage and enhance" Microsoft RemoteFX. Microsoft defines RemoteFX as "a set of RDP technologies that are being added to Windows Server 2008 R2, SP1 that will allow users to work remotely in a Windows Aero desktop environment, watch full-motion video, enjoy Silverlight animations and run 3-D apps -- all with the fidelity of a local-like performance when connecting with the LAN." This is clearly a technology with legs that adds value to Microsoft's desktop virtualization efforts.

And before we get too far away from the topic of not making sense, it's time for everybody to agree that XenServer, which has been flogged repeatedly for not making a bigger dent in the server virtualization market, is not going anywhere, least of all, down the toilet. Why would Citrix drop XenServer, which is: 1) currently being refreshed with a new version, and 2) the virtualization engine behind its past and upcoming stars, XenApp, and XenDesktop, respectively? (Add Netscaler to the upcoming bracket). XenServer might not be a star, but it has a future.

The battle for the virtualized desktop may only be starting, but Microsoft and Citrix have already shown they are in fighting trim.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 03/18/2010 at 12:48 PM


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