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Citrix Launches Preemptive, Pre-VMworld Assault

It was a very good day for Citrix and president-CEO Mark Templeton.

Good for Citrix, because the company made VMware look laggard by releasing XenDesktop 4, Feature Pack 2. This latest rendition relies on XenClient, its bare metal, client-side hypervisor--that VMware has yet to develop--as well as the newly unveiled XenVault to push XenDesktop out to millions of mobile laptop users. Good for Templeton because this latest release of Citrix's VDI offering, which is increasingly looking like a flagship product, unleashes the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) technology that he has zealously advocated.

Here's how Citrix laid it out: Via the new XenDesktop, customers can deploy a single, centrally supported desktop virtualization that supports both desk-based and laptop users. Turning to BYOC, there is a pronounced trend toward contractors and employees bringing their personal PCs to a job or work. What these two groups don't want is having IT install software on their personal laptops, just as IT doesn't want to get involved with the costs of managing personal devices. Therefore, in the mind of Citrix, the simplest solution for user-owned PCs is delivering corporate apps as an on-demand service--while making sure all the data created by these apps is automatically encrypted. That is taken care of by XenVault, which by the way also supports XenApp and Microsoft's App-V.

So now, not only does Citrix one-up VMware by making XenClient a real live product instead of a post-beta work in progress, but also by getting another version of XenDesktop out the door while VMware continues--at least until VMworld--to sit on a version of View 4.5 that has not been ready for primetime. However, I find it very hard to believe that 4.5 will not debut next week. They've had plenty of time to bring it up to speed, and by unveiling vSphere 4.1 well before VMworld, they cleared the decks for a lot of hoopla around View 4.5.

Of course, all of these developments and non-developments make great grist for bloggers, but in the real world, VMware is not going to shutter the doors in Palo Alto and fold the company because Citrix beat them to market with a new version of XenDesktop. View 4.5 may have started out with a bit of a stumble, but it is a sound product that competes strongly with XenDesktop, and it's not like the future of either company is going to be irretrievably shaped by who rolled out which product this early in the development of the desktop virtualization/VDI market. Still, VMware does not like Citrix one little bit, and you can bet that some serious hackles were raised in the wake of yesterday's announcement. The laughter you hear in the background is coming from Mark Templeton as he relishes the rollout of a product that incorporates his pet technology and further enhances Citrix's stature.

XenDesktop 4, Feature Pack 2 ships at the end of September. XenClient is available gratis for XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum customers who have current Subscription Advantage agreements. XenVault is enabled via a plug-in to the Citrix Receiver software client, and available--also gratis--to all XenDesktop and XenApp customers.

By the way: stay tuned for another pre-VMworld Citrix announcement.

Question: How does your company stand on VDI?

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 08/25/2010 at 12:48 PM


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