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Citrix Buys Kaviza; Will VMware Buy Unidesk?

Citrix has acquired Kaviza! I am not sure I can properly articulate how supportive I am of this move or how happy I am to see this happen. Citrix with this acquisition reinforces an already very strong desktop virtualization presence with XenDesktop in the enterprise. What the Kaviza acquisition allows Citrix to do is play in that SMB space at a cost-effective price point.

The last time I wrote about the TCO of desktop virtualization, one commenter asked me to run these numbers for smaller deployments, I promised that I would and I was going to use Kaviza and Unidesk to do so, but never got around to doing it.

In addition to what Kaviza brings to Citrix in terms of better SMB market penetration, there are so many synergies between these two companies. As you may know, Citrix had invested in Kaviza and Kaviza uses Citrix's ICA/HDS protocol as its remote desktop protocol. In addition, you can deploy Kaviza with either VMware's ESXi or Citrix's XenServer.

This is such a well-timed move. I used to be a bit weary when suggesting solutions to customers from smaller companies for obvious reasons: Will this company make it, what will happen to support, etc.? But now that Kaviza is part of Citrix, SMB customers now have a cost-effective, intelligent product that they can deploy and use. I wonder what Citrix will rename this product to? XenDesktop Lite? XenDesktop VDI-In-A-Box? I also wonder what Citrix will integrate into the enterprise versions of XenDesktop. Will they use the Kaviza kMGR virtual appliance technology?

Now, this acquisition begs the question: How is VMware going to respond to it? And it's not whether it will respond, but how VMware responds. If VMware is serious about desktop virtualization, they really have no choice but to do a similar acquisition that would reinforce their overall VMware View product and if I was a betting man, I would say at VMworld 2011 VMware will announce its acquisition of Unidesk.

VMware and Unidesk have so many synergies and VMware needs Unidesk for many reasons. For starters, VMware never really integrated the profile management solution they acquired from RTOSoft. VMware's ThinApp is a good technology, but ThinApp can't virtualize all applications. VMware needs to do something that augments its feature set if they want to compete against Citrix--and Kaviza--in the SMB and enterprise space. XenDesktop already gives View a run for its money and now the Kaviza acquisition means Citrix solutions will deliver a challenge to VMware's View at the SMB level.

Will Unidesk be VMware's response to Citrix's Kaviza? I predicted in an article on InformationWeek that Unidesk will be bought inside of two years. That was two years ago; let's see how much of an oracle I truly am.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 05/24/2011 at 12:49 PM


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