The integration of XenSource and rebranding of Presentation Server create more viable choices and un-muddy the virtualization waters, analysts say.
Citrix Systems has wasted no time integrating the XenSource
technology into its product portfolio and demonstrating its commitment to all
of the forms of virtualization.
Citrix on Feb. 11 will launch an upgrade to the XenServer software it
acquired in 2007 when it bought XenSource. At the same time, Citrix will
rebrand its flagship Presentation Server terminal server product line and
create new product bundles.
As a result, customers now have a one-stop shop for multiple types of
virtualization, including desktop virtualization, server virtualization and
application virtualization. In addition, with the increasing confusion in the
market around the term "virtualization," Citrix has the opportunity
to make it simpler for customers to understand.
Prior to its XenSource acquisition, "Citrix did not control the virtual
machine, so you had to go to VMware, Microsoft or Xen to buy it," said
Brian Madden, an independent industry analyst in New York.
"If you wanted to use Citrix, it was a two-part solution. Now customers
don't have to deal with multiple products from multiple companies."
After battling with VMware for years over which method of virtualizing
desktops was best, Citrix's XenSource acquisition was a tacit acknowledgement
that different approaches are needed depending on the requirements, Madden
Citrix, with its Presentation Server, had argued that server-based or thin-client
computing was the way to go, where only the presentation of data runs locally
on the client device and administrators only have to manage one copy of Windows
on the terminal server. Meanwhile, VMware championed running multiple instances
of Windows XP in different VMs on a big server in the data center, and allowing
remote desktops to access the Windows software images through VMware's VDI
(Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).
"Citrix pooh-poohed VDI and said, 'Ours is better always.' But the
reality is they are both useful in different scenarios," Madden
said. "Now Citrix can be used for terminal server- and VDI-based
Citrix's former Citrix Desktop Server, now called Citrix XenDesktop, will
include the XenSource hypervisor management when it becomes available later in
To read more about Citrix's plans to integrate with XenSource, click here.
The integration of XenServer into Citrix's product line also provides a
viable alternative to VMware in the server virtualization realm for IT shops
looking for more choices-or at least pricing leverage, Madden said. In fact, it
offers two viable alternatives to VMware, he said.
"As it turns out, Microsoft's HyperV won't be competition to VMware,
but XenSource created management tools that will be able to manage Microsoft's
HyperV. So now Citrix can provide the high-end management capabilities HyperV
needs to compete against VMware," he said.
At the same time, customers who had been leery of using open-source
technology from a small company can now delve into it with greater confidence
with a company like Citrix offering XenServer.
"I still think there's a stigma for some around open source. Citrix has
a huge brand. They can insulate people from the open-sourciness of Xen,
and they are blessed by Microsoft, so it's a solution customers can feel good
and confident about," Madden said.
By rebranding Citrix's flagship Presentation Server into XenApp, Citrix demonstrates
its commitment to virtualization in its different forms and can clearly
articulate the difference between desktop, server and application
The integration of XenSource overall may also bring the industry "one
step closer to the utopian vision of being able to deliver whatever information
the user wants to any device anywhere," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst
with the Yankee Group. "How you do that is hard, but virtualization plays
a key role. By embedding XenServer into the product line, it takes you one
step closer to that vision."