Simon Crosby, one of the most outspoken, provocative, and combative of Citix's CTOs, resigned today. According to the Citrix press release, Crosby and Xen open source platform co-founder Ian Pratt are leaving to form a new company called "Bromium."
XenServer, XenApp, XenDesktop, XenClient, Citrix Receiver, and Citrix Open Cloud represent half of the named products in the Citrix portfolio. Even with the substantial amount of time that Crosby spent publicly promoting Xen-influenced Citrix products, he still must have played a significant role in product direction. Now he's leaving.
While it's normal for founders of acquired companies, such as Crosby and Pratt, to move on sometime fairly soon after the deal closes, I think this is a little different. After four years at Citrix, Crosby is moving from an active battlefield to an adjacent skirmish line. His new company, Bromium, is in so-called "stealth mode" but so many hints were dropped that it's fairly clear it has to do with enterprise client security.
Irregardless of what Crosby and Pratt are moving on to do, here are the questions that immediately came to my mind on hearing this news:
1. What does this mean for organizations that are lined up to buy XenServer and Citrix Open Cloud? 2. I'm less concerned about XenApp and XenDesktop, because these are proven products that seem to be category leaders. 3. What does this mean for managing the Citrix/Microsoft relationship? 4. What does this mean vis-à-vis VMware? 5. What does it mean that Crosby is leaving the still emerging private/public cloud arena to focus on end point security? 6. Is it possible that Citrix could stumble during this transition? 7. Is this an opportunity for VMware to significantly slide ahead while Citrix ramps up Crosby's replacement?
One thing's for sure, IT managers and CIO who are thinking about virtualization and the cloud have a little bit more to think about tonight.