Citrix Snags Embedded OS Provider Ardence

Citrix plans to capitalize on Ardence's technology which allows desktops, laptops, servers and blades to boot off the network and deliver an operating system to a bare metal machine in real time.

Citrix Systems on Dec. 20 will put another piece of its Dynamic Desktop Initiative into place when it announces its planned acquisition of Ardence.

Ardence, a privately held company that markets embedded real-time operating system software and a software streaming platform for Windows and Linux, brings to the table real-time provisioning management for operating systems.

The Ardence product line offers several different opportunities for Citrix, although the primary focus will be to extend the DDI effort, according to Mike Cristinziano, vice president of strategic development at Citrix in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"We think there is a green-field opportunity for Citrix and our customers. As part of application delivery we will deliver the whole desktop, not just the applications. On demand operating system provisioning will be a part of the ecosystem that makes up DDI," he said.

The Ardence technology allows desktops, laptops, servers and blades to boot off the network and deliver an operating system to a bare metal machine in real time.

/zimages/5/28571.gifTo read more about the Citrix DDI project, click here.

Although the Ardence technology today provides dynamic, on-demand provisioning of Windows XP, support for Windows Vista is due shortly, according to Cristinziano.

"This will help Vista migrations happen more smoothly," he said.

Citrix declined to say how much it is paying for Ardence, although the price is not significant enough to require disclosing it. "We view it as competitive information," Cristinziano said.

The Ardence technology makes up the third leg of Citrixs application delivery tool: virtualization for client/server applications using Presentation Server, optimization for Web applications using NetScaler appliances and now streaming for the desktop with Ardence.

A different combination of Citrix technologies that includes the Ardence software will give Citrix an opportunity to compete in the on-demand computing realm as well.

"We see it in the data center where the technology can be used to provision on-demand Web application servers to bare metal," said Cristinziano.

For example, in a large ecommerce site with many application servers running Apaches or WebSphere, users could employ Citrixs EdgeSite end-user response time monitoring software to detect a spike in demand, then use NetScaler technology to load balance demand across multiple Web application servers and then use the Ardence technology to "instantiate new Web servers with the right image at the right time," Cristinziano said.

The Ardence provisioning technology can also be used to add new servers to a Citrix Presentation Server farm faster and allow the servers to be configured dynamically.

"Ardense to us is fundamental technology we can use in more than one way," said Cristinziano.

The Ardence streaming technology complements an effort underway at Citrix to deliver application streaming using virtualization. That effort, dubbed Tarpon, is due in the first half of 2007.

Citrix, in its quest to become a $1 billion software company, has embarked on an acquisition spree that has netted such companies as Orbital Data, Reflectent Software, Teros and NetScaler over the past 18 months.

The Ardence acquisition is expected to close in January. Citrix anticipates that it will add about $15 to $18 million in revenue to its fiscal year 2007.

Ardence, founded in 1980, has 100 employees and 3,000 customers, including Boeing, Raytheon and Time Warner Cable.

Citrix intends to maintain the Ardence facility in Waltham, Mass. It will become a part of the Citrix Management Systems Group under Vice President and General Manager Lou Shipley.

Ardence CEO Richard Davis, who will report to Shipley, will stay with the company for a period of time to help in the transition.

No layoffs are planned.

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