Citrix Rethinks Data Center - InformationWeek

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4/30/2008
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Citrix Rethinks Data Center

Citrix has remade themselves as a virtualization vendor. Now they want to remake your data center as a 'delivery center.'

Citrix has remade themselves as a virtualization vendor. Now they want to remake your data center as a 'delivery center.'Back in February Citrix took a big gamble in re-branding. They swapped out the name of a well-known industry product, Presentation Server (admittedly never the sexiest name in the app delivery market) for a moniker out of an upstart open source community. 'Xen' makes me think of motorcycles every time I hear it, so I guess they've managed to add some sexiness to the mix. If you think motorcycles are sexy.

Calling their flagship product XenApp reflects the current fashion to brand all products as 'virtualization.' In this case, Citrix is spot on, and the company has re-imagined (and re-imaged) itself as an end-to-end virtualization provider with app, server, and desktop virt solutions. Do they dominate the server VM market? Far from it. Can anyone dominate the desktop virt market? I guess it depends on how you define desktop virtualization.

Does Citrix make the transition from P to V a more comfortable process for existing Presentation Server customers? You bet. Does the long history of Citrix & Microsoft collaboration ease the concerns of MS-loving admins and ops managers? Yup. Citrix is planning a big dog and pony show for XenDesktop at its Synergy 2008 show in May. XenDesktop is promising to be a clean, solid implementation of desktop virt; a shiny new base desktop image for each user plus a separate app delivery process.

And the re-branding continues - today at InterOp Citrix offered up its plans to outfit your data center as an end-to-end 'Delivery Center,' with full details to be revealed at... Synergy. All kidding aside, I wish I could be in Houston at the end of May.

Citrix Delivery Center XenApp = Presentation Server XenServer = Supported Open Source Hypervisor XenDesktop = Clean, base OS delivery WorkflowStudio = IT Automation Netscaler = App Acceleration

Citrix has posted a couple of slick marketing videos highlighting speed and ease of deployment for virtualized solutions. One of the videos demos provisioning 5 new virt Windows desktops in about 5 seconds, then builds MS Office on those virt desktops. In about 2 seconds.

Delivery Center leverages Workflow Studio and NetScaler to optimize web and WAN delivery. Citrix sees Delivery Center as a way to deliver your virt desktop in the office, at home or on the road, hosted from XenDesktop hosts tied back to enterprise apps running on XenServers.

Will Citrix dominate virtualization? Will anyone? Time will tell; we still have a very long road ahead before a winner is declared under the very broad banner of 'virtualization', and just a couple of competitors who might have a thing or two in their strategic plans.Citrix has remade themselves as a virtualization vendor. Now they want to remake your data center as a 'delivery center.'

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