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Citrix to acquire VMLogix

SAN FRANCISCO — Citrix Systems is acquiring VMLogix.

Citrix made the VMLogix acquisition announcement today, the first day of the VMworld 2010 conference. The acquisition is expected to close later this quarter, Citrix said.

VMLogix makes LabManager and StageManager, tools designed to help create and manage test/dev and pre-production environments. Since making XenServer free last year, Citrix has put its money-making focus on management tools and other advanced features, and the VMLogix acquisition is another step in that direction.

VMLogix isn’t one of the first names you think about when you discuss third-party virtualization management vendors, but the company is one of the few that supports VMware, Hyper-V and XenServer, which was likely appealing to Citrix.

Shannon Snowden, consulting partner with Citrix partner New Age Technologies, said many XenServer deployments rely heavily on VMLogix for lab management, but support and integration haven’t always been perfect. The acquisition will likely address those issues, he said.

“It makes sense,” he added.

As with most virtualization news these days, there was heavy cloud spin. Citrix titled its press release, “Citrix Expands Leadership in Open Cloud Computing,” and the company said the VMLogix acquisition would “further accelerate its OpenCloud strategy.” The key appears to be VMLogix’s self-service portal, which could come in handy in a private cloud scenario.

Still, at its core this announcement is all about server virtualization — a market where Citrix has had mixed results. In less than two years, the company has lost its status as VMware’s top challenger (to Microsoft). Some observers, like a VMware partner I spoke with today, wonder why Citrix even bothers with server virtualization, given its desktop virtualization success. This partner said the VMLogix acquisition doesn’t make sense, because server virtualization doesn’t seem like a top priority for Citrix.

On the other hand, Citrix’s free XenServer strategy appears to be working, and the VMLogix acquisition falls right in line with that strategy.

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