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Market reacts to Citrix departures

The departures of XenSource founders Simon Crosby and Ian Pratt from Citrix have generated plenty of buzz in the virtualization market today, with all eyes focused on the company’s next move.

Partners note that the bulk of Citrix’s XenServer product development and marketing machine remains intact.

“Considering that both [Pratt] and [Crosby] are primarily advocates and evangelists for virtualization/open source projects and the heavy technical lifting is done by the Citrix developers, I don’t think this will mean any changes to the XenServer product commitment by Citrix,” wrote Shannon Snowden, consulting partner with Citrix partner New Age Technologies in Louisville, Ky., in an email. “Additionally, if the new company solves the security concerns with cloud infrastructures, then Citrix will be a big beneficiary, so it’s a win-win departure for everyone involved.”

Users are also curious as to whether the XenSource founders will eventually find their way back to Citrix.

“It will be interesting to see what Citrix does next — are they going to let Simon build out this new cloud company and buy it back up?” asked Matt Brown, senior systems engineer for an application service provider and a XenServer user. In the meantime, “I guess it all depends on who the next CTO is and what direction they want to go,” he said

In May, Citrix also lost another CTO, Harry Labana, who left to join AppSense, meaning there are now several vacancies in the public-facing side of the company’s virtualization business. These vacancies probably won’t have an immediate impact, said Gartner analyst Chris Wolf, but “there are a lot of things Citrix has to do here just to keep the marketing machine going and keep customers happy.”

“They put out a very good public response today, but right now it’s words,” Wolf added. “We need to see what Citrix does in the next 3 to 6 months … otherwise you might have some customers that are a little bit nervous going with XenServer on Citrix, because they know [Crosby] and [Pratt] are no longer around. And they might still be involved with [Xen] on the open-source side, but that’s still not the same, from a customer perspective.”

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