VMware and Citrix changing course: Buzz from the virtual water cooler

VMware and Citrix made some interesting moves this past week, prompting some colorful commentary. Read up on what you may have missed.

VMware, Citrix and EMC made some noise this week. Before you jet off for a long Memorial Day weekend, find out how Citrix is trying to stay competitive in the race to the cloud, VMware actually reacted to user complaints, and EMC made an unexpected move.

"Federal government is slower than molasses. They will want to hold on to old desktops and laptops."
Eugene Alfaro, CTO and VP of IT Engineering Services for Cornerstone Technologies LLC in San Jose, Calif.

BREAKING NEWS: The federal government is slow. Okay, that’s probably a headline only Ron Burgundy would read, but Alfaro’s statement is valid. Many IT shops hesitate to venture into the world of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), preferring to cling to their tried-and-true hardware. VMware, however, hopes to offer these conservative shops a way to ease into VDI by expanding it beyond virtual desktops to physical PCs and laptops.

After acquiring Wanova Inc., VMware will offer Wanova’s Mirage software as a low-cost alternative to VDI. VMware View has faced criticism in the past for its inability to manage physical desktops and user-installed applications, but Mirage will provide centralized image management.

This attempt to tackle View’s shortcomings also comes on the heels of comments from VMware CTO Steve Herrod, who indicated the vendor aims to do more to address the lack of VMware product automation and integration.

"What I think we are seeing here is Citrix building out or articulating how it plans to move forward with its traditional business model in a cloud-powered world."
Charles King, principal analyst at Hayward, Calif.-based corporate advisory firm Pund-IT Inc.

Referring to the soon-to-be-released CloudPlatform from Citrix Systems Inc., King added that the vendor is offering a unified product that could work in private, public and hybrid clouds. The hypervisor-agnostic CloudPlatform could reassure potential IT teams concerned about vendor lock-in. The platform, due out next month, may also attract VMware vSphere customers, even as many VMware pros hesitate to adopt private cloud computing.

Considering Citrix’s position in the server virtualization market, maybe it’s time to move forward with its business model.

“it’s really, really [on the] fringe.”
Chris Wolf, research vice president for Gartner Inc.

For all the hoopla surrounding EMC’s VPLEX add-on for Vblock, and its ability live migrate virtual machines and data between geographically separate data centers, even the organizations that could afford the package of products for long-distance vMotion don’t often put it to use. It would seem this is a case where the costs outweigh the benefits.

“You might think that Puppet is kind of glomming on to EMC, but I’m not sure that it’s not the other way around.”
Mark Schena, manager of systems automation for Constant Contact Inc., an email marketing firm based in Waltham, Mass.

In a move that appears out of character to many in the IT industry, EMC Corp. joined forces with Puppet Labs to offer an open-source software tool called Razor. But is it really out of character? EMC isn’t necessarily new to thinking outside the box. By purchasing VMware, the company was among the first to jump on the virtualization bandwagon, when it was only a budding technology.

Puppet loyalists are praising the tool’s ability to automatically discover server hardware and provision OS images. And EMC’s support of the project demonstrates the credibility and prominence of open source software in the cloud.

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