In a much needed change of direction, Citrix has taken the training wheels off VDI-in-a-Box (VIAB) and is allowing it to compete unfettered against XenDesktop.
Dell has joined the the highly competitive and technically diversified single box desktop virtualization market in partnership with Citrix to package VDI-in-a-Box as a virtual appliance. The somewhat awkwardly named Dell “DVS Simplified 1010″ appliance is built on the Dell PowerEdge R710 rack server that comes pre-installed with Citrix XenServer 5.6 and VDI-in-a-Box 5.0.
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In an effort to relieve the discomfort for customers and partners VMware have introduced a Rapid Desktop Program. This program looks to validate View Proof of Concept appliances to ensure that they meet criteria for performance and reliability. By removing the complexity of the “I”, an organisation can focus better on the assessment of virtual desktops and in turn deliver faster .
The challenge for Citrix is to position their VDI portfolio effectively. At the very least there should be a standardised license plan and migration path from (or to) the grid and non-grid solutions. There is potential to remove the reduced functionality versions of XenDesktop. Most importantly – to have a license model that allows organisations to make a choice of technology that fits their need, not their size. Can Citrix FlexCast be truly flexible if it ignores the value that having a grid technology can bring not only to the SMB market – but to any sized enterprise?
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Like a new college student, fresh from the flush of new found freedom to expand their horizons, Citrix appear to have had a case of the munchies. First Citrix’s portfolio was extended with the acquitisition of Kaviza. More recently, the purchase of RingCube. The desktop virtualisation techhnologies acquired will help strengthen Citrix’s virtualised desktop offering. VDI-in-a-box offering simplicity of deployment, providing options for the SMB and MSP spaces; and vDesk providing a layering functionality giving greater VDI scalability with an improved personalisation offering.
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Kaviza developers one of the first all-in-one “VDI-in-a-Box” solutions for small and medium business, have been acquired by Citrix. The acquisition adds a fast-track VDI-only solution to the Citrix portfolio geared at the SME/SMB market. The Kaviza “VDI-in-a-Box” product is billed as complementing the Citrix’s XenDesktop product line for enterprise-class desktop virtualization.
VMware has said that is it committed to its Desktop Virtualization Strategy but VMWare’s commitment to VDI as the only solution is going to mean that unless you are only going to deploy VDI you’ll likely consider another vendor to help you achieve your goal.
There are two desires which are fundamentally in conflict, and addressing this conflict is the biggest opportunity in desktop computing. Can you manage the demand for users to have effective IT at their fingertips while controlling access and costs from the centre?
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Citrix have invested an unspecified amount of money in Kaviza whose grid architecture eliminates the expensive infrastructure that VDI solutions. With Kaviza’s solution all the functionality needed to provision and manage virtual desktops is consolidated into a single virtual appliance that scales on commodity servers. Will this announcement herald a major take-up of VDI? Indeed, can you really offer a turnkey solution to support your desktop centralisation strategy?
The grid approach to desktop virtualization, offered by vendors like Kaviza and Synchron offers several advantages in terms of cost and flexible use of hardware resources. The cost savings come from not requiring a SAN. The implications of no SAN are no VMotion, no HA and no DRS. However Citrix XenApp has proven that user and application centralization can be effectively managed without these features.