Yesterday (March 24, 2015), I spoke with Mendy Newman, head of solution management at Ericom, for Virtualization EUC Podcast episode 13. This was the day Ericom announced its sincere entrance into the broker space with Connect, not to be confused with Web Connect, another of its products.
The way Connect works is that the broker is shared across three servers, which Ericom calls a “Grid.” This is basically a cluster of three servers pointing to an SQL database. According to Mendy, these clusters can support hundreds of thousands of users. Mendy has made sure to note that Ericom is not moving away from the small/medium space, which he acknowledges as its bread and butter, and the GoToMyPC business. Still…
The core of this solution is HTML5, which is the direction many application delivery companies have started to explore as an alternative to application and potentially desktop hosting.
Ericom has its applications in the app store, just like Citrix and VMware. These include its AccessToGo Remote Desktop, WebConnect Mobile, and Ericom Blaze client, which is based on RDP (UDP-based) enriched features. Where the web interface lives (in the DMZ or behind the firewall) generally determines what protocol is used.
I asked Mendy why Ericom is joining the broker wars practically eight years after they started and, in my mind, after they have already pretty much shaken out. He said Ericom is doing this at the request of customers and that just last year, VMware changed up its broker. Generally speaking, he said, companies do create new or enhanced features in ongoing efforts to meet customer needs. Sometimes, they add new features by acquiring new companies with features they feel will create value for their customers without their having to compete via patent wars. What we are left with is the concept that because of the cloud, every vendor seems want to own the user experience from end to end, which, while feasible to a certain degree, will never be 100% possible in a free market.
Of course, Ericom has applications in the app store already, and some features customers need cannot be leveraged just by using the embedded HTML5 applications. Ericom publishes the entire application, unlike Reddo Mobility, which uses HTML5 to publish consumption-type modules inside applications, such as CRM apps.
While we are thinking about companies looking to own the user experience from end to end, why isn’t Ericom in the VDI business? Is it competing with Citrix and following the Citrix agenda to own the user experience from end to end, which has been an open secret since Citrix acquired NetScaler? Why actively go after customers who have historically at least met with Citrix before deciding on a solution about application delivery? Citrix has the most methods, which is probably why I have heard that “Citrix is a Cadillac solution with a Cadillac price.” But let’s face facts: VMware has EMC behind it and a close partnership with Cisco (VCE Anyone), and it is not exactly a “Toyota Corolla solution at a Toyota Corolla price” itself. Perhaps this is why it has not gone directly for VMware’s product catalog.
Mendy has timed himself, getting the brokers up in nineteen minutes. (The assumption I made here was that it might be up but not fully configured as part of a POC or production environment—just the basic install.) To be clear, Mendy and I speak about the entire ecosystem, not just what you see in this diagram. He is clearly not a naive man. It’s a great call, and it’s worth listening to.