VMware Displacement Initiative

By Steve Wexler  |  Print this article Print

Server and storage virtualization are well-established markets, but virtual desktops are still emerging, expected to explode from less than 1 percent today to 40 percent by 2013. VMware turned some heads last year with its release of VMware View 4 VDI. Now Citrix is looking to its channel and a new relationship with Microsoft to capture a big slice of the estimated $65.7 billion dollar opportunity.

As part of the March 18th announcement, a VMware displacement initiative was launched, the VMware Rescue Program. It’s still early days, but Flink says the new relationship and program have driven a lot of engagement from customers. "People want to know about it. Microsoft is talking about it as well. It has opened the door into accounts that had thought they had already invested in that technology. So for Citrix and Microsoft (partners) that removes roadblocks."

The channel is essential to helping Citrix succeed in the desktop virtualization market, says Mick Hollison, VP, Desktop Marketing. During the last two quarters the company sold 1.5 million units, but they can’t and won’t be deployed without the channel’s involvement, he says.

There will be problems, he says, not least of which will be convincing IT departments. "It’s hard to underestimate the inertia of 15 to 20 years of doing something a certain way."  The transition from a device with an OS to a service delivered seamlessly to the desktop – or user appliance – is the issue that must be dealt with.

"I think it will be hard for IT to get its head around. For users it won’t be a problem. Users are going to absolutely love it."

Formerly with Microsoft, Hollison thinks the new partnership will be a winner. "Microsoft actually discovered they can make more money with this model. They make great money with almost no sales or marketing effort on their part. This is good for their business."

Of course partnering with Microsoft has been characterized as getting into bed with a grizzly bear that can turn on you at any time. The IT industry is littered with the bodies of former Microsoft partners, agrees White. In fact, a former Microserf himself, he spent 7 years with the software giant working on the enterprise business and had no idea they had this deep relationship with Citrix existed.

"Microsoft has a very short attention span," he says. They never plan too far into the future, "and that’s one of their strengths because they react so quickly."

So White is optimistic about Citrix’ chances for the short term, especially with the most recent Microsoft developments. He believes Microsoft will do a very good job of marketing Citrix and both companies – and their channels – should make a lot of money.

"But for how long? I wouldn’t trust that relationship deeply. You have to be very careful because things can change very, very quickly."