VMware Rolls Second FUD Wave Over Citrix Xenserver


Is marketing inherently manipulative, superficial, annoying and therefore evil? Do software marketing departments communicate the opportunities and advantages of their products in a honest way? Does it help to engage in FUD tactics against competitors?

At Virtualization.com we honestly don’t know… but we do think that when you are the market leader (hello, VMWare!), it doesn’t really strengthen your case when you point so much attention towards your once-great-partner Citrix. So why did Jeff Jennings at VMware mail the two messages below to his sales partners? This only seems to create the unwanted impression Citrix/XenServer is a real threat to VMware…

Let’s bear in mind these arguments were ‘only’ intended as marketing speak towards VMware sales partners.

Dear <name>,

Yesterday, Citrix announced the immediate availability of XenDesktop, a collection of technologies intended to provide a virtualized desktop experience. This competitive flash summarizes what was announced, explores specific claims that may cause confusion, and provides guidance for VMware sales professionals and partners.

Executive Summary

XenDesktop: What Can it Really Do, and How Much Does it Really Cost?

Citrix has widely promoted the concept of application streaming, and the idea that XenDesktop offers a “new PC at each log on”. This message has created confusion, because to achieve a “new PC at each log on”, multiple products must be integrated. Evidence of this confusion is also in the press. The Register recently published Citrix’s XenDesktop can fly you to the moon, an article about misleading product claims by Citrix. Brian Madden also examines Citrix XenDesktop pricing and competition with Citrix’s own XenApp (Presentation Server) products in his blog entry Citrix XenDesktop pricing is out-of-whack. One of the main value propositions of a virtual desktop is that all your applications work in a VDI environment. By bundling XenApp (Presentation Server) into their desktop solution, Citrix is making customers use XenApp (Presentation Server) for application deployment which doesn’t work for many applications. In addition, customers will have to pay the additional CAPEX and management costs for XenApp (Presentation Server). At a minimum, this includes server and storage hardware, and a Windows Server license for each XenApp server. Furthermore, customers may need to buy a Terminal Services CAL for each user.

XenDesktop: Complex, Poorly Integrated, Built on a Platform That Has an Uncertain Future

Citrix XenDesktop software is complex, consisting of different disparate components bundled together. The underlying XenServer virtualization platform is also unproven in enterprise environments. Both Citrix and Microsoft have stated that Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor will replace XenServer. Customers who deploy XenDesktop will use a virtualization platform that has an uncertain future. Several customers who have evaluated XenDesktop failed to deploy the complicated solution. Citrix’s XenDesktop keynote demonstration at their user conference, Synergy, didn’t even work.

VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is Built on a Proven Platform and is Easy to Deploy
In contrast to Citrix XenDesktop, customers that deploy VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) gain all the robustness and proven enterprise capabilities of the industry leading VMware Virtual Infrastructure (VI3) platform. VMware VDI is mature and much simpler to deploy than XenDesktop. XenDesktop deployments have up to eight different wizards, applications, and management consoles; VMware VDI uses two. Partners can have VMware VDI installed and working on their first customer visit, while XenDesktop can take days to get even a simple system deployed.

Bottom Line

We encourage VMware partners to clearly articulate how the virtualization platform is a strategic technology underlying virtual desktop deployments. Citrix’s claims about product features, such as whether XenDesktop includes application streaming or virtualization capabilities, and claims of disk storage savings without noting significant restrictions, should not go unchallenged.

Read more

Best regards,
Jeff Jennings
Vice President, Desktop Products and Solutions VMware

(As reported on May 27, 2008 by Brian Madden)

In Febrary 2008, Jeff Jennings alreay gave a list of reasons that tried to clarify the competitive advantage of VMware. Among them there’s a very interesting point about partnership between Microsoft and Citrix.

“The new items are a collection of loosely connected pieces thrown together to look like a coherent virtualization plan. Microsoft is still talking vision….

Microsoft’s announcement introduces new conflicts into the Microsoft-Citrix business partnership and begs the question “When will Microsoft dump Citrix and take all of the business for itself?” Is this just a partnership of convenience for Microsoft until it ships its own product?…Tell your prospects that are considering Citrix, that MSFT will soon cut Citrix out of the loop…and Citrix is allowing it to happen…

…New Conflict #1: Microsoft System Center or Citrix XenServer for Management…This declaration hits at the heart of Citrix’s stated business model for virtualization – to generate revenue from the management of Windows VMs with Citrix XenCenter. System Center and XenCenter are clearly competitors…

…New Conflict #2: Calista acquisition creates more direct competition with Citrix SpeedScreen (ICA)..This acquisition strikes at Citrix’s core business since ICA is Citrix’s key differentiator and competes with RDP..”

About the author

I'm a Belgian based internet entrepreneur and the owner of Virtualization.com & Virtualisation.com. I failed at raising venture capital for my X86 virtualization venture in 1999 and moved on to found Casius.com, Virtualisers.be & Data.be... This is where I keep my finger on the Virtualization pulse.


  1. Toon Vanagt says:

    Watch our video interview with Ian Pratt (Citrix XenServer) to see how he reacted to VMware’s FUD tactics earlier:
    “Well there has been a certain use of FUD-tactics and things like that. That is sort of a natural reaction. That is what marketing departments will go and do. We have good working relationships with some of the technical folks at VMware and we work together on the OVF virtual appliance format. I know that some of their engineers get pretty embarrassed about some of the stuff their marketing department does. VMware tries to position things which are Xen features or architectural implementations as ‘weaknesses’ against their product. Whereas they know they have teams working flat out to get and implement those same ‘weaknesses’ into their own product. That is just the way it is. Marketing departments go off and do that, but at the end of the day customers will hopefully get the right message and buy the right product…I guess we should be flattered.”

  2. FUDrucker says:

    Yes, VMware used to partner with Citrix, and my friends there still cant understand why Citrix would pay so much for Xen, which performs about as good as VMware’s free server.
    VMware was feeding deals to Citrix, bringing them into architecture calls for thier broker, which was technically more difficult to set up and doesnt scale as well as propero or leostream. This foced VMwares hand to buy propero.

    As far as FUD goes, I can tell you 1st hand as a channel partner that Xen and MicroSoft’s tactics here are nothing short of nausiating.

    VMware is years ahead of Xen, and MS probably wont even ship this year what VMware did 4 years ago.

    Dont even get me started about pricing, as VMware is actually LESS expensive per VM due to thier transparent memmory sharing, not to mention more relable, secure, and easier to deploy from template and move via VMotion.

    Anytime someone says that you can do the same with Xen, I ask them if they have set it up, it’s usually no, and before you fly off the handle at that you should read the instructions on how to do it.

    With virtual center, you can add a few ESX nodes to a cluster and VMotion back and forth with ZERO downtime in a matter of minuetes, the 1st time I did it I did so w/out using any manuals.

    VMware is the only tried and tested bare-metal hypervisor on the market, they are patent protected for MANY years to come, and they are a fabolous company to deal with becuase thier products are rock solid and easy to use.

    I didnt recomend VMware initially, but not long after every single customer I talked to brought it up – now as a VCP engineer I lead meetings with a VMware overview.

    Just get ready for what SRM is going to do!!!


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