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Virtualization is the Future of Enterprise Computing

Is Microsoft going to try and play catch-up with VMware in 2008 by acquiring Citrix?

SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal thought it was time to go in search of industry insights into this fast-growing new IT market, and so we asked some of its new and up-and-coming executives for their thoughts on some of the trends emerging already in 2008.

When VMware’s long-awaited IPO took place in August of last year, its stock closed on the very first day up 76%. The company had brought in more than $700 million in revenue in 2006, and its timing was perfect. Founded in 1998, VMware is today still the 600-pound gorilla in the field of virtualization software.

President, CEO and co-founder Diane Greene once famously called VMware’s technology “a non-disruptive disruptive technology.” Since, with virtualization, companies need less hardware to carry out the same computing tasks, the upside of allowing network administrators to spread computer functions across multiple systems or servers so that the various machines act as one is tangible and easy to grok: big users of computing power can lower their operating costs.

Storage powerhouse EMC acquired VMware in 2004, and still owns a majority stake today, but a welter of new contenders has since entered the virtualization market, among them HP, Sun, Cisco, XenSource/Citrix and – not least but surprisingly among the last! – Microsoft.

Virtualization Journal thought it was time to go in search of industry insights into this fast-growing new IT market, and so we asked some of its new and up-and-coming executives for their thoughts on some of the trends emerging already in 2008.

First, in view of the executive memo released last week by the SVP of its Server and Tools Business, Bob Muglia, we asked about what Microsoft’s intentions might be. Is it going to try and play catch-up in 2008 with VMware by acquiring Citrix, for example?

Kevin Epstein (pictured left), VP of Marketing for Scalent Systems, doesn’t think so. “People were saying this about Microsoft and Citrix when Citrix first seized the remote connectivity market, many years ago,” Epstein says. “The alliance of the two looks strong -- why risk altering a successful Linux-Windows virtualization partnership?"

The Executive Vice-President and COO of Trigence, Inc., John Hamilton, agrees. He doesn’t think Microsoft will buy Citrix, not in 2008 at least.

”Citrix has been trying to get into true desktop application virtualization since I was back at Softricity when Microsoft acquired us and Citrix announced Tarpon,” Hamilton explains. “Since then there hasn’t been a lot of advancement by Microsoft with the Softgrid product and Tarpon hasn't gone very far.” 

”The Citrix acquisition of XenSource certainly brought them closer to the mark, which made for the tighter relationship between the two companies, he continues. “ But they’re both still lagging behind.” 

Hamilton notes that Microsoft’s latest announcement – and Muglia’s comments about Application Virtualization being important for server based apps – validates the space that Trigence plays in: Application Virtualization Solutions for the Data Center.

Reuven Cohen, Chief Technologist of Enomaly Inc, takes a slightly different view, believing that a Microsoft-Citrix merger would make sense. “Be it a desktop or
hosted CRM, chances are in the near future you will access all your applications in a hosted manner. The ISP is quickly becoming your operating system of choice, just ask anyone who's ever lost their cable connection or had their BlackBerry go down.”

Next page:  Is Desktop Virtualization the 'Next Big Thing'?


More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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