What Kind of “Rescue” is it when You’re Trading Down to Drown in a Sea of Complexity?

Mar 19, 2010

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By Raj Mallempati – Director, Product Marketing

Recently Microsoft and Citrix launched something called a VDI Rescue Promotion targeted at VMware View customers.  By combining the Microsoft VDI Standard Suite and the Citrix XenDesktop VDI Edition, they are claiming to have comparable capability to VMware View.  When you look at the fine print, you will see that this promotion is a “trade down” for VMware View customers. 

Using the classic bait and switch tactic, the VDI Rescue Promotion does not rescue the customer from anything, instead it downgrades the View customer to a virtual desktop offering that is years behind VMware View in scalability and functionality.  Customers will have to trade down to the entry level VDI editions from both Citrix and Microsoft, leaving them holding the bag when they have to pay for edition level upgrades, additional third party solutions, infrastructure to support the environment and time to deploy and manage.  

Adding to the complexity is the overlap between the Microsoft and Citrix components. One might wonder why you need two similar components to do a third of the job that VMware View does.  VMware View is an integrated enterprise class solution that can scale to thousands of users, it’s easy to deploy, provides a single pane of glass for desktop management and delivers the lowest total cost of ownership of all solutions. 

So what’s really in this “trade-down”?

  • The trade-down includes two different product suites from two different companies with overlapping components.  Both solutions come with a hypervisor platform and connection broker.  This creates confusion leaving the customer asking which components to use when?
  • A set of non-integrated products marketed as a solution with no reference architecture for deployment
  • The included licenses are actually only free for one year (on the Citrix side) and then you’ll need to pay for that license + SA in subsequent years.
  • Hidden costs of more infrastructure, more time and increased complexity to deploy and manage

The lackluster nature of the promotion is not lost on those in the industry. One desktop virtualization integrator, Tony Wilburn at IT services company Betis Group, called the promotion a "desperate" attempt to generate buzz. He also said it has the added effect of elevating VMware. "Has Microsoft ever before had to partner with another company in order to take on a rival?" Wilburn said. "When the No. 2 and No. 3 companies in the industry have to team up to take on the No. 1 player, doesn't that make the one player look even stronger?"  More from the article Microsoft, Citrix lure VMware customers with cutthroat promo.

Conversely, the VMware trade up program for Citrix XenApp which we introduced in January has been very successful in North America (Currently available in North America via Arrow).  This program actually provides a valuable upgrade to the View Premier bundle and additionally offers customers an assessment to aid with their desktop virtualization migration to help ensure success.

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