Market Roundup

August 17, 2007

Citrix Acquires XenSource

Novell Ships ZENworks Configuration Management

IBM + Novell = New SLED

Red Hat Unveils Developer Studio Beta


Citrix Acquires XenSource

Citrix Systems, Inc. has announced a definitive agreement to acquire XenSource, Inc. of Palo Alto, California, a privately held virtual infrastructure solutions vendor, for approximately $500 million in a combination of cash and stock, and assumption of about $107 million in unvested stock options. The acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of each company and is expected to close during Q4 2007. The acquisition is subject to various closing conditions, including regulatory review and approval, and approval by the stockholders of XenSource, as well as other customary conditions. Upon the close of the acquisition, the XenSource team and products will form the core of the new Virtualization & Management Division of Citrix. Peter Levine, XenSource CEO, will lead the new division, reporting directly to Mark Templeton, Citrix president and CEO. Citrix is also committed to maintaining and growing its support for the Xen open source community, led by Xen project leader Ian Pratt. XenSource will work with the key contributors to the Xen project to develop procedures for independent oversight of the project, ensuring that it continues to operate with full transparency, fairness, and vendor neutrality.

This acquisition is interesting as it spans more than the traditional notion of virtualization, i.e., carving up servers in the quest for enhanced efficiency, and instead focuses on improving the desktop delivery experience for virtual environments. Citrix has long been leading the charge for remote access to applications, but the convergence of strategic thought illustrated by the company has directed its energy on a holistic approach to desktop application delivery, not just remote access itself. While the difference may seem semantically trite to some, the reality is that not all applications delivery methodologies are the same, and few truly embrace the notion of virtualization to its maximum.

The combination of Citrix and XenSource offers a future whereby Citrix’s application delivery infrastructure is bolstered by the flexibility and dynamism inherent in virtualized environments to provide organizations a strong degree of applications, business logic, server, storage, and desktop independence. At the same time, the strengths of each company’s Microsoft partnership and expertise lend themselves well to bringing this degree of virtualization independence not only to each company’s existing customer base but also to the broader market that will be introduced to the Microsoft Windows hypervisor, code-named Viridian. Ensuring interoperability between XenSource and Viridian will be of paramount importance not just for the companies involved, but for the larger IT community as well.

Likewise, the impact of virtualization in storage infrastructure is less well understood by many IT professionals. The existing XenSource and Symantec will be a valuable technological enablers that helps ensure that backup regimens are equipped to handle the often subtle differences between virtual and physical server and storage environments. For the maximum efficiency to be garnered from remote desktop delivery in a virtualized infrastructure, it is essential that backup schemes understand which seemingly physical components are in fact unique physical components as opposed to virtual instantiations of the same. Limiting backup to actual components as well as needing to only backup differential between a standard desktop environment and the user-specific customizations would greatly reduce the amount of content being backed up with a corresponding reduction in backup windows.

Overall, we see considerable potential for Citrix to raise the bar further in application delivery capability while broadening its overall value in the IT infrastructure marketplace. With new virtualization, backup, storage, and management functionality to weave into its product tapestry, we believe Citrix well positioned to redefine not only the discussion surrounding virtualization with respect to application delivery but the company and its technologies’ relevance in the overall strategic vision for organizations’ IT infrastructure and investments.

Novell Ships ZENworks Configuration Management

Novell has announced availability of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, the latest addition to its systems management portfolio, which allows companies to add patch, asset, and endpoint security management capabilities to support their regulatory compliance, asset and license auditing, business continuity, and process improvement needs. With the integrated enterprise reporting from BusinessObjects IT administrators can turn raw data into actionable reports for better decision-making and process management. The ZENworks Control Center is an integrated console that allows an administrator to address configuration, reporting, patch, and asset management from a single location. ZENworks Configuration Management Advanced and Enterprise editions provide additional endpoint security management from the recently announced acquisition of Senforce Technologies. These tools protect endpoint devices from malware, data theft, and unauthorized wireless access while providing advanced asset and patch management capabilities to ensure accurate and secure systems, and reducing the effort spent on tracking licenses or patching vulnerable desktops. The company also stated that this is the first management solution on the market to provide native support for both Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDirectory. ZENworks Configuration Management is available in Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise editions, and runs on Windows, Linux, and Novell Open Enterprise Server for Linux. The Standard Edition is priced at $70, Advanced Edition is $114, and the Enterprise Edition is $225. For a limited time, qualified customers can upgrade to ZENworks Configuration Management Enterprise for $83.

The folks in Provo have remained busy bolstering their portfolio as of late. While the company has been focused on delivering ever increasing value atop of its Linux desktop and server platforms, it is clear that Novell remains steadfast in its position that the management of any IT environment is of equal if not greater importance to the underlying infrastructure itself. With this latest offering, we see an approach that should be well received by organizations that have made considerable investments in populating and leveraging identity systems that may have a component of both ActiveDirectory and eDirectory. Integrating directories or identity schemata sounds like a trivial task, but the reality is often far different. Through its direct support for both, ZENworks Configuration Management should allow organizations to leverage their existing identity investments while offering the opportunity to make a strategic selection for their future path, or to maintain the status quo. For organizations that are under the gun to comply with regulatory compliance, asset, or license auditing, being able to leverage both existing identity repositories should be a welcome ability.

Similarly, we expect the enhanced capabilities afforded by the Senforce technology will be well received by organizations that are plagued by malware, threats of data theft/compromise, and unauthorized wireless access. In an era of massively distributed networks, the securing of network endpoints or access points becomes paramount to overall security and achieving best operational practices. Asset and patch management capabilities figure prominently in said environments as the need to ensure and maintain proper and secure configuration throughout the interconnected parts cannot be underestimated. Overall, we see this announcement as another reminder that Novell is much more than a simple infrastructure provider. Although it continues to make considerable investments in the infrastructure itself, the company is clearly demonstrating that it recognizes the inherent competitive value in how easily and cost-effectively the infrastructure can be managed in order to provide the vital underpinning to business operations that IT represents.

IBM + Novell = New SLED

IBM and Novell have announced an integrated open collaboration client for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop that includes IBM Lotus Notes, IBM Lotus Sametime and IBM productivity tools to deliver advanced email and calendar capabilities, unified communication and collaboration, and lightweight yet powerful word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation capabilities with OpenDocument Format support. The client is built on the Eclipse open framework which makes it capable of supporting business-ready social networking, team collaboration, and portal technologies such as IBM Lotus Connections, IBM Lotus Quickr, and IBM WebSphere Portal, all of which can easily be added to the user's desktop. In addition, the server components required to support the open collaboration client are also available as one-click install solutions and include IBM Lotus Domino and Lotus Sametime servers powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10. The companies collectively noted specific benefits for channel partners. VADs can benefit from the one-click installation image that significantly reduces installation, implementation, and testing time for customers while receiving sales and technical enablement resources. ISVs can prepare their applications for the open collaboration client bundle with technical resources and best practices from IBM Linux Integration Centers and Novell. Regional SIs and Solution Providers can access technical and sales enablement on user segmentation, pilots, value assessment, application migration, installation, and deployment from IBM and Novell as well, helping customers to experience faster ROI through simplified installation, migration, testing, and deployment. The integrated open collaboration client is now available through IBM and Novell business partners.

The world of Linux has for the most part been a server-centric one. Although there have been many attempts to create a viable desktop alternative based upon Linux, for the these efforts have often run aground for a couple of reasons, namely the lack of device drivers, and the lack of parity desktop productivity and specialized applications. While device drivers are increasingly more available for the Linux faithful, in the commercial sector, having to accept substandard productivity applications has ultimately proven to be a larger impediment than previously thought. Happily, significant improvements have been made over the past year in this regard with new releases of OpenOffice, and other applications that support the functionality required in a competitive business-oriented desktop offering. With this announcement, we see the needs of the business desktop being addressed at a higher level than past solutions.

The integration of the Lotus desktop technologies with the rich environment already afforded by SLED 10 not only brings together the basic building blocks of an enterprise desktop but permits extending this desktop into existing communication systems, such as Lotus. For larger organizations with existing investments in Lotus technologies, the ability to have the desktop seamlessly leverage these resources is essential. The combination of native support in the open collaboration desktop and the one-click installation on SLED 10 server technology is well positioned to help this particular alternative desktop overcome the shortcomings of past solutions. For many organizations with less-than-Vista-ready hardware that otherwise has plenty of life or Cap Ex left in it, this latest desktop alternative from Novell and IBM may just what the CFO ordered. While the off-the-shelf version may not meet the computing needs of every desktop user within an organization, for the general purpose information worker, this solution should prove more than adequate to meet the business need. As support for Windows XP and older versions of Office moves from the mainstream, organizations faced with an upgrade choice may well find this solution to be a competitive alternative that extends the existing desktop hardware investment while allowing the organization to achieve a lower acquisition cost for desktop software. By delivering an alternative that allows organizations to forgo the hundreds of dollars for software updates and potentially mandated hardware updates for each desktop, this little Penguin solution might just find a willing customer within organizations that have dozens, hundreds, if not thousands of such desktop systems.

Red Hat Unveils Developer Studio Beta

Red Hat has announced the beta release of Red Hat Developer Studio, the new Eclipse-based IDE for the Red Hat family of solutions, including JBoss Enterprise Middleware and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The cornerstone of Red Hat's developer program, Developer Studio combines products contributed to Red Hat by Exadel in March 2007—Exadel Studio Pro, RichFaces, and Ajax4jsf—with the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, which includes JBoss Seam, Hibernate, and the JBoss Application Server runtime, into a powerful development environment for enterprise Java, Ajax, and SOA applications. Developer Studio features a unified programming model, JBoss Seam (which is currently being standardized as Web Beans in the Java Community Process) that offers a simple, unified model for developing any type of application; an integrated Ajax development environment with JBoss Seam and JBoss Ajax4jsf frameworks, JBoss RichFaces rich Web components, and WYSIWYG tools for creating Ajax-enabled Web pages and interfaces; comprehensive Java Platform, Enterprise Edition tooling; and an integrated runtime with the developer tools. The Developer Studio beta is available from the Red Hat Web site. The final release of Developer Studio, which will be available under the GPL v2 license, is targeted for release later this summer and will be available via Red Hat Subscriptions. Red Hat Developer Support customers will have automatic access to Developer Studio as part of their subscriptions.

Although this announcement is for the beta, not final product, we see the importance of this offering to be considerable. While many may think of open source developers stereotypically as command line-driven geeks giggling together in darkened rooms without windows, the reality is that developers, especially in corporate environments, do not have the luxury of aspiring to their inner geekdom but do face a reality that there is never enough time to do everything that needs to be done. Hence, the importance of developer tools for any environment, open source or not.

Eclipse as a framework has been around for a while, and there are many developers taking advantage of it. However, in general developers have had to weave together their test and development environments from multiple frameworks, components, and test environments. With this announcement, the potential to have a comprehensive IDE that could support all development tasks, be they Java, Ajax, or Linux, is becoming a reality. It is clear that Developer Studio seeks to steer corporate developer activity towards Open Source Architectures in general, and Red Hat solutions specifically; however, we do not see this solely as a self-serving Red Hat venture. Corporate developers can now have an integrated Eclipse-based development and runtime environment that is entirely open source and available from a single supplier. Considering that JBoss Seam allows developers to build applications in a consistent manner from a simple operational perspective, the potential to simplify, streamline, and reduce the cost of the developer’s toolkit is considerable. As such, we expect there will be considerable interest in kicking the tires of this offering, and if it works as well as it is advertised, this solution may find itself the darling of many corporate developers.

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