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
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 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.
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
Red Hat has announced the beta release of Red Hat Developer
Studio, the new Eclipse-based
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