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VMware EUC group replaces CTO, poaches two from Citrix

VMware has replaced CTO Scott Davis with a promising engineer who may help the company succeed in the end-user computing space.

In a major shakeup of its end-user computing division, VMware has replaced its chief technology officer and poached two executives from rival Citrix.

The moves may help VMware Inc. compete in the end-user computing market, where it hasn’t had as much success as in server virtualization, observers said.

Kit Colbert, a 10-year VMware veteran who most recently was chief architect for its Horizon Workspace product, takes over the EUC CTO role from Scott Davis. Davis will now be a strategic advisor and focus on driving technology and ecosystem initiatives, VMware said.

Two former Citrix vice presidents and group managers, Bob Schultz and Sumit Dhawan, also joined VMware. Schultz worked in Citrix's desktop and applications group, and Dhawan was on the enterprise mobility team.

Inside the VMware EUC changes

Colbert made a public splash at VMworld 2013, when he co-hosted the second day's keynote with President and COO Carl Eschenbach. Behind the scenes, Colbert caught the attention of Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager for EUC, because of his work on VMware's cloud management products, according to a company source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

More on VMware EUC

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Before working on Horizon Workspace, Colbert was the chief architect for the products that became vCenter Operations and vCloud Automation Center. He also created Storage vMotion.

"If anyone was going to take on the role, Kit would be the guy," said Todd Knapp, CEO of Envision Technology Advisors, a virtualization consulting service based in Pawtucket, R.I., in an email. "He's incredibly smart and forward-thinking, and he's got a long history of very successful innovation initiatives at VMware."

Davis' fortunes also turned at VMworld, when he gave a disappointing presentation at the EUC super session, the company source said. The fact that Boston-based Davis is not at VMware's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. on a full-time basis became an issue as well, this source said.

'Plowing forward' with VMware EUC

VMware acquired numerous EUC companies over the past three years and has sometimes struggled to fit the disparate products together. For example, it took a long time to figure out how to use the Mirage desktop management software it acquired from Wanova, said Guise Bule, CEO of competing Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provider tuCloud, Inc.

The VMware EUC news appears to be part of an attempt to regain focus, Bule said.

"It's about getting their ducks in a row, setting a strategy and plowing forward," he added.

Poonen's goal is to tighten integration between EUC products and the rest of VMware's offerings, the company source said. Some examples have already arrived, such as the availability of VMware's DaaS offering through its vCloud Hosted Services and vCloud Service Provider Program. Others in the pipeline include vCAC management packs for Horizon View and DaaS, the source said.

Indeed, VMware has had much more success as a server virtualization company than on the desktop side, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, an IT advisory firm based in Westminster, Mass.

"They've just not been a Grade A desktop company, so snatching a couple people from Citrix … makes a lot of sense, to bring that kind of skill in," he said.

An injection of "fresh talent" is exactly what VMware needs to help it gain a better foothold in that area, Kerravala said. Knapp agreed.

"It's not a terrible idea to shake up the mix every now and again," he said.

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