VMware workspace management tool brings Citrix support

Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp customers who use vSphere can now use VMware for workspace management, too.

VMware has stitched together its recent acquisitions to deliver a workspace management tool aimed squarely at Citrix customers.

VMware acquired Immidio in February to provide a suite of user environment management (UEM) tools. That suite now is available as the VMware Horizon Application Management Bundle. The bundle can aid not only VMware customers, but Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop users as well.

The bundle includes Immidio, which has been rebranded as the VMware User Environment Manager. It offers personalization and policy configuration across virtual, physical and cloud-based environments.

Many organizations heavily invested in Citrix technology are more interested in waiting for answers from Citrix than in jumping to a third party.
Mark Lockwoodresearch director for EUC, Gartner Inc.

VMware User Environment Manager is available as a standalone product, as part of the bundle or included in VMware Horizon 6 Enterprise. It includes VMware vRealize for published applications, so IT can troubleshoot performance issues in VMware or Citrix environments. It also includes App Volumes application layering technology, ThinApp for app virtualization and the Workspace Portal as an aggregated end-user workspace.

When VMware bought CloudVolumes for the layering technology that became App Volumes, and then acquired Immidio, customers wondered if VMware would maintain the compatibility of those tools with Citrix's end-user computing (EUC) offerings.

Now it's clear that VMware will continue Citrix support because it wants those customers, said Mark Lockwood, research director for EUC at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

If VMware can successfully sell the bundle to Citrix customers, it may create an easier path for those companies to switch to VMware's full stack down the road, Lockwood said.

"Even if [VMware does not] sell a single copy of the VMware User Environment Manager to a Citrix shop, the fact that they now offer tools that can offer functionality to Citrix environments that Citrix cannot match is a shot across the bow," Lockwood said.

Why Citrix customers might not jump ship

Companies aren't quick to pull the trigger on infrastructure changes, however.

"My experience is that many organizations heavily invested in Citrix technology are more interested in waiting for answers from Citrix than in jumping to a third party," Lockwood said.

Additionally, CloudVolumes and Immidio were not the premiere third-party, Citrix-supporting UEM tools on the market when VMware acquired them, said David Johnson, analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. Those include AppSense, RES Software Inc. and Liquidware Labs Inc., he said.

"I don't think anyone is going to replace AppSense or RES with Immidio just because VMware has [Immidio]," Johnson said. He noted that those three vendors offer tools VMware does not, such as applications rights management.

Both Lockwood and Johnson agreed that VMware is now offering more specific UEM tools than Citrix does on its own. But Citrix's integration with the likes of UEM products from AppSense and RES Software "has been around for a long time and is well-proven," Johnson said.

But many Citrix customers could run their EUC environments on top of vSphere to begin with, Johnson said. So Citrix may have to act fast.

"[Citrix is] fully committed to all forms of application delivery [including VDI], and great things happen when vendors compete," Lockwood said.

In response to VMware's news, Citrix plans to show what it has done to "simplify workspace management and improve the user experience" at its Synergy conference next month, a company spokesperson said. 

Pricing for VMware UEM is $30 per named user and $50 per concurrent user (CCU). The Horizon Application Management Bundle is $120 per named user and $180 per CCU.

In addition to the new UEM features, VMware Horizon for Linux will be generally available later this quarter. An early adopter program was introduced last month.

Also, the new SysTrack Desktop Assessment tool is now generally available. The tool, provided in partnership with Lakeside Software Inc., is a free, cloud-based assessment service that yields customized reports for Horizon 6 customers.

Jake O'Donnell is the news writer for SearchConsumerization.com and Search VirtualDesktop.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JakeODonnell_TT.

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