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Citrix provides clear desktop virtualization migration path

With a new, free Virtual Desktop Assessment Tool and App-DNA's application migration tool, Citrix has cleared the path to desktop virtualization. Now, what will VMware do?

BARCELONA, Spain -- With all the announcements here at Citrix Synergy, it's easy to get caught up in all the hype. HDX on a chip for thin clients, GoToMeeting Workspaces, CloudStack and CloudPortal are all making headlines, but there are two announcements that I think pair exceptionally well together. One of these made quite a splash during the keynote, while the other wasn't mentioned at all.

The well-known announcement is that Citrix has acquired App-DNA. The other one, which goes well with it, is that Citrix has partnered with Lakeside Software to produce a new product called the Virtual Desktop Assessment Tool based on the Lakeside SysTrack Virtual Machine Planner.

This new tool, combined with App-DNA's capabilities, gives Citrix customers a path to get to comprehensive desktop virtualization offerings, like XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-box.

There is no word yet on how App-DNA's AppTitude product will be bundled, but the Virtual Desktop Assessment Tool will be available for free via MyCitrix. What we can expect from these tools, though, is that AppTitude will be used to assess the applications in an organization and help gauge the best way to deploy them post-migration. The Virtual Desktop Assessment Tool will step in and assess and plan hardware and application resource requirements.

Typically, organizations rely on small amounts of actual data from their environment combined with industry-standard assumptions to build out their migration plan. This leads to failed projects or bad implementations because it fails to take into account the differences between use cases. Desktop virtualization is complex, and using shortcuts to deploy it will only make it worse.

With these tools, every organization using Citrix will have the ability to replace much of those assumptions with real-world data generated from their own environment and in their specific use cases. The end result is that it will make migrations easier and increase the chances of a successful deployment.

What's even more interesting is the trend that's developing in the industry. Quest Software announced earlier this week that they are acquiring ChangeBASE.

ChangeBASE is another company in the application migration and remediation space, and its most compelling offering (at least to me) is its ability to evaluate Web applications for compatibility outside of IE6. The overall solutions are directed toward applications of any kind (not just Web apps) and there's no doubt Quest will use the technology in concert with its OEM version of Liquidware Labs VDI Assessment Toolkit to do the same thing that Citrix is doing.

The only question that remains is what VMware will do. There are still a few companies around similar to ChangeBASE and App-DNA, such as Flexera, but acquiring a company like that could send mixed signals. VMware is all about moving applications to the cloud, while acquiring Flexera would suggest that they are behind moving applications to Windows, as well. Perhaps VMware's play is to wait and see or find a similar solution that would assess migrating to the cloud. Time will tell.

Read more from Gabe Knuth

Gabe Knuth is an independent industry analyst and blogger, known throughout the world as "the other guy" at He has been in the application delivery space for over 12 years and has seen the industry evolve from the one-trick pony of terminal services to the application and desktop virtualization of today. Gabe's focus tends to lean more toward practical, real-world technology in the industry, essentially boiling off the hype and reducing solutions to their usefulness in today's corporate environments. 

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