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March 13, 2013

Is VMware really committed to end-user computing?

“…as far as the industry is concerned, EUC is VMware’s redheaded stepchild.”
– 03/11/13 Tweet by Tal Klein (@VirtualTal)

While I have much respect for Bromium’s Tal Klein, we don’t always see eye to eye. His recent Tweet prompted me to write a bit about VMware’s commitment to EUC.

Filling the Field Gap
VMware capitalized on a trend it was seeing of customers virtualizing their desktops on ESX, and coined the term VDI in 2006. Since then, the company has both grown and evolved the business to become much more comprehensive. Today, VMware End-User Computing (EUC) consists of a product family encompassing physical, virtual Windows, mobile and Web-based desktops.

The analyst and media consensus is that VMware and Citrix combine to dominate the VDI market, though reports differ about which company has the highest market share. And while I disagree with Tal’s contention that VMware EUC is widely perceived as a red-headed stepchild, I do agree that Citrix has been more successful in capturing EUC mindshare.

Unlike Citrix whose DNA is all desktop, VMware made its name in the data center and now also leads the industry in private cloud. This lack of EUC focus has been evident in the field where VMware reps typically fail to match the desktop acumen and evangelism of their Citrix counterparts.

VMware is now, with the biggest investment in its history, making an enormous effort to resolve this deficiency. The company is hiring hundreds of EUC focused sales reps and SEs (many of them from Citrix) across the globe. And while its existing reps will continue to also push EUC, this new dedicated
sales force is bound to give a lot more visibility to View Horizon and the other EUC products.

Commitment
At the recent VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) in Las Vegas, VMware prominently emphasized EUC as one of the company’s three primary initiatives with desktop-oriented keynotes, boot camps, solutions partner sessions, exhibits, eco-system partner presentations and executive summits.

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VMware also has been investing in EUC technologies both internally and externally with recent acquisitions such as Wanova. At PEX, it announced an expanded EUC competency program that rewards VMware partners who devote the resources required to making their EUC practices successful.

The company is vigorously encouraging VDI partnerships with storage manufacturers by validating joint solutions as part of its recently announced Horizon View vFast Track Reference Architectures. And VMware continues to increase EUC collaboration with other leading industry manufactures such as Cisco with their joint Office-in-a-Box initiative.

Organizational Challenges
The lack of a singular EUC focus does create some challenges for VMware that its competitor avoids. For example, VMware dominates the data center with an 85% virtualization market share. It should be leveraging this advantage by messaging an ability to utilize the same platform and management
tools from the server down to the desktop.

VMware vCenter Operations Suite (vCOPs) is the fastest-growing VMware product of all time next to ESX. It would make sense for VMware to provide, at a minimum, a scaled down version of vCOPs for View with every copy of View Horizon. The company could then offer upgrades at an additional cost.

But, the vCOPs business unit has its own P&L to manage. From what I’ve been able to gather, that unit has been unwilling to take a hit to revenues by providing a free version of its product as part of Horizon View.

These types of organizational issues aside, VMware clearly is dedicated to the desktop market. Plummeting costs of VDI infrastructure along with new capabilities from products such as VMware Mirage ensure some exciting times ahead in EUC.

See Also:

  • The History of VDI. 06/27/2011. VittorioViarengo. Virtualization Journey
  • Cisco Office in a Box Solution. Cisco White Paper.
  • Horizon Branch Office Desktop. VMware brochure.

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One Response to Is VMware really committed to end-user computing?

  1. Author’s Note: In porting this site from TypePad to WordPress, the comments did not come over for this post. I am working on resolving the issue, but until then, I’ve posted the thread with Tal and me. I apologize for the inconvenience. – Steve

    Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude) said:

    Done.

    —-

    VirtualTal said:

    I think it might take longer for spin off/sale to happen. Can we instead qualify winning/losing based on whether EUC is still identified as a growth opportunity on the VMW Q1 2014 earnings call?

    —-

    Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude) said:

    I’m game. We just need to decide the winning criteria. If it’s whether or not VMware spins off/sells EUC – then I’m going to start researching the most expensive beers right now

    —-

    Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude) said:

    Tal, Thanks for your comment; the “highest regard” is certainly mutual. Your logic is exceptional, but I belive it is based upon a faulty premise that EUC is just another silo business for VMware that it could nonchalantly sell or spin off in order to focus on its core competency. VMware recognizes that the desktop is an essential component of both the SDDC and hybrid cloud. After all, everything starts with the user, her access point and her applications. As a complete cloud enabler (and now provider), VMware has no choice but to develop an even greater committment to EUC. I also disagree with your statement about a lack of R&D ingenuity. In addition to exceptional innovative technologies acquired externally such as Mirage, VMware is rapidly producing organic enhancements such as View Accelerator, HTML access, increased integration with UC options, etc. EUC is a very big space and, as mentioned in my post, VMware has internal politics to contend with that Citrix avoids. Still, the vision is coming together nicely and setting the stage for true integration with both SDDC and hybrid cloud. A $6B organization is not likely to make the largest investment in its history to see if there’s any meat in the pie. And EUC is the fastest-growing division in VMware meaning that they’re nowhere near the necessity of a Hail Mary. To me, the massive EUC hiring is yet further evidence that EUC is absolutely strategic to VMware’s future.

    VirtualTal said:

    Steve, As you know, I hold you in the highest regard – and in many ways our disagreements are indicative of what is wrong with big data. That is, we are both data-driven people who take in as much as we can from our vantage and then digest and extrapolate, but we are extrapolating from different samples, and so I was hoping to present things from my prevue, and my thanks to you for allowing me to do so on your blog. Here are my assertions: 1. EUC is the redheaded stepchild of VMware 2. VDI is the redheaded stepchild of the EUC group at VMware Here is my analysis: The “big news” in VMware-land is that they want to be a public cloud provider. Prosecuting on this strategy will require all hands on deck, because the VMW field is generally used to a one-trick-pony approach. I make no claims to know whether this approach will be successful or not, but I know it’s a world away from delivering end-user Windows workloads, and certainly has nothing to do with Horizon. Most telling, “VDI” hasn’t been mentioned in neither of VMware’s most recent earnings calls. In your post you mentioned blogs by Vittorio Viarengo and Chris Wolf. We can start with the latter who earlier today tweeted: “Horizon demo for Windows apps on iPad still didn’t include any touch and swipe capabilities. Same poor user experience. #NotImpressed” And Vittorio, who having owned the reigns of EMM at VMware, jumped ship to Mobile Iron – a direct competitor for Horizon Mobile. The Citrix field who jumped ship to VMW did so because (I believe) VDI is reaching critical mass. Talk to any Citrix or VMware VAR about VDI and you will hear the percentage of undeployed shelfware is staggering. In many ways, hearing about reps from CTXS jumping to VMW is actually discouraging for VMW, these are one trick ponies. I just don’t see any real R&D ingenuity, or a push to get EUC better. I would have been more impressed by VMware hiring away an army of engineers from Citrix. I believe the hiring of a large field focus on EUC is either a Hail Mary by Pat to see if there’s any meat in this EMM pie, or lip service to keep morale high while developing a contingency. To execute, VMware needs to focus on real enterprise workloads. While they claim their three growth opportunities are the software-defined datacenter, hybrid cloud, and end-user computing – if we play “which of these three doesn’t belong”, and we look to the SlideRocket divesture as an indicator, I think that unless Horizon adoption literally explodes on some self-propelled momentum, the best play for VMware is to sell the EUC unit (or spin it off) in order to focus on enterprise cloud workloads. -Tal

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