Citrix: XenSource fills hole in product portfolio

Pending purchase will equip Citrix's application delivery infrastructure products with virtualization technologies

Citrix's announcement that it would acquire XenSource demonstrates the company's plans to support the most relevant application delivery technologies possible, company officials say. The software, according to Citrix Chief Strategy Officer Wes Wasson, will not only enhance Citrix's desktop and server products, but also be put to use in the company's application-networking tools also acquired with NetScaler and Orbital Data. Network World Senior Editor Denise Dubie talked with Wasson yesterday to learn more about why Citrix made this move now and what it means to corporate IT customers.

What would you say is the most significant angle of this acquisition for enterprise IT executives?

At the very highest level, there is something really simple that I haven't seen in my career watching IT. If you go to IT leaders, CIOs and vice presidents of infrastructure and the like, and ask them what their top priorities are today, and they will say making IT more responsive to business and more agile and relevant to the business. That is very different than what you saw three or four years ago. What XenSource injects into Citrix that benefits customers is agility. This is not about consolidation for cost savings; this is about agility.

It will make it so you can make all the components of your infrastructure dynamically interchangeable and you don't have to hard-code apps to servers to hardware to processors to user etc. Customers will have an ability to build an infrastructure one time that can take any kind of change. If your infrastructure is not really, really flexible and able to change on the fly every time a user changes of an app changes, you can't survive going forward. That is how I would articulate the deal.

Why does acquiring XenSource make sense to Citrix right now?

We believe that virtualization as an enabling technology to really make the entire IT infrastructure far more dynamic and agile and the ability to move around the various components parts of applications is going to be hugely important aspect of IT infrastructure going forward. We see it as a key component of application delivery. Our whole vision at Citrix is about providing infrastructure to customers that can deliver any kind of applications in any kind of condition in a very dynamic and volatile world with great performance, great security and great cost savings. That is point number one. We believe this technology is a key enabling part of that. There are very few of these assets out there because this is deep science. And if it were not, you would see 40 companies out there trying to compete for it because it is such a hot space.

Secondly, we believe -- based on many conversations with our customers and channel partners and frankly big industry partners over the past year or so -- we have had a huge number of them asking Citrix to get into this space because they see a great fit on that side. It's really interesting as we look out externally for things for us that are seen as very tight strategic fit on that side. It makes huge amount of sense to our customers and partners.

We always have internal projects, acquisitions, licensing and a lot of options, but the biggest thing that drives timing is looking out at markets and when we think things are going to evolve. When we look at where the desktop virtualization is going and what is going to happen on server virtualization side, we just believe the time is now.

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