My thoughts on VMWare buying CloudVolumes

Over the past few months I have become a serious CloudVolumes aficionado.  To me the approach they were taking for the application virtualization stack was exactly the right one… attach at the user logon and roam across any device, anywhere.  I’ve looked at the competition… Unidesk, Liquidware FlexApp, Citrix PVD, and Mirage all frankly have limitations that for a large scale deployment (tens of thousands of users) makes them problematic.  That’s not to say that CloudVolumes has been without it’s own growing pains but it’s the overall approach that makes them strongest!  And the device flexibility makes it a solid win.

So now what’s to come with the VMWare acquisiton?  I HOPE it’s increased development and support resources.  CloudVolumes grew fast and some of the coding was definitely on the fly :).   I see it as a natural replacement to Mirage, which did many of the same things but in a more limited fashion.  I am sure it will be a strong piece of VMWare’s EUC platform moving forward which is a great win.  What scares me though is that this is VMWare and they have a history of taking 3rd party stuff that is vendor neutral and force it to be VMWare-only.  Anyone remember Desktone?  Used to be able to run Citrix products there, then bought by VMWare and now it is strictly limited to their technology as part of Horizon DaaS.  If they take CloudVolumes that route it is a real blow in my opinion.

What this may ultimately force Citrix to do is make something useful out of PVDs.  THey promised for years that PVDs would be more flexible and roam with the users, but that promise has never been realized.  PVDs are often complicated to support and one of the least mature technologies Citrix offers.  I also look to Unidesk to come out with a strong answer to CloudVolumes.  Unidesk is the most mature technology in the app extraction space and has a large customer base.  They are very very good at what they are focused on, but that same focus makes them less flexible as an any-device solution.  They need multi-vcenter support, HyperV support, and device roaming.  I am sure they know that too!

So ultimately what do I think?  I think CV was a great buy for VMWare and I hope they maintain the platform and device flexibility that made them so attractive.  I guess only time will tell!  And while we wait, the other players have a chance to catch up and differentiate.

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4 Comments

  • Scott says:

    This is potentially terrible news for those of us who were looking at deploying applications to physical endpoints using CloudVolumes. As you mentioned, VMWare will probably strip away that ability since CloudVolumes attaches a VHD for the in-guest (aka physical) capability. Also leaving will be the ability to provision on EC2 and Azure. What a waste….

    This will go from a complete vendor neutral work everywhere to only on VMWare products (on-premise or cloud)

    Now if Unidesk would only get off their ass and release a physical model and/or hyper-v then we could have a serious competitor.

  • […] the way VMware dropped support for Citrix when they bought Desktone, Paul Stansel wrote on CitrixTips.com that he’s worried VMware will make CloudVolumes a VMware-only solution. When I talked to […]

  • Hi Paul, sorry been meaning to reply.

    I just wondered what your take on FSLogix was in this debate. I know it’s not quite the same, but kind of plays of the same principle problem.

    In relation to what Scott replied with in the comments, VMware do a lot with physical machines. VMware Mirage main use case is for laptops, and ThinApp is still able to be licensed for any virtual or physical workload.

    • Paul says:

      So my admittedly limited understanding of what FSLogix does is you load everything into the image and then control visibility. I guess my question would be how that is any different than what RES has provided for years. It very well could be that there is a major difference and I’m just not aware, but at a glance that’s what I got out of it. In our case we run 3000 apps so that won’t work well :). Plus we update 80+ apps a week which makes it a real PITA from an image management standpoint.

      What’s funny is if you talk to VMWare they will wink wink nudge nudge on the statement that Mirage is only for physical machines. It’s being brought into Fusion as the management layer there for Type II, and it provides a different layer of functionality than CV does. Project Meteor is a combination of the JIT desktops from Project Fargo and CloudVolumes, but I am not hearing a lot about Mirage as part of that. The ThinApp team I am told is being integrated with the CV team so honestly I expect that to become one suite.

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