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VMware Showcases Plans for the Future of Workspaces on Citrix's Home Turf

In a move that appeared timed to rain on Citrix's parade, VMware last week demonstrated technology it plans to unveil which aims to provide the control plane for managing user workspaces. VMware revealed its hybrid cloud architecture aimed at creating "next-generation" workspaces, and did so on its rival's home turf at Citrix's annual Synergy conference last week in Orlando.

VMware took the wraps off Project Enzo, a new platform that it claims will change the way IT organizations deploy and manage virtual desktop environments, just as Citrix demonstrated its new Workspace Cloud architecture to customers at Synergy. Similar to Project Enzo, Citrix Workspace Cloud aims to provide the control plane based on a hybrid cloud architecture for managing user workspaces on a variety of form factors ranging from PCs, phones, tablets and even Raspberry Pi devices.  

"Project Enzo is a new hybrid cloud-scale architecture that is designed to combine the economic benefits of cloud-based VMware virtual desktops and application technology with the simplicity of hyper-converged infrastructure to transform the IT experience," wrote Sumit Dhawan, VMware's senior vice president and general manager for desktop products and end-user computing, in a blog post announcing Project Enzo. "Project Enzo will enable the unified management of on-premises and cloud-based virtual workspace services (desktops and applications) through a single Web-based portal that will be available as a cloud service on VMware vCloud Air."

While there are certainly architectural differences between Citrix Workspace Cloud and VMware's Project Enzo, they appear to have the same goal in mind: being the center of deploying and securely managing user work environments on a variety of device types. The most noteworthy difference is that Project Enzo seems to prefer vCloud Air when it comes to providing the public cloud infrastructure. By comparison, Citrix executives went to great pains last week to emphasize that the Citrix Workspace Cloud can run in any infrastructure as a service, including AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM Softlayer. Unlike VMware, Citrix doesn't operate a public cloud of its own and when asked last week at Synergy if it planned to do so, executives indicated firmly the company has no interest in doing so due to the massive investment requirement needed. Both companies are relying on cloud service provider partners to deliver these new platforms.

Each company also described their new architectures as deigned to bring together and manage "hyper-converged" software-defined infrastructures. Microsoft has a similar vision with its newly revealed Azure Stack earlier this month at the Ignite conference in Chicago. Azure Stack will come with the next release of Microsoft's server operating system, Windows Server 2016. VMware's Dhawan said the technical preview for Project Enzo is now available.

A key component introduced with Project Enzo technical preview, according to Dhawan, is its VMware Smart Node technology, which integrates hyper-converged solutions. "Smart Node technology enables the intelligent orchestration and automation of common set-up, delivery and management tasks of virtual workspace services across the hybrid cloud," he said.

Apparently VMware's decision to rain on Citrix's parade by announcing Project Enzo was payback, as pointed out by The Register's Simon Starwood, who recalled Citrix announcing a new version of Xen App, Xen Desktop and Receiver products at VMworld last year. 


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/21/2015 at 3:19 PM


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