Cisco and Citrix recently took their longstanding relationship to the next level, and partners that work with both vendors say this is opening doors in the data center.
Under a partnership unveiled last month, Citrix is integrating its NetScaler application delivery controller with various Cisco network and security technologies, while Cisco's sales team is touting Citrix NetScaler to customers instead of its own Application Control Engine (ACE) load-balancer products, which it is no longer developing.
Mike Strohl, president of Entisys, a Concord, Calif.-based virtualization solution provider, doesn't believe Cisco's endorsement of NetScaler will result in an immediate spike in sales. But in terms of customer perception and long-term market impact, he sees it as a significant development for Citrix, which is looking to raise its profile in networking.
David Linzy, president and CEO of LPS Integration, a Nashville, Tenn.-based solution provider that partners with both Cisco and Citrix, believes the deepening of ties between the two vendors will make it easier to close data center infrastructure deals.
"In the past, Cisco was glad to work with Citrix partners as long as you were not out there touting Citrix's networking products," Linzy told CRN. "Now that Cisco has decided to work with Citrix around that core networking piece, that changes then landscape."
The Cisco-Citrix partnership makes sense from a technology standpoint, too, according to Linzy. Citrix's desktop virtualization plans rely on the type of infrastructure that Cisco UCS provides, and broader VDI adoption gives Cisco a broader platform for promoting its compute capabilities, he said.
"We have been doing well promoting Cisco UCS alongside Citrix XenDesktop, and that is a substantial part of my business. But now that Cisco is endorsing NetScaler, that gives me more market to go after," Linzy said.
The closer ties between Cisco and Citrix have spurred speculation about a potential OEM agreement between the two vendors. Last month, Ittai Kidron, managing director at Oppenheimer & Co., reported that Cisco was close to inking an OEM deal with Citrix for the use of NetScaler, and even suggested that Cisco might acquire NetScaler outright.
In June, the two vendors unveiled a program through which partners can sell Citrix XenDesktop with Cisco's Virtualization Experience Infrastructure, its platform for combining virtual desktops with voice and video.
Cisco and Citrix are also partnering in cloud orchestration and collaboration. While it may take some time for all of the new partnership areas to bear fruit, it's clear that the two vendors are intent on exploring additional opportunities to go after data center business.
"There are still some areas of the relationship that need to be ironed out, and there will always be turf wars that have to be overcome. But today, we are closer to that overall solution than we ever have been," Linzy told CRN.
PUBLISHED NOV. 12, 2012