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VMware Wields Cloud, Hyper-Converged In Latest Incursion On Citrix's Desktop Business

VMware is hellbent on stealing share from Citrix in the desktop virtualization space, and now it's adding cloud management and hyper-converged infrastructure to the mix.

VMware is looking to speed the process of deploying virtual desktops and apps with Project Enzo, a cloud-based management technology designed to work with hyper-converged infrastructure appliances.

Enzo shows how VMware is moving further into rival Citrix Systems' desktop virtualization turf by promoting the idea of a "virtual workspace," in which virtual desktops and apps run in a customer's data center and in the public cloud.

Enzo consists of cloud-based management software delivered as a service from VMware's vCloud Air public cloud, and a new technology called Smart Node that automates the setup, deployment and management of virtual desktops.

[Related: VMware Jumps Into Hyper-Converged Market With Two New Appliances]

With Enzo, a customer can install a hyper-converged appliance and have it automatically connect to the cloud management software for configuration, just as a cable or satellite television set-top box does, David Grant, vice president of marketing for VMware's end-user computing group, said in an interview.

Once this is finished, Enzo uses VMware's Instant Clones technology -- which debuted with vSphere 6 in February -- to set up and deploy 2,000 virtual desktops in just 20 minutes, according to Grant. Instant clones, formerly known as Project Fargo, also works with Linux containers.

Hyper-converged infrastructure typically means virtualized servers and storage running on industry-standard x86 hardware. Networking is sometimes included, although VMware doesn't yet offer its NSX software-defined networking technology with EVO:RAIL.

Smart Node works with VMware's EVO:RAIL hyper-converged software and eventually will work with hyper-converged products from VMware's ecosystem partners, said Grant. VMware also is planning to include Smart Node with its as-yet unreleased EVO:RACK hyper-converged product line.

One key selling point for Enzo HCI appliances is that they automatically update themselves on a continual basis, reducing maintenance requirements and cutting operational expenses, said Grant.

Enzo is currently available as technology preview with a beta expected in the summer. Enzo is expected to be generally available later in the year, Grant said.

VMware, in addition to hiring several Citrix executives in the past couple of years, has made no secret of its desire to eat its rival's lunch in the virtual desktop space. In recent earnings calls, VMware executives have claimed to have made steady progress on this front.

VMware is at Citrix Synergy for the first time this year, participating as a Gold sponsor. VMware is showcasing Enzo as well as its bundle of desktop virtualization and management products aimed specifically at Citrix customers.


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