Citrix Acquires Storage Vendor Sanbolic To Beat Back VMware's Virtual Desktop Blitz

Citrix Systems has acquired storage vendor Sanbolic, a longtime partner whose software boosts performance of virtual desktops and mission-critical apps, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based vendor said Monday.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. In a press release, Citrix said Sanbolic's technology will "dramatically improve the economics" of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) projects as well as Windows application delivery.

Sanbolic, founded in 2000 and based in Waltham, Mass., has a tight relationship with Citrix. Its flagship product, called Melio, boosts storage performance for VDI, SQL and file serving, and it does all this with proprietary software.

[Related: Citrix Creates Chief Strategy Officer Role, Hires Longtime Bechtel CIO To Fill It]

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This approach, called software-defined storage, is becoming popular with enterprises because it lets them set up storage "pools" that can span multiple clouds and geographic locations.

Ken Phelan, CTO of Gotham Technology Partners, a Montvale, N.J.-based Citrix partner, described the Sanbolic deal as a "good strategic move" to get technology that drives down the cost of virtual desktops while also boosting performance.

"Virtual SAN is huge part of what makes virtual desktops economical. The pressure is on Citrix to round out their portfolio and make their VDI solution end to end," Phelan said.

Sanbolic -- Citrix's first-ever pure storage acquisition -- could help the vendor fight off VMware, which is going hard after its desktop virtualization and application delivery customers with its Horizon 6 suite of products.

"Citrix is getting beat up by VMware, and while they have a good competitive technology on the provisioning and operational elements, they needed this piece to bring the cost model together," one Citrix partner told CRN.

Sanbolic also gives Citrix the last piece it needs to build a hyper-converged appliance architecture to compete with VMware's EVO:RAIL and other such offerings on the market, three Citrix partners said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they're not authorized to comment on company matters.

Sanbolic's employees will join Citrix "immediately," the vendor said in the press release.