Partners: VMware, Citrix Enterprise VDI Deals Don't Make Sense Without AppSense

AppSense, which provides virtualized desktop user personalization and management, is becoming part and parcel of every enterprise VMware and Citrix VDI sales proposal, according to solution providers.

Significantly reduced operating expenses associated with VDI management and higher customer satisfaction with VDI deployments that include AppSense are driving channel traction, solution providers say.

[Related: Channel Chiefs Sound Off On Cloud Opportunities, New Business Models ]

The AppSense channel momentum comes as the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based software maker prepares to host about 250 solution providers at its first partner conference, set for April 19-21 at the Lake Buena Vista Resort in Orlando, Fla.

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Presidio, the $2.2 billion solution provider behemoth that recently received the award for VMware software defined data center partner of the year, includes AppSense on every VMware VDI enterprise proof of concept, said Mark Vaughn, a consulting principal for Presidio, No. 22 on the CRN SP500.

"Going back almost five years, I haven’t done a successful VMware VDI project that didn’t include AppSense," said Vaughn. He said Presidio began including AppSense with every deal because the product has consistently resolved customer VDI enterprise challenges.

The "level of difficulty" in VDI engagements without AppSense is much greater, said Vaughn. "With AppSense we are able to provide a service where we are not just delivering desktops in a different way, but desktops in a better way," he said. "The improved management offered through AppSense makes VDI deals a no-brainer."

One sign of the customer confidence in AppSense is a school district that immediately turns to the product to resolve any issues in the field. "Almost every new request that comes in the door can be fixed with AppSense," said Vaughn.

That is a testament to the power of the product, which is used to easily customize a user profile without having to rebuild an entire desktop image, said Vaughn. "You can make the majority of the desktop changes with AppSense without ever having to touch the desktop image," he said. "That means no recomposing or rebuilding. That saves a lot of effort on the back end."

Rajiv Shah, the CEO of Impex Technologies, an El Segundo, Calif.-based enterprise VMware partner, said he includes AppSense as part of every enterprise VMware VDI deal after the product helped his company win a 3,000-seat VDI hospital deal.

AppSense significantly reduced login times for users across six hospitals using multiple platforms, said Shah. What's more, he said, AppSense significantly reduced management costs associated with VDI. "AppSense provides a much better VDI user experience," he said. "It has absolutely increased customer satisfaction. Everything we are doing with VDI has VMware and AppSense,"

Impex ramped up its relationship with the vendor in 2014 and now expects its AppSense sales to be up 40 percent this year, said Shah. "We are involved with them on multiple six-figure opportunities," he said. "They have been a great partner for us. We have a couple of our technical guys attending the partner conference. We have had great success with them. They are part of every VMware Horizon deal we do. There is a lot of opportunity for them in the VDI market. They just need to stick with it."

Citrix solution providers, where AppSense has had a stronger channel footprint, also are seeing huge sales gains by deploying AppSense in enterprise VDI environments.

Mike Strohl, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based Entisys Solutions, one of the top enterprise virtualization solution providers in the country, said he includes AppSense on every Citrix VDI deal with more than 1,000 seats. "Using AppSense in larger-scale deployments has made a big difference in the performance and security as a whole in these engagements," said Strohl.

In a 2,500-seat deal, AppSense was the differentiator that made the deal possible, he said. "They wouldn't have been able to manage the user experience to the level they needed without adding AppSense," he said. "AppSense is a differentiator. It gives customers control and security. We give the customer a better experience with AppSense."

The AppSense product is definitely helping Entisys accelerate the VDI sales cycle and close more Citrix VDI deals, said Strohl. "They are helping us increase our Citrix number significantly," he said. "And my Citrix sales are off the charts. I have sold more Citrix in the first quarter than all of last year. I expect that trend to continue."

Ira Silverman, founder and CEO of Gotham Technology Group, one of the top virtualization and security solution providers in the Northeast, said the customer satisfaction on the AppSense Citrix deals is much higher than those without it.

The enterprise VDI engagements with AppSense are being driven by companies moving aggressively to meet compliance regulations, said Silverman.

"AppSense makes the Citrix value proposition around compliance better," Silverman said. "And compliance is driving a lot of the IT budgets. When we bring AppSense into a Citrix situation, we have a much better chance of winning the deal."

Gotham Technology Group's AppSense sales are at least doubling every year, said Silverman. He expects the AppSense to at least double in 2015, with profitability increasing on those engagements too, he said.

AppSense has become a much more channel-friendly company in the past several years, said Silverman. "We've seen a big shift in AppSense stepping up and standing behind the channel," he said. "AppSense creates opportunity for a larger, more consultative sale for the channel."

In fact, Silverman said, every dollar of AppSense sold leads to four dollars in additional hardware, software and services. That amounts to one dollar of gross profit, he said.

Silverman said he feels so strongly about the AppSense story that he recently endorsed the company's product and channel model before some of the top virtualization partners in the country at a meeting of M7 Global Partners, a national desktop virtualization organization of seven independent partners, including Gotham Technology Group. "I told them, if you go to market with AppSense, you are going to win, and you are not going to be sorry, because it works," he said. "It is going to create bigger service and product opportunities for you. And AppSense as a company is going to stand behind you."

Even though it is the same week as Gotham Technology Group's President's Club event, Silverman is planning to also attend the AppSense Elevate partner conference. "Any business that is growing that fast deserves my attention," he said. "They are very strategic to us. It is accelerating my data center, storage and services business."