Microsoft teams with Citrix for strike at VMWare

By Scott Wilson, March 18, 2010 9:06 am

Microsoft launched a new push on the virtualization front today, most significantly in announcing a new partnership with Citrix to enable XenDesktop top play more nicely with Microsoft RemoteFX platform, giving existing Citrix users better reasons to move toward Windows 2008 as their virtualization platform of choice on the back end with expanded graphics capabilities in virtual environments. While the new partnership provides leverage in the virtualization market, the real shot at VMWare is Microsoft's "Rescue for VMware VDI" promotion, which promises license trade-ins on VMWare's View product for Microsoft's competing VDI solution for up to 500 seats at no additional cost. If you hadn't already plunked down for View, Microsoft is willing to knock off up to 50% off the estimated retail price of it's own product to keep you from doing so in the first place.

Combined with the aggressive license pricing, the company is also relaxing the terms on its Windows virtualization licensing, allowing Software Assurance customers access to virtual systems from third-party platforms including home PCs. Nor will they require a second license to access systems in a VDI environment, as those rights will be bundled into the Software Assurance package.

This is a double-strike for Microsoft, hitting hard at VMWare while improving the attractiveness of Software Assurance, a program that has at time seemed closer to blackmail than assurance. Combined with the increasingly accepted and extremely cost-effective Application Virtualization solutions provided by App-V, and bolstered by the improving virtualization management functions newer versions of Windows Server have exhibited, the new pricing promotions should put a lot of pressure on VMware to keep ahead of the game. Businesses without any significant investment in virtualization technology from either company are going to be hard-pressed to resist the Microsoft sales pitch if they are already running Microsoft products under Software Assurance agreements. Sometimes, it's not the best technology that wins, but the best business deal, and Microsoft is offering a hell of a deal.

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