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Citrix CTO blasts responds to Brian Madden's controversial prediction!

I think writing off a technology that is the core of most future computing, is in my personal opinion, absolutely ridiculous. So how about a few sensational stories such as:

VMware may eventually face bankruptcy as competition, IP bleeding intensifies!

Microsoft's Hyper-V is a failed product

ESX Server is a poor insecure linux configuration

or maybe even worst , to scare off the open-source averse folks:

VMware's ESX uses linux open source technology!

Making headlines by writing off products that are being embedded in mobile phones, but Brian did exactly what he wanted to do: attention. And I know that there is word on the street and a lot of guys have approached me as well and I too will write about it but I am in no position to do a comparison as to VMware will exist or not.

Anyways, I haven't met Brian and I really am not that inquisitive about cool cats out there. I am one myself, the only one.

Simon's response:

So Brian's latest piece predicting the end of Xen should be seen in precisely that light - he's beating the hive with a stick to see whether bees will come buzzing out. His logic is a little blunt - hence the stick analogy - but I value tremendously his approach because it gives me an opportunity to clearly state the Citrix virtualization strategy, so that customers understand why an investment in Xen and XenServer is sound. I guess it also drives clicks to, which can't be a bad thing, eh Brian?

Brian predicts the end of Xen based on the following claims:

  1. Citrix XenServer has "literally zero percent market share"
  2. VMware has dominant presence in enterprises,
  3. Microsoft Hyper-V will take over SME virtualization, so Citrix will abandon XenServer
  4. The open source community will abandon Xen in favor of KVM

His argument is superficially appealing, but unfortunately completely wrong. That said, I'm grateful that he has highlighted the need for Citrix to clarify its virtualization strategy, and I hope that this long, but rather rapidly prepared response goes some way towards doing so.

1. XenServer has zero market share: Setting aside Brian's challenging hyperbole, the XenServer business has been approximately doubling quarter on quarter since its first release - "approximately" only because the transition from XenSource to Citrix meant a new CRM system, new support system, new channel management, wrapping our heads around Citrix licensing and a ton of other overhead that took us a while to figure out, but which will accelerate our business in the back half of 2008. We have somewhere approaching 4,000 enterprise customers, and about 3000 trained channel partners. (Watch for the inevitable follow up from Mike D at VMware who is still out to prove that he finished high school math). VMware claims 100,000 customers. Citrix has about 220,000 customers and about a hundred million users. The XenServer market share is small, and growing as rapidly as any such product can given the current VMware brand status, and the fact that we started well behind them. We had a few key blockers for enterprise adoption, four fifths of which are addressed in our forthcoming XenServer 4.2 release.

But my serious analysis is that a lot is going to happen in this market. A lot of bad blood is about to spray and you my friends, trust me a lot will come and go. Will Xen totally disappear, I don't know. It is very much into several technologies, is KVM any better than Xen? We don't know yet. Does VMware have a lot of market share? Well last time my researcher buddies told me that only 5% of the market is virtualized.


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