Since joining IGEL, I’ve been asked several times, (by people who should know better!), about my thoughts on these two EUC giants. I also realise that I have to be VERY careful when answering questions of this type, as, in the words of Family Guy, IT’S A TRAP!
However, seeing as there aren’t many of us who have worked for both vendors, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and decided to write a short brief on the strengths of both, while avoiding anything that looks like I’m favouring one over the other. And don’t worry, I’ve run this through friends and ex-colleagues at both tech titans and they’re cool with it…
What they have in common
First off, they’re both AWESOME companies. Between them they have created whole EUC markets and forged a path that others have followed. I have a strong belief that EUC doesn’t get the focus it deserves in the tech industry, and both Citrix and VMware have been instrumental in raising its profile.
Ok, let’s have a look at Citrix
Citrix’s core strength is that they get the idea of WORK, which is what EUC is all about. The first time I heard the greatest EUC tagline of all time was at a Citrix Kick Off in Orlando: “Work is not a place, it’s something you do.”
This abstraction from a technology conversation into one that makes sense for actual human beings is quite a difficult thing to do for most tech companies, but Citrix have this nailed.
Citrix have led the EUC field since the late 80s and have become synonymous with the whole field of remote working. In fact, Microsoft’s offerings in this space have their roots in a licensing deal with Citrix struck in 1997.
It’s this heritage that means so many of the world’s largest businesses use Citrix as a foundational piece of their EUC estate, whether that’s via Virtual Apps & Desktops or through their much-loved NetScaler solutions.
Another key strength that Citrix has is their broad embrace of the wider EUC ecosystem. In my experience, Citrix has always understood that a comprehensive EUC solution requires many best-of-breed partners, from analytics to endpoints. When I was at Citrix, it was common to work with a stack of EUC leaders such as AppSense, Atlantis and IGEL to ensure the customer always had the best overall solution for their needs. Citrix is the glue that holds many of these ecosystems together, and the customer is better off for it.
How about VMware?
VMware is a shining light in terms of technology and innovation. VMware has built an EUC offering that covers all of the bases and leads in many of them. VMware has pioneered the Digital Workspace, almost single handedly creating the concept and the market, while others have followed their lead.
VMware’s hybrid multi-cloud strategy is a huge boost for its EUC division, meaning that VMware’s cloud offerings are truly built for the cloud and available in all major public cloud providers. VMware’s VMC platform allows native VMware virtualisation technologies to run on Amazon AWS tin in AWS datacentres; there are similar offerings from Microsoft (Azure VMware Solutions) and Google. This makes VMware’s EUC solutions easily transportable between the major public cloud providers.
VMware has also recruited many of the biggest names in EUC, including Brian Madden, Shawn Bass and Ben Ward (see what I did there?), which is a massive vote of confidence in the overall EUC message. That message has also evolved to take in the latest trends in EUC, including Digital Employee Experience Management, Zero Trust and Intelligence. It’s a constantly evolving platform.
You can probably tell from the above that I’m not about to make a recommendation about whether Citrix or VMware are ‘better’. In my experience, Citrix has a core of very dedicated customers and partners. Many workplace strategists have built their careers on Citrix, and many technology partners have done the same. For some of the world’s biggest enterprises, Citrix’s solutions are core to the way they do business.
VMware has a much broader portfolio of solutions. I’ve found that for many businesses that already use VMware technology, either at the virtualisation layer or further up the stack in networking or storage, using VMware’s EUC offerings just makes sense. Build on top of this the many customers that AirWatch had before VMware acquired it, and many businesses see no need to stray outside of VMware.
Over the past year, and for all the wrong reasons, End User Computing has finally been thrust into the public consciousness. It is the interface between an enterprise and its employees. It is the driver of success for many, many enterprises, and it has shown itself to be an indispensable toolset for every business in the world.
Every vendor in the EUC space brings something different to the table and has its place in the enterprise. Choosing which ones make sense can be tough, but the fact that there is so much choice is testament to how important the field of EUC is and how a thriving ecosystem is good for everyone. Go Citrix! Go VMware! Go Microsoft! Go IGEL!