October 05, 2010, 4:21 PM — Citrix took a bit of a beating last month, when VMware announced it was developing a product set that could not only deliver virtual desktops, but connect them to the cloud, SAAS applications and almost anything else that carries bits from here to there. Project Horizon was a leap for VMware, which had been pushing to expand its slice of the desktop virtualization market, but facing heavy resistance from Citrix, which has been the big rock in that relatively limited space for a long time.
The only problem, Citrix execs and some analysts have been saying, is Citrix' ability to do virtual desktops in any way you wanted them is based on actual, shipping product; Project Horizon doesn't even have a proper name.
A lot of people didn't buy it. Burton Group/Gartner's Chris Wolf said the long lead time on Project Horizon is actually a good thing -- customers aren't ready for it yet, and they need to know where their main vendors are going. Citrix is so close-mouthed about roadmaps, he implied, customers don't know what they're going to get until they get there.
That won't be the problem after Wednesday, when Citrix will launch a barrage of new product, partnership and service announcements ranging from updates and new functions in its Citrix Receiver smartphone/handheld client to big boosts in function for its HDX virtual desktop graphics capability and expansion of its OpenCloud cloud-computing platform, including plans for the self-service and virtualization automation technology it bought with VMLogix in August.
No word on whether the result will get back that giant leap VMware took a few weeks ago, but Citrix is talking a lot more openly about the future, even if the things it actually announces are rarely scheduled for more than a few months in advance.