May 24, 2011, 2:20 PM — The acquisition of Kaviza, a maker of simple desktop virtualization software for small businesses, by Citrix Systems is all the buzz at this week's Citrix Synergy event at San Francisco's Moscone Center West.
The fact that an SMB-focused product like Kaviza is stealing the thunder at a traditionally enterprise-focused show like Synergy shows just how far virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and other desktop virtualization technologies have come when it comes to the small business market.
In the not-too-distant past, desktop virtualization was largely the realm of big business. It was typically a technology run from within the data center, requiring beefy server technologies with extensive and expensive networked storage to serve up users' desktop environments over the corporate network.
Kaviza's flagship VDI-in-a-Box technology aims to take out some of that complexity - letting users run virtual desktop from "any standard, off-the-shelf" x86-based server, company officials say. It's also designed to be installed, maintained and supported by "desktop IT staff," as opposed to more specialized IT staff. The technology allows companies to choose their hypervisor, including Citrix's XenServer or rivals VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper-V, although one would imagine once Kaviza is fully integrated into Citrix, the system will be "optimized" for best performance with its new owner's wares.
In discussing the Kaviza purchase, Citrix's Tom Flink, who heads up the company's channel partner community and market development, said, "there's been a segment that we haven't addressed with purpose-built product in SMB."
But that's about to change, as more and more options for desktop virtualization come on-line for small businesses.
One of the reasons more SMBs might consider desktop virtualization right now is the growing trend towards "bring your own device." Companies are increasingly allowing their users to bring their own computer or other device to work on. Or, more honestly put, more companies are bowing to user pressure to be allowed to work on the devices they know and love.
By using a technology like Citrix's Receiver or VMware's View, companies can make all of their user's business applications available on their own device while all the data remains safe and sound under central management.