Citrix Buys Unidesk – What Customers & Partners Need to Know…

Citrix announced today that they’ve acquired Unidesk for layering. Full disclosure: we’re a leading Citrix Ready partner and a former competitor of Unidesk, with our FlexApp layering solution. I’d like to share Liquidware Labs’ perspective. Citrix briefed Liquidware Labs last week and we thank them for the official confirmation of the rumor that has been around the last couple of months. I asked firsthand how it will be available and those details are below.

Background: Citrix invented shared Windows desktops in the early 90s. They enjoyed little to no competition for their first 15 years, and then came along VMware. VMware  introduced a product that virtualized desktops that could prove to be a threat with what we now know as VDI. When VDI started to get real traction, Citrix and VMware started to get into a bit of an arms race for the desktop. In a game of one-up-man-ship there were many acquisitions along the way for both.  All of those acquisitions seemed to have one thing in common, a company or technology being bought for a singular reason to strengthen their respective solution stacks. The sure way to get acquired in this industry is to do one thing that will solve the needs of a bigger company like Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, etc. Unidesk did just that, their layering solution solved a problem Citrix needed, namely a better layering solution than their rushed to market, AppDisk, which will now be end of life. Citrix did not need an entire Workspace Environment Suite like our Liquidware Labs Essentials, they needed to one up VMware’s App Volumes alone. Unidesk only does layering so it was a natural option. As the saying goes, competition is good, we know many customers will still choose Liquidware Labs FlexApp which really innovated elastic type layers and we continue to innovate with features you won’t find in Unidesk. The acquisition validates application layering for customers of all sizes so we see it as a great move by Citrix because Liquidware Labs will also be seen as a great third-party option for ANY Windows environment.

What is Unidesk and How Will it be Made Available to Citrix Customers

Unidesk Core, Unidesk’s original layering technology – Unidesk started with a layering technology that required significant infrastructure and complexity (based on the feedback of partners and their former customers that we’ve sold to) to deploy it. That technology is being called Unidesk Core (for the time being) by Citrix. It has the ability to layer in parts of a Windows OS and layer in applications. The architecture of Unidesk Core is largely unchanged. All Citrix customers on Software Assurance (soon to be only “Software Maintenance” by mid-year) will get Unidesk Core functionality. Planned target availability of Unidesk Core is by the end of the first quarter of this year.

Unidesk’s Elastic Layering- About a year ago, Unidesk introduced a more straightforward way to layer applications that they dubbed Elastic Layering. Elastic Layering is a near exact copy of the way we’ve been layering portable applications for the past several years with our FlexApp layering solution. This technology leverages virtual hard disks are used to attach applications to desktops with a filter driver(s) that bring applications into a session seamlessly. Unidesk uses universal, hypervisor independent, VHDs while our FlexApp solution uses either VHDs or VMware’s VMDK format. This technology is perceived as far more flexible than layering applications than with Unidesk Core but does not layer the OS itself. We’d say that OS maintenance is better left to a good base image management strategy and then just layer apps with FlexApp. The Unidesk way is a bit different, layering OS with Unidesk Core, then layering apps with Unidesk Core and/or Elastic Layering. VHD (and VMDK as the option with FlexApp) app layering is ideal for layering applications in cloud based desktop environments to keep them more dynamic and modular, truly independent of the hypervisor. With Citrix’s cloud focus and Azure, they found this as a compelling use case as well. Only Citrix Platinum XenApp and Platinum XenDesktop customers will have access to Unidesk Elastic Layering.

What about Unidesk’s VMware based customers?
Citrix will continue to support Unidesk’s VMware Horizon based customers. However, they have said that they will not be proactively selling Unidesk as a standalone solution outside of the Citrix desktop offerings. It has been said that Unidesk had slightly more customers on View Horizon. We at Liquidware Labs will be happy to provide incentives for those customers to use Liquidware Labs FlexApp which works perfectly with any VDI vendor including Citrix, VMware, Workspot, and Amazon WorkSpaces.

Why Liquidware Labs Provides a Third-Party Market Leading Option with FlexApp…

  • Platinum customers will remain interested in ProfileUnity UEM and Stratusphere or our entire Essentials offering if they’d like an alternative to Unidesk.
  • Liquidware Labs is a trusted Citrix Ready partner that has scaled and been proven at many joint customer sites.
  • Citrix customers that are not on Citrix Platinum will find compelling value and functionality in the entire Liquidware Labs Essentials bundle.
  • Liquidware Labs solutions work across any Windows environment including Citrix, VMware, Amazon, Workspot, and physical desktops.
  • Liquidware Labs continues to have the most comprehensive Workspace Environment Management platform available, including Stratusphere UX, ProfileUnity UEM, and FlexApp Layering.
  • Liquidware Labs has the only third-party layering solution in the market and it is the only one that includes integration with a leading proven UEM solution, ProfileUnity.

Try our solutions today by easily downloading them here.  We’re at Citrix Summit this week in booth #408 and would love to meet you!

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