Top Citrix sales exec will leave the company

Al Monserrat is stepping down as senior vice president of worldwide sales and service for Citrix.

Monserrat joined [company]Citrix[/company] 13 years ago as VP of field service, according to his LinkedIn profile. Carlos Sartorius, who ran sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the company, has been named new sales lead at Citrix, and will report to CEO Mark Templeton. Monserrat will stay on as SVP of sales strategy until April 1 to ease the transition, the company said in a statement.

A former Citrix exec said Monserrat was one of the last of Citrix’s “old guard,” which also included former CMO Wes Wasson and former COO Gordon Payne, who both left in 2013. Payne is now COO at DocuSign. CFO Dave Henshall is the last of that veteran group of execs, aside from Templeton, who is still with the company.

Citrix led the charge in desktop virtualization and on Monday said it was buying Sanbolic, a storage virtualization specialist, to bolster that effort.


Citrix snaps up Sanbolic to ease desktop virtualization

Citrix, which has led the charge for desktop virtualization, just acquired Sanbolic to help bleed out the complexity and cost that have kept virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) from broader adoption. Terms were not announced.

Desktop virtualization separates what runs on a computer desktop from the physical computer itself so management, updates and patches can be more easily accomplished by a central administrator.

[company]Sanbolic[/company], of Waltham, Mass., specializes in software defined storage which works with a wide array of existing storage hardware.  It was already a close Citrix partner; [company]Citrix[/company] said 200 of its existing XenDesktop XenApp customers already use Sanbolic in house to attain high-availability and to manage infrastructure across regions.

With Sanbolic in-house, [company]Citrix[/company] can develop pre-packaged and pre-tested solutions to “help drive down the cost and complexity of VDI and application delivery deployments in a linear and predictable manner,” Sanbolic CEO Momchil Michailov said via email. Sanbolic, he added, enables customers to keep using existing storage arrays and infrastructure whether on-premise or in the cloud, including appliances for [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services (AWS), [company]IBM[/company] Softlayer, [company]Rackspace[/company] and [company]Microsoft[/company] Azure.

Michailov, who becomes Citrix’s VP of storage technologies, and Sanbolic’s other 30 employees will move to Citrix, according to a spokeswoman.

Citrix has been the standard bearer for desktop virtualization but has seen increased competition from [company]VMware[/company], the leader in server virtualization, which has juiced its efforts in this area over the past few years. But, both virtualization vendors are seeing increased competition from other software companies, including platform providers which are doing more of their own virtualization work.

Citrix buys Framehawk, ramping up virtual desktop wars

Citrix Systems(s ctrx)  is buying Framehawk to boost the performance of virtual desktops and applications over wireless networks, a key issue as more people use tablets and smartphones as primary devices. Framehawk technology will be used with Citrix HDX in XenApp and XenDesktop products, according to InfoWorld. Details on how that will happen and terms of the deal were not announced.

The news comes days after VMware(s vmw) hired a couple desktop virtualization execs away from Citrix and Citrix named Rakesh Narasimhan  to head its desktop virtualization effort.

Amazon announces WorkSpaces, and shifts Kindle into business tool

Amazon has announced a new virtual desktop service, WorkSpaces, hosted on Amazon’s EC2 platform. The immediate impact is on the virtualization marketplace for VMware, Citrix, and others. But it also opens the door to Kindle as a business device, competing with iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Most particularly Windows devices, like Microsoft’s Surface and Nokia Lumia tablets.

Jeff Barr of Amazon outlines the value proposition:

Jeff Barr, Amazon WorkSpaces – Desktop Computing in the Cloud

WorkSpaces Feature Set
Amazon WorkSpaces provides, as I have already mentioned, a desktop computing experience in the cloud. It is easy to provision and maintain, and can be accessed from a wide variety of client devices.

Each WorkSpaces user can install the client application on the device of their choice. After a quick download, they have access to a complete Windows 7 experience in the cloud, with persistent storage, bundled utilities and productivity applications, and access to files and other resources on the corporate intranet.

The devices are provided with a full virtual Windows 7 desktop experience and all versions, ranging from $35 to $75 per month per user, include Microsoft Office Professional. This includes Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, OneNote, and Publisher.

A virtual file store is mapped to the desktop’s D: drive, and Amazon offers a number of options for varying amounts of space.

For someone who is not spending 100% of their time creating and editing Office documents, a virtual desktop may be a very useful adjunct. Having a full Windows and Office environment available on the Kindle cuts off a lot of the appeal that Windows tablets might have.  And of course this undercuts Microsoft Office 365 and SkyDrive, which are necessary for people wanting to use Office on other tablets.


WorkSpaces running on a Kindle

Registration for the WorkSpaces limited preview is now open.

The Bottom Line 

Amazon continues its all-out assault on… well, everything and everybody. In this case, they are in one stroke reconfiguring the entire virtual desktop marketplace and repositioning the Kindle as a virtual business desktop, competing with iOS, Android, and Windows tablets. Since the desktop being virtualized is Windows, Microsoft — and its Surface and Nokia tablets, and Office 365 — is the ox being gored here.