Citrix Synergy 2013 Recap

by Robert Payne on June 13, 2013

A tad overdue yes, but I’ve finally climbed out from under the stack of emails & projects that piled up while I was at the show. Now that I’ve got a moment to breathe I wanted to share my thoughts & impressions on Citrix Synergy 2013.

Anaheim – cute little town, good for a couple of things – Conferences, Disneyland, the Angels (MLB) and the Ducks (NHL). If you’re not there for one of those four reasons, well you might consider a new travel agent. I thought the conference center served the conference very well though. It was clean, efficient, and spacious. The staff was friendly, and the unions were relatively easy to deal with (something that can be a huge pain in other areas). Freeman onsite staff was helpful as usual. All in all, if your conference can fit in there, I’d recommend it. Doesn’t hurt that if you’re staying in any one of the surrounding hotels, this is your walking route to the center each day :)

Hypervisor Diversity – I had planned to call this section Hypervisor Commoditization, but after doing a bit of research I think diversity is the more appropriate word. Since you are still unable to (easily) run or transfer VMs between hypervisors (ie take a VM running on XenServer and throw it on VMware), the hypervisor doesn’t fall in line with the standard definition of a commodity (at least). Unless you differentiate between the hypervisor itself (back-end) and the hypervisor management platform (front end a la vCenter or XenCenter) as Greg Shield’s does here. In that case then yes, it doesn’t matter what’s under the covers, but most folks don’t make that distinction at this point.

In any case, as PHD Virtual is one of the only vendors with a purpose built product for XenServer backup, and the only company who counts Citrix as one of their primary investors, we were obviously very excited to talk to XenServer customers. And we did! But we also engaged with a slew of VMware users, which we also support, and many Hyper-V users, which we’ll support come the end of this year. It just goes to show you that multi-hypervisor environments aren’t going anywhere. I mean Microsoft & Citrix both give their hypervisor away for free, so they reign supreme in the lab and demo environments, and as knowledge & comfort levels increase, we’ll see them creep more and more into production.

Vendor Consolidation – the ever sought after “one throat to choke.” This concept isn’t new – it seems to go in cycles as it relates to technology use in organizations. It expands, as new technologies emerge that can provide a business value (typically from small companies, new players to the market), and then contracts, as larger competitors release a competing version of the same technology, or outright acquire the company who provides it. This is simply the natural evolution of markets from young to mature.

But in my conversations at Synergy, several folks expresses frustration at the finger pointing that goes on from the vendor side; the network guy blames the VDI guy, the VDI guys blames the storage guy – and it goes on like so. So where and when they can, companies are consolidating vendors. More often this takes the shape of small changes versus earth shattering rip & replaces, but still something to be aware of.

Citrix – Citrix deserves a shout out for a great show, at least from my perspective, which is the vendor working the show, perspective. They really looked to take care of the sponsors, giving everyone access the conference party with Maroon 5, and throwing a separate Vendor Appreciation party. It’s nice to see someone get it right. There’s another company you may have heard of in this space who throws a pretty big conference every year, and I’d love to see them take some cues from Citrix in terms of how to treat sponsors. After all – we’re footing the bill J

The PHD Team – couldn’t have done it without them!

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