Citrix Heads to .NEXT


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An Interview with Sean Donahue, Principal Product Marketing Manager at Citrix

Sean Donahue is a product marketing manager, responsible for Windows application delivery at Citrix. One of his key roles is interfacing with Citrix’s strategic partners, including Nutanix. We caught up with Sean last week to find out what’s happening at Citrix and to see if he is attending .NEXT this year. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation.

Q. What IT challenges are your customers facing?

I have been evangelizing and preaching VDI for seven or eight years. Many of the organizations I have spoken to are having difficulty deploying and managing their virtual desktop infrastructure. VDI has traditionally been a very complex entity, with multiple layers of infrastructure and a bunch of different solutions bundled together. They bought into all of the tremendous benefits of virtual desktops and started deploying these complex VDI infrastructures, but they didn’t have a full grasp on exactly what they needed or the amount of resources needed to make it work. So consequently, some of the early VDI deployments failed. A few organizations even walked away from this incredible technology because they got a black eye when they tried to implement VDI at first. Luckily, this has all changed with the advent of hyperconverged infrastructure

Q. What makes Nutanix and Citrix such a strong alliance?

Nutanix and Citrix enable our joint customers to get the best of both worlds. You get the simplicity and scalability of Nutanix, and you get the market-leading virtualization of XenApp and XenDesktop with Citrix. It’s a perfect marriage — just like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen.

Seven years ago, VDI was very complex. We used to compare it to a 7-layer cake, with networking, storage, compute, apps, user personas, and several other layers. Customers bought into all of the benefits of VDI, but then they had to go to a lot of different vendors for each layer of the cake. And since not all of the layers worked well with one another, often times the cake never made it out of the oven.

The emergence of hyperconverged infrastructure changed the recipe. Instead of having to go out and procure all of these different solutions for compute, networking, and storage, Nutanix enterprise cloud platform gives you everything you need in one hyperconverged infrastructure appliance. It takes all of the complexity out of VDI. You can stand it up in a matter of minutes or hours, versus days and months with the old 7-layer architectures. With a hyperconverged infrastructure appliance from Nutanix preconfigured for VDI, you get a single-layer angel food cake. It’s much lighter, much easier, and much more satisfying.

Furthermore, Nutanix just announced the InstantON VDI for Citrix at Synergy 2016. Nutanix InstantON VDI is a full stack, end-to-end app and desktop virtualization solution, delivering excellent end-user experience at an affordable price point. InstantON VDI includes Citrix XenDesktop virtual app and desktop delivery software, the Nutanix enterprise computing platform including AHV (hypervisor), and three years of support for the complete solution.

I am a big antique car buff. Implementing VDI before Nutanix was a lot like the very early days of the automobile industry. In order to get a vehicle, you had to buy the engines, seats, running boards, and wheels from different manufacturers. Not only did you have to design your car from scratch, you had to be a mechanic to put it together. So it made it very cost prohibitive to get a car, and not many people did it. Hyperconverged infrastructure innovators like Nutanix transformed VDI just like Henry Ford transformed automobile production with the assembly line. With Nutanix, everything is pre-packaged into one seamless experience. You don’t have to be the mechanic, you just turn the key and drive away in your new Nutanix car. It makes VDI that much easier to adopt for the masses, not just the select few that had the skills, money, and aptitude to put it all together themselves.

Q. Will you be attending .NEXT this year?

Yes, I just registered for .NEXT yesterday. I am looking forward to attending the deep dive sessions on hyper-converged infrastructure, hearing all of the great customer case studies, and seeing what’s happening in the market. I will also be participating in the Citrix booth, talking about how enterprises can deploy VDI much faster using Nutanix. Citrix is a gold sponsor again this year. We have a 30-minute breakout session that will be presented by Steve Wolf, our VP of product development. I’m really excited to see that session and to spend time with all of our joint customers!

Come visit us at .NEXT!

Nutanix .NEXT is scheduled for June 20-22, 2016 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information and to register for the user conference, please visit: