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Citrix targets SMBs with Kaviza acquisition

The acquisition will add VDI-in-a-Box to Citrix's portfolio and will allow partners to deliver an SMB-focused virtualization solution

SAN FRANCISCO — Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) has completed its acquisition of Kaviza, makers of VDI-in-a-Box, gibing the company and its partners one more asset in the desktop virtualization and small medium business (SMB) markets.

The companies announced the acquisition as part of Citrix Summit 2011, a partner conference held in San Francisco leading up to the broader Synergy 2011 user conference.

Kaviza’s VDI-in-a-Box solution is aimed at SMBs looking to move into desktop virtualization without using expensive management servers. It can run on any “off-the-shelf server,” said Krishna Subramanian, COO of Kaviza, who will now run business development for the product at Citrix.

The solution uses Citrix’s HDX technology, which provides high-performance graphics to any devices that use virtual desktops. VDI-in-a-Box can be scaled for more users simply by adding commodity servers. The product can be deployed within two hours, at between $500 to $700 per desktop, the company claims.

“If you can’t get it running in 30 minutes, there’s something wrong with you,” Gordon Payne, senior vice-president of Citrix’s desktop division, joked during the official announcement of the acquisition, calling the product “unbelievably simple.”

“Ultimately, this acquisition is because of a different set of needs,” said Tom Flink, vice-president of the worldwide channel and market development at Citrix. “It’s extremely complimentary to what we’re already doing in the enterprise space,” he added, referring to Citrix’s XenDesktop product for large businesses.

Businesses with limited infrastructure who don’t want the expense and hassle of data centre operations are the ones that will benefit from VDI-in-a-Box, said Kumar Goswami, CEO of Kaviza who will now lead its product development at Citrix.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Flink said that adding VDI-in-a-Box to Citrix’s portfolio will allow the company to tap into the SMB space, a market it has not been addressing enough.

Flink described the acquisition as exciting for the channel, since many Citrix partner’s customers are SMBs. Partners will have free online training available to them as of July 1, but partners can begin registering deals as of June 1. Currently, the branding will remain the same but the product will be delivered as a Citrix solution, according to Flink. By the end of the year, VDI-in-a-Box will be rebranded under Citrix.

“For some customers, desktop virtualization is still a very new concept. VDI-in-a-box is a way for them to see how the technology works, and the benefits of HDX and a rich user experience,” Subramanian said, which also allows partners to shorten their sales cycles. Kaviza has already seen success in the education and public sector markets, according to Subramanian.

Florent Tastet, a solution architect in virtualization with Toronto-based Citrix partner Softchoice Corp., said he was very surprised and excited about the acquisition. “It’s going to allow us to reach the market with a very strategic product,” he said. “It’s going to allow some of the customers who are unable to achieve a proper virtualization level to actually have a very reliable and robust solution. There are some companies out there that are offering some solutions, but that don’t have the maturity that this solution will provide the SMB market yet.”

Softchoice executives have already approved training for its staff with the Kaviza solution. “In our SMB market, we’re always trying to find new solutions,” he said. “There is never a hesitation in our upper management to move forward.”

VDI-in-a-Box will be available through the channel worldwide and is distributed in North America through Ingram Micro. Kaviza’s existing partners, including Dell, will continue working with the technology. “We expect to see demand and opportunity pretty much everywhere,” Flink said.

Follow Harmeet Singh on Twitter: @HSingh88.