Virtual business

Some companies have famously fallen thanks to the state of the economy, others are struggling. Citrix is fresh off a US$72 million net profit for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 – a $1 million improvement over the year before. Scott Heren, MD and VP for EMEA at Citrix, chats to ACN about how this came to pass.

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Virtual business HEREN: The economy will come back noticeably faster in the Middle East than in some parts of Europe like the Western side.
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By  Nathan Statz Published  October 25, 2009 Arabian Computer News Logo

Have you seen any tangible benefits since you made XenServer a free release this year?        

Tremendous, it’s been exceedingly well received. The core of XenServer is the Xen Hypervisor, which you [could] always get for free by going to xen.org. What XenSource did, when we did the Xensource acquisition, they made a set of tools and services on top of that free hypervisor that did things like pick up a virtual machine and move it from hardware A to hardware B.

This gave you control of a console, so that if you have got 20 different virtual machines or workloads, they all have some kind of antivirus and that needs to be patched and you can say ‘show me all of the machines that have antivirus,’ and pull those down so that you can now go and systematically patch all of those.


As you look at everything that is on everyone’s plate right now, doing things the same way with a lot less budget and expecting the same result is just not an option. The status quo has never been less attractive than it is right now.

You needed a control console around all of your virtual machines and XenSource built that, those types of services, on top of a bare metal hypervisor that was free. What we announced back in April was that we really extended what was available for free. We added a lot of capabilities that we had previously put a price on – technologies like those encompassed in XenMotion.

When the financial crisis started to hit, did you ever expect to weather it as successfully as you have? Was there ever a moment of panic?

I’ve been at Citrix for nine years, so I was around for the Y2K bubble bursting on all technology companies and then the re-bursting that happened in 2001 and 2002. In each of those cases what we saw was that we were not immune and we did get impacted, and you can see that in our results. But because the core value proposition we give our customers is always very fast cost savings, a very quick return on investment, when budgets get tight they need to be able to get their jobs done with the lessened budget. What we saw in both of those cases is that we actually weathered the downturn pretty well because of the fast cost savings that we offer and that’s one of the same things that we are seeing right now.

Are we going to see the use of desktop virtualisation rising in the EMEA region?

I think there is no doubt we’re going to see it in EMEA. We’re not just seeing it in EMEA, but around the world and there are a couple of things that are driving the trend.

From a technology standpoint the technologies required to do this efficiently and effectively have only been toured in the last 18-24 months. Things like effective client virtualisation and network optimisation that we offer because your desktop only works when you have a network, and that is putting a lot of traffic on the network, and so the technologies that allow you to do that effectively are cutting down on that too.

I think the second thing driving it is quite honestly the economic times that we are in. As you look at everything that is on everyone’s plate right now, doing things the same way with a lot less budget and expecting the same result is just not an option. The status quo has never been less attractive than it is right now.

Is the understanding and desires of CIOs in line with the technological capabilities of desktop virtualisation at the moment?

What we are seeing is a lot of CIOs have a visceral attraction to it, I mean it is like wow this sounds great – it’s like it is almost too good to be true. Because it is so attractive they have assigned someone deep within the organisation to go out and do a study, do some work and analysis, someone down on the third floor has to [go and look into it].

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