VMware is getting nervous about the Citrix-Intel alliance

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At the end of January Citrix and Intel made a surprising joint announcement, revealing a major technology partnership to develop a client hypervisor based on Xen (codename Thunder Lake).

The agreement will have an impact on the market as this new platform will be integrated into upcoming Citrix products in H2 2009 and will be distributed through all the major OEMs.

Despite both companies abundantly clarified that the deal is non-exclusive, for some reasons VMware became nervous.

VMware and Intel always collaborated and most customers perfectly know how tight is the relationship between the two: Intel invested $218.5 Million in the virtualization vendor during its IPO, and for a long time there were rumors that the chip maker was contemplating the acquisition of VMware.

But that was not enough: last week at VMworld Europe 2009 (see virtualization.info live coverage of day 1 and day 2) VMware felt the impellent need to announce its partnership with Intel on the upcoming Client Virtualization Platform (CVP).

A comparison of the two press announcements highlights some subtle differences: the Citrix-Intel deal sounds like a R&D and financial operation that will move a consistent amount of money (and will likely provide Intel a remarkable commission on every Thunder Lake sold by Citrix), while the VMware-Intel deal seems just an official confirmation that the VMware CVP will support Intel vPro technology (which is entirely expected).

It’s “develop” (Intel-Citrix) versus “deliver” (Intel-VMware).

Whatever this read of the announcements is correct or not, one thing is clear: VMware is getting nervous if it decided to refresh customers’ memory about its well-known partnership with Intel.
Now it must be seen who exactly is feeling some pressure: the PR department, the company leadership or the customers?