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Citrix offers training to enable partners, but is the business rationale there?

Citrix Systems just announced its 2012 partner training calendar, including a six-week virtual desktop training course, Citrix Academy. The course is offered in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Santa Clara, Calif., and promises to guide students through basic design and troubleshooting of Citrix products such as XenServer, XenDesktop, XenApp and NetScaler. It also covers complex integrations, optimization and scalability using the same tools and methods the company uses to train its internal staff. Course graduates receive the Citrix Certified Integration Architect (CCIA), the company’s highest certification available.

As a VAR, you may be weighing whether or not this is a good time to take six weeks off of work and go to this intensive training. To help you decide, here some numbers that might help. According to the Virtualization Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions survey conducted by at TechTarget Inc., interest in desktop virtualization is growing, with 36% of respondents evaluating the technology, up from 27% in 2010. But actual deployments are lagging, with only 19% of respondents reporting that they had implemented desktop virtualization in 2010 or before, and only 14% planned to deploy the technology in 2011.

Further, only 3.64% of those surveyed said XenServer is their primary server virtualization platform, and 15.43% said XenDesktop is their primary desktop virtualization platform, behind VMware View (26.05%) and VMware ThinApp (16.4%).

These numbers may not reveal the true use of Citrix products for desktop virtualization as some discussions about using the XenClient hypervisor rather than XenDesktop for desktop virtualization have been happening, with security and flexibility cited as the leading reasons. For more information on using the bare metal hypervisor, covered XenClient features and functionality recently in an interview with Citrix’s Peter Blum.

Other desktop virtualization options include Citrix VDI-in-a-Box, which may actually be the best fit for small and medium-sized business customers.

Of all the courses offered, evaluating which training session to attend is a business decision I’m sure you don’t take lightly. But let me know. If you’re a Citrix partner, are you considering attending the Citrix Academy? What are the business factors that are driving that consideration? Is desktop virtualization something you are currently offering your customers? Why or why not? Leave your comments below or share your thoughts with me at

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From Thomas S. [I]Let’s face it. The main reason to offer training on the Citrix products should be to motivate potential buyers, users or developers to choose Citrix products and by doing so have them become advocates of the product – in essence, marketers and sales representatives - no matter what organization they may currently represent. Charging for training may be a source of corporate income or may just defray the cost of the training – but offering free training would swell the numbers of attendees and thus the number of potential 3rd party representatives. Of course to do so Citrix must contain the cost. I strongly suggest development of a computer aided, self-paced course, distributable on DVD for cost of shipping and a modest cost for production – I mean in the range of $5. The course should be complete, including the philosophy for creating the product, basic application of the product, and include both basic and advanced configurations. While the cost of development of such a course and the insignificant charge of shipping and a modest fee might seem unjustified, being able to distribute such training on Citrix products would develop a legion of advocates and representatives in the field. Priceless. You might consider maintaining a “professional level” training course, but I strongly urge you to move with the idea proposed above to saturate and capture significant market share while the opportunity exists. While the industry and deployment of such solutions is slow at this time, preparing and releasing a low cost Citrix-based course would put Citrix in good standing to capitalize on current and future opportunities. [/I]