Most of the time when I’m frustrated it helps to play some squash, ride my bike or vent my frustration on this blog. As all walls in the area have been smashed to bits due to frustrations in the past and it is too cold to ride my bike, I will try the last one.

Yesterday I attended a seminar from work together with Edwin, Anne Jan and Alex. The subject was virtualization with Citrix and we were invited to keep a good balance between Citrix and VMware but we could not give a presentation due to time constraints. The people who organized this event know us pretty well and know (and share) our love for VMware so we were asked not to mess up the presentation and bash the Citrix guy. And so we did………

We asked a few simple questions like, ‘Why should we virtualize servers using Citrix’s products?’, basic questions which each sales consultant should be able to answer. But then it came to the cost issue and he started the familiar discussion again stating Citrix XenServer is free and it now offers all enterprise functionality that you want in your datacenter.

Then Edwin responded like stung by a bee, that this statement is not completely true as the enterprise functionality is provided by Citrix’s paid Essentials pack. The Citrix sales consultant kept to his story claiming Citrix XenServer provides enterprise functionality and it’s free. I asked what he believed was enterprise functionality and to compare it to VMware’s HA, DRS, DPM, etc. He hesitated and had to change his story somewhat stating that live migration was the free enterprise functionality in XenServer 5.0 and they had an advanced HA pack which was not free which provided VMware HA/FT-like functionality.

So as Anne Jan already mentioned yesterday, we should define what we consider to be HA before we start a discussion on Citrix XenServer.

Then he came to the other Citrix products like XenApp and XenDesktop and it was the Citrix marketing machine all over again. He compared the Citrix products to an unmanaged Windows 2000 server environment with Windows 95 clients. When you make this comparison anything looks great. Now I’m not saying Citrix’s product stink but you should discuss it on a clear and true basis. My employer, Centric, sells a great concept which results in a well managed desktop with low TCO. When you compare it to that, Citrix’s products come out much less shinny. They still address some other issues which may result in buying Citrix products but in my opinion it is wrong for a vendor to ‘lie’ to clients like that.

This is a sales approach which I already saw at Citrix’s online sales trainings which I did at the end of last year. There where some question which I really disliked like ‘Why is Citrix better that VMware?’ Duh….. I think a vendor should sell its product based on their own strong points and advantages and not by bashing the competition. This is a very weak sales approach in my opinion.

A great example is Rob Bloemendal from DELL EqualLogic. During his sessions you will never hear him say a bad word about the competition. He shows the advantages and disadvantages of a framed and a frameless architecture and explains why you shouldn’t discuss wire speed but the amount of IOPS a storage solution can offer. This, in my opinion, is the true sales approach and this is how you can recognize great sales people. So, all credits to you Rob!

Ahhhh, that feels much beter!