Nutanix acquires Frame – What do I think?

As you have seen on the EUC news, Nutanix is acquiring Frame and soon will start their DaaS offering within their Xi Cloud Services. This is indeed quite an interesting move and one that can, and certainly will, affect several players within the EUC/DaaS market. You can bet that includes Citrix, VMware and Workspot.

That said, there are several things that Nutanix will have to address, according to my own personal take on this. Let’s take a look at some:

  • On-premises offering. Sure, the Cloud may seem great. It does have its use cases and is another tool on the toolbox. And that is the issue here. Another tool ON THE TOOLBOX. Ideally, and again, IMHO, a solution to be complete, has to address both use cases, providing a clear Hybrid model. That addresses current needs for an on-premises delivery model while providing a clear path to the off-premises one, the Cloud. Being a Cloud only solution could pose a huge problem for many companies out there. The solution here? Should not be hard to bring that on-premises and pave the way so both offerings work seamless together. If Nutanix can pull this off, you can bet this will definitely affect Citrix and VMware. Guaranteed.
  • Toolbox. As we all know and learned over the years, a desktop solution, no matter where it runs, requires way more than just providing a desktop. User personalization, application packaging and delivery to the desktops, robust monitoring, it all ties together to compose a full solution. And again, regardless of where it is running. Nutanix has nothing in that space. Same for Frame. Solution? Keep the wallet open and acquire a couple more companies that are still relatively small but greatly fill these gaps. Examples? FSLogix, Liquidware Labs and UberAgent (Vast Limits). The end result of these potential acquisitions would be a platform that would be years ahead of both Citrix and VMware in many levels.

The great thing here, many may not see. If Nutanix does address the above, they will be going the other way around. That means coming from a native cloud offering (Frame) to an on-premises one to address current needs but already addressing future ones. This is completely different than having to build a cloud solution off something that was built from the ground up without the cloud in mind (Citrix is an example of that, and their struggles to bring their stack to the cloud is something everyone knows – VMware does suffer, maybe to a lesser extent, from the same issue).

Also acquiring extra talent to address these needs (by the way, needs that we all know must be addressed – reason for these products to exist) will potentially cause further damage on the market as all the customers out there now using these products could be converted to the Nutanix offering, leaving the Citrix/VMware train behind.

I would love to hear from Workspot what they have to say about this, given the many differences between their offering and what Nutanix is cooking. As I said many times, good enough may be all that many customers need. But now, if Nutanix offers a similar solution, cheaper and potentially with a better stack (Frame’s protocol is indeed better than RDP, that is a fact) all at a cheaper price, the ‘good-enough’ bar gets raised. In such cases, why would customers stick with a less capable protocol and potentially more expensive solution? This can create a problem for players like Workspot for sure. And the simple fact Nutanix does have more money in the bank to acquire whatever it takes to polish its desktop offering, amplifies the impact of all this on them.

Resuming: I do like to see this. I like companies with balls and Nutanix is certainly one of them. Ballsy acquisition indeed and if they play the right game here, they can certainly create a very compelling stack that will address current and future needs. All this, coming from the future :-).

So, Dheeraj please keep the wallet open. What is another couple bucks when you already spent big money? And please keep kicking ass. The asses in question do need it.



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16 Replies to “Nutanix acquires Frame – What do I think?”

    1. HTML5 is just the delivery right now. What about what is under the hood, the protocol? The same way you can take something like RDP/HDX and bring these to an HTML5 client, you can go the other way around. Potentially with even better results. I cannot comment on numbers and/or if it was a fire sale or not. But this acquisition IMHO can hurt quite a few players out there. It will all get down to what Nutanix wants to do with it at the end of the day.

  1. Frame is niche right now. It can become a full product but it is not ready for prime time. HTML5 only will not work in hospitals. Smart cards? Will not work for financials. How do you do 2 monitors? 4 monitors? Can they do device redirection? It’s mostly used with GPUs today so the protocol is not general-purpose. Have you tested it without GPUs? Do you know how much CPU it burns?

    Since you are an expert in the space, I’d expect you to double-click and provide a more detailed analysis. Why do you think Nutanix is touting it as an SMB play? It’s a good move but I will not declare market victory right away.

    One thing is for sure – citrix is losing mindshare and marketshare rapidly.

    1. Hey Robert, as I replied to Jan, usually when you go from full client to HTML5 is where the limitations appear. Going the other way around, creating a full blown client based on what they achieved on the HTML5 one should not be a problem at all. Regarding GPU, at the end of the day what will decide this is pricing. If I can give you a per month pricing with GPU that is the same as the competition without it, which one would you take? I believe Nutanix is in a position, and again, if they decide to play in this space, to grab a chunk of the EUC market that today belongs to Citrix/VMware. Especially if they can deliver the same ‘Easy Button’ approach we see in their HCI offering. It is too early for anyone to claim victory and I certainly do not think that is the case right now. But the fact this will shake up the players in this industry I already see as a great thing and at the end of the day I am sure we will all benefit from that.


    1. For sure. That said, I truly believe there is a lot of smart people at Workspot and they will not sit waiting. I am sure they will have something to say in the upcoming days.


  2. Nutanix has throw down the gauntlet saying they are serious about VDI now and you can buy it from us, just like when VMWare bought Desktone some years ago, but like its been said, not everyone wants or needs a cloud only desktop / rdsh solution which is all they offer now. I’m sure they will add an onprem piece, but I seriously doubt that is going to easy, cheap or quick considering they were born in the cloud. I don’t think Nutanix is going to kill off Citrix either, a good portion of their revenue comes from Citrix bookings. Just like Citrix plays with everyone’s hypervisor and cloud, there’s alot of value to that. Part of the reason I like Citrix is being able to move somewhere else at any time. Citrix is far from dead, their recent earnings call has shown their cloud business is taking off with big YoY growth. Citrix (IMO) has the easiest onprem, cloud or hybrid approach, much more than VMWare does. Workspot is, eh well, Workspot. It’s neat, cool, born in the cloud as well, but I don’t see it being ready for large enterprise just yet, again, just my opinion.

    1. Hey Nick, agreed with what you said. My point is Nutanix has the resources and engineering capabilities to create an on-premises offering. The real question is if they want to get down that route and address that market or simply stay as a cloud-only solution for their DaaS, assuming that is the goal. Citrix for sure tries to play with everyone and as you, I do think it is a much more polished product than what VMware has to offer. That said, I do believe they are still struggling in many areas. Pleasing Wall Street is one thing. Really delivering stable and great products while pleasing your customers is another.


    2. What makes you an expert, Nick? You have one deployment and think all the consultants and experts who handle 100’s of customers are idiots.

  3. Last time I tried Frame, it:
    – only supported one monitor
    – did not work with AD
    – did not support persistent VMs
    – ate a lot of CPU on the client
    – would not support Skype
    – would fail to print a page natively
    – failed the simple usb drive remoting test

    You seem to be too excited because and your Citrix/workspot bias is clearly visible!

    1. True. I am 100% sure they did not acquire Frame based on all that. Plus keep in mind that all you mentioned can be added/implemented relatively easily. The unknown at this stage is what indeed Nutanix wants to do with Frame.


  4. – no AD support
    – no persistent VMs
    – no Win10 in the cloud
    – no native printing
    – no multi-monitor
    – no USB remoting
    – CPU hog

    Lol at your analysis.

    1. My analysis is not meant to be a technical comparison at what Frame is capable off as of today. If you got that impression, you got my post completely wrong. As someone that built a Citrix like product in the past, I do know all the technical issues you mentioned can be easily addressed, especially by a great development/engineering team, what Nutanix certainly prove to have. Just look at their product and the market they created. Add to that the money they have access to and I can bet they would be able to pull this off. Point is, one more time, are they willing to go down that hole? That is the main question. The post is simply throwing the idea that if they do want to do it, they have the resources to create a good enough solution that will be, as the name implies, good enough for a huge chunk of the market. Not everyone needs all that Citrix has to offer. Not even Citrix own customers use the whole Citrix stack they pay for. As a CTP I am sure you are 100% aware of that. 🙂
      Again, this post is about what the future may be for Nutanix and the EUC market, depending on what they have cooking regarding this acquisition. Food for thought really.


  5. What happened to Intel buys Citrix? Another blog post with no real data. Pure speculation!

    Call us when Frame can support real world scenarios. All H.264 is a bandwidth hog. Don’t get too excited. It’s only good as free VDI with Nutanix hardware.

    1. I think people sometimes do not understand the nature of some posts. Certain ones are indeed an exercise, just thinking about possible scenarios. What would happen in the market if something happens (i.e. Intel buying Citrix, Nutanix going all in for an on-premises solution and so on). This is the idea for the two posts you just mentioned/replied to. Other posts, as you can indeed see in the blog, are purely technical (i.e. Scripts). The idea is to always balance the topics/ideas, to make the whole thing more interesting. I truly believe it is important for us in the EUC to think about certain scenarios, even if they are speculative in nature. Why not?
      I have no crystal ball and am in no way predicting the future. I am just playing with ideas, thinking about what could happen in the market if certain things happen. Nothing more than that.


  6. The Frame acquisition is certainly interesting and shows the hunger of smaller players to get a piece of the pie. Gloves are certainly coming off everywhere, fueling social media outrage from heavyweights and even lawsuits being issued with patent infringement i.e. Workspot.

    With that said, Frame is not without its flaws as mentioned in the comments. There is a far superior product IMO (Numecent) quietly gobbling up customers according to some colleagues. I saw some product demo’s recently and was left speechless. They do not use a HTML5 front end but a patented tech stack. Numecent has been around for about the same time as Frame apparently so this may be next in line?

    Separately, what is also fascinating was VMWare’s partnering with Frame in ’17. Indeed they’ve realized the rug is being pulled from under them. Oops.

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