This post is likely going to irritate some folks in our industry, and that’s OK. Frankly, that’s the point.
Let’s Pull Back the Curtain On How Server Based Computing (SBC) / End User Computing Software Is Sold
I’ve now been in the SBC industry for nearly 2 years. Prior to that, I was the CEO of Dorian Software, a Windows log management vendor that helped governments and businesses shore up their network security and compliance.
At Dorian, we sold some through the channel, but sold direct to the end user most of the time. Because of this, we we could deliver max value because we didn’t have to pad our pricing to leave tons of margin for channel partners. It was a win-win for everyone involved – we could close deals quicker, and our customers saved a ton of money and realized a quicker return on their investment.
The Citrix and Server Based Computing Markets Are Heavily Channel Driven. Which Means Businesses Of All Sizes Get Soaked By Higher Costs Down the Line.
In my two short years as RDPSoft’s CEO, I’ve been amazed by how insular the server-based computing / end-user computing market is. Big channel players effectively act as gatekeepers of the market, and unless you bring an expensive product to them from which they can extract healthy margins, they’re not going to talk to you.
When I’ve challenged them in conversations on why more customers don’t buy solutions directly from vendors, they speak with open contempt about how “businesses don’t have the skill or expertise to deploy these solutions on their own.” Given how complex, buggy, and temperamental SBC solutions have become, they may well have a point.
However, there are plenty of admins who deploy these products every day with nothing more than online E-Docs and message boards to guide them. I know, because I talk to them each and every week.
As a consequence of the above, most XenApp Monitoring solutions sold through the channel cost more than $600 per server or $50 per concurrent user. When compared to the nearly $300 difference per concurrent user between XenApp Advanced Edition and XenApp Platinum Edition (which ships with all the EdgeSight / Director monitoring goodies), I suppose $50-$100 per concurrent user becomes a relative bargain for larger enterprises. But it’s still out of reach for most SMB shops. And it’s a complete non-starter for Managed Service Providers.
Here’s What You Get To Pay For When You Buy a XenApp/XenDesktop Monitoring Solution From the Channel
Yes, let’s dissect this. It’s not pretty.
- The portion of the sale paid to the channel partner by the vendor (typically anywhere from 20% to 50%)
- All those steak dinners and “lunch and learns” the vendor gets to treat the channel partner to once a quarter, in the hope that the channel partner a.) actually knows how to sell their solution, and b.) doesn’t jump ship to a different vendor that’s promising higher margins.
- All the “under the table” payments made by the vendor to those “independent” server-based computing / end-user computing “experts” you know and love, so said experts will hawk their products in blog articles, online reviews, and at trade shows. Yes, I know said experts have to eat too, but there’s an appalling lack of transparency about how prevalent this practice is in our industry. Could we have a little more voluntary disclosure, please??!!
The Net Result: SMBs Often Get Priced Out Of the XenApp Monitoring Market
Most of the channel fat cats described above (and by extension, the vendors they partner with) have no interest in dealing with Citrix and RDS deployments in organizations with fewer than 100 concurrent users. Many of them also don’t want to deal with shops that have fewer than 500 concurrent users. However, the irony in all of this is that the *vast majority* of Citrix and RDS farms feature fewer than 500 users. Because of this effective orphaning of the SMB market, admins in these smaller networks don’t have a lot of options in their budget range. They may cobble together some scripts, lean too heavily on traditional Network Monitoring Software that doesn’t have much depth when it comes to monitoring/reporting on SBC activity, or sadly, go without. This needs to change.
It’s Time To Disrupt This Industry To Benefit the SMBs and MSPs
Now that we’ve studied this market, and seen it for how it truly is, warts and all, we’re throwing down the gauntlet.
Want to continually monitor 10 XenApp servers year around? No problem – that will cost you $1080 a year.
Want to do a simple 90 day assessment of remote worker productivity on your 5 RDS servers? Easy enough – just carry a subscription for 3 months, and pay only $135!
Have two RDS servers you need to check bandwidth consumption on for 30 days? We think you’ll find that $18 to be a bargain.
Now It’s Your Turn. Help Us Get the Word Out About Our New Flexible and Affordable Pricing.
Let your colleagues and friends know about our new offering, via social media, forum exchanges, trade shows, and simple word of mouth. As a token of our appreciation, if you send us a link to a post or share you made about our new pricing model and feature set, we’ll give you a 2-month subscription credit on monitoring in your own environment! Help us shake up this niche so that organizations of all sizes will benefit.