A Q&A with Quest Software's CTO Carl Eberling

A few weeks ago, Bruce Hoard, Virtualization Review Editor-in-Chief, interviewed Quest Software CTO Carl Eberling about the impact that recently acquired ChangeBASE and VKernel will have on customers. Here's what Carl had to say about the exciting new capabilities that ChangeBASE brings to the Quest Software portfolio.

Virtualization Review: What are the solutions offered by ChangeBASE that led to the Quest acquisition of this company?

Carl Eberling: About a year ago, we laid out a strategy relative to what we had going on with vWorkspace in server-based desktop computing, where we've got VDI, Terminal Services, and the ability to manage VoIP as well. That in and of itself didn't cover enough of the evolving user and client management challenges that are hitting IT, so we started looking at how we could apply some of our monitoring and performance management technologies. We were also interested in including some of our security and identity access management pieces, and one of the things that we saw that was a bit of an opportunity for us related to desktop migration. That is, when people typically have to go from one operating system to another, it tends to be a major event within IT. There are a whole lot of great solutions out there that can help customers make that transition in a cost-effective way. We felt like Quest had a rich history in the migration business -- look at what we do with our e-mail migration, what we do with AD and SharePoint -- so we set about looking at this issue of desktop migration, and I came across a great company called ChangeBASE.

Were Quest customers pressing you to acquire or develop the capabilities offered by ChangeBASE?

Eberling: They weren't pressuring us, but we were finding that frequently during an upgrade event a customer would sit back and say, "Is there a different way for me to do desktop computing for the enterprise?" And so it seemed like it a good opportunity for us to get involved with the conversation sooner rather than later. We also thought we could apply some of our other assessment technologies that we've got with VDI, so not only can we figure out how best to get you upgraded to Windows 7, but now we can also look at all your applications and how you're using them, and give you some recommendations on what could be on Terminal Services, what could be app virtualization, and what could actually be going nicely into VDI. It was more looking at the workflow that occurs within IT that led us to feel we would be better suited to get involved.

Do you see your customers gravitating to a desktop virtualization approach that leans more toward Terminal Services and remote desktop services, as opposed to a VDI model based on datacenter connectivity?

Ebering: Yes, you know, people talk about VDI, but they implement Terminal Services. You get much greater density. For the purposes of what they're trying to solve in terms of making sure end users can get to their applications, get their job done and get the best control, they tend to gravitate more to that with the desktop experience. I would say VDI is growing in the sense that maybe it's become 10 percent or 15 percent of the mix.

How will the acquisition of ChangeBASE impact your customers?

Eberling: A couple of ways. One, we believe it brings to the discussion a technology and set of capabilities that I find an alarming number of customers don't even know exist. Even during our due diligence prior to buying ChangeBASE we found that over half of the customers we talked to had no awareness that this kind of tooling was available to them. There were only two players in this game, and both of them spent a fair amount of time talking more to the application packaging experts, and talking to big outsourcing shops, rather than getting the message out to the enterprise.

Who were those two players?

Eberling: ChangeBASE and App-DNA.

So you consider App-DNA to be direct competition now?

Eberling: In a way. What App-DNA does is very different. They're big on the reporting aspect, but they don't necessarily help much with the actual fixing of the problems once you find them. There is certainly the opportunity to catch up over time, but right now, sure, they are a competitor.

For more information on how Quest's ChangeBASE solution can make your migration project faster, simpler and less costly, please visit the website.