Citrix’s annual Synergy conference held this week in San Francisco was kicked off with CEO Mark Templeton painting his view of the future, and the building and leveraging of cloud services. With the emergence and evolution of cloud services, Templeton believes that the industry has moved out of the PC (personal computing) era into a PC-3 era, incorporating personal, private, and public cloud services.
Driving these changes is the massive adoption of consumer computing devices, including softphones and tablets. Because the consumer devices are becoming easier to use and provide a greater experience, millions of devices now coming into the enterprise, creating an increased “gap between what consumers can do and what the enterprise can deliver.” Templeton believes that IT needs to embrace this change and not try to fight it. Users more often are carrying two and sometimes three different devices and of course they want to get access to similar sets of applications and data. Being able to deliver to all of these will require a shift in thinking and approach.
Blending personal (e.g., Dropbox), private, and public cloud services will require some highly integrated tools. Citrix announced several new and enhanced products to make this possible.
NetScaler Cloud Gateway
NetScaler Cloud Gateway enables organizations to aggregate, orchestrate, and deliver SaaS, Web and Windows applications to users. Features include application provisioning, license management, single sign-on and SLA monitoring. Leveraging Citrix’s Receiver client technology, IT will be able to deliver managed and personal applications and services that will follow users across a wide range of devices. Although there is nothing incredibly new here in the application delivery space, the interesting component of the Cloud Gateway is the ability to enable that same follow-me feature around data. Methods for securing corporate data have historically meant that no data was allowed to be brought down to the local device; that everything remained within the corporate data center. Last year Citrix introduced a technology called XenVault which would create an encrypted portion of the local disk where corporate data could be worked on securely and only be accessible when running an XA published application. The NetScaler with an upgrade will be able to control this protected space to include synchronization, backup, encryption, and remote wipe capabilities.
It is very clear from the keynote that the Receiver technology is key to Citrix’s success, and making it a true universal platform client is their goal. Today Citrix supports 149 smartphones, 37 tablets, and 10 thin clients; and has a client for all versions of Windows, Mac, and Linux. The soon-to-be-released updated Citrix Receiver for iPad will give the users a greater self-service user experience and includes new features such as fast app switching, higher resolution (1600×1200), improved Bluetooth keyboard support, faster and improved graphics using 40% less bandwidth, and jailbreak detection.
Citrix Receiver for the Web is Citrix’s method for delivering a true zero-client solution. Supported by every browser, this client’s importance was substantiated by Google’s Vice President Amit Singh who demonstrated their Chromebook product being able to deliver Web and Windows applications leveraging the Receiver client, making it a true corporate device solution.
NetScaler Cloud Bridge
The NetScaler Cloud Bridge will enable corporations to bridge internal (private) and external (public) cloud services. IT will have an aggregate view of the two services and will be able to move applications, data, and services seamlessly between the two. Its capabilities will allow the application layer to be moved to the public platform while keeping data within the customer’s datacenter. The bridge will provide the connection between the layers.
Citrix has been building their relationships with cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace and made a specific announcement along with Rackspace concerning the development of tools that enable customers to easily build and manage private and public clouds. Early Access to this solution can be requested by registering at www.citrix.com/olympus.
An upgrade to the on-line web conferencing solution will now include live video capabilities. Labeled HDFaces, Windows, and Mac users will be able to have 6-way (1920×960) video conference capabilities with the goal of improving collaboration between participants.
Strong movement towards the cloud
The vision and products shared show that Citrix is moving full force to drive ubiquitous access to applications, data, and desktops leveraging cloud infrastructures. Though, I did not hear the message that Citrix was going to be able to bridge services across hypervisor platforms, which would give customers the ability to pick whichever Cloud Service Provider they would like, regardless of the hypervisor platforms. This is something they will need to address to make there management platform truly universal.