Citrix Synergy 2014: Will the Vision Hit the Mark?

Although the Citrix Synergy 2014 agenda focuses on mobility, the newest and largest sponsors instead seem to be entrenched in storage and add-ons to the traditional XenApp/XenDesktop offerings. While mobility does have a growing place in business solutions, is the market headed in one direction while Citrix attemps to lead us down another path?

Mobility was also a focus at Synergy 2013, plus we were steered to believe that all roads led to ShareFile. With various vendors offering several GB of free storage space and more available at very low prices, cloud storage ultimately provides minimal value-add and seems to be headed toward becoming a commodity product.

Going back a few years, the vision revealed at Synergy advised that we would all have virtual desktops hosted in the cloud. That vision had two major hurdles: cloud and virtual desktops.

  • Cloud: The cloud discussion made the system administrators and architects, who comprised approximately 36% of the audience, fearful for their jobs. At a time when unemployment was at record highs, putting the fear factor into more than one third of the audience just didn’t resonate well. In addition, the cloud wasn’t well defined, so it was largely an unknown entity.
  • Virtual Desktops: VDI was in its infancy. While everyone thought it was cool, there wasn’t a significant number of business and technical reasons that supported virtual desktops’ being ready for prime time. Like direct buyers marketed to by pharmaceutical companies, CTOs and CIOs got an earful and an eyeful of VDI and told their system administrators and architects to “make it so.” Against their better judgment, some system admins and architects implemented virtual desktop solutions, even though virtual applications were quite suitable.

Now we’re approaching Synergy 2014. Citrix is focusing the agenda on mobility and ShareFile again this year, but among some of the technical community, there’s just not a lot of excitement stirring in that space. In the breakout sessions, a smaller percentage of time is dedicated to NetScaler, as well as to XenApp and XenDesktop, even though those are the core products. It’s also ironic that VMware has scheduled its Half-Day Virtual Event to Simplify IT to coincide with the closing day of Synergy.

The sponsor list shows several small mobility-related companies purchasing minimal sponsorship packages, while there are some new storage-related vendors that have purchased rather large sponsorship packages at the event. It’s likely that storage will be the buzz on the expo floor. In particular, a new Platinum sponsor coming to Anaheim, Nexenta, offers a software-defined storage solution. Stay tuned for more about them.

For any of you who will be attending the Lunch Table Tech Chats, come on over to the virtualization tables for some good technical drawings and discussions and debates about a number of related topics. The subtopics will change quickly, and you won’t be bored. Besides, you never know who you might meet there!

Synergy always generates a huge amount of excitement about Citrix and its products. Will the vision relayed in the keynote hit the mark this year? Maybe, and maybe not, but we’ll all learn a few new tidbits about virtualization either way.

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