Citrix Synergy 2015 wraps up in Orlando today, and the announcements and sentiment at Synergy make it clear that Citrix is repositioning itself as the market leader for application and desktop virtualization. No way, no how is Citrix going to accept status quo in the virtualization space.
Some of the announcements focused on existing products and their respective improvements, but more importantly, the future of Citrix products caught the attention of the audience. The discussion didn’t sink to the level of how to address the competition, but rather focused on how to lead the market.
For those who thought that HDX was good, let’s just say that “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” The integration of Framehawk and graphics improvements addresses the constantly increasing user experience demands. HDX will become faster, more accurate, and technologically intuitive.
XenApp was mentioned far more often than XenDesktop throughout the conference, and enhancements to app integration—for example, AppDisks—will serve to address the needs of those who know and love application virtualization. In addition to Feature Release 2, support for XenApp 6.5 was extended another year (until 2017), meaning that Citrix will continue to add features to the product for another two years. Lastly, attendees were given a bag emblazoned with “I Love XenApp.”
Much time was dedicated to Workspace Cloud, which had originally been announced at Synergy 2014. While Workspace Cloud is still not completely ready for prime time, it has been opened as a tech preview release with limited functionality.
No doubt about it, Octoblu technologies stole the show at the keynote and GeekSpeak. Many who knew about Octoblu before this week had lingering questions about business applicability. No longer. While it is true that Octoblu is the epitome of Star Trek technology, the demonstration during the keynote on the second day showed how Octoblu can be used to address business needs. In this case, the demo showed how it could be used to minimize organization time for GoToMeeting and streamline meeting followup. At GeekSpeak, the lights, smoke, and special effects used as alerts for an environment that was experiencing issues truly drove home the point that administrative alerts don’t have to be as simplistic as SMTP email messages.
The future of XenServer appears to be a big question mark. While Citrix is clearly moving forward with further development of XenServer, including the release of XenServer 6.5 Service Pack 1 this week, many are still apprehensive about using XenServer in light of the fact that the hypervisor was given up for dead in 2013–2014. VMware undoubtedly owns the hypervisor market, so pulling back customers to XenServer is going to be a difficult uphill battle.
A multitude of announcements were made regarding upcoming tech previews; Citrix will have numerous production releases within the next few months. Even more importantly, Citrix is listening to its customers and taking feedback. At the Citrix demo area, product managers and engineers were taking notes regarding product enhancement requests and asking attendees whether specific enhancements were more important than others.
This Synergy was a refreshing change from the past few years, when presentations focused on comparisons of Citrix with competitors. Citrix rose above all that and showed the attendees that innovation is front and center, and the attendees couldn’t help but take in a big breath of fresh air.