Citrix Synergy 2016

This week, Citrix Synergy is being held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not surprisingly, the most profound announcements at the event have centered around the Citrix-Microsoft relationship.

Of course, Kirill Tatarinov spent the majority of his career at Microsoft, as did several key executives at Citrix, so it is no surprise that the key announcements highlight the synergies of the two companies. “Cloud” was probably the most commonly used word in the keynote address, and Citrix has announced that Azure is the preferred option for cloud.

In addition, with the business adoption of Windows 10 gaining momentum, as well as the increasing appeal of Office 365, both companies are poised for a win-win. But how real is the opportunity?

“Cloud” is by far one of the most popular buzzwords in IT today. In some cases, such as that of Salesforce, the market response has been overwhelmingly positive. However, with regard to hosting all workloads within the cloud, the market just isn’t ready yet. Like many new technologies, the potential positive benefits are all the rave, but the reality is that getting to the cloud isn’t as easy as flipping a switch.

Some of the complexities associated with moving to the cloud include the applications themselves. Several years ago, packaging and streaming all applications via App-V and other streaming technologies was supposedly going to resolve all application-related issues by creating a library of applications. The market was led to believe that this would be the ultimate solution for applications. However, just as streaming applications did not meet with 100% success, easily pushing all applications to the cloud simply isn’t realistic, either. Ask anyone who has dealt with complex applications, and heads will nod in agreement.

Further, data that is remote from applications typically doesn’t have a fast response rate. Hosting applications in the cloud with back-end databases in the data center or elsewhere more often than not yields a poor user experience. For example, an application that requires an SQL Server database that resides on-premises while the application user interface rests within the remote desktop infrastructure frequently results in high latency. As such, this practice is generally not deployed.

This means that organizations will likewise need to move back-end data into the cloud in order to appreciate the full benefits of a Citrix infrastructure deployed on Azure. Doable? Yes. Widely realistic?  Questionable. Many organizations aren’t willing to let go of the back-end data.

Of course, the future is cloud, so these challenges will be overcome, albeit likely with some difficulty. Two-tier and three-tier applications will need a better solution in order to increase adoption.

Currently, few organizations are moving all of their workloads to the cloud. PoCs and disaster recovery are good candidates for cloud deployments. Full adoption and embrace of the cloud will likely be several years down the road.

A secondary but nonetheless strong message that was revealed during the initial keynote circled around integration: i.e., Xen, ShareFile, and NetScaler. Gone are the days when the various product groups designed and released products in a silo, without full regard for other internal organizations or customers. This integration has been sorely needed and is most welcomed.

On a lighter note, Citrix also announced the release of XenDesktop/XenApp 7.9 and the new Citrix Ready Raspberry Pi.  XenDesktop/XenApp 7.9 includes such features as printing improvements and HDX enhancements. It is scheduled to be released this quarter.

The new Raspberry Pi addresses the previous void in the area of inexpensive, low-end devices that can easily be replaced. These devices currently only support a single monitor, which may be sufficient for many organizations. These devices are available for purchase immediately.

The Raspberry Pi will put vendors of thin clients in direct competition. While the Raspberry Pi will not be sold directly by Citrix, the release of this product will be disruptive to the end-user device market.

All in all, Citrix seems to be poised to take on the future seriously and in full cooperation with Microsoft. The keynote didn’t feature a lot of jokes or fun discussions; it was all business. This appears to be the modus operandi of the new president and CEO. Those in the audience were a bit surprised to see and hear the dramatic change in the tone of the event.

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