If your users require a great experience and not just a good one, then the long-awaited Framehawk release from Citrix is going to be a hit among them. While the first release of Framehawk technologies occurred at the end of June as part of the XenApp/XenDesktop Feature Pack 2 release and only supported Windows devices via Citrix Receiver 4.3, the iOS version was released this week.
Framehawk is analogous to Thinwire in that it is the technology that transmits screen updates, except that Framehawk is very smartly supercharged. It optimizes high-latency networks by incorporating UDP, while Thinwire is entirely TCP based. For full details about Framehawk, please see the article “Our First Release of Framehawk Technologies.”
The implementation of Framehawk is rather clumsy and requires several distinct component updates. Although the documentation is fairly complete, it is too easy to miss the installation of a component or configuration setting. Citrix really needs to clean up the installation and configuration as part of the next release.
Although it’s been over a year and a half since Citrix acquired Framehawk, we’re just now seeing the benefit of that acquisition. Yes, the HDX engineering team has finally incorporated Framehawk into HDX so that wireless users can have an even better user experience. Although integration with NetScaler hasn’t been released yet, it is in progress and expected shortly. Once that occurs, remote workers can experience the benefits of Framehawk as well.
In the world of technology, 1.5 years is a long time, but Citrix has said that it methodically integrated and refined this technology in order to ensure that it was done right. Of course, after the acquisition occurred in January 2014, there was eager anticipation for immediate integration, but Synergy 2014 came and went without any major announcements regarding progress. At Synergy 2015, we were told it was coming in short order, and that commitment held true. In retrospect, it was probably the best decision to take the necessary development time, but we all know that the technology industry is impatient about promises for what is new and improved.
Even more important than Framehawk itself is that this technology further propels Citrix as the leader in the application and desktop virtualization user experience. Although most competitors to XenApp/XenDesktop can provide a user experience that is adequate, HDX and now Framehawk set the bar at a new level.
For industries such as healthcare and engineering, in which mobility and graphics output are critical, Citrix will continue to reign supreme. These industries require higher-grade technologies in order to meet users’ demands and cannot compromise on solutions that are deemed just adequate.
Industries that have only basic requirements and limited budgets, such as education, however, can be addressed by lower-priced end user computing vendors. If the users, in this case students, just need to access a virtualized desktop or application in order to complete high school math assignments from stationary computing devices, then the value-add of a technology such as Framehawk likely isn’t necessary. On the other hand, a university that needs to provide engineering assignments from a virtualized desktop or application by means of wireless devices may initially determine that a merely good user experience will suffice, only to realize later that a lower-priced solution was a mistake.
HDX technologies are a key differentiator for Citrix. Although Citrix marketing will tell you that HDX is the umbrella for the ICA protocol, the reality is that the ICA protocol is the granddaddy of everything that is peripheral connectivity, graphics, audio, compression, and so much more. Glad to see Framehawk become part of the family.