As you can probably tell from the title, Citrix is leveraging their biggest advantages in the mobility/BYOD race: their understanding of ALL client operating systems, multimedia in both SBC and VDI environments, and their established partnerships with hardware and OS vendors. In a conversation I had with Chris Fleck, VP Mobility & Alliances at Citrix (@chrisfleck), we spent an hour talking about the various methods Citrix has decided to use to manage mobile devices in both multi-user and multi-OS virtual environments, while extending their function from consumption to productivity. Oh, yeah, they have also changed their product and technology names to reflect their commitment to mobility; shocking I know.
We spoke (visit Virtualization EUC Podcast to listen to the full conversation) about the fact that Mobility Device Manager (MDM) still has a place in the ecosystems when managing corporate-owned devices such as field worker environments. These still exist and will continue to do so. Citrix feels the existing methodology is sufficient for many such use cases (i.e. if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it), allowing for whitelist/blacklist control. This applies specifically to corporate-owned devices, not customer-owned)
From this conversation it seems that at this time Citrix is NOT really interested in pursuing proprietary client hypervisors on phones and tablets. Between the various OS’s and the numerous mobile device hardware manufacturers existing in today’s ecosystem, to do so would force proprietary partnerships and limit end-users’ choices of devices they could actually bring to the BYOD party. It also creates a support nightmare because of all the different vendors pointing fingers at each other when bugs do occur; it puts the burden of proof on the customer. It takes away the “one-throat scenario” that most large enterprises prefer.
Citrix is even getting into the various mobile app stores in more ways than just providing the Citrix Receiver for connecting to Citrix-published applications and virtual desktops. For example, they have created an email app called “Works Mail” that works on both Apple and Android mobile devices. It provides more features to improve the functionality of attachments and calendar access, allowing users to see others’ calendar when trying to create meetings, etc. This is all about turning a consumption device into a productivity device, which seems to be Citrix’ core agenda; they have never made it a secret that their “master plan” is to OWN the user experience from end to end.
We spoke briefly about the NVIDIA partnership spawned from Project Pictor, which allows for virtualizing GPU’s on servers for both multi-user (Terminal Server) and multi-OS (VDI) environments. This is a BIG deal, as it relates to providing a graphical experience for endpoints that feels local. We will get more into the details of what this means in the world of mobility at a later date with Derek Thorslund, the Sr. Director of Product Management for HDX.
We spoke about the Nirvana project, a project to turn smartphones or tablets into dumb terminals, essentially enabling mobile workers to take only their cell phones when they travel. Certain devices can be attached to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and connect to virtual desktops or published applications.
Citrix is even working with Viewsonic to turn the monitors themselves into thin client devices, pre-loaded with the Citrix Receiver and XenMobile client.
Please take a minute to listen to the conversation to get a more in-depth view of where Citrix sees the future of mobility going and how they are aggressively using their existing expertise with Client OS’s to provide their customers with the tools they need to adapt to the growing mobile workforce trends. Citrix is taking this seriously, and from where I am sitting, that is a good thing.