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With Zenprise, Citrix Tightens End-User Computing Strategy

The Citrix acquisition of Zenprise last week will go down as one of the coolest acquisitions in its history. Simply put, how often does a company acquire another and the only thing that needs to change in the product names is a single letter! Citrix can easily rename the three Zenprise flagship products as follows:

  • XenPrise Mobile Manager
  • Citrix XenCloud
  • Citrix XenSuite

Considering Citrix has been standardizing on Xen in most of its product names, the marketing department should be thrilled with this acquisition.

There's more to that acquisition than just a cool marketing twist, of course. Citrix has become, in my opinion, the very first company to have an end-to-end end-user computing solution for the enterprise. I've been speaking and lecturing about the need for an EUC strategy. The user space has become very complicated and it has been ignored for many years and it is time to bring datacenter-like disciplines, structures and thought processes to a world moving more and more towards mobile, towards consumerization of IT. The standards we deployed in years past do not apply today and they will surely not apply tomorrow.

I break down my EUC strategy into these categories:

User Experience -- This is where Desktop Virtualization and physical desktop and laptop management fall into play. Citrix, with its FlexCast model does a wonderful job bringing different types of Desktop Virtualization capabilities to the enterprise. Whether it's VDI, XenApp, OS Provisioning or even Client hypervisors, Citrix owns that space. Couple that with a powerful remote desktop protocol in ICA/HDX and it has that covered very well.

When you factor in Citrix's strong relationship with Microsoft and its tight integration with System Center Configuration Manager, you find that the use of the Citrix suite compliments and fits very nicely when it comes to managing physical assets. Citrix even has extensions for the System Center consoles so that you can manage XenApp and XenDesktop straight from within System Center. App-V is another strong integration point for the companies as well, so they have the user experience portion for physical and virtual desktops and applications covered extremely well.

MxM -- In this category the differnet acronyms that make up this solution are categorized. Let's start with MDM, which Citrix has a form of in CloudGateway. It's feature-poor when compared to the leading providers, but the acquisition of Zenprise plugs the gap and puts Citrix in the leader position.

Mobile Application Management is really the future of where things are going to eventually end up. No one really wants to still manage the actual physical device, but at the same time, the transition to governing the device -- meaning, the mobile applications and data -- will take some time. It's why MDM is still relevant for many enterprise organizations. A combined Zenprise and CloudGateway can become a very powerful MAM solution, a single unified storefront, so it's goodness all around.

The final category in the MxM family is Mobile Information Management. Citrix has a handle on MIM with its ShareFile offering, but Zenprise brings a significant amount of features that are enterprise friendly and required. Citrix with Zenprise plugs all the shortcomings of using just ShareFile.

Collaboration -- Citrix has an impressive lineup of collaboration tools and solutions from the GoTo portfolio, all the way to the recent Podio acquisition. Once these products are integrated with the rest of the solutions in the Citrix portfolio, the collaboration tools will provide a very nice wrapper to bring the solutions together.

The final two pillars of an EUC strategy are policy-driven security, which Citrix and Zenprise cover in some aspect, and a robust, wireless infrastructure, which is outside of either company's wheelhouse. The policy-driven security that I am referring to are more Network Access Control-based solutions. Cisco ISE coincidentally connects very nicely into Zenprise, which means another connection point for Citrix.

All in all, the Citrix acquisition of Zenprise is a very welcome step and one that solidifies Citrix's offering in the EUC space.

Next time, I'll highlight what I think VMware absolutely must do in order to respond and bring its EUC offering up to par. Until then, I would love to hear from you on what you think of this blog and whether or not I am missing anything for a true end-to end-EUC strategy for the enterprise.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 12/10/2012 at 3:01 PM


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