Citrix Synergy 2014: Templeton Highlights Citrix Workspaces
Citrix Workspaces, a new suite that is likely to replace XenApp and XenDesktop down the road for most users, gets a thorough looking-over by attendees at this year's Citrix Synergy event taking place in Anaheim, Calif. this week.
Citrix Synergy 2014 is taking place this week in Anaheim, Calif., and this wasn't any ordinary event this time around. In particular, it's a milestone for CEO Mark Templeton, who announced his retirement earlier this year, with the search for a new CEO likely to happen before the Synergy 2015 rolls around. That might have led to his nearly choking up as he thanked the attendees at the beginning of his keynote speech to open up the conference on Tuesday morning.
The keynote was a long one, filled with complex demos of so many product features and developments that were intertwined, the difficulty was being able to tell one product from another. Templeton and his executive team covered each of the company's offerings from top to bottom thoroughly, and here's is a high-level overview, in a nutshell, of the new stuff:
Completely new is Citrix Workspace Suite. It combines a number of Citrix end user computing technologies, including app and desktop virtualization, mobile app and device management; file syncing and sharing with built-in enterprise security controls, and a host of other features to simplify end user computing in a mobile fashion. Similar to a portal, users can connect to their resources and gain instant access to services whether they're on premise or in a cloud, without having to think about the underlying methods for connecting to any of the needed resources or having to readjust their way of using apps from one device to another. Workspaces overlaps with lots of the capabilities found in XenApp and XenDesktop and it's intentional.
Calvin Hsu, vice president of product marketing for desktops and apps at Citrix, said later in a one-on-one interview that the idea isn't to homogenize the user's workspace so that everything looks the same everywhere. Rather, he said the idea here is to maintain a familiar work environment "without having to retrain the user" when apps are used in one environment and moved to another.
As an introduction to Citrix Workspaces, the company will be offering incentives to migrate from other Citrix solutions, as well as heavily discounted pricing on licenses for those migrating from VMware Horizon or View.
Back in the keynote, Templeton said its NetScaler MobileStream Technology will dramatically improve NetScaler's network and application throughput in a tightly controlled environment.
New features in ShareFile include ability to access/edit files from a variety of sources right from mobile devices. It's also releasing a ShareFile StorageZone Connectors SDK that partners can use to create and customize connectors for specific resources, such as enterprise content management systems.
XenMobile adds Windows 8 support, and Templeton's team offered previews of new Worx apps: an EverNote-like WorxNotes, WorxEdit, and WorxDesktop.
Quick Hits from the Exhibit Floor
Thin client and storage companies dotted the exhibitor landscape, and there were a few other familiar products. Here's what I've seen so far:
CloudVolumes announced CloudVolumes 2.0 ahead of the show so that the "news wouldn't get lost in all the Citrix news," said CloudVolumes senior vice president Harry Labana. Version 2 offers instant workload provisioning and enhanced support for Citrix XenApp. It also allows developers to be able to test and deploy application stacks. The company also showed a little bit of its work-in-progress AppCloaking that acts a bit like an application wrapper, allowing apps to be deployed to users within their access limitations.
Liquidware Labs was mainly showing its Flex-IO storage accelerator that was released back in January. The company is also showing off ProfileUnity, a new version that is expected in June with new Application Rights Management that allows an administrator using ProfileUnity to grant users the correct rights and permissions to resources without having to be made a Windows administrator. Trigger Points is another new feature that detects changes, such as upgraded permssions to new network resource, and act on those changes.
NComputing showed off its N Series Thin Clients sportin the Numo3 System on a Chip. The series isn't a new one, but they are Citrix Ready and have Citrix Receiver and were there as a show of support.
Nexenta debuted NexentaConnect for XenDesktop, a storage accelerator that is aimed at reducing the amount of storage needed for XenDesktop end points, and also offers views and management of storage resource usage and needs in real time.
Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.