Dan's Take

Reminiscing About Mark Templeton

Dan remembers a meeting with the Citrix CEO that ended on 9/11.

The news that Mark Templeton was stepping down as Citrix's CEO made me nostalgic.

I've watched Citrix from its very early days. While I was at DEC, Citrix was a partner. While I was at IDC, Citrix was a good customer. In the beginning, it offered only an access virtualization solution, Metaframe, to allow applications executing on Microsoft's Windows, IBM's OS2 and a few vendors' UNIX operating systems to be projected onto client desktop and laptop systems.

Evolution
Citrix eventually branched out into application delivery. It now offers technology that addresses the access, application, processing, networking, and storage virtualization markets, as well as offering both security and management tools for those environments. It acquired Xensource to become the home of the Xen virtual machine software community. It also offers interesting network caching tools to facilitate the work of remote offices and a suite of "GoTo" products to support teleconferencing, tele-support and other remote access technologies.

My most vivid memory of working with the good Mr. Templeton was when the company invited a few analysts from around the world to a strategy session held at the Gleneagles Resort in Scotland. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to learn about Citrix's thinking on important topics, see early technology demonstrations and offer insights coming from their research.

While the event was outstanding, the timing was unfortunately not very good. It ended the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. This meant that the U.S.-based Citrix staff members and analysts were trapped in Scotland, because the U.S. had shut down its entire airspace.

Templeton and his staff worked tirelessly to make sure everyone's needs were addressed and people would be able to get home safely.

A Class Act
It's times like that in which an executive's true colors show. I'll always believe that Templeton was and is a class act, someone who goes far beyond just "getting by" to reach for excellence. He did his best to make sure his company lived up to those high standards.

Citrix is now facing a rapidly changing environment, one in which the PC and laptop are being challenged by other end-user devices. The Windows-centric model of client/server computing is being challenged by other approaches to offering remote access to applications and where application systems are hosted.

Challenges
Why, for example, should a company deploy access virtualization to provide access to Windows-based applications and data when the applications might be living on a Linux-based system or in a cloud service provider's data center? Wouldn't using a dedicated app or providing an HTML5-based access mechanism do the same thing, only at a lower cost?

Citrix's new management team faces a challenging environment. I only hope it lives up to the same high level of excellence set by Templeton.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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