Dan's Take

Citrix ShareFile Targets Mobile and Digital Offices

It's focused on document sharing in the cloud.

Citrix recently announced an upgrade to its ShareFile document and content sharing and synchronization technology, which it says "streamlines employees' workflows and routine processes, while maintaining high levels of security and compliance." It's clear that this product update is designed to address the growing use of cloud document sharing, personal storage cloud hardware and services, and enterprise-grade document and content syncing and sharing services.

As usual for Citrix, this technology relies upon and integrates with its XenApp, XenDesktop and other virtualization technology products. Here's what Citrix has to say about the additions and changes to ShareFile:

"In today's business environment, there is an explosion of data and apps, and an ever-growing need for collaboration across geographies. However, there has been no systematic way to store, share, review or approve documents that are critical to business functions and services until ShareFile. ShareFile is built – from the ground up – for business, giving customers a simpler way to collaborate with teams and clients with built-in feedback and approval workflows.

  • Users can get feedback, request approvals and e-signatures – all within ShareFile's web interface.
  • Track feedback and approvals in real time with the ability to set due dates and view status at any time.
  • Eliminate the need to send documents via email and track for version control."
Dan's Take: Is Citrix Making Another Transition To Content Delivery From Application Delivery?
Citrix previously tried to position itself as the "application delivery" company in an attempt to create a unified view of the company. It started life as a supplier of access virtualization technology, and over time it's acquired or merged with a number of companies. These deals have made it possible for the company to support the entire virtual computing environment, including the following:

  • Virtual machine and related virtual desktop (VDI) technology
  • Virtual storage
  • Virtual networking and network optimization
  • Application virtualization
  • Management technology for virtual environments
  • Security for virtual and cloud environments
  • Web application development
  • Remote access and support for PCs
  • Remote presentation and conferencing
  • iPhone and iPad applications

The company was an early supporter of OpenStack and a founder of the CloudStack group; it wants to use its strong virtualization technology offerings as a support for its customers' cloud computing efforts.

The recent announcement makes it appear that Citrix sees an opportunity to grab a share of the cloud storage, cloud directory and cloud content sharing business as well. The company is now trying to position itself as the go-to partner for support of digital content and the digital office. To that end, Citrix is trying to piece together all of the technology it has built and acquired to create a safe, secure, reliable document and content sharing and synchronization technology that will support today's highly distributed work environment.

I found the idea of a workflow that automatically moves documents from person to person to enforce company approval and regulatory compliance guidelines to be interesting.  Although the workflow capabilities are clearly a work in progress, the idea is reasonable and appears quite useful. If your organization shares documents between and among staff members, suppliers and customers and is concerned about controlling privacy, security and maintaining its data governance policies, Citrix ShareFile is worth a look. I'm hoping to try out the software soon.

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. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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