Citrix Synergy Barcelona: Day 1 Keynote

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This week I am at the Citrix Summit and Synergy shows in Barcelona Spain. I am also attending the Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) meetings where Citrix gives us a private briefing on what they are working on, although much of that is more distant work that remains under NDA so I can’t blog about that.

Summit, a two day show for started the week, is for the Citrix Partner channel. A few announcements come out there, although apparently not the Kiwi announcement!

Synergy fills out the week as an end-user oriented conference. Citrix over the years has become a larger, multi-faceted company. Where they once had one major release a year generally geared to coincide with the larger US show, they now have multiple releases each year, some of which are timed to be announced here at the European conference.

Mr. TA number of announcements were made at this morning’s keynote, headlined by Mark Templeton, which I highlight below. The attached photo is actually from San Francisco and not Barcelona, but as Mark used the same outfit, you’d never really know if I didn’t tell you.

  1. App DNA Citrix today announced that they acquired App DNA. Really cool technology at App DNA. Basically, it looks at your application and provides analysis if the apps will port well into a new environment. Generally used for XP to Windows 7 migrations, it also is used for native app to virtual app conversion process. No details on if remains run as App DNA was run, or if the (to me) important part of the company — the database of known app information — becomes generally available to Citrix customers. Would be really cool to get that information out, but I doubt it happens. Good move for Citrix.
  2. ShareFileCitrix anounced the acquisition of a company called ShareFile recently, and today they provided some details on how they see it used. ShareFile is yet another DropBox-like application, but not as well known. The main reason for this is that they have been enterprise focused instead of consumer, but they are a very solid number three player in this space. While Citrix will continue the ShareFile business in the form it is in, Citrix today announced additional integrations of the technology using ShareFiles stong APIs to extend existing Citrix products. The first is an interesting GoToMeeting extension called GoToMeeting Workspaces. A Workspace is a project, documented oriented paradigm where multiple people can contribute to document editing, and messaging, but this also links into opportunities for instant on-line meetings when you need it. This would presumably become part of the standard GoToMeeting service and not include a separate ShareFile account (at least until the file volumes become too high). The second application is tied into Citrix Receiver and is called “Follow Me Data”. This looks like more of a better integrated automatic saving of the docs no matter which device you come in from, assuming you are using Receiver.
  3. Kaviza Citrix acquired Kaviza earlier this year and today announced the Citrix branded version, called “Citrix VDI in a Box”. In a Box is a much simpler VDI than XenDesktop. Although originally talked about as for smaller deployments, it looks like it scales very well due to the distributed management. As part of the quick turn-around name change, the new release includes better HDX support, and now runs on not only XenServer, but also VMware and Hyper-V. That last one might be more prove important for this product than other VDI. I had a good meeting with the In a Box folks and am bringing the product into my lab. I’m thinking In a Box plus App-V stand-alone client to bring in virtual apps as a cool combination.
  4. Personal VDiskThis is the RingCube acquisition integrated into XenDesktop. Yeah, OK. Not sure this is the best way, but at least they are trying. Noticeable that integrating into Kaviza isn’t mentioned. Is this to come, or do they want to keep Vdi in a Box “simple”?
  5. HDX on a chip reference design. Citrix is working with partners to put HDX acceleration into silicon. Idea is to have a much cheaper zero client that performs great with graphics. Sounds cool, but I worry a lot about what this means to HDX improvements later on. Citrix has put a lot of focus on getting HDX everywhere, and made hints that they want to see it in everything all the way out to TVs in the future. This announcement also ties into Citrix’s belief that the cost to provide a virtual desktop is moving lower than a physical PC. Sounds like creative accounting to me, but it might be reasonable to say that virtual desktops are getting closer to physical desktop costs with In-A-Box.
  6. Citrix Web Interface gets rebranded as Cloud Gateway Express and is free. That’s an announcement? If you’ve heard the term “Receiver Storefront”, this is also the same thing, renamed again. Citrix says the Storefront is the technology and Gateway the product, but I think it was just renamed twice when they got feedback that Storefront reminded people of Dazzle.
  7. Citrix Cloud Gateway is a paid for product that includes the same functionality as the express gateway, plus more. OK. this one is an announcement. With this you get to add access to SaaS apps also. Interesting idea for enterprises to start managing SaaS apps by managing the access point.
  8. Cloud Bridge. Netscaler gets better and Citrix positions it as the bridge between private and public cloud. Still too early for this except at a few places, but interesting to watch.
  9. Cloud Statck and Cloud Portal. This is the acquisition of Citrix clarifies what they are doing here and promotes it as the future. I’m not a cloud guy but those that are probably care about this.

That’s a lot of stuff for the off-conference of the year. The “One more thing” was quite odd, and possibly not what was originally planned. There were two PC’s up on stage never used. One playing a very active video, and the other looked like Google Earth. But Gus Pinto, who Mark introduced earlier in the keynote as “Chief of One More Thing” wasn’t brought out. Instead Brad P came out and showed Receiver integrated into Facebook. You could feel the eyeballs rolling. This was receiver everywhere gone too far!

Citrix was clearly trying to get their customers to get onto the cloud bandwagon, and I don’t think their customer base is there yet. But it took a lot of years of talking “Access” until we finally got it. Perhaps this will be the same? Oddly, the entire lack of talking about XenApp didn’t seem entirely foreign to me. Scary!

Author: Tim Mangan

Tim is a Microsoft MVP, and a Citrix CTP Fellow. He is an expert in App-V and MSIX.