Today’s XenClient and XenVault announcements, which extend desktop virtualization to offline laptop users, got me thinking about how virtual computing is helping us realize the vision Citrix has stated for a quite a while; a world where you can work or play from anywhere.   While our software is not focused on “play” per se, the idea that your work life and personal life are more intertwined than ever before has certainly become the new norm.   Gone are the days when you worked 8 to 5 from Monday through Friday, and squeezed your personal life in around the edges and on the weekend.   Remember when that meant trying to find a dentist with weekend hours?  Or getting to a real live bank teller during a lunch hour?  Geez, I think I’m showing my age!  But in today’s world, interspersing work and the rest of your life more seamlessly, during a week day and on the weekend seems to be the norm.   Who hasn’t responded to a critical email on a Saturday morning, or stepped out for a personal appointment in the middle of the week?  The good news for all of us is that with Citrix, you can do all of this quickly and easily, without the need to drag along a ton of infrastructure everywhere you go.   This type of virtual workstyle has huge potential today and for the workforce of the future, the generation that has grown up with technology and expect an ever-increasing level of ease, flexibility and usefulness. 

Virtualization has evolved from virtualizing servers, something that really only IT managers and CIOs cared about, to virtualizing desktops – something almost everyone will care about and want.   Why?  Because the desktop has transformed into something more flexible than the icon-based interface that controls the computer on your desk.   With a dizzying array of smart phones, tablets, laptops and PCs on the market, we all have access to multiple devices, making our “desktops” something far more dynamic.   But are these devices integrated?  Can you seamlessly access work files on your home PC and personal files on your work laptop?  How about the iPad?  Do you consider it just a “big iPhone” (as a 6-year-old friend of mine calls it), or can you use it to get to all your work files on the fly  in between catching up with your contacts on LinkedIn?  Better yet, can you access multiple desktops on your laptop or iPad without being connected to a network?  Traditional desktop practices fall short of these realistic expectations.   

But if you have Citrix technologies such as XenDesktop, Citrix Receiver for iPhone and iPad, and now XenClient, you can do all these things  whether you are working online or offline.   You can stop worrying about where you work, and start thinking about what you can contribute.   In a nutshell, virtual computing lets you be productive no matter where you are.   Sure, that has long been a promise of virtualization, but there were always limitations – particularly around working offline, and now with XenClient the possibilities are endless.

So, what does this all mean for the enterprise?  If you attended Synergy in San Francisco this past May, you know that this kind of environment will bring a higher level of business agility, based on a whole new capability we call “workshifting.”   The way Mark Templeton presented it, workshifting simply means moving work to a more optimal location.   For users that means to whatever device they chose, whenever and wherever, over any network connection.   It means moving a meeting from the office to the web to save time and money.   It means moving your work from your office to your home instantly to accommodate a personal or business emergency.   Virtual computing solutions from Citrix make it possible!   In fact, workshifting goes beyond users and desktop technology.  It can be applied to the datacenter and networking too - but I’ll save that for another blog.