It’s been 2 months since the acquisition of EMS-Cortex, and we’ve since gotten our new colleagues all the requisite mugs, backpacks, virtual desktops, etc. More importantly, we’ve had the opportunity tophysically get our development teams together to discuss roadmaps and priorities– no small feat when you are talking 8,000 miles of separation.

While we can’t discuss specific features or timelines that resulted from those discussions, there were a few core strategies that were ratified:

We have a huge opportunity for tight integration of the control panel with the entire Citrix virtual computing portfolio. Every product from Citrix now has the capability to be offered as a cloud-based service – which means sooner or later, it will need a mechanism to provision and manage user accounts and services in a single, simple, self-service manner. Cortex Cloud Control Panel today integrates with XenApp, but more importantly, it provides a very versatile and extensible architecture that we should be leveraging to its fullest.

We will continue to grow Cortex as a successful standalone business. While we firmly believe DaaS represents a major opportunity and many service providers will shape their businesses around it, it will take time for them to make the transition. In addition, many others will continue to be successful hosting non-Citrix services and decide not to move into DaaS. For example, our Cortex customer base includes some very large web hosters that rely on the control panel. Citrix plans to continue to support these adjacent lines of business.

We will continue to support key hosted applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, Office, Sharepoint, and Lync. Pre-acquisition, one of the reasons we saw Cortex as such a terrific fit was that they shared our focus on leveraging, enhancing and extending the Microsoft platform. Microsoft applications are absolutely essential to delivering the complete value of Desktops as a Service (DaaS) for our service providers, and so they remain a strategic part of our solutions portfolio.

We will continue to support Hyper-V. Cortex was the first control panel to support Hyper-V and as a result, many service providers rely on it today. , We have no current plans to change that. Citrix has long supported Hyper-V in ways that might not be familiar to the service provider community. For example:

  • XenDesktop was the first desktop virtualization solution to integrate with Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager.  We published several implementation guides and cloud demos on Hyper-V, and were featured in countless keynote demos at Microsoft global events.
  • Since the launch of XenDesktop 4 in late 2009, Citrix has offered Hyper-V as a download option, whether you are grabbing the full product or our pre-integrated PoC kit for partners.
  • Citrix Essentials for Microsoft Hyper-V offers a powerful set of advanced server virtualization management capabilities that extend the enterprise management tools of Windows Server® 2008 environments to help make Hyper-V and System Center more scalable, more manageable, and more agile.

So for our CSP partners out there, here are the takeaways from our strategic planning meetings with the Cortex team:
1.     We have a roadmap for further value-add and integration within the Citrix cloud solution stack
2.     We have a roadmap for on-going support for key hosted applications like Exchange, Office, Sharepoint and Lync, as well as web-hosting
3.     We have a roadmap for continued partnership with Microsoft around Hyper-V support

This is by no means a comprehensive list of what we plan to do, but that should give you an idea of where our key priorities are for the near future.

Bill Burley

VP and GM Cloud App Delivery Group