Gartner recently released their top 10 strategic technology trends for 2014. These trends are meant to guide companies as they begin their 2014 strategic planning processes.1 As a Citrix employee, reading the press release was exciting since we believe Citrix is sitting at the forefront of many of these technology conversations.
2014 and beyond holds a different set of technology assumptions than we saw in 2013. While in 2013 we saw BYO devices and apps beginning to enter the workplace and new wearables and other devices taking up bandwidth on our networks, these were more of an exception than the rule. Moving into 2014, these devices and applications are the new reality and finding a way to not only support them, but also support the new requirements in infrastructure will be a key priority for organizations. To meet these new requirements, secure app and data delivery solutions will become even more critical for people-driven technology decisions; while cloud infrastructure solutions are a necessity to ensure that the business keeps running in a manageable and secure state given the exponential increase in “things” that are now a part of everyday use.
Below are the 10 strategic technologies that Gartner highlighted and why I think Citrix is in a great position to help our customers:
- Mobile Device Diversity and Management. Solving enterprise mobility challenges has been a core tenet of Citrix for the past 25 years. It started with providing remote access to Windows applications from PCs and mobile devices and now provides people access to all of their applications and data on any of their devices. Using technologies like Citrix Receiver with XenMobile, XenDesktop, XenApp and XenClient (referred to as the “Xen Suite”), organizations can ensure that their employees and contractors have secure access to “everything, everywhere” regardless of device type (desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone) or of ownership (corporate or employee owned). This gives choice back to the end-user about the best way for them to work.
- Mobile Apps and Applications. Windows applications have gone from the primary business application to just one of four app types. Native mobile, web and SaaS apps, such as Evernote, SAP and salesforce.com, are quickly becoming the preferred way to address the heterogeneous world of devices. For businesses, however, new processes must be put into place to provision, manage and secure all of these new applications. Citrix makes this easy. For mobile, web and SaaS apps, XenMobile with Worx Mobile Apps provides the necessary security and control to allow users on both corporate and BYO mobile devices to use these apps while keeping corporate data secure. And, for organizations that have valuable Windows applications, Citrix Receiver and XenDesktop mobility optimization technology touch-enables these apps making them more usable on a mobile device without any source code changes.
- The Internet of Everything. Over the past few years, we have seen the number of internet-connected devices rise exponentially – think televisions, USB sticks, thermostats, and Teslas. For organizations, this means extending management technologies to these devices to ensure control and security (something that XenMobile has already started to address with enterprise-ready connected devices). However, the real challenge is simply the number of devices that now are accessing the internet. With NetScaler, organizations can scale network performance on-demand for cloud-like elasticity, expand capacity seamlessly to meet application traffic growth, consolidate core network capabilities like load balancing, security and acceleration for all datacenter applications and ensure smooth, reliable connectivity for all devices. Moreover, the sheer number of publicly addressable devices that results from the Internet of Everything is a key driver of IPv6 adoption and rollout. NetScaler has supported IPv6 – both load balancing and NAT – for several years. Taking that a step further, CloudPlatform provides a cloud orchestration platform that is designed to scale up and out as all of these new devices – and their associated applications – come online.
- Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker. The days of IT dictating how a user accesses tools and information is long over. With the SaaS market growing rapidly, users can now choose not only the device, but also the application they want to accomplish their goals. Citrix CloudPortal Business Manager helps IT regain control by enabling them to become a service provider to their employees. This technology allows them to offer any cloud service, whether running in their private cloud or run by a 3rd party, through a single, self-service portal. And, for organizations embracing the hybrid cloud, CloudBridge and NetScaler integration with cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure, make it easier and more cost effective for enterprises to seamlessly extend their enterprise network to the public cloud, deploy the same L4-7 network stack in the cloud that they use on-premises, and ultimately making the public cloud a natural extension of their own IT infrastructure.
- Cloud/Client Architecture. In the days the datacenter was king, client-server computing delivered server-based applications to workers’ devices. While this is still a primary delivery mechanism for many enterprise applications, organizations are beginning to move to the cloud (both public and private) to gain the benefits of elastic capacity and lower costs. As this shift takes place, IT is looking to cloud deployment models to enable cost effective, flexible and agile infrastructure to deliver self-service Windows apps, desktops and data across private and public clouds. Citrix is delivering this emerging architecture with Project Avalon – a highly optimized and tuned integration of XenDesktop and CloudPlatform that enables multi-tenant deployments across multiple locations and clouds, along with delivery across any network to any device. And best of all, Citrix has thousands of partners taking advantage of Citrix multi-tenant architecture today to host desktops and applications as a cloud service for customers.
- The Era of Personal Cloud. According to industry analysts, the majority of people use 3 or more devices on a daily basis. This changes the paradigm of devices being the keeper of all information (apps and data) to devices being the conduit into information. Thus, organizations must deliver services that allow people to access to all of their information and collaborate with colleagues on any of their devices. For Citrix customers, these services are already available. Collaboration and file sharing technologies, such as GoToMeeting, Podio and ShareFile allow users to attend meetings, socially collaborate, and access and share data at any time. Additionally, using Citrix Receiver and Citrix Worx Mobile Apps as the front end to the “Xen Suite”, organizations can deliver all of their Windows, web, SaaS and mobile apps, as well as data, to users on any of their devices.
- Software Defined Anything. As organizations begin to embrace both public and private clouds, manageability, coordination and control of network, server, and storage infrastructure is a top priority. To successfully accomplish this, organizations are looking to make infrastructure deployment and management more programmable. Orchestration platforms and network virtualization solutions are emerging as two key pillars of this programmable infrastructure. NetScaler is an open platform that can be deployed as software virtual machines and integrates with key orchestration and network virtualizations solutions from Cisco, VMware and Microsoft, as well as open standards such as CloudStack and OpenStack. NetScaler makes the whole network app-driven by unifying L4-7 network services into an application control layer, and integrating this application control with existing transport networks and emerging software defined network technologies. CloudPlatform, powered by Apache CloudStack, supports both traditional scale-up and cloud native scale-out application workloads in a single orchestration platform. Both of these solutions give IT the flexibility to meet the scalability, architecture and infrastructure requirements of the cloud while reducing costs and improve business agility.
- Web-Scale IT. In the new era of web enabled, cloud-native applications, scalability and stability are key factors that IT must consider when deploying new services for their end users. Building an infrastructure that can not only support tens of thousands of physical hosts but can also dynamically scale out as demand requires is a necessity. Today, Citrix cloud solutions, including XenServer, NetScaler and CloudPlatform, power the world’s largest, production clouds. This combined solution enables enterprises to build the next-gen Amazon-style architecture that supports scale-out, flexible, cloud-native workloads like big data, while also continuing to deliver the traditional, enterprise workloads that they run in their data center today.
- Smart Machines. The proliferation of mobile devices is flooding our world with more and more sensors. This is fuelling a wave of innovation focused on making the applications we use aware of the environment they are in. This is contextual computing. Contextual computing is inextricably tied to machine learning, which will enable applications to adapt in real time to produce different outcomes, giving us Smart Machines. At Citrix we believe the rise of Smart Machines is going to present a new set of application and data management challenges that must be appropriately addressed. And, given the Citrix history of managing and delivering apps and data, we see this as yet another type to add to our arsenal.
- 3-D Printing. 3-D printing is yet another emerging technology in a wave of recent innovations that have gained a foothold in consumer markets. And, like other consumer technologies, they will find their way into the enterprise. For the companies that this impacts, managing access to and usage of these devices will become important, so that your most important IP doesn’t get printed and walk out the door. For Citrix customers, this will be easy, as these printers are just another device that we must ensure secure access to by your employees.
Citrix innovations over the past 25 years have positioned us well to help organizations with their strategic technology decisions. For all of the trends above, Citrix secure app and data delivery technologies as well as cloud infrastructure solutions are already providing organizations technologies that will bring them into the future. However, our work is never done. We have new innovations coming that will ensure that whatever the future of computing holds, Citrix will be there.
1. Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2603623