I was 17. The field was damp. The last defender didn’t notice me, my teammate did. The pass was perfect. I sprinted down the field to where the ball would end up, the ball landed in a open area with a great field of view on the goal. I planted my left foot in the damp soil and spun to drill the ball in the back of the net. As I rotated my left foot remained planted while the top half of my leg turned, I heard a pop as I kicked the ball which went wildly off course. I fell to the ground holding my knee. So ended my high school soccer career.

Over rotation is a word I’ve heard a lot in my first few weeks here at Citrix. When I hear the word it always brings me back to when I over rotated my knee. I did it to myself, I was overzealous and my execution inevitably ended in failure. A few years back Citrix also got overzealous ended up over rotating in a different way: we over rotated on VDI. This is not a secret whispered in the corners, this is at the forefront of every conversation I’ve had with the leadership of the Desktops and Apps team.

The over rotation occurred when Citrix aligned two markets, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and server-based computing (SBC), into one core architecture across the company. The reason for this decision is larger than over estimated forecasts from the likes of Gartner, a lot of people felt every year was the “Year of VDI”. Internally aligning the architecture meant better product life cycle, better scalability, better use of engineering resources, and it also helped Citrix address its Achilles heel in the competitive VDI market: complexity. The problem wasn’t that Citrix changed the architecture, the problem was we over rotated and SBC became a second class citizen to VDI.

No more! XenApp is back!

More to the point, XenApp the name is back. In fact, technically XenDesktop 7.x is XenApp 7.x, which means if you already deployed XenDesktop 7.x, pat yourself on the back, because your XenApp upgrade is complete.

The real story is that Citrix’s emphasis on XenApp, as a brand, is back. Reviving the brand is kind of like raising the flag on a battlefield; it’s the call to arms, it rallies the troops and sets the direction. XenApp is a brand to be proud of, it’s a rallying flag for engineers, executives, consultants, and partners to stand behind. If the flag stands then the product lives. I can assure you, the flag is standing high.

I’m happy to see us rotate back, seamless apps are more important now than any other time as BYO and other market trends force organizations to deliver corporate apps on unmanaged devices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a massive fan of VDI, rotating back doesn’t mean we rotate the other way and forget VDI. In fact since the software architecture that powers XenApp is the same as the architecture that powers XenDesktop whether a business chooses SBC or VDI, they will be choosing the same core code (albeit with different names). Ultimately our goal is to deliver the best user experience of your apps using whichever technology is best VDI, SBC, DaaS, or some future technology that hasn’t been developed. To deliver on that goal we’ve been working on a new approach, or a pivot, to this market, but more on that in my next blog.

Gunnar Berger
CTO, Desktop and Applications

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This blog is the first part of a series of blogs I will be writing about what’s happening inside the walls of Citrix. The thing about relationships is that to grow you have to admit your faults, the de emphasizing of the XenApp brand caused confusion. We need to own that and communicate where we are going from here. In my next blog I’ll be focusing on a pivot happening inside of the walls right now, it’s the technology that ultimately got me to leave my awesome job at Gartner and made me want to join what I think is the next phase of Citrix’s growth.