Yesterday at Citrix Synergy, a new management team introduced their vision for the future of Citrix, and the future of work. “Work is no longer a place you go, it is an activity and digital natives expect their workplace to be virtual and follow them wherever they go. They are pushing the boundaries of how they work,” said Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov in the Vision keynote.
Work is no longer a place you go, it is an activity.
Citrix executives touched on four basic changes to how they will deliver products and services and help people continue to push those boundaries. These include a new level of collaboration with Microsoft, a new intensity of focus on cloud-based apps, a unified secure digital workspace experience across a wider device portfolio, and an increasing depth in IT security.
Let’s look at each of these items in more detail.
First and foremost, there is a deeper relationship between Citrix and Microsoft, with heightened product development and integration of complementary products. Some of the fruits of this union were announced earlier in the year, but some are new to the show.
In April, customers could purchase Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop technology directly from the Azure Marketplace on a subscription basis. Since then, these apps have become two of the most popular downloads on the Marketplace. Second, XenDesktop Essentials was the first service for deploying Windows 10 in the cloud. Next, Citrix has virtualized Skype for Business, so that it can run on a variety of devices, including Google Chromebooks. This makes it easier for corporations who want to replace their legacy PBX phone systems with a more modern VDI solution. Next, NetScaler Unified Gateway has been integrated with Microsoft Intune’s security solution. This makes it easier for IT admins to create policy based access controls and VPNs to on-premises applications. Finally, there is the expanded ability for Citrix Receiver to now run on devices like Windows 10 Phone, Surface Pro and other Windows 10 S devices. This means that Win32 apps can run in these virtual sessions, expanding the versatility of the new devices. Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise Client & Mobility for Microsoft, demonstrated some of these key integration touchpoints on the Synergy stage.
The second major theme is that everything is moving to the cloud. “The cloud became an amazing enabler for everything else – in terms of agility, faster business transformation, and with new business scenarios. It changes the way we work and interact with each other,” said Kirill.“ Today Citrix builds cloud-first solutions.” Citrix has been a cloud-oriented company in the past, but they have been able to leverage some deep investments in worldwide infrastructure to have cloud solutions that enable IT to seamlessly deliver cloud and on-premises infrastructure. During his keynote, PJ Hough, SVP of product, calls it supporting “a hybrid and multi-cloud design point. This is the way many modern corporations have built their infrastructures.”
Next, Citrix introduced an enhanced secure digital workspace user experience, which unifies access and management of mobile, SaaS, web, and Windows apps and documents. Citrix Workspace includes single sign-on using any federated identity to give employees simple, secure access to a seamless, consistent experience on any device. Designed to be contextual, the secure digital workspace optimizes the experience and security measures based on location, device, identity, and other analytics. And in keeping with the Citrix commitment to optimizing performance on less capable devices, they continue to make investments in virtualized graphics and now support Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD virtual GPUs. Citrix also announced a XenServer 7.2 and other companion products in the Xen line yesterday as well.
Security is also vitally important and Citrix has beefed up its offerings to have a more thorough set of tools to protect the enterprise. “We are going to protect against a growing volume of cyber attacks and we are unveiling a wealth of technical innovations here at Synergy,” said Tatarinov. “We have become a new breed of security company that delivers proactive protection that works by default and doesn’t increase infrastructure complexity.” This includes the announcements mentioned above that include cloud-based security, but also extend to the lowly web browser itself with what they are calling the Citrix Secure Browser Essentials built on Azure. Coming in late 2017, this tool is a simple cloud-based offering for secure remote access to the Internet that isolates end user internet browsing from enterprise endpoints and networks, and is similar in intent to a number of secure browsing products from others.
We have become a new breed of security company that delivers proactive protection that works by default and doesn’t increase infrastructure complexity.
To support this direction in increased security features, Citrix announced Netscaler Management and Analytics System (MAS) v12. It adds a cloud-based web application gateway and real-time analytics with machine-learning and anomaly detection. This, along with other security enhancements, helps administrators proactively identify and rapidly troubleshoot application performance and security issues across the application infrastructure. In addition, Citrix will deliver a comprehensive Security Analytics SaaS offering later this year, and interested potential users can sign up here to get on the waiting list. This tool will work across all the Citrix product lines, not just Netscaler.
“It has been an absolutely fantastic year for Citrix,” says Hough. “We have delivered a great deal of products.”