My preview of Citrix Synergy 2014 a few weeks back highlighted the ever growing focus on mobility and data sharing that was certain to be a big topic this year. Following on from the purchases of Zenprise and ShareFile, Citrix have finally got to grips with integrating these products into the brand and with NetScaler and XenApp/Desktop – which have also seen several enhancements. So off to LA on a long Virgin Atlantic flight for a few days.
The first day keynote from CEO Mark Templeton was a stirring opening. Some great use cases for Citrix Cloud services (BT) and AutoDesk winning the heralded Innovation award. “Autodesk??” you say.. “The 3D CAD people?” Yes Sir! That’s the one.
Above, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton
An emotional speech at times, with Mr Templeton due to stand down this year – there were certainly a few teary eyes among the crowd. His successor may not have been announced just yet, but his parting words “Leave it better than you found it” will certainly be remembered.
The main Expo hall had plenty to see and do with many great products from numerous partners. We spent a good bit of time at the CA Nimsoft stand and got a great demo of their monitoring tools for XenApp and XenDesktop.
A welcome product update due in Q3 is the latest Citrix Receiver X1. For anyone using Worx Home for XenMobile – this is will integrate the on-boarding and corporate app store features of app Controller with a built in Citrix Receiver client. No more having to configure two clients, one with dummy settings to avoid the prompts etc.
Other new features include easy branding for your app store. This was previously very tricky to do on StoreFront with hardly any on mobile devices. The new X1 will allow you to add corporate logo and colour schemes to your heart’s desire.
Another key announcement was Citrix Workspace Suite. This suite bundles XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile and ShareFile into one customer license for $450 per user. This is said to represent a saving of some 70% on purchasing the individual products. That’s a lot of product for your $ or £.
Back to mobility. Several really nice tools will be out soon for mobile devices including Worx Desktop which connects back to your PC and gives seamless access to documents. Worx Notes, a simple note taking utility that will give you access to save a quick note back to ShareFile or your corporate folders. ShareFile has shipped over 1,000,000 licenses in the past year and can now hook into GoToMeeting and other cloud storage services.
XenDesktop and XenApp have had some major enhancements to HDX with the addition of Adaptive H.264 encoding, double the speed frame refreshing on 3G connections, a reported 100% increase in bandwidth efficiency across a WAN for video quality and 10x reduced bit rate for HD video on low speed connections. Citrix certainly are not taking the foot of the gas on the virtual desktop front.
Putting all this together in a cloud infrastructure sounds daunting – or great fun if you’re a techie! To help with all that hosting Citrix now have WorkSpace Services. You can start from the bottom and use an automated tool called “Design and Automation” to build it all. Ideally a platform for service providers – it sure looks impressive on the demo.
Of course to access all of this you need the Citrix Receiver and apart from the X1 release, new HTLM5, MAC and Chrome book versions are able to provide even better user experience with added support for USB3, flash, webcams and Microsoft Lync enhancements for Linux and iOS devices.
There’s lots more over on Citrix TV and YouTube – for now, here are a few links to the key topics and announcements.
AutoDesk Innovation Winner:
Receiver on Chrome:
What’s New in XenDesktop and Xenapp:
WorkSpace Services – Design and Automation:
Securing Mobile Devices – Use Case: