Citrix Unveils Suite Upgrade, Plans SMB Offering

Citrix Access Suite 4.0, developed under the code name Colorado, is a major upgrade of the company's formerly named MetaFrame access suite.

The suite's Presentation Server 4.0 supports more than 1,000 servers in a single server farm. It offers proximity printing, 400 percent faster printing and built-in conferencing. And it includes the Citrix Access Gateway SSL VPN and Citrix Password Manager. The new suite also delivers enhanced Smoothroaming capabilities and SmartAccess features, which automatically detect computing environments.

At the launch event in New York, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton said the company plans to drive sales deeper into vertical markets and specific customer segments with an enhanced co-engagement channel model. Citrix plans to fine-tune the multichannel strategy by providing products to partners tailored for their various customers bases, thus reducing the chance for conflict.

Templeton told CRN that the forthcoming access products for small-business and midmarket customers will be launched this fall. In addition to the small-business suite, Citrix plans to engage IBM and HP in co-selling deals with solutions based on the suite.

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On Tuesday, David Jones, vice president of business alliances at Citrix, announced a formal relationship with IBM to help it deliver services and solutions based on Access Suite 4.0. He said that five out of Citrix's last 10 largest customer wins stemmed from IGS, and Citrix is creating project offices--called Citrix Knowledge Centers--to assist IBM on deals.

Executives said the lines are in the sand to protect large systems integrators and channel partners, for the most part. "We haven't seen any, but it's possible," said John Burris, senior vice president of worldwide sales and service at Citrix. "The idea is to eliminate that as much as possible."

Templeton and Burris said there was always the possibility for overlap and some conflict between the channels, but they expect problems to be minimal since the channels--and their respective product offerings--will target different segments of the market.

"It's only six project offices," Templeton said. "The kind of projects IBM gets involved in, I don't think a clear-thinking local or regional Citrix integrator would be interested in."

As it pushes deeper into the enterprise, Citrix also is expanding its relationship with HP. Citrix said its Citrix Password Manager will be combined with the HP OpenView Identity and Access Management suite as part of the new agreement. In addition, Citrix and HP announced plans for joint development on future products.

One Wall Street analyst said Citrix has done a good job executing a balanced channel strategy as it prepares to launch Access Suite 4.0 into the marketplace. Citrix's biggest challenge, as it strives to reach the $1 billion in sales by 2006, is achieving a critical mass of users, he said.

"They're reinventing themselves and have stayed dedicated to the channel, unwavering in putting this structure together," said John Rizzuto, director of software equity research for Lazard Freres, during a roundtable discussion at the event, held at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York. "The partnership with IBM will make the size of the pie bigger instead of IBM taking a bigger piece of the pie."

While some channel partners expressed concern about the closer involvement of HP and IBM in Citrix's business, at least one Citrix platinum partner said that co-selling opportunities for additional products such as the SSL VPN and planned channel incentives for Citrix Online products open up opportunities for the channel.

"Citrix has fostered an active ecosystem with Microsoft, Dell, IBM and others, and as a result we are sought out to join their channel programs," said Tom Flink, president of the central region of MTM, a Citrix Platinum partner.