ISVs Tackle Citrix Management Needs

Constellation technologies

During his iForum keynote, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton commented that Citrix is developing access infrastructure and application delivery models for the new world of distributed computing over the Internet. He noted, though, that the complexity imposes a management challenge for Citrix, as well as for customers and partners.

"You have an increasing number of applications to deal with and the mix is growing. A whole set of [application] architectures, multi-tiered client/server, Web applications, HTML, Web services, desktop applications, Win32 and Java -- all in the data center, desktop and data center," Templeton said. "This is the kind of landscape you face, and we need to deliver application infrastructure you need."

To that end, Citrix is designing "Kevlar" and "Iris" system health monitoring and management capabilities as part of its Constellation project for the Longhorn Server, due in 2007. The technologies will provide user experience monitoring, service level agreement monitoring, improved audit and compliance, hot updates and scaling, automatic load balancing, on-demand system configuration for continuous operations and system state management.

But those technologies won't be available for two to three years, executives acknowledged. Citrix needs ISV partners and service firms to extend and improve management for the current platform, executives said.

Sponsored post

"We can't do this alone," said Scott Herren, a group vice president at Citrix, adding that the company's software development kit and future platform extensions enable ISVs and partners to improve management of Citrix in heterogeneous environments.

At iForum, ISVs in droves jumped in -- including RTO Software, Visual Networks, Enteo Software, Reflectent, Apptimum and Ingenica. These ISV partners debuted products that offer end-to-end management, automated configuration management, monitoring, performance analysis, bandwidth optimization and migration needs for Citrix customers.

RTO Software, of Atlanta, for example, unveiled its RTO Optimization Console for managing the Citrix Memory Optimization Management capabilities in Presentation Server 4.0. RTO licensed that server performance optimization technology to Citrix for inclusion in version 4.0, which shipped earlier this year as part of Citrix Access Suite 4.0. The console gives partners and users additional memory optimization tuning capabilities not in the Citrix server, including optimization scheduling and history. The multi-server centralzied console is available at no cost for managing local servers and licensed for remote servers.

Visual Networks, of Rockville, Md., announced a new offering that gives administrators in-depth visibility into Citrix application traffic. enabling them to proactively monitor network performance.

Select Bandwidth Manager for Citrix Presentation Server, one module of Visual Networks' Visual Uptime Select suite, gives administrators in-depth visibility into published applications under Citrix's ICA protocol. This allows administrators and partners to identify bandwidth use on a per user and per application basis while also having an end to end view into all Citrix published applications and nonCitrix applications across the network, at local and remote sites. It will be available in early 2006. Pricing begins at $2,500 per site.

Others ISVs entered into the advanced management and monitoring market for Citrix server farms.

Enteo Software, Schaumberg, Ill., announced its first management suite for Citrix Presentation Server that simplifies and automates configuration management and centralized management for server farms and fat clients.

Enteo Management Suite for Citrix Presentation Server, which recently began shipping, offers secure change management, and creates a test environment in which administrators and partners can model how applications will behave in live Citrix situations. It also provides drag and drop procedures that make it easier to set up Citrix servers, and add new servers, users and applications to the environment, the company said.

"You can automatically maintain, configure and control Citrix servers," said Chuck Fritz, vice president of Americas for Enteo, based in Stuttgart, Germany. "In the past, people used the cookbook approach but resources started to strain after [imaging] seven servers."

Pricing starts at $42 per concurrent user, with volume discounts available. Enteo has traditionally sold direct but introduced at iForum this week a new channel program aimed at Citrix resellers.

Enteo also distributed at the conference a sales accelerator CD for Presentation Server that allows resellers to simply run an algorithm and install a Citrix server for customers in roughly 45 minutes. Typically, it takes between five to eight hours to build and install a Citrix server demonstration at a customer site, Fritz said.

Meanwhile, Reflectent Software also announced that it has extended its existing systems management software for Citrix Presentation Server that focuses on end users. The company's first EdgeSight for Citrix Presentation Server, a tool that monitors and diagnoses application and system performance issues associated with Citrix user sessions and associated servers, was officially announced on Oct. 3 and will ship in November, the Westford, Mass., company said.

With this tool, administrators install an agent on Citrix's ICA-based client and can access simultaneous views of the end user session and server activity. It will enable better resource management and capacity planning, and allow administrators and partners to quickly size up performance problems, executives said.

"The agent sits on the Citrix server and collects data about the server, memory, login time, session duration, number of active sessions and CPU and memory and makes it available on a per user session basis," said Howie Markson, vice president of product marketing at Reflectent. "If someone complains about performance, it knows which server your session are being served from, and looks up your session on that server."

The cost is roughly $200 per concurrent user. The EdgeSight for Citrix Server software is priced at $25,000. The company has traditionally sold direct but has taken on a select number of resellers and service partners, Markson said.

Other ISVs are targeting the growing base of Citrix servers being deployed at small and midsize companies and enterprises served by channel partners.

triCerat, of Columbia, Md., announced at iForum its own management suite, upgraded and integrated for Microsoft Terminal Server and Citrix Presentation Server 4.0. Simplify Suite 4.5, which is available now, includes Simplify Printing, Lockdown, Profiles and Resources modules.

The company's ScrewDrivers v4 driverless printing technology, for example, ensures full functioning printing on any printer, regardless of the application, and batch printing for enterprise customers. It also features SmartPrint, triCerat's zero configuration utility for universal client printing. The Lockdown utility allows IT administrators to prevent users from running unauthorized applications. A hardened triShell v2 utility replaces Windows Explorer.

The third module, Simplify Profiles, enables companies to build personalized user environments with a single point of control for registry administration. The final module, Simplify Resources, assumes control over the way Windows allocates and manages processing and memory resources. This allows administrators to increase the number of sessions that can be supported across farms, and provides realtime monitoring and reporting capabilities based on the WMI [Windows Management Instrumentation] format. SmartMonitors, new in the version 4.5 release, offers more graphically rich tools that can be accessed from the Simplify Module or over the Internet via SSL, triCerat said.

Ingenica, of Toronto, Ontario, announced ManageView, a fully hosted Windows or Citrix server monitoring tool for small and midsize businesses. Priced at roughly $75 per server per month, it collects server data such as server uptime, CPU memory and hard disk usage over Internet connections and graphically presents the information over the color-coded ManageView Dashboard.

Apptimum, based in Sunrise, Fla., announced Migrate CI, a program that fully automates server migration to the Citrix Access platform. The firm's rules-based Computing State Engine helps customers move applications to Citrix Presentation Server and the full Citrix Access Suite. It is available on a per server basis from the company and from select partners.

Additionally, Citrix hardware and software partner Wyse Technology introduced its latest thin client, Wyse S10, based on the recently released Wyse Thin OS Version 5.0. The new thin client supports multiple sessions with seamless windows, plug-and-play installation and configuration, stateless operation, and client imaging from a standard FTP server, the San Jose, Calif., company said.

Citrix itself announced its own Management Pack designed to ease management of Citrix servers within Microsoft Operations Manager 2005. The Presentation Server Management Pack for MOM 2005 enables joint customers to monitor, collect, filter and analyze data from Citrix Presentation 3.0 and 4.0 servers and server farms from within Microsoft's management and monitoring platform.