Citrix Takes Aim At App Conflicts

At its iForum conference in Orlando, Fla., last week, Citrix briefed partners on an application-isolation feature planned for a future version of the MetaFrame platform that will eliminate many application conflicts.

David Jones, senior vice president of corporate development at Citrix, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., confirmed that application isolation is planned but offered no additional details. He said the feature may or may not make it into the next upgrade, MetaFrame 4.0, due in the first half of 2005.

MetaFrame imposes frustrating requirements on customers to run large server farms to avoid application incompatibilities. Customers cannot, for instance, run two different versions of Office or Access on the same server. MetaFrame also requires significant amounts of regression testing before adding or removing any application.

Jones said the intent is to ease some of these pain points and not step on the toes of key ISV partner Softricity, which develops an application virtualization platform called SoftGrid.

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"Our engineers feel we need to do it," Jones said. "As you expand your footprint, you tread on other people, so all we can do is give people early notice [on] where we're going."

Softricity countered quickly. David Greschler, vice president of corporate marketing at Softricity, Boston, claimed that the planned "application redirection" feature from Citrix will reduce some application incompatibilities but will do nothing to reduce regression testing.

Partners said Citrix has a long way to go to catch up with Softricity. "It's a very limited version and only an announcement right now," said a partner of both vendors. "This is a big issue. With Softricity, you can run 1,000 apps in one Citrix server today with no problem. Citrix would be challenged to get four or five per server. Softricity helps us to sell more Citrix."

At iForum, Citrix also said it licensed software from Aurema Technologies and RTO Software to maximize MetaFrame's use of a server's CPU and memory to reduce server sprawl.