Citrix Presents Partners With Rebranded Cloud Platform At Citrix Summit

On the final day of this week's Citrix Summit in Las Vegas, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton demonstrated for the company's channel partners the rebranded version of an upcoming cloud platform that will empower them to quickly create, deploy and manage secure virtual environments for business customers.

Citrix Workspace Cloud is a platform for delivering apps, data and desktops onto any device through the web browser. The cloud-based control plane allows administrators to select the services end users can access from on-premises data centers or private and public clouds, and offers complete application and mobility management.

Citrix first unveiled the product at last year's Synergy conference under the name Workspace Services. Since then, the platform has been rebranded to more accurately reflect its function.

[Related: Citrix Unveils Cloud Platform For Rapid Desktop Deployment]

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"Some of you came to Synergy in May and saw us at the end of the keynote talk about what's next, where are we going, what's around the bend from the customer point of view," Templeton said in introducing Workspace Cloud.

Summit, he said, presented an opportunity to talk about the new product from a partner point of view.

Workspace Cloud "represents probably a five-year journey," Templeton said, adding, "it is the future, how we will work together, how we will make the software available."

The platform should enable solution providers to spend more time adding value and creating positive business and human outcomes for their customers, he told attendees.

NEXT: A Hybrid Solution

To help him demonstrate its functionality, Templeton introduced to the stage Mitch Parker, vice president and general manager of cloud services, who told attendees Citrix has made a log of progress since Synergy in building out the product.

The rebranding hasn't delayed the release schedule or changed how the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based software company envisions enterprises will use the platform to offer their employees secure virtual workspaces that can be accessed from any location and any device.

The first step in deploying Workspace Cloud is to choose the right cloud or data center on which to host services, Templeton said.

The platform supports most public clouds, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and Cisco's cloud ecosystem, and works with just about any hypervisor running in a private data center. The choice of the right hosting environment depends on many different factors, including price to investments already made to SLAs to data sovereignty, Templeton said.

Workspace Cloud offers a Lifecycle Management service that brings tools to builders, and a feature called Edge Service that allows administrators to manage a local active directory before accessing cloud resources. It also offers different desktop components and styles.

The product, to be released sometime in 2015, represents the company's long-term vision and short-term strategy, according to Parker.

"We've been building a great user experience for 25 years. Everything we built for those 25 years is reflected here. Everything we've built in the last six months is reflected here," Parker told attendees.

Workspace Cloud creates opportunities for Citrix's channel to close bigger deals by cross-selling the platform with other service offerings, Templeton said, adding, "this is how we are going to operate going forward more and more."

"We know cloud services, and this whole architecture around a control plane and resource zones is an architecture that allows customers to move to the cloud step by step by step," the CEO told attendees.

Two Citrix partners who spoke to CRN after seeing the demo said they knew there was demand for such a product in the market because they had already custom-built similar solutions for their customers on top of Citrix's technology.

Michael Hogan, president and CTO of Chesterton, Ind.-based Hogan Consulting Group, told CRN, "We came up with a similar product ourselves that we designed as an on-premise solution for small-business customers who were not born in the cloud, and may have a hard time grasping it."

But Workspace Cloud now offers an opportunity to complement the Hogan Consulting platform.

"I'm very, very interested in what they're going to do. It looks right now that it is something that we can either brand ourselves, or just leverage to facilitate quick deployments into a cloud or into a company's private cloud," Hogan told CRN.

Janne Väliahdet, lead architect at Fujitsu Finland, a Citrix go-to-market partner, told CRN, "We have our own way of kind of doing our cloud solution. But I think the new Workspace Cloud looks promising and we should consider a way to do that in the future. Maybe move some of our current customers to Workspace Cloud," Väliahdet said.

Tommi Rinnemaa, director of strategic development at Fujitsu Finland, added, "any customer now is interested in moving from the traditional solutions to something new. And, obviously, Citrix has done a great job of creating new kinds of technology elements for the market. We're happy to utilize those technologies to create something new. Market change has already happened, but we need to be capable of training and educating our customers."