Citrix Offers Peek At Mobile, Desktop Virtualization Roadmap

Citrix is preparing to release versions of its Receiver software for mobile devices including HP's webOS TouchPad tablet and Pre3 smartphone, RIM's Playbook and Motorola's Atrix. Citrix is also working with OEMs to get Receiver pre-installed on devices at the factory, and it's working with major notebook OEMs to pre-install XenClient desktop virtualization software, according to Tom Flink, vice president of worldwide channel and sales strategy.

"Our goal is to be available on every device that people will want to use," Flink told CRN this week.

In Citrix's view, companies need to respond to reality that employees aren't just bringing one consumer device to work today, but many. Flink says the "vast majority" of information workers are bringing smartphones, laptops and tablets into the office, and they want to be able to use all three to access corporate data and desktops.

The proliferation of mobile devices is something that Flink expects to drive a steady stream of business into the Citrix channel. "There's an opportunity here for our partners to have a business conversation with customers on how to provide this access and support users inside and outside the office," Flink said.

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Citrix later this year will unveil what Flink called "stunning HDX user experience breakthroughs." HDX is a technology that optimizes graphics and multimedia performance on virtual desktops and mobile devices, and it works with XenDesktop to provide a realistic desktop PC user experience.

On the server side, Citrix has an existing set of technologies that work with the Receiver client to optimize printing, audio, VoIP, Web and video traffic. Citrix also supports optimized rendering of Flash at the client and 3D enhancement technology that takes advantage of local and remote CPUs to reduce the impact of latency on the network, said Flink.

"There is always going to be a certain segment of industry alliances that will have overlap, but every time we get into any head-to-head competition, our user experience is a differentiator," Flink said.

Flink also touted the progress of Citrix's cloud computing partnerships. Citrix has XenServer hypervisor partnerships with both Amazon and Rackspace, and Citrix's OpenCloud initiative has a goal of bridging enterprise data centers with the public cloud, he said.

These partnerships are an example of Citrix's hybrid approach to the cloud, Flink said. "We see a big escalation of vendors pushing their own hypervisor and management stack. But people want to avoid being locked in," he said. "Customers are seeking openness and want to connect any data center to any cloud, and the hybrid model doesn't limit customer choice."

Citrix's industry partnerships with Cisco, HP, Dell, IBM, Fujitsu and other companies are evidence that the industry has confidence that the hybrid cloud will ultimately win out, Flink said. "The market has really opened up and the multi-vendor community embracing what we do."