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Citrix Is 'Going Mobile,' Opens XenDesktop 7, XenMobile To Any Device

The new Citrix XenDesktop 7 and Citrix XenMobile, both of which were demonstrated this week at Citrix Synergy, are targeted at businesses looking to make external and internal apps and data available to their mobile users using any type of mobile device.

Mark Templeton at Citrix Synergy

Citrix has zeroed in on the increasingly mobile workforce with several new technologies aimed at bringing the simplicity of consumer mobile applications into a secure, flexible business environment.

The company on Wednesday introduced multiple offerings that combine virtual desktop, virtual application and mobile application technologies to let businesses and their services and development partners build enterprise-ready applications for their increasingly mobile workforce.

Citrix President and CEO Mark Templeton drew several rounds of applause and cheers during his keynote presentation at the annual Citrix Synergy conference, held this week in Anaheim, Calif., when he and his team demonstrated several new mobile technologies.

[Related: Citrix Overhauls Channel Program, Increases Sales Requirements For Top Partners ]

The biggest applause came when Brad Peterson, identified as Citrix's "chief demo officer," demonstrated such new capabilities as running a YouTube flash video on a Microsoft Windows with an iPad Mini tablet.

He also showed Google Earth running in real time with full accelerated graphics on an Apple MacBook, one of five high-end graphics applications simultaneously running from the cloud, a feat which drew the comment "Oh my God" from one audience member.

The new technologies for running mobile applications in the cloud were enthusiastically welcomed by solution providers attending Citrix Synergy.

Everybody is looking at how to go mobile, said Garrick Williams, a systems engineer at CompuNet, a Meridian, Idaho-based IT infrastructure systems integrator and Citrix partner.

"To give customers the ability to segment their environments into business and personal uses, to bring secure browsers to their devices, all in a seamless way, that's going to be huge," Williams said.

While Citrix showed some high-end graphics applications running in the cloud, the fact that they were running on consumer mobile devices was the most impressive, said Kim Platt, strategic alliance manager at Sirius Computer Solutions, a San Antonio, Texas-based solution provider and Citrix partner.

"The cloud? They didn't really mention the cloud," Platt said. "It was the same thing we saw at the Intel partner conference in March. This year it's all about mobility, and about users choosing their own devices. It's all about users driving the technology."

Templeton officially opened the Synergy conference with his Wednesday morning keynote by coming on stage to the strains of "Going Mobile" by The Who.

"Citrix is going mobile," Templeton said.

NEXT: Citrix Is Going Mobile

Citrix's focus on going mobile stems from a number of key industry trends, including consumerization and the "bring-your-own-everything" movement, the new generation of business users who have grown up in a digital world, and the disruptions businesses face from teleworking, global expansion, off-shoring, reorganizations, and mergers and acquisitions, Citrix's Templeton said.

"These are disruptive," he said. "You need a strategy."

These kinds of strategies CIOs are using are contributing to the disruption, Templeton said.

For instance, the corporate strategy of one CIO Templeton said he talked to recently was summed up as DOS, or "Don't Own Stuff." Another CIO called his company's corporate strategy MAC, or "Move, Add and Change" to reflect the need for a flexible architecture.

"We believe there is one big strategy that ties this together: going mobile," he said.

Templeton drew his first loud round of applause with his introduction of the new Citrix XenDesktop 7, a new solution that unifies Microsoft Windows-based applications and desktops and delivers them as a service to any mobile device including iOS, Android, and Windows 8 tablet PCs and smartphones.

Citrix XenDesktop 7 was designed with simplicity in mind, with one single package to download, which can be installed in under 20 minutes with only eight mouse clicks, Templeton said.

It has only two consoles, the XenDesktop Studio for designing and building applications and the XenDesktop Director for monitoring and support.

Mary Thulen, licensing and renewal specialist at Sirius, said she was impressed at how quickly XenDesktop 7 can be installed.

"It seems there are a lot of things that can be done with one step," Thulen said. "A lot of customers have older versions of the applications. If we can get them to a new state quickly and they are then ready to go after that, great."

XenDesktop 7 has three primary manual tasks that need to be done only once, including workload provisioning, bulk application publishing and Windows application migration. Templeton said the solution can analyze a business' current applications and identify the applications that can be immediately migrated to XenDesktop 7 and those that need remediation before they are migrated.

Citrix XenDesktop 7 features the company's new HDX Mobile technology, which enables any Windows application to function intuitively and transparently on mobile devices.

HDX Mobile allows high-definition video to run on mobile devices even over 3G networks and offers a 100-percent boost in WAN efficiency. More important, Templeton said, is the support offered for native mobile device features such as smooth scrolling, gesturing, pop-up keyboards, GPS, sensors and cameras.

Also new is the HDX Mobile SDK (solution developers kit), which can be used to add a mobile front-end to existing Windows applications hosted on XenDesktop and XenApp. It automatically adjusts the user interface for whatever iOS, Android or Windows mobile device the user is using, Templeton said.

NEXT: Turning Windows Apps Into A Mobile Service

While Citrix's Templeton said that HDX Mobile is great for turning the typical Windows application into one that can be hosted as a service for mobile users, what is really needed is the ability to do the same with bandwidth-intensive applications such as virtualization, 3-D and big data.

To do so, Citrix on Wednesday also unveiled a partnership with Nvidia. Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO and co-founder of Nvidia, said his company is integrating Citrix virtualized application technology into its new "Kepler" GPUs and is integrating its Nvidia Grid vGPU with XenDesktop 7 to allow any Windows application to be available as a service.

Citrix's Peterson demonstrated the use of Adobe Photoshop running as a service on an iPad and how a photo could be manipulated with various filters in real time on the iPad's touchscreen.

"Photoshop was completely unchanged. ... [You're] using your finger to control Windows," Huang said.

Templeton, noting that Citrix has not forgotten its large installed base, also introduced XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2, which adds HDS 3D with GPU sharing, a new mobile SDK for Windows applications, support for Microsoft Lync 2013 and seamless local application integration.

Both Citrix XenDesktop 7 and XenDesktop 6.5 Feature Pack 2 are expected to be available in June, Templeton said.

Tony Berholt, head of finances and services at Xenit, a Sweden-based solution provider, called XenDesktop 7 a huge step in the right direction for Citrix.

XenDesktop 7 uses a single console to manage both shared and dedicated resources for hosted desktop users, significantly easing management issues, Berholt said.

"It's easier for customers when the two environments are combined," he said. "About 80 percent of users for most customers use shared infrastructures. But for some employees with special requirements or who use applications like 3-D, they can get access to dedicated desktop environments."

While Citrix XenDesktop 7 focuses on delivering Windows apps to mobile devices, the company also wants to add mobile user experience to the full gamut of enterprise applications, Templeton said. "Paying attention to the experience may be the most important part of all," he said.

To that end, Citrix on Wednesday introduced Citrix XenMobile Enterprise Edition, a solution for delivering mobile services to businesses.

NEXT: Citrix XenMobile Worx Technology

Citrix XenMobile makes it easy for a business user to register their mobile device for business use and then access mobile apps approved by their employers. It provisions security, applications and data as mobile apps and provides seamless integration of any Windows application, Citrix's Templeton said.

With Citrix XenMobile, Citrix also introduced Worx Mobile, a line of solutions tailored toward business mobile users. They include WorxEnroll, a self-service solution for registering personal devices for business use, and WorxHome, a solution for configuring mobile users and providing them with a mobile app store.

Citrix also introduced a number of Worx-enabled mobile apps including WorxMail for secure email, calendar and contacts; WorxWeb for secure Web browsing; its ShareFile secure document sharing, sync and editing application; GoToMeeting for online meetings; and GoToMyPC for secure remote access to a PC or Mac from a mobile device.

Templeton said Citrix has also signed up over 60 developers to deliver Worx-enabled apps.

Also new is Citrix MDX, a technology that allows customers complete management of security in their XenMobile environments.

Templeton said Citrix MDX provides a secure application container, a micro VPN for letting business users securely access internal corporate applications and data, an application-specific lock and wipe capability for remotely deleting business applications and data on users' devices, and inter-app communication.

"In the end, you get control of the apps, but users get the apps they want," he said.

Citrix's Peterson demonstrated XenMobile and MDX by showing how files could be uploaded into ShareFile, which then returned a link via email for access. He also used a mobile device to download a file, make changes, save the changes and then share the file. Peterson also used his mobile device to remotely access secured corporate data over a micro VPN.

For developers, Templeton said Citrix is providing Worx Apps SDK, a tool for turning almost any application into a mobile Worx-enabled application by just adding the line "MDXSDK/FunctionRename.h" into its code.

Such apps, when ready, can be sent to the corporate Worx App Gallery where they then become available for employees to use.

Citrix XenMobile is expected to launch in June.

Templeton also said that Citrix has opened up the Citrix NetScaler series of cloud networking, load balancing and security appliances to third-party services, making it possible for businesses to secure the access of corporate applications and data from any service from any location.

NEXT: Sirius Grows With Citrix

Platt said the Citrix practice of Sirius has boomed since Sirius' 2010 acquisition of MSI, which brought along a small Citrix business.

Citrix's expansion of the mobile business is a big opportunity for Sirius, Platt said

"It feels awesome to be part of the journey," she said. "MSI had a small Citrix practice, but Sirius didn't. But we grew it fast."

Fast indeed. Sirius is now one of 10 members of Citrix's national partner program, and at Citrix Synergy it was announced as Citrix Central Area Partner of the Year, Platt said. Sirius brought 16 people to the conference, including some of its VMware engineers looking to get exposure to Citrix.

Platt said XenDesktop 7 could help customers make the decision to look at how advanced mobile technologies might work for them.

"Customers who have deployed XenDesktop have already crossed the chasm," she said. "But for customers who have not yet done so, it takes a lot of energy for them to deploy. Think of a hospital. Now they have the ability to wipe mobile devices if a user leaves. It's exciting."

Adopting such technology can also be daunting for solution providers that have depended on hardware sales for a big part of their business.

But, she said, solution providers have to be ready for Templeton's DOS, or "Don't Own Stuff," she said. "We now have managed services capabilities on customer-owned and on shared equipment. It's a natural progression for customers to let us manage their equipment, but during a refresh project, maybe they can get rid of it."


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