Citrix Focuses On Secure Access

As part of its strategy, Citrix has extended its MetaFrame brand to all of its products, which now fall under the umbrella name Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite.

"Part of our job to continue growing is to lead customers where they want to go, and where they want to go is the on-demand enterprise," said Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "That on-demand enterprise is an enterprise that can very, very cost-effectively deliver business resources anywhere, anytime, anyplace to anyone," Templeton said.

Speaking at the Citrix press conference in New York Tuesday, Scot Hillier, vice president of DataLan, a solution provider based in White Plains, N.Y., said the new offerings from Citrix will allow him for the first time to customize solutions for each customer across multiple vertical markets.

"The channel is very excited about the Citrix Access suite. It allows us to go to customers who are not existing Citrix customers and give them a reason to invest in Citrix," he said. "Another key thing here is that Citrix trusts the channel to market this."

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As previously reported in CRN, the suite includes MetaFrame Secure Access Manager 2.0, the next version of the product formerly named NFuse Elite. Originally marketed as an access portal, the new product is positioned as a security play with the combination of user authentication and added traffic encryption capabilities through integration with the latest iteration of Citrix's Secure Gateway technology.

Citrix Secure Gateway is a free component of MetaFrame that encrypts traffic running on the vendor's ICA protocol. The latest version now provides SSL/TSL-encryption for HTTP traffic as well.

With the added security features, Secure Access Manager provides secure access through the Internet to virtually any application or information resource without the need for a VPN, Citrix said.

Solution providers said the new offering could position Citrix as a competitor to security vendors.

"Now there's something from Citrix that allows you to open up a Secure Socket Layer and delivering certain types of information so that you're not opening up a port to your network," said Shawn Patterson, vice president of business development at Vector ESP, a Houston-based solution provider.

In addition to Secure Access Manager, the MetaFrame Access Suite also includes MetaFrame XP Presentation Server Feature Release 3, MetaFrame Presentation Server 1.2 for Unix, and two other new products: MetaFrame Conferencing Manager, formerly known by the code name Project Pearl, and MetaFrame Password Manager, formerly Project Bimini.

Conferencing Manager enables distributed users to set up meetings through Microsoft Outlook and collaborate simultaneously on applications and documents.

Password Manager provides universal password security and single sign-on access to Windows, Web, proprietary and host-based applications running within the MetaFrame environment.

The MetaFrame Access Suite is scheduled for availability in the second quarter. Secure Access Manager will be available at an introductory price of $109 per concurrent user. Pricing for other products was not released.

Ross Brown, Citrix vice president of business planning, said channel programs for the new suite are already in place. But the company does plan to add an agent program in the near future to help stimulate sales.

"The channel programs we revised in the fourth quarter were really baby steps. The next step is to create an agency model on the volume licensing side," he said.