Round Up from Citrix Synergy 2015

I’ve spent most of this week in Orlando, Florida attending the 2015 Citrix Global Partner Conference and Synergy event with approximately 12,000 Citrix partners and customers.  I’ve never written a blog about a specific Partner event before, usually allowing the industry journalists to publish the message. However there were a few topics that really resonated with me and the Workplace and Mobile arena, that I thought I’d put my own commentary around:

Citrix Workspace Cloud

Front and centre in the Day 1 keynote, and throughout the event was Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC).  This solution addresses the challenges caused by multiple platforms and silos of technology across the public and private cloud, each with its own tools for management and administration.  CWC addresses this by shifting the management control into the cloud, allowing your workloads and data to reside in whichever cloud is most appropriate, but yielding all of the benefits of centralised management, visibility and orchestration of all your resources.

CWC is in a “Test Drive” state at the moment, but expect lots more information about this over the coming months.

Octoblu and the Internet of Things

As a technologist, the most “interesting” thing I saw and heard about had to be the Octoblu project.  Citrix acquired this technology late in 2014, and very simply, it provides a Workflow approach for the management and integration of devices, systems and services across everything from traditional platforms to “things” (IOT).

The live demonstration in the Day 2 keynote showed the Citrix Workspace vision, a flexible working environment spanning a range of devices, each appropriate to a part of the users working needs.   Octoblu was used to support the user scenario, automating such tasks as dialling into voice conferences, saving and archiving meeting notes at the end of the call and then emailing out to all attendees as a record.  All pre-defined activities, with minimal to no user interaction

Now that makes an interesting demo for sure, but more excitingly, the potential opportunities here are massive, limited only by your imagination of which connected tools to use, and how to weave them together to deliver new solutions and streamline existing processes in the future digital world.

“Dynamic Containerisation”

In the same keynote as the Octoblu demo was a demonstration of a solution Citrix referred to as “Dynamic Containerisation”.    XenMobile, like many other mobility solutions uses a Mobile Application Management (MAM) framework to deliver and manage applications in a virtual “bubble” or container on a user’s devices.

The key challenge with the MAM market has been that you need to obtain the source files (IPA for iOS or APK for Android) so that you can “wrap” the App so that it operates securely within your enterprise container (the wrapping inserts code to provide enterprise security policies around the app).  The challenge has been getting access to these source files for many of the leading applications (Office for iPAD being a great and most notable example), which has meant the opportunities to exploit and integrate public mobile Apps in an enterprise context is severely limited.

The demo (clearly a proof of concept at this stage) showed a user downloading a public App from a published link in the Corporate App Store, which was then “dynamically wrapped” with the Citrix code (called MDX) to apply the containerisation policies.  Microsoft Lync was the App used for the demo, copy/paste between this “Public” App. and native applications (outside the corporate container) was prohibited, but was possible between other apps within the container (WorxNotes)

This is a very exciting development for the mobile area, so while the immediate focus of enquiry was “when will this be ready”, clearly it was just a proof of concept and there will no doubt be other not insignificant hurdles to overcome such as Licensing Agreements.  If these issues can be resolved, then this solution will become a very interesting proposition to many enterprises – the power and accessibility of c1m public apps, with the security and integration to enterprise IT controls – could you ask for more!?

And Finally, XenApp is here to stay

Following much confusion in recent times, one of the key themes of the event was in re-iterating Citrix’s support for the core technologies that have made them famous.  In recent releases, the XenApp brand was de-emphasised in favour of XenDesktop, which confused everybody, and ultimately led to an about turn and its quick re-introduction.

Mark Templeton and the rest of the Citrix executive used Synergy to re-iterate the commitment to the XenApp brand and technology, with a strong “We XenApp” message.  Throughout the event were several sessions showing the continued evolution of the core product range, with further enhancements such as in Lync support  – particularly for audio/video.  Very relevant for the modern, collaborative and cloud connected world.

 

This is very much a high level overview. There were many breakout sessions and lots of other content shared and discussed which I couldn’t possibly cover in any detail.  Overall it was a great see Citrix continuing to focus on their core solutions, but also exploring and developing a many emerging tools and capabilities to realise their vision.  I recommend that you observe the ongoing developments around CWC, Octoblu and the Mobile platform with interest, I certainly will be!

About Paul Bray

Paul is Computacenter’s Chief Technologist for Workplace and User Productivity

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