Not Just Desktop Virtualization

“Cloud is approaching the industrial revolution of its development. We are moving from a cottage industry (cloud industry now) to automated mass production,” Mark Templeton, CEO and president, Citix during his keynote speech at Citrix Synergy Barcelona 2012.

There was a time in the distant past where most of us in the IT media fraternity used to associate Citrix with thin clients. Much water has flown through all seven oceans till then and while no one talks about thin clients anymore, the common perception still associates Citrix with desktop virtualization.

Not just his keynote speech, even the statistics shared by Mark Templeton, CEO and president, Citix in an informal chat during the Summit was therefore an eye opener. In FY11, while 58% of Citrix revenues (worldwide) came from desktop virtualization, 20% came from cloud networking and 22% from social collaboration. And by 2015, the share from desktop virtualization is expected to reduce to less than half the overall pie. While this shows the process of maturity Citrix is undergoing, Templeton asserted the purpose of conferences like Citrix Synergy is ‘to move the perception’.

The Cloud Gameplan
While the revenue split shows where the buck is headed, the announcements during Synergy 2012 only reinforced them with Citrix unveiling the next stage of its strategy to help enterprises and service providers of all sizes deliver business-ready cloud services. The two words that summed this up were Project Avalon whereby Citrix planned to give customers a simple, pragmatic path to the cloud.

Mitch Parker, group VP and GM, Client Virtualization, Citrix elaborated on the benefits of this Project Avalon. Project Avalon will be delivered in two releases – code named Excalibur and Merlin. Excalibur will primarily focus on rich multimedia services on mobile devices and real-time analytics and service visibility for mobile workers. The Merlin release will allow customers to ‘mix-and-match’ different versions of Windows Server, XenDesktop and XenApp in a single hybrid cloud that spans across any mix of public and private cloud environments. And, yes, that means both Excalibur and Merlin will ensure tighter integration and a single unified management and vision for Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop.

Citrix also announced broad new support and momentum for Citrix CloudPlatform, powered by Apache CloudStack. This would provide further oxygen to CloudStack which already enjoys 30,000 open source community members worldwide, has partners including Alcatel-Lucent, CA Technologies, Cisco and NetApp, and boasts of customers like BT, China Telecom, EVRY, IDC Frontier, KDDI, KT, NTT Communications and Slovak Telecom.
As both Templeton and Parker reiterated, another critical part of their cloud gameplan is to make it easy for enterprises to connect their datacenters and private clouds to external, third-party cloud services. The answer here is Citrix CloudBridge and not surprisingly it has identified Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure as the two initial initiatives on this front. Citrix CloudBridge for Amazon Web Services will be available in November while CloudBridge for Azure will be available for tech preview in December.

Citrix also announced a new UXI analytics technology for Citrix ByteMobile, its recently acquired data and video optimization platform for mobile network operators to round up the cloud portfolio. This technology is being made available as an add-on license to the more than 130 mobile network operators in 60 countries using Citrix ByteMobile today to serve more than 2 billion subscribers around the world.

The Importance of Channels
Unless this increasing cloud focus makes one feel that Citrix business will move away from the channels, Tom Flink, VP Worldwide, channels and market development, Citrix assures that will not be the case. With 91% of of Cirix’s product sales happening through channels (the share goes up to 95% in Asia-Pacific) this though is on the expected lines. What Flink assures is that company’s proportion of direct sales will never exceed 12% and they ‘rely heavily on their two tiers of distribution partners’.

There are three points, informs Flink, which are high on the channel agenda. First, is to increase focus on growing license sales of XenApp, thereby reinforcing the traditional desktop virtualization business, especially in developing markets. The second is to grow the services capacity of the channel partners primarily through training programs. The six week Citrix Academy program for top tier SI partners have been launched this year to achieve this goal. And, third there will be more emphasis on joint campaigns, with announcements of more leads and rewards program acting as the icing on the cake.

Cisco and Citrix announced during Barcelona Synergy a significant expansion of their successful desktop virtualization partnership into three strategic areas of cloud networking, cloud orchestration, and mobile workstyles. The presence of Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, Cisco during Templeton’s keynote speech to announce this shows the importance both companies are attaching to this relationship.
The channel will play a key role to make this relation succeed. Under a joint Partner Accelerator Program, the two companies have already identified 50 partners worldwide (Dimension Data in India is one of them) who will take this forward. In fact, channel partners have increased their overall solution margin by as much as 25% by utilizing the resources in the Cisco and Citrix Partner Accelerator.

Citrix also has a joint channel program VAlliance with Microsoft; the fact that 90% of Cirix partners are also Microsoft partners helps, admits Flink. Not only they co-ordinate joint selling under this program, but there are provisions for joint branding, sales enablement of a joint solution as well as proofs of concepts and pilots are also supported through co-funded programs.

All about ME and My Mobility
Barcelona Synergy also saw Citrix giving customers the power to say an emphatic Yes to enterprise mobility. The starting point of the Citrix enterprise mobility strategy is Citrix Receiver,the company’s universal software client that supports more than three billion devices, including all major tablet, smartphone, laptop, Mac and PC platforms and will add support for new Windows 8 tablets and laptops as they come on the market.

To further extend its support of new consumer-style devices, Citrix also announced a new version of Citrix XenClient that provides virtual desktops to ultrabooks. “The combination of Citrix Receiver and XenClient offer a perfect starting point for companies looking to roll out Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs to employees” asserts Brett Caine, sr VP & GM, online services, Citrix.

For employees though, “mobile enterprise” is simply about “ME” at work and to address this key final piece of the puzzle, Citrix unveiled the new Citrix Me@Work mobile app family during Synergy 2012. This new family of core mobile apps will address the key functions required for end user mobility, “combining all the simplicity and user experience employees expect, with the security and control the business requires,” asserts Templeton.

Rajneesh De
(The author was hosted by Citrix in Barcelona)

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