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Citrix – mobility and the XenApp relaunch

I recently returned from the Citrix Partner get-together in Orlando. Nothing like a little winter sun and IT to distract you from the floods!

Citrix is of course renowned for their remote desktop working software which has been around in various guises for 20 years. It works very well but has in the past been a bit of a fall guy for the failings of any other piece of software, such as faulty internet connections, spyware filled desktops and pretty much anything else in IT.

The message to be learnt from the conference was mobility; allowing people to work from any location on any device. And, what is clear is that Citrix have invested heavily in expanding their product set to enable this ‘work anywhere’ strategy. We have used various Citrix products for some time, such as their excellent NetScaler networking kit and ShareFile secure file sharing tech. However, the Citrix product suite now extends far beyond this and is impressive to see.

Of course, the big challenge when acquiring companies is the integration between the products themselves. Microsoft have taken some time to stitch together Lync, Yammer, Sharepoint and Office for 365, and there is still some work to do there. In Citrix’s case, a good few of the products already work well together, including XenMobile, NetScaler and ShareFile, and it’s this level of integration combined with the breadth of the offering that makes the Citrix strategy an interesting one for us, and our clients.

Other big news at the conference was the XenApp relaunch. It was announced that 6.5 would be the last XenApp version, but we learnt in January that a new XenApp 7.5 would rise up. In actual fact, version 7.5 is more of a branding exercise than a new product, incorporating features that were in 6.5 but not yet available via the new XenDesktop FMA (on which version 7 is based). A licensing file will switch on the XenApp functionality. Currently there is still no upgrade path from XenApp 6.5 to the new version 7/7.5 architecture but we are told this may come later.

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