Key Announcements from Citrix Synergy 2014 – Part 1

By Randy Becker, Enterprise Architect, Solutions


Citrix Synergy was held this past week in Anaheim California, and as always it was a great event.  For those of you who could not attend, I will provide a recap of the week’s events in a two part blog series. 

Tuesday morning the event kicked-off with a live band called iBand. Here’s small sample of Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi using iPads! It was actually pretty amazing!  This was followed by Mark Templeton (CEO) opening the conference. Mark got a standing ovation. Given the public announcement of his intention to retire within the next year, I think most of us realized this will be Marks last Synergy.  Mark seemed very touched and got emotional several times during his key note. He said that they had 10,000 attendees (I believe that included online viewers as well as people attending in person). Citrix is celebrating 25 years this year. They did a quick review of the products that were the foundation of Citrix.  Mark continued with some of last year’s themes including DOS = “Don’t own stuff,” “Don’t own Servers,” and work is not a place, it’s a thing we do. 

They performed a demo using a Chromebook with HTML5 showing access to your applications without any required software. This has been around for a while, but there seems to be a new emphasis, maybe to show the differences with the competition. The new Citrix Receiver “X1” was also announced using HTML 5.  I instantly thought of the Comcast XFINITY X1 commercial with Jimmy Fallon imitating Arnold Schwarzenegger. The new receiver will fully integrate your workspace into a single interface. They showed how businesses can perform their own automations and branding.  WorxNotes was announced, which integrates into XenMobile and seems to be a corporate version of Evernote. There will obviously be some good integration points, and I’m sure that security will be a key push for this.  Organizations generally seem a bit nervous about storing company data, including notes, in the cloud without any real control. 

Several other notable announcements included XenMobile 9, NetScaler 10.5, a View Rescue Program, and Workspace Services. This looks very exciting. Workspace Services will allow for the Design and Build of your XenDesktop/XenApp environment on premises or in Microsoft Azure Cloud. Below is a more detailed breakdown around some of the product announcements that came out of the event. 

XenMobile 9 and Worx Mobile Apps

XenMobile 9 will provide full support for Windows 8 phones and will be able to run WorxMail and the WorxWeb Applications.  Citrix is continuing to lead the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) market with their application wrapping technologies in the Mobile Application Management (MAM) space and they are continuing to expand their partnership with companies that produce the Worx application.  Capriza was the Mobility Ecossystem Winner this year, with a Citrix Ready Worx verified app that enables the development, distribution and management of lightweight enterprise mobile apps for existing business applications. Citrix is proving to be the visionary in this space. During the keynote, Citrix demonstrated WorxDesktop. This is a way to remotely access your remote desktop.  You can browse as well as access and edit files on the remote computer, and it seems to be OS independent.  At first glance this appears to be better than GoToMyPC. I can see a number of use cases for WorxDesktop!  If you haven’t seen WorxMail you should check-out this quick demo.  Anyone that is on the road a lot will love these built-in features in your calendar invite, Join Meeting, Dial In and, my personal favorite, Running Late (single click emails everyone to let you know you are running late).  If you haven’t seen the YouTube of “A Conference Call in Real Life” you have to check it out (it has over 7 million views).  It’s laugh out loud funny that everyone can relate to and these new announcements from Citrix may help with some of these common issues!

Workspace Suite

Citrix Workspace Suite was announced as well. This is just a license bundle which includes XenDesktop, XenApp, ShareFile, and XenMobile. There are some enticing programs to get customers into this licensing model.  Check out the following link for more info and a nice overview and comparison of features.

Citrix Workspace Services

Citrix Workspace Services is a cloud based Desktop as a Service (DaaS) model that leverages the Citrix Platform.  This is the kind of architecture that I like, as the control and data planes can be split.  Microsoft Azure will host the control plane (deliver controllers, AD, etc.), but the actual desktops can be deployed back to on premise infrastructure or any number of public cloud providers so you’re not 100% locked into using Azure.  More info can be found here. 

Workspace Services allows you to design, deploy and manage Workspace Services (Software Defined Workspaces). This looks amazing and will allow for deployment to on-premises and cloud based infrastructure.  I can see how this will benefit customers directly, and also the partner community, for easier deployments utilizing the back-end fabric provided by Citrix to ensure best practice deployments. 

The second part of this series will cover news and announcements around Intel Iris Pro Graphics, XenServer with 64-Bit, XenDesktop 7.5, XenApp 7.5, and NetScaler 10.5. Stay tuned!


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