Citrix outlines strategy to deliver client services, web and desktop apps

Virtualization, optimization and streaming are the future for Citrix Systems Inc. The access technologies company used its annual iForum user conference in Las Vegas Monday to outline how the company views the future of the access market, and release a number of new products.

Citrix president and CEO Mark Templeton told the more than 3000 attendees that businesses need to take a holistic approach to access, and develop an access strategy just as they would a strategy around applications, and other areas of IT.

“Taking a strategic approach to access can have a profound impact on your business, (allowing you to be) more flexible, more agile, and run your IT services at lower cost,” said Templeton.

Citing stats from IDC, Templeton said while client server applications still make up the bulk of total applications, web applications are the fastest growing, and despite the application consolidation trend, the total number of applications IT managers need to deliver is still growing.

“It’s because there are new possibilities for computing systems today, with connectivity, new devices, web services and Web architecture,” said Templeton. “You’re dealing with a more heterogeneous set of applications when it comes to application delivery.”

To address this challenge, Citrix has broken the market down into three areas, client services, Web applications and desktop applications, and developed a product to deliver each category.

In the client server space, Templeton said the best approach is application virtualization, and here Citrix’s answer is their legacy product, Citrix Presentation Server 4.0.

On Monday, the company released a 64 bit version of the product that they say will allow each server to support three times the number of users. It can also co-exist with 32-bit technology, allowing users to migrate at their own pace.

“Citrix’s new 64-bit version of Presentation Server raises the bar by maximizing server performance and scalability, and in turn driving costs associated with application deployment and management to an absolute minimum,” said Scott Herren, Citrix’s group vice president and general manager, access management group. “It reflects our commitment to provide the most cost-efficient and comprehensive access to business information in any work scenario.”

Herren also gave attendees a peak at technologies Citrix is working on for Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn Server, as part of its Project Constellation.

The features include graphics acceleration to bring application virtualization to users of medical and mapping applications, on-demand system configuration, autonomic load management and session recording, and will make their way into Citrix products as add-ons and bundles in the coming years.

“It brings client server application virtualization to a whole new category of technologies and a whole new category of applications,” said Herren.

For Web applications Citrix has NetScaler, a hardware product it acquired through its acquisition last June of San Jose’s NetScaler Inc.

A hardware device that sits in front of the server, all traffic into and out of the server passes through NetScaler, which uses caching and compression to speed the traffic and offload work from the server.

At the conference, Citrix released NetScaler Application Switch Standard Edition, a version of the device designed for the small and medium-sized business market.

“It’s not just for the big guys anymore,” said NetScaler founder B.V. Jagadeesh, now group vice president and general manager of Citrix’s application networking group. “(NetScaler) is the only product on the market that delivers a best access experience for small and mid-sized enterprises, regardless of their application infrastructure.”

And on the desktop applications side, Citrix is looking to bring video streaming technology to desktop application delivery through Project Tarpon.

Templeton said a streaming model promises to eliminate application compatibility issues by delivering each application in an isolated environment.

Citrix also used iForum to release version 7 of GoToAssist, its product for providing remote access to technical support and professional services via the Internet. New features include a manager’s dashboard, expanded team management capabilities, and expanded integration APIs.

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