Citrix builds a platform to the stars

ATLANTA – Citrix Systems is heading into a low orbit. Literally. Its hypervisors will ride into space aboard Vector GalacticSky‘s microsatellites to power software defined reprogrammable payloads. That allows the satellites to be repurposed or updated while they’re in orbit, instead of turning into space junk when their primary task is fulfilled.

Microsatellites mounted for launch.

That is just one of the applications that one would not expect from a company whose claim to fame over the past 30 years was VDI. Today’s Citrix is repositioning itself as a platform company, giving equal weight to its Intelligent Workspace, networking, and analytics. And the evolution in focus was never more obvious than at the company’s annual conference, Citrix Synergy.

“I hope people are starting to see and appreciate the focus that the company has had over the past few years of really trying to integrate our solutions, and bring solutions and platforms and products, and features,” said Calvin Hsu, vice-president of product marketing. “Where before we would say, ‘Okay, here’s the virtual app section, here’s the mobility section, here’s the networking section, that didn’t exist anywhere’ (in this year’s keynotes). We would talk a little bit about Workspace and we say, ‘Well, of course, you need to connect it, you know, to a cloud. And so here’s a networking piece of it.’ And that’s by design.”

Citrix Intelligent Workspace.

Intelligent Workspace is the new iteration of Citrix Workspace showcased at the conference. It will ship by year end. As the name suggests, it adds smarts to the Citrix Workspace, adding a Facebook-like feed of tasks to be completed to let users get work done more easily. The premise is that, through little programs called microapps, specific tasks in larger software packages can be executed without having to pop into the parent application, increasing productivity and reducing distractions. CEO David Henshall told the 5,000 attendees that Citrix’s internal goal for Intelligent Workspace is to give users back one day per week in productivity improvements.

Citrix will ship integrations to over 150 enterprise applications out-of-the-box, including Salesforce, Workday, SAP Ariba and SAP Concur, ServiceNow, Microsoft Outlook and G Suite, and more than 100 microapps for popular services. With the help of machine learning, the Intelligent Workspace will prioritize task feeds for each user. And if the appropriate integrations and microapps aren’t available, customers and partners will be able to build their own.

“I’m a platform guy,” noted executive vice-president and chief product officer PJ Hough. “One thing you have to do when you build a platform is you have to leave the door open for people to build on the platform. You have to give them the tools, you have to build the trust that you’re going to support them on your APIs for a very long time. Because hopefully they build businesses that are as valuable as yours on your platform. In fact, that’s the whole idea. So we’re not building the Workspace as an app, we’re building it as a platform.”

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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree.

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