There has been alot of buzz on Citrix lately with the sale of the Goto brand, and stating that they are going back to their “Core” of their products, also stating that their main strategy is cloud first. Now there has been alot of new features / products being announced / added over the last 6 months. They now even have a roadmap showing when new releases will be coming to the market
* XenApp Essentials ( Azure only desktop/app deliery)
* Windows 10 on Azure (Azure only Windows 10 VDI)
* Buying Norskale (User enviroment management)
* Buying Unidesk ( Application layering)
* Integration between NetScaler and Intune / AzureAD
* Multiple new releases 7.12 & 7.13
* Write-back cache for Azure MCS deployment
* New adaptive transport protocol EDT (To is better to tackle cloud scenarioes where latency is often higher)
* Authentication support for AzureAD
* Hybrid Use benefits with Azure
* Smart Tools to enable integration against Azure, AWS (Smart Scale)
* SD-WAN announced for Azure
* NetScaler Gateway-as-a-service
* Announced Managed Citrix Receiver for Intune
* NetScaler MAS Hybrid Management (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwYhlkrJaPE)
So when Citrix announced their strategic partnership with Microsoft, I did not expect it to be at this scale. With multiple acquisitions to help them strenghten their core product portfolio, with for instance Unidesk which provides support for both on-premises deployments and support for Azure, we can clearly see which vendor, Citrix is betting on.
And it of course opens up for a lot of options when it comes to designing solutions running on Microsoft Azure. For instance utilizing SD-WAN capabilities to ensure optimal routing paths for ICA sessions and then using Adaptive Transport to utilize UDP as transport to have optimal connections in cloud scenarios were latency is often higher then average. Now adding to the mix that Citrix can now provision Azure VM’s using MCS with write-back one can only guess how Unidesk is going to be added to the mix as well, to have a single consistent way of handling OS, Applications and User profile settings.
This of course can be setup in a fully managed enviroment or leaving more of the control over to Citrix for instance using XenApp Essentials or just using Citrix Cloud in general to leave some of the management to Citrix.
I do belive that Citrix is moving toward the right path, there is a lot of innovation happening now and further enhancements to existing products. Even though it might be a bit foggy at the current time, with alot of renaming and product mixing and acquisitions think we might need some time for the fog to clear so we can see it properly.
Also maybe Citrix should looking into the Cloud Access Security Broker as well? Since one of their core features are delivering Secure apps and desktops, and since many applications are now moving away from regular Windows based applications and moving more into web based applications having a way to securely manage web applications using rules in addition to Windows desktops would be a smart move going ahead with their cloud strategy.