Citrix CEO David Henshall at Synergy 2018

Citrix Looks to Extend Footprint with Secure Digital Workspace App

The new Citrix Workspace app will give partners a chance to provide a cloud-based secure unified UX for access to desktop, virtual and SaaS apps from most major device types.

(Pictured above: Citrix CEO David Henshall on stage at Citrix Synergy in Anaheim, California, May 8, 2018.)

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CITRIX SYNERGY — Marking a key expansion in the way it delivers its core VDI, virtual apps, mobility and networking products, Citrix Systems will offer them collectively as a unified secure digital workspace solution in the coming months.

The new Citrix Workspace app will extend the end-user computing environment by providing unified virtual access to traditional enterprise applications, files and data, and modern SaaS, mobile and  HTML5 apps. Delivered in a new secure digital browser developed by Citrix, partners will be able to offer a modern, virtual user experience (UX), providing unified authentication and access to the entire work environment tapping the Citrix Cloud.

It initially will arrive for Windows PCs, but the Citrix Workspace app will provide virtual desktop and apps to Macs, Linux-based clients and mobile environments including Android, iOS and Chromebooks. The company introduced the Citrix Workspace app at its annual Citrix Synergy technology conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Citrix Workspace app seeks to address modern work environments with its secure digital UX from any number of devices. It provides policy-based access to enterprise data and unified management of SaaS solutions. Citrix Workspace app better positions the company to go head-to-head with VMware, which last year extended its Workspace ONE with a similar approach.  

It’s the broadest effort yet by the company to bring its customer to the Citrix Cloud, a global public cloud that runs in Microsoft Azure but provides multicloud management and integration with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Oracle Cloud, and others.

As the company aims to bring in more than half of its revenue from the Citrix Cloud by 2020, it will require a major boost from its partners to achieve that shift. The company hasn’t broken out its cloud revenues, but they primarily still come from on-premises. Officials said many customers are looking to move workloads online.

Citrix also is betting it will give partners the strongest opportunity yet to bring a larger percentage of seats under management. More workers require access to data from the field using a more diverse number of systems and devices — with the aim of achieving higher productivity. The company believes the workspace app could be broadly used throughout organizations, not just by the pockets of workers who typically use Citrix virtual workspaces today.

“This is the world’s first unified digital workspace for business, with features that are focused on making your teams much more productive,” said David Henshall, Citrix’s CEO, speaking in the opening keynote session of the Synergy conference. “To make this possible, we brought together one way to access all of your information, your apps and your content, SaaS, web, mobile and those that are virtual — one thoughtful experience across your devices, one that is dynamic and adaptive, based on analytics and the secure digital perimeter. The result is everything you need to be productive in one single unified experience.”

While Citrix has offered its Workspace tied to its Xen Desktop, XenApp, XenMobile and Receiver offerings, the new Workspace App natively brings the functions of those offerings as a secure browser app to various devices and provides search and secure access to content with ShareFile. It gives workers single sign-on via Azure Active Directory or any identity and access providers from the likes of third parties such as Okta, Ping Identity and others to bring their SaaS content and files on servers or in other cloud accounts.

It provides “one thoughtful experience across your devices, one that is dynamic and adaptive, based on analytics and the secure digital perimeter,” Henshall said. “The result is everything you need to be productive in one single unified experience.”

Analysts said this was a much-needed shift for Citrix, which for years has been under pressure by investors to grow its reach.

“They are finally taking the components they had and [are] putting [them] together in a more integrated fashion,” said research analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates. “Instead of Citrix continuing to be an IT components supplier, they are becoming a solutions provider.”

Jack Gold

Gold, who researches enterprise mobility trends, said channel partners and cloud service providers should welcome this new solution.

“In the past, Citrix partners made a good living integrating their stuff, but in a world where more and more companies are looking at software as a service and cloud-based services and the like, they don’t want a whole lot of infrastructure-integration stuff,” Gold said.

Partners hearing about the new Citrix Workspace app were encouraged by the opportunity to extend the installed base and address modern work environments.

“They are bringing together applications, desktops, and files and everything together in one place, so users can get access more easily,” said Hemanth Golla, unified workspace manager at Cognizant, a Citrix partner, in an interview from the conference exhibit hall. “It brings everything together into one place, so users don’t have to go through three different systems to access their resources.”

Hemanth Golla

In addition to the new Citrix Workspace app, the company announced:

  • Citrix Analytics service for providing perimeter security by gathering behavioral telemetry from the Citrix portfolio
  • Citrix Access Control (CAC): Using the recently announced Citrix Gateway service, which offers single sign-on (SSO) to SaaS, web and Citrix virtual applications using multifactor authentication and telemetry from the new Citrix analytics service, it provides more granular policy controls for access to apps, data and services.
  • Planned support for Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Management Infrastructure (RDmi), the next generation RDS platform for Azure, and for Windows Server 2019 upon release to provide virtualized apps with XenApp.

The company hasn’t broken out specifics on pricing and configuration options for the new Citrix Workspace app, but executives emphasized that everything revealed will arrive within the next calendar quarter.

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