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Citrix reveals its Workspace Cloud ADaaS play

That's application delivery as-a-service in case you don't know your aas from your elbow

Citrix has kicked off its Synergy shindig with a preview of its new Citrix Workspace Cloud, an application and desktop delivery tool it's billing as “a new control plane that merges the worlds of on-premises and cloud, allowing IT managers to create secure, mobile workspaces that include desktops, applications and data from whatever infrastructure source best meets their specific needs.”

Citrix has gone for the Big Bright User Interface that's so in vogue for enterprise tools these days (see top of story or here for mobile users). Don't let the pastels fool you: the tool allows creation and dispersal of apps, desktops, control of Citrix's ShareFile in-house Dropbox clone and XenMobile's mobile device management functions.

The company's promising the usual run-it-where-you-want-it arrangements we've come to expect from those who have decided hybrid cloud is the way to get stuff done.

Netscaler appliances take on an even larger role in Citrix's new imaginings, as they've been pumped up with federated identity tools that aren't quite a VPN but do more or less the same job. The idea is that the Netscaler will wrangle Active Directory and other SAML authentication services so users can log on to the Netscaler and forget their other passwords. The appliances – physical or virtual – also gain the ability to offer a single URL for apps and desktops published with Citrix's various other wares.

New security checks on incoming sessions now take place in the DMZ, rather than inside the firewall, to reduce the likelihood of naughty folks using Citrix as an attack vector.

This all means Citrix can now call Netscaler a “Workspace Delivery Controller” because it does rather more than groom network traffic.

Also at the show, Citrix Receiver received a new preview of its forthcoming X1 incarnation, which in harness with StoreFront lets users brand their internal app stores.

XenServer has had an upgrade in the form of service pack 1 for version 6.5. That update adds Docker support, doubles density to 1000 virtual machines per host and can now cope with CoreOS and Windows 10. There's also more GPU support.

Citrix also unveiled programs intended to get its customers upgrading from current versions of XenApp and Xen Desktop, by pushing some features from more recent versions back into older software.

Can these announcements give Citrix the kick in the bottom line it needs and wants? Citrix looks to have made a lot of needed improvements to its core products that should ensure it's on shopping lists for application delivery, especially to mobile devices. Citrix has lots of incumbencies it can use to get its products into organisations adopting such technologies. But it has more competition than ever before. VMware's Project Enzo, announced yesterday, looks to be direct competition for Citrix Workspace Cloud in design and functionality, but with added hardware integration. Dell last week released appliances designed for desktop virtualisation. The likes of Good aren't dead yet in mobile device management, and Samsung is charging hard.

But Citrix looks to have just-about-walked away from mainstream server virtualisation. The company's now betting that customers will buy it for its core products and bring along a little infrastructure for the mutually optimised ride. To be less polite, it's hoping to own the application delivery silo. Which is a nice silo to own. Whether it's a place that gives Citrix the growth opportunity it needs is another matter. ®

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