rhipe heads to the Citrix Summit 2017
I had the pleasure of attending Citrix Summit in January and short of cloning myself, I couldn’t have been across all the announcements, in fact I wonder how it stacks up with previous events because there seems to be so much to write about.
One thing is clear, the partnership with Microsoft has accelerated the opportunity available to Citrix and Microsoft partners, it’s an exciting time to be an IT service provider.
Where to start…?
Another day, another Citrix acquisition
I must start with the news about the acquisition of Unidesk! Huge news, I can’t stress how well the news was received in the arena on the day. Unidesk has obtained many great accolades and has several very well respected industry experts that have openly expressed their support for them [Unidesk] for a number of years.
For those of you that don’t know, Unidesk is a seriously cool application layering solution, removing the complexity of image management by layering applications over your desktop platforms.
Unidesk is desktop image management solution with all the bells and whistles you could ask for, so my advice would be to waste no time in downloading and testing it in your labs today, you won’t be disappointed.
Unidesk Pre-Recorded Demo: http://get.unidesk.com/product-experience/request-demo-with-unidesk-solution-architect
Request Unidesk Trial: http://get.unidesk.com/product-experience/request-a-unidesk-trial
What’s more, Unidesk will be integrated into to all XenApp and XenDesktop licenses at no additional cost! It was previously $100USD a user - thanks Citrix!
I remember when Citrix acquired NetScaler, 10 years ago(!), and if you know me you’ll know I love NetScaler (and bang on about it all day, every day). The Unidesk acquisition is right up there, it’s huge, and it’s going to transform the way we deploy applications and desktops using Citrix. It’s also going to help drive down costs and increase the efficiency of infrastructure - it really is a very smart move by Citrix.
For partners, especially CSP partners, the acquisition presents a unique opportunity to simplify DaaS/VDI solutions. I write about the development of XenApp/XenDesktop v7 later in this blog, specifically about how much easier it is to use.
When you consider that simplification of the core product and you add Unidesk to the scenario, it’s certainly a great time to be using or considering using XenApp or XenDesktop.
When will Unidesk be integrated with XenApp and XenDesktop?
I’ve yet to be informed of this and it is early days, so please feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions and keep an eye on our digital communication channels, our web site and my twitter feed.
Everyone loves a special offer, right?
Citrix announced special CSP pricing for NetScaler and ShareFile net-new business - this presents an excellent opportunity for partners to add enterprise-grade network and data security to their services at 35% discount (Tier D pricing) between now and June 30th.
More information can be found here and if you’d like to discuss either the promotion or NetScaler and ShareFile products, drop me an email or call, I’m always happy to help.
Citrix (still) loves Microsoft
Unsurprisingly, Citrix underpinned it’s messaging by reiterating its commitment to winning with Microsoft - this can only be a good thing for both Microsoft and Citrix partners alike, with access to enterprise-grade co-developed products and services. EMS and of course Azure hosting playing a particularly prominent part of the Microsoft side of the relationship and Citrix Cloud on Azure being the Citrix deal breaker… As announced last year, EMS includes better security features from NetScaler and some MDM features from XenMobile, so if you’re looking at device management I’d strongly recommend you look at EMS, as well as both NetScaler and XenMobile independently.
On the subject of Citrix Cloud, it was announced that Citrix Cloud services will be available to CSP partners in H1 (I think by saying H1 that it’s likely to be the latter half of Q2). There’s still a lot of work happening in the background and please don’t ask me for pricing because I’ve yet to be given any indication of how the pricing will pan out, but rest assured, we’ll be announcing it when we know!
Before I write about these developments it’s important that you understand some background about how ShareFile is consumed in the Citrix CSP Program. Currently, CSP Partners can only use ShareFile hosted on private storage, whereas in comparison, Enterprise customers and Citrix’s other partner channel has had access to Citrix Cloud Managed Storage.
In the above scenario, ‘Private Storage’ is storage owned by the CSP Partner, be it a SAN/NAS, Azure or AWS etc. The key point being, the Partner owns the storage and leases chunks of it to customers, much like Dropbox or OneDrive plans, all be it there is far more functionality in ShareFile than in either Dropbox or OneDrive.
Additionally, some ShareFile features require either private storage (Information Rights Management) or Citrix Cloud Managed Storage (Document Workflow) to work. Essentially, access to these features for one customer has been impossible, but that is about to change.
As explained in the previous section of this blog; Citrix is introducing Citrix Cloud for CSP partners and this will provide partners with the ability to subscribe to the core managed services including Desktop Brokers, StoreFront, XenMobile and NetScaler.
Access to Citrix Cloud will also provide CSP Partners with the ability to consume Citrix Cloud Managed Storage for ShareFile, therefore CSP Partners will also have access to the Document Workflow feature.
Information Rights Management (IRM) features that are currently only available when using on-premise storage will be made available for Citrix Cloud Managed Storage.
There are also updates to the ShareFile drive mapper in v3.5 that was released soon after the event, you can read about these updates here. Citrix also told us that there are a number of other significant ShareFile updates coming in H1 so watch this space!
ShareFile is the fastest growing Citrix product in an incredibly active Enterprise File Sync and Sharing (EFSS) market, so these developments are particularly good for Citrix CSP partners looking to differentiate by creating premium, high-margin and secure, hosted workspaces.
XenApp and XenDesktop - Feature Parity
If you didn’t know already, XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12 made feature parity with the capability that exists in v6.x. What does this mean? It means the super-simple FMA architecture found in v7.x is now capable of zoning, local host cache and server-specific, rather than delivery group-specific, application publishing. In short, it means you can use all of the intricate configuration found in v6 - but because that same capability is in the design overhauled v7, it is much easier to deliver!
Although 7.12 has been out for a few months already, this is a good time for me to emphasise the simplicity of FMA over the legacy IMA underlying architecture of XenApp and XenDesktop. Hosting desktop and/or application services has never been easier and I can say, with my hand on my heart,that Citrix has done a truely excellent job of making it easier to deploy their products.
So, now we have all of the great benefits of this new and simple FMA architecture and the ability to migrate from v6.x with feature parity - and that’s without mentioning the improvements in the underlying network protocol that make XenApp and XenDesktop the best performing application and desktop delivery solutions on the market! It’s little wonder we’re seeing so much growth in the DaaS and AaaS market.
And if you’re looking to migrate from v6 to v7 check out the SmartTools information below – there are some tools to help make your migrations easier!
HTML 5 Receiver just gets better…
I wonder how many of you have used the HTML5 receiver? I thought it was excellent anyway; but now you can redirect multi-media much like the native Windows Receiver - seriously cool! If you want to have a look at the HTML5 Receiver there is some arguably long-winded information using the Citrix eDocs - personally, I found this article much easier to follow.
XenMobile 10.4 was released with rebranding and email enrolment - a feature that the industry has been eagerly awaiting. Windows 10 Universal Applications are also supported in this latest release. I was involved in a project that included deployment of XenMobile in to a financial services organisation in 2014 and seeing the great updates released in the last two years makes it a compelling product to help partners differentiate.
Citrix gives you really really fast wings!
Citrix is sponsoring Red Bull Racing! That’s right, my fellow Citrix geeks, we can now bore the pants off our mates by reminding them about Citrix sponsoring Red Bull. And when I say bore, I mean reminding them every lap of every race J
More seriously, Red Bull and Citrix have been doing business for a number of years and the sponsorship is simply part of an on-going desire to innovate together. No doubt Red Bull push the limits of technology, so it will be interesting to see if any developments directly attributed to the team using Citrix technology in years to come.
Talking of geek, I wonder if they’re planning on integrating NetScaler into the Red Bull cars for optimal traffic throughput? 😉 If they win the championship I’m going to credit it to NetScaler, regardless!
NetScaler MAS (Management and Analytics)
Not familiar with NetScaler MAS? You can read about it here. It is a complete overhaul of a now legacy product called Citrix Command Center and it’s used to manage, maintain and monitor NetScalers and associated configuration and traffic.
It’s my time to bang on about NetScaler! No, seriously, I won’t do that to you, but I will tell you about new CSP licensing for MAS so you can use more than the out-of-the-box (free) 30 VIPs for monitoring and managing virtual servers within your services. I reached 30 VIPs in my lab long before MAS was released so this is great news for CSP partners, many of whom I know have a lot more than 30 VIPs in use.
To be clear, Citrix CSP Partners can use MAS today but there are no license SKUs so you’re restricted to the free version which supports 30 VIPs. MAS is a new product, so it’s taken a little time for it to develop and be ready, but it is now coming to the program and SKUs should be out in coming months.
If you’d like to know more about MAS or be the first to know when we have the new SKUs, drop me an email or call me on my number at the bottom of this blog. We will also announce all related updates, as we always do, via our newsletter and other digital channels.
License Usage Insights (LUI)
Did you know? LUI is a compliance requirement if you’ve either renewed your CSP agreement or joined the program since the 1st November 2016.
It’s not all about compliance though, LUI makes it easier to report and see what each tenant has used each month - LUI is being well received in the market and I can say from experience that it’s easy to use and I would strongly recommend using it today to streamline your reporting activities.
For compliance, partners are required to get all Citrix License servers up to a specific minimum version (v11.14 at the time of writing this blog) and hooked up to the LUI tool via outbound port filtering rules (443 outbound). It’s really easy to get going using this FAQ and the eDocs information. If you need any help though, let me know and we can work on it together.
Citrix Smart Tools
Some would argue I’ve saved the best for last - this is some of the most significant news from Summit in my opinion. These outstanding tools are available to CSP partners today, so go and check them out here: https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-lifecycle-management/smart-tools.html
Smart Tools - Highlights
- Smart Build:Automated, repeatable and secure Citrix deployments anywhere, based on best practices
- Smart Migrate:Simplifies the transition to the latest platform with improved security and performance
- Smart Check:Secure, highly available environments through proactive diagnosis and repair of issues in your XenApp and XenDesktop deployments
- Smart Scale:Reducing your delivery costs via load-based scaling of XenApp & XenDesktop workloads in public clouds and HCI environments instantly
And that’s a wrap, for now at least.
Thanks for reading!
By Darren Bennett, Partner Enablement Specialist (Citrix), rhipe