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Citrix Outlines Retooled Focus for 2016

Looking to move past the turmoil that forced out its longtime CEO Mark Templeton, giving activist investors a hand in sharpening the focus of Citrix, the company this week made some key announcements at its annual partner conference. Citrix announced the acquisition of Comtrade System Software & Tools management packs for Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager (SCOM). The acquisition covers just the technology IP of SCOM management packs for Citrix-specific environments. Comtrade, a provider of various management and monitoring tools, is a longtime Citrix partner, and its SCOM management packs cover XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile and NetScaler. (Note: an earlier version of this post said Citrix had acquired the entire company, however the deal covers just the Citrix management pack technology).

The announcements, made at the Citrix Summit in Las Vegas this week, show a company that in many ways is returning to its roots -- managing desktops and apps in virtual environments. Citrix last year was looking at strategic options for its GoTo service and earlier this week said that it is selling off its CloudPlatform and CloudPortal Business Manager product lines to Accelerite.

Comtrade provides a SCOM management pack that lets administrators manage Citrix XenDesktop, XenApp and Workspace Suite environments, explained Calvin Hsu, Citrix's vice president of product marketing for Windows App Delivery. "They provide an end-to-end monitoring solution, specifically with Citrix," Hsu said. "It's already installed and working with hundreds of customers. They are already part of our ecosystem and it integrates with System Center Operations Manager. It provides a more comprehensive end-to-end user experience, monitoring and a number of licensing and provisioning and storefront components."

Hsu also said Citrix announced the release of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 (the company quietly made it available last month), which delivers integration with Skype for Business. "We are seeing huge amounts of interest in being able to use Skype for Business from a virtual desktop or virtual hosted application like XenApp because people are creating these mobile workspaces where they want not only their application but also all of their telephony, and videoconferencing and all of that stuff to follow around with them," Hsu said. "It was developed in very close collaboration with Microsoft as they were building out and introducing their new Skype architecture. We were in lockstep with them for that."

The Skype for Business functionality works on Windows, Macintosh and Linux desktops, Hsu said. Citrix also started talking about the next releases of XenApp and XenDesktop. The 7.8 versions, due out later this quarter, will offer AppDisk, app layering tech that lets IT pros package and manage apps separate from the master operating system image, Hsu said. The forthcoming release will also offer management Microsoft AppV packages, improved app publishing and graphics performance.

Also at the Citrix Summit, the company announced a new long-term service branch offering, providing extended support for older products. Hsu said it's for shops that don't want to upgrade but want ongoing support for retired products.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/13/2016 at 12:38 PM


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