Virtualisation, optimisation and streaming are the future for Citrix Systems. The access technologies company used its annual iForum user conference in Las Vegas this week to outline how the company views the future of the access market, and release a number of new products.
Citrix president and CEO, Mark Templeton, told the more than 3000 attendees that businesses need to take a holistic approach to access, and develop an access strategy just as they would a strategy around applications, and other areas of IT.
"Taking a strategic approach to access can have a profound impact on your business, [allowing you to be] more flexible, more agile, and run your IT services at lower cost," he said.
Citing stats from IDC, Templeton said while client server applications still made up the bulk of total applications, web applications were the fastest growing, and despite the application consolidation trend, the total number of applications IT managers needed to deliver was still growing.
"It's because there are new possibilities for computing systems today, with connectivity, new devices, web services and Web architecture," Templeton said. "You are dealing with a more heterogeneous set of applications when it comes to application delivery."
To address this challenge, Citrix has broken the market down into three areas, client services, Web applications and desktop applications, and developed a product to deliver each category.
In the client server space, Templeton said the best approach was application virtualisation, and here Citrix's answer was its legacy product, Citrix Presentation Server 4.0.
The company, this week, released a 64 bit version of the product that it said would allow each server to support three times the number of users. It could also coexist with 32-bit technology, allowing users to migrate at their own pace.
"Citrix's new 64-bit version of Presentation Server raises the bar by maximising server performance and scalability, and in turn driving costs associated with application deployment and management to an absolute minimum," Citrix's group vice-president and general manager of its access management group, Scott Herren, said. "It reflects our commitment to provide the most cost-efficient and comprehensive access to business information in any work scenario."
Herren also gave attendees a peak at technologies Citrix is working on for Microsoft's Windows Longhorn Server, as part of its Project Constellation.
The features include graphics acceleration to bring application virtualisation to users of medical and mapping applications, on-demand system configuration, autonomic load management and session recording, and will make their way into Citrix products as add-ons and bundles in the coming years.
"It brings client server application virtualisation to a whole new category of technologies and a whole new category of applications," Herren said.
For Web applications Citrix has NetScaler, a hardware product it acquired through its acquisition last June of San Jose's NetScaler.
A hardware device that sits in front of the server, all traffic into and out of the server passes through NetScaler, which uses caching and compression to speed the traffic and offload work from the server.
At the conference, Citrix released NetScaler Application Switch Standard Edition, a version of the device designed for the small and medium-sized business market.
"It's not just for the big guys anymore," said NetScaler founder B.V. Jagadeesh, now group vice president and general manager of Citrix's application networking group. "[NetScaler] is the only product on the market that delivers a best access experience for small and mid-sized enterprises, regardless of their application infrastructure."
And on the desktop applications side, Citrix is looking to bring video streaming technology to desktop application delivery through Project Tarpon.
Templeton said a streaming model promised to eliminate application compatibility issues by delivering each application in an isolated environment.
Citrix also used iForum to release version 7 of GoToAssist, its product for providing remote access to technical support and professional services via the Internet. New features include a manager's dashboard, expanded team management capabilities, and expanded integration APIs.