Ever since Microsoft and Citrix announced a significant reinvigoration to our long-standing partnership at Citrix Synergy in May, things have been very busy. At today’s Citrix Summit event, Scott Guthrie (the EVP of Microsoft’s Cloud + Enterprise organization and my boss) and Kirill Tatarinov (Citrix CEO and President) shared an update on the status of this partnership and the integrated scenarios we are building together.
In this post I’m going to provide some additional details on the work Microsoft is doing, as well as share some insight into the feedback I have personally heard from customers.
Active Directory, System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr), Windows, and Citrix XenApp/Desktop are staples in many enterprise organizations. As more and more work is done on mobile devices, enterprises have sought out the best solutions for empowering this mobile productivity. What I have seen change dramatically over the last year is the high priority organizations place on finding comprehensive and integrated solutions which empower users across mobile devices in a way that is integrated with what they’ve been doing on PCs for years. This is – obviously – no small task.
Since the announcements in May, and the increased collaboration between Microsoft and Citrix, I have met with hundreds of customers who want to know more about what’s coming next in this partnership. Enterprises from all over the world have repeatedly emphasized that interoperable Microsoft and Citrix solutions will deliver the comprehensive and integrated capabilities they need. The interoperation between Citrix solutions like NetScaler and Intune & Azure AD, as well as Citrix’s core offerings in XenApp and XenDesktop running on Azure, deliver incredible customer benefits.
Here is a list of benefits that customers regularly tell me they expect to see:
• Your users will be more productive
While some organizations may have already deployed an EMM solution, that solution has often acted as an island that does not integrate with the tools already in use. The integrated capabilities coming from Microsoft and Citrix will deliver consistent experience for users no matter what kind of device is being used (PC, tablet, phone, etc.) and independent of how the apps are being delivered (native or remote). Users simply authenticate and are then presented with everything they need to be productive. I have seen this “Ah-ha” moment occur in countless conversations.
• Corporate data will be more secure
Securing company data is one of the primary reasons why customers deploy Microsoft and Citrix solutions today. Whether it is verifying the user identity, setting security policies on PCs/mobile devices, hosting apps and desktops in the datacenter, or separating corporate things from personal things on all devices – securing corporate data is one of the primary objectives for every enterprise. The integrated scenarios from Microsoft and Citrix will deliver a consistent set of management and security settings (that IT loves) that have been engineered into the solutions to help guide the user in very natural and unobtrusive ways (which end users love).
• IT will be more efficient
This depth of scenario-integration simplifies what IT must do to deliver a secure and user-friendly working experience. We have engineered these solutions to be used together – this means IT does not have to cobble together disconnected solutions on their own or juggle multiple vendors (which adds time and reduces the number of things to purchase, deploy and maintain).
Update on Integration
In May, we shared details around four key areas where we are focusing our efforts. Below is a status update for each focus area with links to announcements made today by Citrix.
1) Accelerating the Move to the Cloud
In most customer conversations I have, I am told that deploying new solutions on-premises (rather than in the cloud) is becoming very rare. Organizations clearly see the value and agility that comes from moving to the public cloud – and that move is accelerating. Kirill has also told me that in his customer conversations one of the top requests he gets is for Citrix to deliver hosted cloud services. Organizations want to move to a model where they do not have to deploy, manage, secure, and upgrade Citrix farms any longer – instead, they want Citrix to do that for them. These customers want Citrix-as-a-Service. Today, Citrix provided further updates on their, Azure-hosted, XenApp Essentials and Xen Desktop Essentials offerings. I love this news! Citrix is delivering a solution that provides a common control plane (also hosted on Azure) that enables management of the Citrix solutions on-premises and in the cloud. You can move your hosted desktops/apps to Azure at your own pace with a single place and method to manage them.
2) Accelerating the Move to Office 365
Office 365 is one of the most-used Enterprise Cloud services in the world with more than 85M monthly active commercial users of Office 365. Organizations are moving their e-mail and collaboration to the cloud, and, increasingly, they’re also moving their voice and video conferencing with Skype for Business. Skype for Business has been optimized to be used in a Citrix XenApp/Desktop environment – both on-premises and with the new Azure hosted Citrix services. This is available today and Citrix is the only desktop/app remoting solution for which Skype for Business optimization is available.
3) Accelerating the Move to Windows 10
Windows 10 is the most secure version of Windows we have ever released, and it is the most secure platform for business. Users and organizations are moving rapidly to Windows 10; there are more than 400M Windows 10 devices in use today. This movement to Windows 10 represents the fastest upgrade to a new version of Windows ever! AppDNA from Citrix is available today and provides a way to quickly and easily identify any applications that would have compatibility issues with Windows 10. This enables organizations to decrease their internal validation efforts and planning and start the upgrade process much sooner. A key part of that upgrade is Configuration Manager which is, by far, the preferred tool for managing Windows 10 – it currently manages more than 99% of the Windows 10 devices in production in the Enterprise.
4) Further Empowering Users on Mobile Devices
Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) has become the largest EMM offering in the market with more than 37,000 enterprise customers. As we expand capabilities for our joint customers, Citrix announced today that the work to have Citrix NetScaler seamlessly interoperate with Microsoft Intune is complete and generally available. NetScaler now validates that any device attempting to access on-premises resources is known and meets the enrollment/compliance requirements provided by Intune before allowing a VPN session to be established. You can learn more about this here.
In addition to all this: Today Citrix announced the availability of a tech preview for XenMobile Essentials, which was engineered to interoperate with and bring additional value to Microsoft EMS customers. To get all the benefits of XenApp and XenDesktop with XenMobile Essentials together in one package, Citrix also announced that the upcoming Workspace Essentials includes all of this.
We have been very, very busy. Our customers have been clear with both Microsoft and Citrix: You need us to help accelerate your move to the mobile-first, cloud-first world. You also want to consume Cloud services that we keep secure and up-to-date so that you can focus on your business. You want these solutions to be engineered to be used together.
We hear you loud and clear. I think you’ll be thrilled with what we’ve built, and really excited about what’s on the way.