Citrix Harnesses the Cloud for Mobile Workspaces

Borrowing elements from its virtual desktop and application offerings for service providers and the ShareFile cloud acquisition, Citrix moves to simplify and streamline mobile productivity.

Citrix VDI 2

ORLANDO, Fla.—One of the biggest announcements at the Citrix Synergy conference here in Orlando was Workspace Cloud, a new virtual application delivery and management service from the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) specialist.

Meant to enable the company's customers and partners to "use cloud services to accelerate the design, composition and delivery of amazing workspaces," Citrix Workspace Cloud was inspired by the company's efforts to "reinvent XenApp for the cloud for service providers," revealed Citrix CEO Mark Templeton during his keynote address today. The product also owes its existence, in part, to the 2011 acquisition of ShareFile.

After the deal, "we learned a lot about something called the control plane," he said. "ShareFile is built on this amazing architecture that puts all the complexity of control, including dispensing the user interface and user experience, keeping track of all the security and the traffic," and a host of other data management tasks. "But when it comes to where you store the documents, and how the documents get from storage to the device, we get out of the way."

This "profound architecture," as described by Templeton, influenced Citrix Workspace Cloud, a new product that allows enterprises to pull together applications, data and full virtual desktops from any infrastructure source to create secure, mobile workspaces.

"With Citrix Workspace Cloud, administrators can design and publish any number of workspaces quickly and easily, each with its own mix of apps, desktops, data, mobility and networking services to meet the needs of use cases throughout the organization," wrote Jesse Lipson, vice president and general manager of Workflow and Workspace Cloud for Citrix, in a related blog post.

"On-the-go execs, creative professionals, engineers, customer service reps—each type of user can subscribe to their own perfect workspace."

On stage, during a live demonstration, Lipson had configured a mobile-enabled workspace and deployed a variety of apps in mere moments. While work remains, he hinted that it is nearing its release.

"Citrix Workspace Cloud is not just demoware that we wired up to show you guys, we've actually been in a tech preview for last several months," with customers partners that have deployed and tested the solution, he said.

Citrix is also banking on its history of providing technology and services to midmarket and high-end enterprise. Lipson happens to be the founder of ShareFile, which currently boasts 40 million users, Manoj Raisinghani, vice president of product marketing, Mobile Platforms Group told eWEEK.

"A lot of these guys are using it for business, they're not using it just for play," he added, underscoring the cloud file share and sync platform's enterprise capabilities.

Citrix Workspace Cloud supports a variety of hybrid implementations for organizations that would rather not go all-in on the cloud. Its architecture "gives you the flexibility to run individual services and host different types of data either on-premises or in the cloud to best meet the requirements of your business," Lipson wrote.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...