Citrix Adds Collaboration to MetaFrame

Project Pearl lets dispersed employees using MetaFrame share and change documents in real time.

Users of Citrix Systems Inc.s MetaFrame server-based computing platform will be getting new collaboration capabilities, as well as performance and ease-of-use enhancements.

At its iForum show in Orlando, Fla., this week, Citrix announced Project Pearl, a technology to allow dispersed employees or workgroups using MetaFrame to share access to any published application.

Project Pearl, due in the first half of 2003, will enable secure, real-time collaboration on documents in a virtual workspace, according to Citrix Chief Technology Officer Bob Kruger. He envisions users in different buildings sharing a spreadsheet in the MetaFrame environment and talking over the phone as they manipulate cells within it.

"It is about sharing applications in real time and setting up ad hoc meetings," Kruger said. "We are leveraging the capabilities of the [Internet Connection Sharing] protocol."

MetaFrame XP Feature Release 3, which was also announced at the show and will be generally available in the first half of next year, adds new m-license command-line tools that simplify the job of adding, activating and backing up multiple licenses in a MetaFrame XP environment. An upgrade to the Universal Print Driver gives administrators a single driver to use with every server in a MetaFrame XP farm.

Release 3s SpeedScreen Browser Acceleration feature adds performance and usability enhancements for users who connect to applications with embedded images on HTML pages. Added support for Microsoft Corp.s upcoming Windows .NET Server 2003 operating system in MetaFrame XP Feature Release 3 gives IT administrators and users new usability features, Citrix officials said.

The MetaFrame XP server was also more tightly integrated with Citrixs NFuse Elite portal software.

NFuse Elite itself was upgraded with the release of Service Pack 1, which improves performance of the software by 1,100 percent, according to Kruger, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"The objective was to increase performance and capability of the software…the product is still aimed at departments and divisions within larger companies," Kruger said.

Citrix in the service pack also introduced dozens of new Content Delivery Agents, which provide customized access to applications.

Citrix was joined by several technology partners in making announcements at the show. One of these announcements highlighted a new offering that bundles Citrix MetaFrame software, IBMs eServer hardware and VMware Inc.s virtual machine technology for consolidation of remote offices. Citrix also said it was teaming with Oracle Corp. to enable customers to use the Citrix NFuse Classic technology to access applications via a Web portal created with the Oracle9i Application Server Portal software.