Citrix Takes Aim at VMware With Workspace Suite

The new offering combines VDI, mobile management and communications for improved mobile access to corporate data.

Citrix Systems is rolling various virtual application and desktop technologies, mobile management tools and communications capabilities into a single solution designed to make it easier for organizations to give mobile workers access to the corporate network and data.

Citrix's introduction of its Workspace Suite was one of several announcements the vendor made at the Citrix Synergy 2014 show May 6 in Los Angeles, with mobility, virtualization, cloud and networking being the overarching themes. The new and enhanced products are a nod at the trends—including mobility, cloud and the Internet of things—that are driving rapid changes in the workplace and putting demands on businesses to make it easier for employees to do their work from anywhere at any time and on any device.

"Work is not a place, but a thing we do," Steve Daheb, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Citrix, said in a statement.

The company's Citrix Workspace Suite is designed to give businesses a single solution that can support multiple corporate and personal devices—a key need given the rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices, in which employees use personal smartphones and tablets for work—and give employees immediate access to corporate applications, data and services.

The Citrix offerings in the mobile workspace solution include virtual desktops, mobile device management, mobile application management, collaboration tools like email and calendars, on-premises and cloud-based file sync and share, and wide-area network (WAN) optimization.

The Workspace Suite gives enterprises a way to simplify and secure their applications, data and infrastructure while improving employee productivity by giving them access when they need it, vendor officials said.

"Citrix Workspace Suite disregards the technology silos of desktop computing and mobility and focuses on the experience people desire when trying to work from different locations," Natalie Lambert, senior director of integrated product management at Citrix, said in a post on the company blog. "For people, access to a desktop computing environment is ideal when in the office, at home or in a location where there is a full keyboard, mouse and monitor, and the job is to create content. Alternatively, access to just apps and data is ideal when on a smaller screen where a mouse and keyboard may not be present."

The introduction of Workspace Suite comes a month after VMware unveiled its Horizon 6 virtual desktop solution, with officials there saying the offering does what Citrix's XenDesktop can do and adds even more capabilities. In their materials for the Workspace Suite, Citrix executives compared it to Horizon 6 and Airwatch—both from VMware—offering a list of features they say Citrix's solution has and VMware's doesn't.

Citrix officials also outlined enhanced security and other upgrades in the works for the company's XenApp and XenDesktop application delivery and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offerings. Other enhancements include HTML5 browser-based access to applications and data from any device, fast log-ons and support for the most recent USB 3.0 peripherals.

New features in ShareFile give mobile users more options for accessing and editing files from multiple data sources. In addition, a ShareFile StorageZone Connectors software-development kit enables IT organizations and Citrix partners to create connectors to myriad enterprise content management systems, according to officials.

Citrix's latest release of its XenMobile technology improves support for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system and offers greater scalability.