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Citrix Summit 2018 underscores vendor's 'focused innovation'

The recently concluded Citrix Summit 2018 underscored two important trends: a continued concentration on the vendor’s core technology stack and an emphasis on cloud-based business.

The refocusing has actually been going on for a while. In 2015, the company began discontinuing products deemed no longer central to its strategic objectives. VDI-in-a-Box was one early product to be cut. TechTarget’s BrianMadden site provided the details on a more recent round of product line restructuring in Oct. 2017.

The Citrix partner community has been largely onboard with the refocusing on core technologies. Nancy Pautsch, president of Envision IT, a Citrix partner in Madison, Wis., attended Citrix Summit 2018 and called the vendor’s “focused innovation” one of the notable themes at the conference. 

Pautsch said Citrix’s product leadership “highlighted further strengthening of the Citrix stack and innovation that matters.”

For eG Innovations, a Citrix premier technology partner based in Iselin, N.J., one relevant Citrix innovation is the adaptive transport protocol that the vendor introduced in 2017. Srinivas Ramanathan, CEO at eG Innovations, an IT performance management software provider, called the new protocol “one of the most significant enhancements they’ve made in several years.”

Adaptive transport is the underlying data transport mechanism for XenApp and XenDesktop, Citrix’s application and desktop virtualization products. The protocol aims to improve user experience on WAN connections. Ramanathan said performance studies indicate “very significant improvements in performance over lower bandwidth WAN connections.”

Ramanathan said his company, a Citrix premier technology partner, closely aligns its product evolution with the vendor’s product enhancements. He said eG Innovations is the first performance monitoring vendor to support monitoring of adaptive transport protocol performance for application and desktop virtualization.

Citrix’s technology-stack focus, meanwhile, extends to the vendor’s corporate messaging, which Pautsch said “is clear, succinct and powerfully differentiates the Citrix story.”

Cloud business

Cloud has become a key initiative at Citrix. The company’s Citrix Cloud platform offers customers the ability to centrally manage Citrix virtual desktops and applications, alleviating the management burden of running on-premises products.

At Citrix Summit 2018, the vendor announced revamped channel incentives, including a rebate for Citrix partner firms that sell the vendor’s cloud offerings. That cloud rebate is part of Citrix Ultimate Rewards, which the company said will go live Feb. 10.

The cloud also played a role in the annual Citrix Innovation Award for Partners, the winner of which was announced at Citrix Summit 2018. Coretek Services, a Citrix partner based in Farmington Hills, Mich., won the award for creating a solution that virtualizes 3D modeling applications for Wolverine Worldwide, a footwear and apparel distributor. The applications are hosted in Microsoft Azure. On the project, Coretek, a managed service provider, consulting firm and systems integrator, used Citrix technologies such as HDX virtual desktop technology and NetScaler, an application delivery controller for hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

In a statement, Ron Lisch, CEO at Coretek Services, said his company partnered with Wolverine to create the new infrastructure in eight weeks.  Wolverine, he said, “is experiencing increased time-to-market efficiencies” in light of the new architecture, which moves traditional processes to the cloud.

Leadership focus

The leadership behind Citrix’s focused technology strategy and cloud push got a chance to state the vendor’s case at Citrix Summit 2018. Pautsch had praise for Citrix’s executives.

“Citrix leadership is sound and instilled confidence among attendees,” she said. “David Henshall came off authentic, credible and driven — a grounded visionary. And Mark Ferrer is a force.”

Henshall was appointed president and CEO of Citrix in July 2017, and Mark Ferrer, a former SAP executive, joined Citrix is September 2017 as chief revenue officer.

They will be tasked with continuing the narrative Citrix is building around core technologies.

“The Citrix story remains one of focus and innovation that’s spot-on with market demand and applicable to real-world business,” Pautsch said.

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