Citrix enters hyperconverged infrastructure market with Citrix Melio

Other Day One announcements included XenServer 6.5 Service Pack 1, XenMobile 10.1, and enhancements to Citrix’s ShareFile secure file sharing and syncing tool.

Mark Templeton Citrix 2015 300

Mark Templeton, Citrix’s CEO, onstage at Citrix Synergy 2015

ORLANDO — Citrix Workspace Cloud was the major new project announcement from Day One of Citrix Synergy. But the vendor also made other announcements enhancing existing products and unveiling a small number of new ones.

One new one – at least with Citrix branding – is Citrix Melio storage virtualization software, which marks Citrix’s entry into the hyperconverged infrastructure market. Melio was the core offering of Sanbolic, which was acquired by Citrix in January. It has been available in North America since last week, but was formally announced Monday. Melio is an enterprise storage and data virtualization platform that runs on physical, virtual, cloud and geo-distributed datacentres, and lets XenDesktop and XenApp customers simplify their data and storage management, achieve infrastructure and workload scale-out and high availability.

“It has incredible read-write speed, is completely hypervisor and storage agnostic, and provides tier one data services,” Mark Templeton, Citrix’s CEO, told his Synergy keynote audience.

Citrix will use Melio to assist their XenDesktop and XenApp customers in simplifying their data and storage management, and achieving infrastructure and workload scale-out and high availability. It extends the benefits of virtualization to the storage layer by decoupling data from the physical storage, in much the same way that server virtualization decouples the operating system from physical servers. This gives XenDesktop and XenApp admins comprehensive host-based control and tier-one storage capabilities in their infrastructure.

“Citrix Melio comes in two models, a VDI edition used with XenDesktop to drive the cost of storage down, and an Enterprise Edition that lets you go further, to build geo distribution and high availability infrastructure that leverages provisioning services,” Templeton said.

Melio VDI lets up to three servers share concurrent access to volumes containing XenDesktop or XenApp image files. Melio Enterprise supports server clusters up to 2048 nodes.

Templeton also announced XenServer 6.5 Service Pack 1, the first enhancement of this version since its release in January.

“There has never been a more important release of XenServer,” Templeton said, specifically referring to its move to an all-64 bit architecture, but also because of its huge performance improvements and 50 per cent increase in GPU density.

“SP1 takes scalability further,” Templeton said. “We have also done a lot of work with containers and supporting containers,” particularly with run-time management for the popular Docker container.

Graphics support has also been enhanced significantly, with Intel GVT-d GPU pass-through for Windows and nVIDIA GPU pass-through for Linux.

“No one has done more work in graphics support than Citrix,” Templeton said. “It’s one of the reasons XenServer is the most popular hypervisor sitting under XenApp and XenDesktop.”

Templeton also announced enhancements in XenMobile 10.1.

“XenMobile has been on a tear, with fantastic growth rates,” he said. “Most choose the enterprise edition with mobile life cycle management, mobile apps and data for business, and developer tools and app ecosystem.

“We have integrated MDM and MAM into one console so you can set all policies in one place for all platforms,” he said. “We have also improved the app suite.”

Templeton highlighted three new apps. One is Citrix for SalesForce, which places a new security wrapper around the mobile SalesForce app, allowing enterprises to apply policies and manage the app within their EMM environment. Another is WorxTasks, which integrates with Microsoft Outlook tasks, letting users work seamlessly across desktops, laptops and mobile devices to track, manage and edit their to-do lists on any device. The third is SlideStream, which lets users access, view and deliver presentations on an external monitor with no cables required.

“SlideStream is my favorite, where you can do mobile presentations from your iPhone or Apple Watch, if you have one,” Templeton said.

Finally, Templeton announced enhancements to Citrix’s ShareFile secure file sharing and syncing tool, which now has over 55,000 corporate customers with over 40 million users

First, later this quarter, integration with Microsoft Office Online will allow editing of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly from within the ShareFile web application, and without desktop versions of Microsoft Office. Files are edited directly from within a web browser and changes are automatically saved back to ShareFile. Editing will require an Office 365 account.

“We have also announced the next step in terms of security, restricted StorageZones for ShareFile,” Templeton said. “This is a one of a kind in the industry. They completely encrypt and tokenize everything – files, metadata, everything – and you have the encryption key, we don’t. It’s a cloud service, but managed behind the firewall. We are really excited about this for regulated industries under data sovereignty.”

Templeton also announced a new Platinum edition of ShareFile, which includes new features like electronic signatures and unlimited data storage.

“We are very excited with what we are doing with ShareFile and how it fits into our overall strategy of providing a software defined workplace,” he said. “This is the vision that you need to build an end-to-end solution for the software defined workplace.”