Citrix finalizing channel plans for Citrix Workspace Cloud

Citrix’s major announcement at Synergy this year provides huge new opportunities for both CSP and CSA partners, and the channel strategy being finalized is designed to ensure partners who move to the cloud with WorkSpace Cloud will be treated the same way as on-prem partners.

John Carey Citrix 300

John Carey, Director of Worldwide Channel Programs and Strategy at Citrix

ORLANDO – On Tuesday, at Citrix Synergy, Citrix made the most important announcement of the event, Citrix Workspace Cloud, a cloud-based control plane that permits the creation, integration, delivery and management of complete workspaces. On Wednesday, ChannelBuzz sat down with Citrix’s channel team to find out the company’s plans for taking the key new solution to market through its partners.

The need to devise a strategy for Citrix Workplace Cloud comes on the heels of massive changes announced to Citrix’s channel programs in January, in which the new Citrix Solution Advisor (CSA) Program implemented a full range of Specialist Tracks to recognize and reward areas of focus. These include: Virtualization, which includes XenApp, XenDesktop, and Workspace Suite; Networking Data Center (NetScaler and CloudBridge); Mobility Management (XenMobile and ShareFile) and Networking Apps and Mobile Security, an elective track which also covers NetScaler and CloudBridge.

“Partners have embraced the changes around competencies,” said John Carey, Director of Worldwide Channel Programs and Strategy at Citrix. “Back in 2006, we originally announced partner competencies, at a time when we had one product. Partners then said ‘what??’ – and we couldn’t justify the ROI in partner terms then, so we killed it that same year. Now we have four competencies and the response has been really good.”

Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) received their own program in 2009, through which they could purchase pay as you go licensing through monthly arrears.

“That was our first attempt to unlock the MSP market, and address those 500,000 subscribers of SaaS and desktop-as-a-service that are in play with our service provider community,” Carey said. “We now have 1800 active CSPs, and 2400 total – including networking-as-a-service with NetScaler VPX.”

Carey said that Citrix’s creation of the Blackbeard reference architecture responded directly to the concerns of the CSP partners.

“Blackbeard crystallized what those partners were telling us before,” he said. “It was the service providers telling us what the reference architecture needed to look like that led to a fundamental rearchitecting in which we moved from IMA (Independent Management Infrastructure) to FMA (FlexCast Management Infrastructure) for scalability.” That took place in 2013 with Xendesktop 7.

“When we made these changes for scalability, that meant we lost SmartAuditor, which had been a huge benefit for HIPAA compliance, as well as some other core features,” Carey said. “It took us 12 months to rebuild it, and we really doubled down to deliver a reimagination of it for a cloud provider. We disrupted ourselves, and part of extending the life of XenApp 6.5 was about this.”

Carey said that the CPS program showed that even in 2009, a large number of VARs were also MSPs, who were already on utility consumption models and for whom buying perpetual Citrix was an inhibitor.

“There was about a 60 per cent overlap at that time, in 2009,” he said. “Now it’s down to 40 per cent because we have recruited many pure-play ‘born in the cloud’ companies and others have moved to a pure CSP model.”

For those partners who are mainly CSPs, Citrix Workspace Cloud is ideal, Carey said.

“They are really excited about Workspace Cloud,” he said. “Taking the management layer and making it a service simplifies the on-prem deployment, and makes the management of the resource zone so much easier. Even though it is not yet multi-tenanted, it has the ability for a partner to aggregate multiple customers through a single view. Workspace Cloud means they only have to manage two environments. They can nest all their clients on the control plane under a single log-in, and integrate this with their existing multi-tenancy management.”

The result, Carey said, will be an increase in margin for CSPs because it reduces the cost model.

“It’s great news for them,” he said.

For the CSA partners, whose customers aren’t ready for multitenancy and who can’t leverage the CSP model, Carey said the delivery of Workspace Cloud still opens up new opportunities.

“They aren’t moving them TO the cloud, because the customers aren’t in a Citrix cloud, they are in the environment which makes the most sense for them,” he said. “If the customer does want to move to the cloud, partners can leverage the Workspace Cloud to help them migrate, all of which the customer never sees.”

Carey said the programmatic aspects for partners with Citrix Workspace Cloud are still being designed, but they know the basic contours now.

“The key thing for the new program is that CSA specializations will apply to services delivered for the Workspace Cloud,” he said. “The intent is partners should never be penalized for a choice to move to Workspace Cloud, rather than have an on-prem deployment. That’s the policy that we started with XenMobile. The benefits for the XenMobile cloud were the same as for on-prem. That expectation has been set.”