Citrix eyes unified cloud workspace

Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov

Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov

ORLANDO — Citrix Systems will bring together several of its productivity products and supporting offerings to offer an integrated, cloud-based workspace-as-a-service offering, the company announced at its Synergy conference here this week.

Citrix Workspace Service will bring together capabilities from its desktop and application virtualization offerings, as well as document access and file access, into a single service hosted on the company’s cloud servers, aiming to make it easier for customers to get access to the “any app, any content, any device, anywhere” experience that it believes will be the future of productivity.

“Workspace Service will allow you, from the cloud, to connect to every cloud or on-premise application, all the data, all the work, all the files,” said Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov, who said it built on what the company’s been doing in Receiver, and in its cloud-based Storefront that allows users to discover and add applications across local access, cloud, and a variety of flavours of virtual application delivery.

“It’s Storefront-plus-plus,” Tatarinov said. “It gives you complete visibility into all of the apps, all the of the content, and it will help you make your people much more productive.”

Sridhar Mullapudi, vice president of product management for Citrix, said Workspace Service will be familiar to much of the company’s partner base, being built on familiar technologies like XenDesktop, XenApp, and Gateway, with a different bundling and pricing model. New parts of the offering include a single cloud-based “door” into the workspace, which managed customer access, privileges, preferences, documents, and settings across devices, as well as a suite of analytics services to help IT, and partners, get the most out of the environment.

Workspace Service is more a strategy or approach than a single product, and as such, customers don’t need to jump in all at once. Mullapudi said many customers may start with a simple VDI deployment, and then add on additional functionality down the road, for example application or document management bundling.

“We’re telling our customers it’s a layered approach. You start small and then expand,” Mullapudi said.

And of course, being a cloud offering, starting small can also mean in terms of user scope as well as feature scope.

Mullapudi said like most of Citrix’s cloud offerings, Workspace Service will be accessible to partners under its Citrix Service Provider (CSP) program, which is designed for partners who are more “sell to” for the vendor rather than “sell through,” who then offer their own branded solutions based on the company’s offerings. That means CSP partners will be able to offer Workspace Service as a white-labeled product.

“The whole of Citrix Cloud is very partner-friendly,” he said.

Michael Murphy, country manager for Citrix Canada

Michael Murphy, country manager for Citrix Canada

Michael Murphy, country manager for Citrix Canada, said that Workspace Service is arriving as appetite for cloud-based services is on a dramatic upswing in Canada, powered both by existing customer experiences and the arrival of the public cloud giants in-country in Canada, helping to reduce the traditional data sovereignty questions that have plagued Canadian cloud adoption.

“There isn’t a partner I know that isn’t placing bigger bets with migrating customers to the cloud,” Murphy said. “It’s one of the big ways they can offer a differentiated service away from reselling.”

Murphy said he sees great opportunity for Workspace Service in Canada due to that increased interest and confidence in cloud, and due to the SMB nature of the Canadian market, where the simplicity of the as-a-service buy resonates particularly well.

“It’s a more streamlined, simplified way to get the productivity gains,” Murphy said. “It’s a new way to consume what was previously more challenging or difficult to consume.”

Citrix Workspace Service is slated to debut during the current calendar quarter, the company said. Analytics services on top of it will be launched in the second half of the year.