May 15, 2018

Citrix Summit 2018

I am writing this on the eve of Citrix Synergy 2018 from a seat on a Southwest flight to Anaheim, CA. The same location as Summit 2018. There is anticipation for what I believe will be a historic Synergy. With Citrix news frozen at the moment before the big Tuesday keynote, it seems like a good time to look back.

Summit 2018 was full of great announcements:
  • XenApp Service - announced and subsequently released in Q1 (blog)
  • Workspace Services - this is a new offering that packages various solutions (blog). It will be available at three different service levels: 
    • Workspace Unified Endpoint Management
    • Workspace Advanced
    • Workspace Premium (Q1)
  • Citrix Workspace Hub was announced (blog)(3 min YouTube video).  This a Raspberry Pi device that is one part low-cost thin client and one part IoT device. One cool new feature is the ability to do dual displays via a second ancillary device (a Raspberry Pi Zero) to drive the second display. Both ViewSonic and nComputing will be selling these devices.
  • Secure Browser Service - this service is a great option for an organization that wants to keep internet browsing out of their data centers and endpoint devices (blog). Citrix will host the browser and provide a seamless user experience.
  • Citrix Ready HCI Workspace Appliance - Nutanix is the first partner to make the onboarding of a Citrix Services even easier (blog) (Nutanix). 
  • XenApp Essentials - announced that Hosted Shared Desktops will now be supported (blog).
  • Citrix Analytics Service is announced (blog).  This is an add-on Service to correlate events across users, apps, data, and networks and apply machine learning to uncover actionable insights. While analytics will initially focus on security there are plans to expand insights to user experience and performance. Definitely, one to watch.
  • NetScaler SD-WAN - 10.0 announced and support for LTE integrates appliances (blog). 10.0 expands the scale and functionality of the product.
  • NetScaler Secure Web Gateway is enhanced- a forward proxy that will integrate with other Services like Secure Browser (blog). 
  • NetScaler Gateway Service - now bundled with the XenApp and XenDesktop Service (as in free) and provides HDX proxy. There are more advanced versions of the Service coming. 
  • NetScaler Application Delivery Controller - new agentless approach to management using Ansible syntax and REST APIs (NITRO) (Ansible site). 
  • NetScaler CPX can now be used as an Ingress device in Kubernetes clusters to load balance north-south traffic to your service (blog). 
  • NetScaler MAS - Web Insight and Advanced Analytics using anomaly detection announced. Customize app scoring. A new tool for capacity planning enables visualization of peak application usage.

Ready for the keynote

Throughout the week there was a lot of discussion around the “Secure Digital Perimeter”. Many companies have realized that fortifying the perimeter does not do you any good if none of your users are inside it (aka the trusted network). Citrix takes the approach that users need to be productive both on and off of the trusted network, from any device, using any applications.

The services hosted by Citrix Cloud are growing.  Products that have traditionally been a perpetual license all have a subscription equivalent.  In one of the sessions, they gave an overview of the points of presence for the various services.  It will be interesting to look back at this map in the future as all services are growing and new services are being added all the time.

Citrix Cloud Global Points of Presence

I had the pleasure of being on a panel with @florinlazurca and @emma_k_prz dedicated to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that will go into effect on May 25th, 2018.  It is my opinion that these regulations will start new conversations on how we collect, process, or protect personal data.  The impact is likely to extend outside of the EU and set a bar for any organization to strive for.

While there were sessions that focused on XenApp and XenDesktop, there was less focus on the flagship products during the keynote. Current Updates (CU) have consistently dropped each quarter for a number of years. These smaller updates are easier to deploy and test but can still deliver big value like the watermark feature in 7.17.

XenDesktop watermarking as seen on a Chromebook. The transparency is can be subtle or not so subtle.

Last but not least, I want to give a shoutout to @crystalricevuto for winning Demo Warrior. Crystal beat out all other employees in an internal contest to come up with and deliver the best demo showcasing Citrix's products.  Anyone who can work in HBO's Game of Thrones into their demo gets my vote!  It was great to see Crystal get recognized on the big stage.

Brian @sagelikebrian

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