Citrix Automates Desktop-As-A-Service Delivery

citrix2SAN FRANCISCO — Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) announced the first technology release from its Cloud App Delivery Group at its Summit 2011 partner event held.

The new Service Provider Automation Pack for XenApp 6 allows Citrix’s service provider partners to deploy a Windows 7 desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) experience using XenApp and Windows Server 2008 R2.

There’s a lot of momentum around both desktop virtualization and cloud computing, said Calvin Hsu, a product marketing director at Citrix. “Both of them are taking off but people aren’t necessarily putting the two of them together,” he said.

The automation pack gives service providers “the ability to take a traditional XenApp environment and make it look and behave like a Windows environment,” said Craig Stilwell, Citrix’s vice-president of channels and field operations for the Americas. Users can customize its appearance as they would with Windows 7 and use applications such as Windows Media Player. The pack also automates other administrative features, such as applying Microsoft policies and settings that follow best practices.

“It’s immediately familiar and intuitive to use,” Hsu said. “It’s much easier for them than trying to do desktop management on their own. That really allows you to attack a market like the SMB,” Hsu said. Businesses without in-house IT specialists will benefit most from the service. “We see adoption also happening in the enterprise, but it’s more departmental,” Hsu said.

SMBs want to be able to work anywhere with any device, including various tablets, he said. “They want to be able to work in different locations. For them, it’s a 24 hour a day job.”

This model of deploying virtual desktops is also very scalable, Stilwell said. Deploying XenApp servers using the automation pack takes 70 per cent less time than doing so manually, according to Citrix.

SMB customers can also add or delete users without thinking about it too much, said Robert Bye, president of Kansas-based cloud service provider nGenx. “They can focus on their core business and leave technology to the professionals.”

Microsoft software alone doesn’t scale itself,” said Deniz Tortop, sales director for partner cloud services with Microsoft. The automation pack allows SMB customers to protect their investments in various devices and scale when adding new ones, he said.

The automation pack is available immediately for Citrix partners. There will also be opportunity within the channel for service providers to white-label the offering to VARs who want to offer cloud services, said Bill Burley, vice president and general manager of the Cloud App Delivery Group at Citrix. Citrix will be targeting the SMB market more heavily in 2011, both with this addition to XenApp and with its recently announced acquisition of Kaviza and its VDI-in-a-Box product.