Channel Watch

Citrix Wants to Dazzle End Users

Company plans to roll out iTunes-like interface where end users can access corporate applications.

In an effort to stay abreast of the consumerization of IT, Citrix Systems Inc. has rolled out a self-service enterprise application storefront inspired by the DirectTV, Apple iTunes and Amazon Kindle interfaces that it calls "Citrix Dazzle."

Citrix President and CEO Mark Templeton explained the company's motivation for creating the free front-end for enterprise customers already using products such as Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop to deliver applications to end users. "Every day, employees are presented with an amazing array of exciting apps and services on the Web that spark their imaginations and put them in full control of their experience. Then they come to work, and their IT experience is mandated by a bland 'general issue' sameness that threatens to drive every ounce of productivity and innovation out of them," Templeton said in a statement.

Elegant Applications
Citrix introduced Dazzle in Las Vegas at its Citrix Synergy 2009 conference on May 5 and promised a technology preview of Dazzle later this year. In a press conference call prior to the launch, Wes Wasson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Citrix, described Dazzle as a "lightweight storefront that sits in front of existing XenApp and other delivery products." He said it "allows IT folks to expose [applications] in a much more elegant way."

The idea is for users to be able to choose the applications they want to use from among a list of available applications or from a collection of graphical icons. IT handles permissions and licensing on the back-end, and only has to get involved with permissions when an application is restricted in some way that requires a superior's approval.

When a user selects the application, it's delivered via Citrix's usual delivery technologies.

Citrix Dazzle
With Citrix Dazzle, Citrix aims to give end users the kind of experience at the office that they're becoming used to with Web-based consumer applications. (Click image to view larger version.)

Free Support
Supporting Dazzle are several technologies. One is Citrix Merchandising Server, a new product that's available immediately for free to Citrix customers who have a subscription for any of Citrix's Delivery Center products. Merchandising Server allows IT to manage applications through such tasks as creating lists of recommended applications for different departments and through workflows for getting users approved for restricted apps.

A related new technology unveiled at the Synergy conference is the Citrix Receiver, a free software client that "makes accessing virtual desktops for virtual apps as easy as turning on your TV set," Wasson said. The Receiver pushes out application updates automatically so IT professionals don't have to. Corporate users can download the Receiver to their work computer, home computer and even some phones, allowing them to access Citrix-delivered applications securely from any location, Wasson added.

Receiver will support Windows, Mac OS and the Apple iPhone, and Citrix is working on support for other devices.

About the Author

Lee Pender is Redmond Channel Partner magazine's senior editor. You can reach him at [email protected].