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Citrix Opens Door for Win32 Apps in Windows 10 S

Citrix is developing several new products that will work in conjunction with Microsoft services, including a release of the Citrix Receiver client designed for the forthcoming Windows 10 S operating system.

Announced this week at the Citrix Synergy in Orlando, Fla., the new Citrix Receiver for Windows "opens the door for the Win 32 apps to run on Windows 10 S," according to a blog post by Vipin Borkar, a director of product management at Citrix.

Windows 10 S, which Microsoft unveiled earlier this month and is scheduled for release this summer, is a locked-down version of Windows 10 that only runs Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and tools from the Windows Store. Borkar noted that Citrix Receiver for Windows can enable organizations running Windows 10 S to use specific Win32 apps or environments that are not likely to find their way into the Windows Store, such as Google's Chrome browser.

PJ Hough, Citrix's senior vice president and previously a veteran of Microsoft's Office 365 team, said Citrix Receiver for Windows should be available in the Windows Store "any day."

Citrix Secure Browser
Also announced at the Synergy conference is Citrix Secure Browser Essentials, a secure browser that Citrix will host in the Microsoft cloud.

Set for release by year's end, Citrix Secure Browser Essentials will allow IT organizations to present desktop images to users whether or not they run any of the company's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or app virtualization offerings. The browser is designed to isolate corporate desktop images and data from personal information and apps.

Citrix and Microsoft are working together to deliver the browser as part of the two companies' cloud partnership.

"The browser itself needs a lot of protection and we will be delivering it with Microsoft," said Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov in the opening Synergy keynote. Tatarinov had been a longtime Microsoft senior executive before taking the reins at Citrix in early 2016.

Hough, who joined Tatarinov at Citrix last year, said that Citrix Secure Browser Essentials will isolate public Internet browsing from access to enterprise applications and resources. "It's going to be a great isolated browsing experience for customers who want to separate the corporate browsing they do from other applications and experiences on the device," Hough said during the Synergy keynote.

Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice president of enterprise mobility and security management, joined Hough on stage. According to him, the browser is "not only separating corporate from personal on the device, it's actually taking the corporate image and putting it up in the cloud."

Citrix is betting that hosting its secure browser on Azure will be an effective way to introduce organizations to Citrix.

"The potential here is since it's hosted in Azure, there's opportunity to protect the apps and data even further," said Mark Bowker, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "Microsoft is a big target from threat vectors, and having [the browser] on Azure can give it the opportunity to provide an even higher level of protection just due to what they see out on the Internet."

Hough said the new Citrix Secure Browser Essentials will arrive by year's end in the Azure Marketplace, with pricing starting at $180 per year (with a three-year subscription for a minimum of 50 subscribed users).

Citrix Analytics Service
Citrix also said it is working with Microsoft to develop a threat analytics service, which can pull all of the telemetry of its XenDesktop and XenApp solutions to address advanced security threats.

The Citrix Analytics Service will offer continuous monitoring that will take telemetry of users, devices, applications and networks to identify anomalies that may lead to potentially malicious activity and offer specific responses to prevent attacks.

The plan to offer the Citrix Analytics Service, which will run on Azure as a part of the Citrix Cloud, comes as Microsoft is in the process of rolling out its own Windows Defender Advanced Threat Analytics service.

The two companies were less specific about the work they're doing together on the new Citrix service. However, since the Citrix Cloud runs on Azure, it's reasonable to presume they're exploring a number of integration points, including Azure Machine Learning and the Microsoft Security Graph, as well as extending their work around tying the Citrix platform to the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) solution.

Hough and Anderson revisited some of the deliverables announced at last year's Synergy conference, including the ability to run XenDesktop Essentials and XenApp Cloud Essentials in hybrid environments on Windows Server 2016 and Azure, as well as the integration of EMS and the Microsoft Intune mobile application management functions with XenMobile.

"Citrix has taken all their apps and Intune-MAM-enabled them," Anderson said. "IT professions get one common management paradigm for managing all of their apps. And that translates to a much easier user experience because users have all of this working underneath one policy as one. It just flows a lot easier for them."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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