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Citrix XenMobile 10.3 adds unified endpoint management

As Citrix refocuses on its core offerings, the new XenMobile 10.3 gets the ability to manage desktop and laptop computers in addition to mobile devices.

The unified endpoint management market has another major player.

Citrix XenMobile 10.3, the new version of the company's enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform, now manages Windows 10 and Mac OS X computers in addition to Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows 10 Mobile devices. With XenMobile 10.3, IT can work with a single Active Directory-based platform to manage and secure all those devices from one console.

AirWatch by VMware, MobileIron, BlackBerry and IBM already support Windows 10 in their EMM products, making it an important box for Citrix to check to compete in the unified endpoint management market.

"Everyone is moving or has moved in that direction," said analyst Jack Gold, principal at J. Gold Associates in Northborough, Mass. "Companies prefer to have one solution for everything across the board."

Without one unified tool, IT admins can get bogged down from using multiple products to govern all their employees' devices.  

"You can end up with a bunch of different tools to manage a bunch of different things," said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, an IT consultancy in Kitchener, Ont. "More savvy software vendors have been working on putting it all on one pane of glass to make IT more efficient."

Citrix roadmap becomes clearer

After Citrix lost its longtime CEO in October, the company revealed plans to streamline its business by spinning off its GoTo product line and potentially killing or bundling other products. Just this week, Citrix sold its CloudPlatform line to cloud backup vendor Accelerite.

In light of these moves, the release of XenMobile 10.3 is a clear sign that EMM is still part of the company's plans, as it looks to take share from longtime rival VMware, Gold said.

VMware significantly boosted its EMM presence by acquiring AirWatch in 2014. Citrix, by expanding into unified endpoint management, can take advantage of its large install base of desktop and application virtualization customers and offer them tightly integrated capabilities, Gold said. Citrix Workspace Suite, which combines XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile and ShareFile, can now manage everything from virtual desktops and apps to data, mobile devices and physical PCs.

This is ... a way for [Citrix] to tell their install base, 'We are here for all your platforms.'
Jack Goldprincipal, J. Gold Associates

"This is ... a way for [Citrix] to tell their install base, 'We are here for all your platforms,'" Gold said.

Other new Citrix XenMobile 10.3 features include app blacklisting capabilities for iOS and Android, the ability to regulate which managed apps can access Wi-Fi or cellular networks, and a data loss prevention feature that assesses regulatory compliance on Windows 10 devices. Citrix also teased its yet-to-be-released WorxChat, a managed mobile collaboration app for XenMobile, which will support Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business.

XenApp, XenDesktop get two-for-one updates

XenMobile's companions in Citrix Workspace Suite, XenApp and XenDesktop also have new features on the way. Hot on the heels of releasing XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 in December, Citrix announced version 7.8 of each product will come out later in the first quarter of 2016.

The biggest update in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.8 is full integration with Citrix's AppDisk app-layering technology, which allows IT to install or update applications without having to change the master image. Platinum customers will also get integration between AppDisk and XenDesktop's AppDNA testing tool for identifying and fixing compatibility issues.

Also in XenDesktop 7.8, Citrix will further integrate its Framehawk technology to improve graphics performance in its HDX 3D Pro feature, and add new app publishing and management features in Citrix Studio.

XenApp/XenDesktop 7.7 are available now, and include support for Skype for Business across Windows and Linux virtual desktops and virtual applications. This version also brings back the MultiZone Management functionality, which allows admins to centrally control devices for employees that work from multiple locations. Citrix previously dropped the feature when it switched XenApp to the FlexCast Management Architecture. Additionally, virtual desktop provisioning capabilities have improved, thanks to integration with Microsoft Azure, Citrix said.

Next Steps

Jack Madden says the new version of XenMobile is pretty significant

How to decide between AirWatch and XenMobile EMM

Security a major hurdle for unified endpoint management

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Is XenMobile 10.3 more appealing now that it manages Windows 10 and Mac OS X devices?
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