SAN FRANCISCO -- Citrix’s new mobile enterprise strategy is all about bridging legacy apps and consumer-focused cloud apps in a manner that makes administrators comfortable with BYOD.
With that stack, employees can open Citrix Receiver on an iPad and access IT-managed cloud and corporate applications. Users can also access their corporate data courtesy of ShareFile, Citrix said at its Synergy conference here this week.
The combination of Cloud Gateway 2, Citrix Receiver and ShareFile sounds promising to Abe Cotto, an IT technical associate at a university in Illinois. His school will consider adopting the tools to manage school-issued mobile devices or to support BYOD.
“The CloudGateway could probably let us do a better job of BYOD,” said Cotto. His hope is to provide students the same experience on their laptops, tablets or on thin clients in the computer lab.
The promise of CloudGateway 2 and Citrix Receiver
Citrix’s updated CloudGateway product can now deliver enterprise, mobile and Software as a Service applications to Citrix Receiver, which is available on iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices.
CloudGateway 2 also supports single sign-on, so employees only have to authenticate when they open Citrix Receiver to gain access to all of their apps. This version also includes support for mobile application management capabilities.
Citrix customers familiar with the company’s existing app management software say CloudGateway 2 is promising.
At a hospital in Southern California where doctors use iOS devices, Citrix’s offerings have helped IT create a more secure bring your own device (BYOD) environment, said Kevin Howell, director of enterprise device architecture.
The new version of CloudGateway could help the hospital securely deliver its homegrown applications to iPads, he said.
“I like to have policy control over the applications, the ability to wipe, and being able to serve a mix of applications,” Howell said.
However, not every IT pro is sold on Citrix’s approach.
“When users want email, they just want to click a mail button. They don’t want to open one app, log in, then open another app just to check mail,” said an IT director at a medical company in the midwest.
The company was forced to support iPads because employees just started showing up with them, he said. The IT pro, who requested anonymity, estimates there are a thousand iPads that employees use in unofficial capacities.
As a result, there is a company initiative to migrate from BlackBerry to iOS devices. Citrix’s comprehensive mobile effort sounds good in theory, but in reality it might not be good enough to prevent employees from using their iPads in an unsecure way, he said.
Citrix’s approach to delivering a work environment that doesn’t depend on a physical device or location sounds appealing, but the majority of enterprises will be slow to adopt that new approach, said Ellen Bradford, who provides remote IT support to companies using the Citrix stack.
“By the time this is wide-spread there’ll be something else on the horizon we have to adopt,” she said.
ShareFile includes storage zones
Citrix acquired ShareFile, a cloud storage and file-sharing service, in fall 2011. Now ShareFile features Storage Zones, which give IT the option to choose where to store data -- on premise, in the public cloud or a hybrid of both.
There are also mobile ShareFile apps and the service integrates with Citrix Receiver.
Podio combines social networking and enterprise collaboration
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Citrix to offer cloud storage, collaboration services
Citrix also introduced Podio, a social collaboration platform that the company recently acquired. It gives users the ability to collaborate on documents, schedule GoToMeetings or video conferences from within the Podio application console.
Podio also has built-in ShareFile integration, but supports other cloud storage and file-sharing products, such as Dropbox, SugarSync and Box.
Podio is now available for free for up to five users. After that it can be licensed on a per-user, per-month basis.
Read our complete Citrix Synergy 2012 conference coverage here.