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Citrix XenMobile, ShareFile updates welcomed by IT

Facing stiff mobile competition, Citrix offers updates to XenMobile’s Worx applications as well as ShareFile’s MCM connections.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Like its competition, Citrix invests heavily in mobility and has reinforced that stance with product updates, a welcome sight from customers.

The highlights in XenMobile 9.0, Citrix’s updated enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform, will include new applications within its Worx suite such as WorxNotes, WorxEdit and WorxDesktop plus updates to Worx Mail and Worx Web.

With its mobile content management (MCM) platform ShareFile, Citrix beefed up its integration with other content management systems, including Documentum, Alfresco and Filenet, through Citrix ShareFile StorageZone Connectors.

Worx apps key to new XenMobile

Citrix has made strides this week with its Worx environment in XenMobile, according to users. A year ago, shortly after the Zenprise acquisition and when XenMobile first became available, the apps in the Worx suite were a bit clunky, according to Charles Kanavel, CEO of the Kanavel Group, an IT service provider in San Jose, Calif.

This is not a consumer Dropbox service.
Mark TempletoCitrix CEO, on ShareFile�

“It’s what happens the first time you do anything, and what you’re seeing is an evolution and a refinement based on customer feedback,” Kanavel said. Citrix has made significant improvements to make the Worx Mail app look very similar to a native Apple iOS or Google Android mail app, he said.

XenMobile 9.0 will also add security features with FIPS 140-2 compliance across all devices. The new security of the mail client can act as a replacement for industries previously reliant on mail to run through a network operations center (NOC), which is what BlackBerry Enterprise Service and Good Technology use, according to a mobile architect at a Top 50 global company who requested anonymity.

“The NOC architecture is going away,” the architect said. “No one wants to go through a central point to secure data.”

The new Worx apps were shown off here during a demonstration in the Citrix Synergy conference keynote. The architect was impressed with the ability of the new Worx Notes app to view attachments without a third-party application, something she can’t do on her current Android device.

When it comes to EMM it may be easy to forget about Citrix’s products because other companies have garnered more attention of late. Just in the last six months, VMware, IBM and Oracle made key EMM acquisitions while Dell and Microsoft introduced their own platforms.

“The attention from buyers is driven by the news around a lot of these acquisitions,” said Chris Hazelton, a mobile analyst with 451 Research in New York.

But Citrix was an early adopter of mobility and other companies have been catching up to its offerings, according to the mobile architect.

“VMware tried their own products in Horizon around mobility and it failed while Citrix bought Zenprise and launched their own platform,” she said.

XenMobile 9.0 also adds support for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8. It will be available for download in June with the new Worx available as part of a technology preview.

XenMobile is licensed on per-user and per-device options for an annual or perpetual term, starting at $50 per year per device or $65 per year per user.

ShareFile taps into larger MCM picture

When introducing the updates to ShareFile during the keynote, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton quickly contrasted his company’s product with Dropbox, a similar product.

“This is not a consumer Dropbox service,” he said. “This is a real, live, secure, local, serious enterprise infrastructure for sharing information across devices, people and locations.”

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Organizations can connect ShareFile to any content management system because it opened up its platform with a StorageZone Connectors software developer’s kit, available now.

ShareFile will add key encryption ownership for IT through ShareFile StorageZones in Microsoft Azure (also available now) and allow users to access files in other MCM/storage applications including Dropbox, Box and Google Drive through ShareFile’s Personal Cloud Connectors, a feature available in June.

Adding the Personal Cloud Connector piece was smart from a business perspective, according to Hazelton.

“Dropbox is going out of their way to give out all this free storage but they aren’t really getting a paid relationship for it, but Citrix is,” he said.

ShareFile can give IT administrators more control through the new key encryption ownership as well as other features.

“I still want my data behind my fence,” said Kanavel. “Who cares if Word is running in the cloud? It’s what Word is opening that I care about.”

Citrix is also adding a new ShareFile for iPhone app and Microsoft Office document creation, editing and PDF annotation for users later this month.

ShareFile pricing starts at $29.95 per month for two employee accounts and 5 GB of storage.

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