Sergey Nivens - Fotolia

Advanced Citrix XenMobile MDM comes to Intune, but who's buying?

Citrix XenMobile mobile device management policies, features and mobile apps will soon be available to Microsoft shops as an Intune add-on.

Microsoft EMS shops will soon have the option to add more advanced EMM capabilities through Citrix XenMobile.

Organizations receive Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite as part of their Enterprise Agreements, but its capabilities are not as advanced as those in XenMobile. With XenMobile Essentials, a new bundle from Citrix, EMS administrators can implement and enforce policies around jailbroken devices, geofencing and more that Microsoft's product can't provide.

"Citrix is definitely filling in the gaps, adding several missing features in Intune," said Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Microsoft partner in Westborough, Mass. "Intune is a good service but has lacked some of the more advanced features needed by enterprises and midmarket businesses, as well as businesses with greater data protection needs."

Microsoft EMS includes Azure Active Directory, Identity Manager and more Microsoft software, plus Intune for enterprise mobility management (EMM).

XenMobile Essentials, announced last week, will offer Intune shops higher-level mobile device management (MDM) capabilities, including passcode enforcement, compliance checks, location-based policy enforcement and jailbreak detection. Unlike the full XenMobile platform, XenMobile Essentials does not offer any mobile application management (MAM) capabilities. Organizations that want MAM will get that from Intune.

The new bundle also includes Citrix mobile business apps such as Secure Mail, Secure Web and Secure Notes. Citrix first disclosed its plans to integrate XenMobile with Intune at its Synergy conference in May 2016.

Who benefits from Intune-XenMobile MDM

Citrix XenMobile Essentials might appeal to businesses looking to get more out of Intune, said Jeff Janovich, a cloud solutions architect at Carlisle Construction Materials in Carlisle, Pa. His company has access to Intune through its Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, but uses Okta for EMM instead because it aligns better with its cloud strategy, Janovich said.

Most companies are starting to see that there is no longer a need to be tied down to a single vendor when it comes to providing your company and its employees [with] best-of-breed software.
Jeff Janovichcloud solutions architect, Carlisle Construction Materials

"Most companies are starting to see that there is no longer a need to be tied down to a single vendor when it comes to providing your company and its employees [with] best-of-breed software," he added.

Essentials is ideal for large enterprises that need advanced XenMobile MDM functionality, said Jack Gold, founder and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, a mobile analyst firm in Northborough, Mass. Organizations that would rather not scrap Intune completely for a different platform will also benefit, he said.

Citrix offered XenMobile Essentials to capitalize on Microsoft's rapid growth in the market, said Calvin Hsu, vice president of product marketing at Citrix. Because of its inclusion in Microsoft licenses, Intune has the fastest growth rate of all EMM products: 214.2% year over year in 2015, according IDC's June 2016 figures. Citrix's market share grew by 25.4% over that period, IDC said.

"If you're a Microsoft shop -- and who isn't? -- you can basically use Intune for free," Gold said.

The Microsoft partnership has been the focal point of Citrix's turnaround strategy for the past year. This new integration means Microsoft does not have to include more advanced MDM capabilities in Intune and can let its partner deliver those features instead.

Businesses can get their hands on a preview version of Citrix XenMobile Essentials by the end of the first quarter, with its general availability coming at a later date. The company did not disclose pricing.

Next Steps

Compare and contrast XenMobile vs. AirWatch EMM

How XenMobile Office 365 management runs

Discover the options offered with XenMobile 10 upgrade

Dig Deeper on EMM tools | Enterprise mobility management technology