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Citrix Eases Cloud-Provisioning Management

Citrix has introduced the Cloud Provider Pack, a set of software intended for its Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) to provide to its own hosted shared desktop customers, which makes it easier for the CSPs to deliver cloud-hosted applications and desktops. This is particularly true for mobile devices because the services are optimized for them. The software has three main components – app orchestration technology, which lets CSPs provide packaged offerings of software and other services; the ability to support applications running on both public and private clouds; and the mobility pack, which makes the software easier to use with a tablet.

“By giving its service provider partners a single console to design, provision and manage Desktops as a Service (DaaS) and Workspace as a Service (WaaS) offerings, Citrix demonstrates its seriousness about a market we are bullish on,” says Karin Kelley, an analyst with 451 Group, a San Francisco-based analyst group.. “End users are already using a combination of cloud-based applications, either publicly or privately hosted, with local ones. The Cloud Provider pack, with its seamless app technology, should give partners a more straightforward and efficient way to manage the delivery of that mixture directly to the end user. The inclusion of Mobility Pack should alleviate usability issues on tablets and smart phones, and the software development kit will let organizations integrate with existing management systems. Citrix plans to extend the overlay to XenDesktop, too. That puts it in a good position when, and if, Microsoft offers a viable Services Provider License Agreement for virtual desktop infrastructure environments.”

Last month the company launched its Citrix Cloud Community, which certifies product and service integration with Citrix's partners. The integration program is similar to the Citrix Ready program and kicked off with 2,200 services and products, with more planned.

App orchestration technology is a capability that automates the design, configuration, deployment, and lifecycle maintenance of Windows apps. With it, cloud provider administrators can perform functions such as defining a workspace, including aspects such as performance characteristics, network configuration, and isolation requirements, and have the orchestration engine automatically complete the deployment from one interface. The company has also updated its Citrix CloudPortal Services Manager to provide support for app orchestration, which enables the hosted desktop infrastructure to dynamically respond to account provisioning requests via the portal.

In addition, Citrix has extended its “seamless app” technology, which lets applications running in a remote data center integrate with a local desktop environment, to the cloud. This includes features such as support for themes, the standard accessory applications, wallpaper, and the familiar start menu and taskbar, says the company.

The Mobility Pack, which Citrix introduced in December, provides a user interface better suited to tablets such as the iPad by providing larger icons, iOS and Android-native menus and options, and an auto pop-up keyboard. The new version now includes a software developers kit for customizing applications, including interacting with the Global Positioning System, camera, or Short Message Service.

The Cloud Provider Pack software is scheduled to be available by the end of March and is free to CSPs using the Premium edition. Both the Cloud Provider Pack and the Mobility Pack work with Citrix XenApp 6.5.

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