by Nick Rintalan, Citrix
I’ve been in Vegas all week at our annual partner event, Citrix Summit. It’s always a whirlwind for me personally as I meet with a lot of partners, CTPs, vendors, Product folks and our Sales Leadership. And now that the dust has settled and we’ve wrapped up the Summit event, I wanted to share what I believe were the 3 most important announcements. Please keep in mind this is the public stuff I can actually share and talk about (no NDA material here) and my views as a technical Consultant may be different than other folks. So without further ado, here are the 3 items I’ve been getting the most questions about that probably deserve a little more attention.
Comtrade. If I had a nickel for every time a customer asked me what 3rd party monitoring product I recommended, I’d be retired and a scratch golfer by now. This announcement was a big one and deserves some more hype. Because if we’re honest with ourselves, monitoring has been a serious pain point for Citrix customers for a while now. EdgeSight was a bit of a hog, the transition to Director wasn’t fast enough, and Insight adds a bit of complexity and needs to be bolted on. So our monitoring strategy has been a bit fragmented for a few years now and a lot of customers have resorted to popular 3rd party products such as Comtrade, eG and ExtraHop to name a few. And we just signed a deal and now own one of those products! This has been long overdue in my opinion and will absolutely increase visibility into Citrix environments. I did want to set one thing straight though – it wasn’t an OEM deal and it also wasn’t an acquisition. The deal we signed with Comtrade is somewhere in between – we didn’t acquire their people or all of their products, just the SCOM-based management packs (MPs). But it’s important to note that we acquired all of the associated IP with those MPs, so we truly own that piece of the pie. That means we get continued development, maintenance and support from Comtrade (so things stay up-to-date when 7.8 comes out for example). And that means other folks can’t actually buy the MPs from Comtrade anymore. So the net-net is if you’re currently a SCOM shop and a Platinum customer, you’re going to be one happy camper. Comtrade has MPs for more than just XA and XD, too. Need StoreFront, PVS, XenMobile or ShareFile monitoring? We’ve got you covered with SCOM+Comtrade!
LTSR. This is another thing that definitely did not get enough attention at Summit IMO. Allow me to explain what Long Term Service Release (LTSR) is and why I think it’s a big deal. Citrix has historically shipped major releases fairly frequently (which is one problem), but the bigger problem is we EOL releases after about 2-3 years from the initial ship date. So who cares? The majority of our large XA/XD customers perform migrations every 4-5 years on average (i.e. upgrading from XA 4.5 on 2003 to XA 6.5 on 2008…5 years later). So the “math” never added up and our customers were forced to upgrade Citrix before they really wanted to upgrade their underlying MSFT platforms. And trust me, we heard about this one from the large Citrix shops. So we listened and acted on this customer feedback finally – I’ve been lobbying for a program like LTSR for the last decade! You can read more about the details of LTSR here (and I encourage you to do so since some things are excluded from LTSR and there are more LTSR components than just XA and XD). But the net-net is LTSR gives our customers who value supportability, predictability and stability something to stand on for 5 YEARS. And I mentioned stability there – we’re going to test these LTSR components a bit more than CR components, which is great. So you can expect fewer support cases if you stick with these LTSR components as well. And lastly, I love LTSR because I’m constantly asked if it’s best to build on 7.6 or 7.7 (or should I wait for 7.8, etc.). And now I can confidently recommend 7.6.3, which is the first LTSR release. I’m not saying you shouldn’t or can’t upgrade to 7.7 or 7.8 when it comes out…if you have a true business requirement for zones or SSPR, then go for it. But if you value long-term supportability and predictability, then you might want to stick with LTSRs moving forward. I’m certainly going to try and get most of my large customers on the LTSR track to make both of our lives easier.
CWC Updates. I also don’t think many folks realized what we changed behind the scenes with CWC. KenO posted an article with some of the details, but allow me to summarize the 3 key updates and tell you why I think they’re important. First, we re-worked the packages by ripping ShareFile out of the “Apps & Desktops” package and making it a standalone offering. Second, we reduced the prices of what I believe will be our two most popular offerings (Apps & Desktops and the full “Suite”). Unfortunately I can’t share the updated pricing since it’s under NDA, but rest assured, we’ll be unveiling it later in Q1 as Ken said. And third, which I think might be the most important thing, is we announced volume discounting. This means CWC will be sold in alignment with everything else we sell and if you’re an “ELA6” customer, you’ll receive that same discounting when you buy CWC. I think this is huge for the customers I primarily serve in the enterprise space because it actually means they can get their foot in the door now. So when people have been asking me all week “Is CWC for real now?”, I’ve been telling them that these 3 updates or changes are certainly going to make it a whole hell of a lot more real than before. And more smart innovations like the Browser Apps Service, which LeoS has talked about in the past, are sure to come. I’m excited about CWC and what the future holds at Citrix…I hope you are, too.
Lead Architect, Citrix Consulting Services (CCS)
Nick Rintalan is a Lead Architect & Director in the Americas Consulting organization based out of California. He has been with Citrix Consulting for the last 12 years, working on some of the largest Citrix deployments known to mankind. He has authored several well-known whitepapers such as “The Top 10 Items Found by Citrix Consulting on Assessments” and “Best Practices for XenDesktop and XenApp”. Nick has spoken at Synergy/iForum, Summit and BriForum 16 times over the years