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Citrix bets on Excalibur, angles toward enterprise mobility

Gabe Knuth

What should you expect at Citrix Synergy 2013? Lots of Excalibur and a slew of mobility announcements and demos from the show floor.

Unlike VMworld, which covers a wide area of topics, almost everything about Citrix Synergy 2013 is directly related to desktop virtualization or enterprise mobility, so we have our work cut out for us.

Plus, Citrix Synergy is not just about developments on the Citrix front. In fact, I spend most of my time talking to companies on the floor, learning about new releases from classic vendors such as Wyse (now part of Dell), Hewlett-Packard and Lakeside Software. Part of the fun is trolling for new vendors, and Synergy rarely leaves me unfulfilled.

What to expect from Excalibur

From Citrix itself, I'm looking forward to learning about the company's path to

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Windows Server 2012 support. Dell added support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 to the new vWorkspace, so Citrix is already late to the party. XenApp still only supports Windows Server 2008 R2 -- will it finally support Windows Server 2012?

More pre-show resources for Citrix Synergy 2013

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Dell releases vWorkspace 8 with Windows Server 2012 support

Samsung showcasing new device and KNOX at Synergy 2013

If Windows Server 2012 is in your sights for use in a Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environment, there may yet be hope. Citrix demoed Project Excalibur, which supports Windows Server 2012 RDS, in Barcelona last October. Excalibur combines XenApp and XenDesktop functionality, among other things, into a suite that can be implemented, managed and accessed from anywhere.

Citrix is banking its desktop virtualization business on Excalibur. It's something Citrix administrators have been requesting for many years, because fragmentation in the product line has been a major source of confusion for both partners and corporations. I expect to see many updates on Excalibur and Merlin, the follow-up project to Excalibur that provides Windows apps and desktop as a cloud service, during Citrix Synergy 2013.

Citrix repositions toward mobility

Several traditional desktop virtualization vendors are also dedicating many of their resources to mobility. There is so much overlap between the concepts, most of which is centered on securely deploying applications and data to users and devices.

Because of that, Citrix is positioning itself to be so much more than a desktop virtualization company and has fully embraced the enterprise mobility management space. It has turned Citrix Receiver into an application delivery platform unto itself, and even acquired mobile device management company Zenprise to expand its reach into mobility.

In fact, there are many vendors with their feet in both pools, including Dell, Samsung, Acer, AppSense, RES Software and triCerat. We'll almost certainly find more by the end of the show. It's always interesting to see which vendors identify the mobility trend and either pivot into it or can adapt their technology to work with it.

Citrix Synergy 2013 will also be my first foray into the world of productized Android thin clients or smart devices. Dell will surely be showing off Project Ophelia, and ViewSonic has an Android all-in-one PC that I suspect they'll be showing in their booth. For the most part, I've written off Android in the desktop form factor, but I'm willing to see these devices in action before making a final decision.

BrianMadden.com will be live-blogging and tweeting from the opening keynote on May 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT, and will follow up with a live podcast shortly thereafter to discuss the announcements.

Get full Citrix Synergy 2013 conference coverage here.


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