This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Citrix Synergy 2016 conference coverage

IT not yet buying into workspace management suites

Workspace delivery and management suites have started cropping up, but IT customers don't see the benefits of locking into one vendor for their entire desktop and app delivery just yet.

LAS VEGAS -- Vendors are pushing workspace management suites, but IT still isn't on board.

Virtualization vendors have bundled their mobility management, remote desktop delivery and content sharing products, for instance, into single packages designed to be centrally managed and integrate with each other. Rather than paying for products individually, customers can buy the suite and have everything they need to manage all the ways their end users access their corporate data -- known as workspaces. IT pros here at Citrix Synergy 2016 shared their concerns about these types of suites and why they've stayed away.

"We looked at Citrix Cloud, but we don't use all the products it includes, and on top of that, it's expensive," said Paul Blechschmidt, systems administrator at The Greenbrier Companies, a railroad manufacturer in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Citrix Cloud (formerly Citrix Workspace Cloud), rolled out in August 2015, is a cloud-based workspace management platform. It allows IT to manage XenApp, XenDesktop and XenMobile instances, as well as support ShareFile, lifecycle management and Citrix's new Secure Browser. Competitor VMware offered its suite, Workspace One, in February, which combines AirWatch, Identity Manager and Horizon Air. Each company also offers an on-premises Workspace Suite for workspace delivery to any device.

Vendor lock-in, cost make IT hesitate

Blechschmidt's company, which manages more than 10,000 employees, uses Citrix XenApp and ShareFile, but its mobility management platform is from a different vendor. Since the organization doesn't use the remaining products in Citrix Cloud, he questioned whether it's worth buying the suite.

"Do they expect customers to always work within all those products all the time?" he said. 

Workspace management suites can be useful for IT shops that use all the products from one vendor, or companies that have a large population of remote workers, Blechschmidt said. Despite those use cases, he said he doesn't see many of his peers buying in, either.

"I don't think it's widely adopted yet," he added.

Because of pricing, workspace management suites are more geared toward larger companies, said Scott Bollinger, senior systems engineer at Leavitt Group Enterprises, an insurance agency based in Cedar City, Utah.

We've tested a lot of workspaces out, and they're all expensive.
Scott Bollingersenior systems engineer, Leavitt Group Enterprises

"We've tested a lot of workspaces out, and they're all expensive," he said. "It's still a growing area that's not as widely adopted. [Vendors] need to look out for smaller businesses, because 100-person environments could benefit."

Workspace management suites are still emerging, but they do increase IT's value proposition to their company, said Robert Young, a research analyst at IDC.

"IT needs to be more relevant and deliver tools to the business to increase its value," he said.

The big benefit these suites can provide is that workspaces bring a heterogeneous environment of multiple capabilities to the end user, but it appears homogeneous, Young said. On the IT side, the workspace runs based on multiple services, delivering native, virtual and legacy apps on premises or from a public cloud, but admins can manage all of that centrally.

"There are a lot of IT leaders out there that get it and are looking for a workspace suite to transform their organization," Young said. "While there are a lot that get it, there are a lot that don't."

What Young said he hopes to hear at Citrix Synergy 2016 is a message from Citrix that clearly explains how Citrix Cloud better enables businesses and increases the value of IT departments. That will be attractive to folks who are not yet buying into workspace suite products, he said.

"There is some education needed in the market," he added. "It's up to the big players like Citrix to bring these solutions to make it more than just virtual desktops and apps. It's also about accessing file sharing, identity management, so users get the resources they need wherever they need it. That's a differentiated experience."

Next Steps

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