This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Citrix Synergy 2017 conference coverage

IT has eyes on Citrix Cloud, Microsoft at Synergy

IT experts can't wait to see what Citrix has in store for them at Synergy next week in Orlando, Fla. News about Citrix Cloud and the Microsoft relationship are top of mind.

IT experts look forward to hearing tips on migrating to Citrix Cloud and what's next with the company's Microsoft partnership.

At Citrix's annual user conference last year, the company announced its revamped partnership with Microsoft and integrations with multiple products, including XenApp and Azure. At this year's Citrix Synergy, IT pros are hoping to hear more about how Microsoft will fit into Citrix's future, and they also want to see improvements to core Citrix products.

"[Citrix] tried to refocus their efforts toward the core of their business, so I'm hoping we're going to see some more movement there," said Michael Thompson, systems engineer at a managed services provider.

Counting on cloud

Citrix's core business over the last year has been its cloud-based workspace services suite, Citrix Cloud, which includes all its core products, including XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, ShareFile and NetScaler. Many people want to adopt Citrix Cloud, but need help getting there, so it would be in both Citrix's and their customers' best interest to assist them in adopting these services, said Robert Young, research analyst at IDC.

"Help customers make that move," Young said. "People are slow to adopt. They want it to be easier ... so, Citrix needs to articulate and demonstrate how they can help at Synergy."

Many organizations don't want to go all-in on cloud because they don't want to abandon their investment in on-premises infrastructure. That's why it's important for Citrix to talk about hyper-converged technology, Young said. It gives organizations the option of taking advantage of cloud infrastructure in addition to their existing infrastructure.

"Give customers tools to allow them to migrate to the cloud," Young said. "They want to know, 'Will my existing management work if I move to Citrix Cloud?' This is an opportunity to articulate and demonstrate how."

Musing on Microsoft

There are already integrations between Citrix Cloud and Microsoft Azure, XenDesktop and XenApp and Skype for Business, in addition to Citrix XenMobile and Microsoft Intune. Yet, the biggest question on the minds of IT experts doesn't have to do with products, but integration between the companies themselves.

"I'm hoping someone may address the ongoing rumor as to whether Microsoft and Citrix are going to merge," said Logan Rosenstiel, system administrator at Rivermark Community Credit Union in Beaverton, Ore. "I'm pretty curious."

I'm hoping someone may address the ongoing rumor as to whether Microsoft and Citrix are going to merge.
Logan Rosenstielsystem administrator at Rivermark Community Credit Union

A merger of this magnitude could directly affect IT departments, depending on how licensing of Citrix products lines up under Microsoft. If Microsoft moved away from perpetual licenses of Citrix products the same way it has with licenses of some Microsoft products and put "complex licensing schemes" in place, it could have negative implications for many Citrix shops, Rosenstiel said.

On the other hand, it could make Citrix products more appealing if licensing is aligned correctly, said Rory Monaghan, an independent consultant in Phoenix. For example, if XenApp and XenDesktop are included in certain Microsoft licenses, an organization would be less inclined to buy a Microsoft license in addition to a VMware license, Monaghan said.

"It would make using XenApp and XenDesktop a no-brainer," he said.

Monaghan doesn't think an acquisition by Microsoft could taint Citrix overall.

"There's been a strong partnership for years," he said. "If somebody else buys Citrix, maybe it won't be as strong in the future."

The progression of Microsoft since CEO Satya Nadella took the helm three years ago is reason enough for Citrix to agree to a deal, Thompson said.

"I don't see that as a bad deal," he said. "Quite honestly, it's probably the way it needs to go. Microsoft has been making really great moves."

Although a Microsoft acquisition is top of mind for many IT experts ahead of Citrix Synergy, it's still just hearsay at this point and not something anyone should expect, Young said.

"I don't see that happening," he said. "I don't know that Microsoft -- with where they are going as a company being a platform to run best-of-breed technologies -- really cares to go that deep into the virtual client computing space."

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