This last year was an important year for End User Computing and mobile. The market has, for the most parts tabilized on iOS and Android platforms with Windows coming in a distant 3rd place. This has made the life of vendors in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space much easier from a solutions delivery perspective. So what does this mean for the enterprise?
This EMM space has upstarts and large organizations putting their stakes on the ground competing for a share in this market that is expected to reach $238.39 billion by 2020. However, the ‘Game of Thrones’ for the mobile device management (MDM) market has eased up without a clear winner. We saw an emergence of market understanding that the real importance should begiven to application delivery and data, not devices.
Early adopters of existing EMM technologies have recognized how transformative and fast paced the enterprise mobility management market really is, and media battles are erupting amongst players in this space including Citrix XenMobile, VMware AirWatch, Good, MobileIron and numerous other smaller players.
For the enterprise currently, BYOD (Bring-Your-Own- Device) programs are focused on delivering applications and data to employee endpoints, not only mobile devices, but also remote workers using laptops and workstations. The segment is primarily owned by Citrix when it comes to delivering remote applications. Citrix has a 15-year lead in this space and a close relationship with Microsoft for delivering Windows applications using RDSH (Remote Desktop Session Host). In some verticals, such as healthcare, remote application publishing is simply referred as ‘Citrix’.
How has Citrix progressed in this space? Afew years back, under ever increasing VMware pressure, Citrix started to focus more on VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure), delivering full Windows desktops to end points instead of purely delivering applications. Citrix has spent a lot of time unifying their VDI (XenDesktop) and application delivery (XenApp) story, instead of keeping focus on core innovation. VMware on the other hand has, for the most part been able to close the gap in features and now has a very competitive offering in the VDI space; but has only recently introduced remote application delivery using RDSH. VMware should be able to close the gap and keep innovating in its own stack, also including the hypervisor and creating integration combos. The advancement in this space from both vendors, only serves to benefit the enterprise.
“Citrix has always been an open platform allowing companies to choose their hypervisor of choice”
In terms of platforms, Citrix for the most part, has always been an open platform allowing companies to choose their hypervisor of choice (XenServer, Hyper-V or vSphere) and many customers appreciate that. For the most part customers have chosen VMware’s hypervisor because that’s the technology that most organizations are familiar with and feel comfortable managing. This approach has left Citrix vulnerable to ELA arrangements where VMware is able undercut Citrix and provide product replacement at discounted rates.
It appears that Citrix realized that perhaps the VDI battle was not the right one and that the world revolves around users, applications and data, as theyare now coming back with a renewed focus on remote application deliveryusing their XenApp flagship product and its own XenServer hypervisor. As part of this renewed focus, Citrix is adding advanced management capabilities to enable deployment of applications and desktops to multiple targets, including public clouds such as Amazon and Microsoft Azure.
Today, virtualized desktops and applications are generally confined to the walls of the datacenter and this approach may hinder organization’s abilities to be agile and competitive in fast evolving economies where cost and responsiveness are a fundamental factor for success. In the future I predict that only platforms and solutions that provide choice of cloud services will endure and truly enable organizations for the next cycle of innovation; and it appears that Citrix has the focus in the right place. Citrix has announced Workspace Cloud which takes a different approach by moving the management plane to the cloud and enabling IT to create services that are delivered on any public or private clouds, on-premises or in a hybrid model.
This gives IT the ability to make deployment choices that will deliver the best economics, performance and compliance to meet technology requirements.
This direction is one of the key reasons that DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service) has not been very successful. The symbioses between applications, databases, resource access and bandwidth have played a key role in the DaaS letdown. However, more organizations are adopting SaaS platforms reducing the number of Windows supported applications, while datalinks and bandwidth are becoming more affordable. All aspects together, along with the desktop and application cloud bursting options make this a potential solution for organizations choosing to not host certain user applications in private datacenters. Other vendors have similar approach to Citrix and are able to provision applications against cloud resources. However, most organizations will still prefer to have arms around infrastructure and applications for security, compliance and performance reasons.
As part of the delivery platform vendorsare adopting Workspace Suites that aim to streamline user access to application and data, and simplify management by allowing central managementacross their product EUC portfolio. This seems to be a trend where a single vendor tries to provide a fully integrated solution set.
Microsoft has the biggest stake in this market selling RDSH and VDA (Virtual Desktop Access) licenses; and the software giant is waking up and wanting to compete in this market with complete integration to the Azure cloud.
All in all, it’s been a great year in the mobility and application delivery space. Vendors are positioning themselves as a ‘one stop shop’ and the competition between existing and new players will increase, creating more innovation and benefiting the enterprise.