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Citrix's drive to evolve itself into a far broader-based networking company will be reinforced via two new systems currently under development, and demonstrated at Thinergy this week. The products currently codenamed Ascot and Gemini are both aimed at easing network administration problems, and will both beef-up Citrix's own portfolio and position the company for deals and alliances with enterprise management software suppliers (see separate Novell story). Ascot basically monitors the use of applications and allows administrators to set rules to control the way they operate. So, for example, if the administrator doesn't want users to change setting in a particular application it can be used to disable the relevant menus and/or check boxes. According to Dave Weiss of Citrix the system is highly granular, allowing administrators to disable or remove highly detailed aspects of applications. Rules can be applied in response to applications starting, buttons being clicked or even when particular keystroke sequences are pressed, and if necessary Ascot can go as far as reacting to Windows messages. It can operate within standard NT groups, or separate Ascot groups can be set up for particular classes of user. "This is not a Big Brother tool," said Weiss. "Oh yes it is," said at least two members of the audience. Gemini hits another one of the network admin hot buttons by providing replication and installation services, so allowing administrators to perform fast multiple installs, upgrades and configuration changes.®

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