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Blog: End-user experience with Citrix

A service is measured by the end-user experience it delivers...

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I’ve always had a soft spot for Citrix as a platform but it used to have limitations for general use – not least, that it used not to work too well without a network connection.

Well, it looks like those days are properly over now. Citrix has been acquiring new technology for some time and now with release 4.5 of Presentation Server it has put together a cohesive platform for access to corporate systems and data – using streaming and local cache to allow you to carry on working without a network connection (as long as you’ve streamed all you need in advance, of course). It’s also fixed much of the issue with graphics-intensive applications (it claims), with its SpeedScreen progressive display technology delivering up to 20x speed improvements.

As I implied, this is really a repackaging and rationalisation exercise, as most if not all of the technology is already available, sometimes as standalone offerings. Now Access Essentials for the small business replaces the old standard edition at the bottom of Citrix’s offering and the Platinum Edition offers everything in one package at the top – see here for details. And you can still, mostly, buy the individual components if you want to.

However talking this over with Dave Austin, senior product manager for EMEA at Citrix, it seems to me that what really makes Citrix into a proper delivery platform is its Citrix EdgeSight capability for monitoring end-user experience; this gives “IT full visibility into how applications are performing from an end-user’s perspective”, according to Citrix. Obviously, the Citrix platform’s single signon application security, automated server recovery and the rest are all important, but what really makes the business see IT as a service (rather than a barrier to its business) is proactive service management, which means that IT support has empathy with the user experience – and can communicate this empathy to its business users.

Perhaps the target should be the mainframe environment as I remember it (well, up to a point, only up to a point): the IT I needed to do my job was just there, with consistent (reliable) “good-enough” response times, and no need to reboot anything or configure things before I could start working. Perhaps that environment is partly why the mainframe is taking so long to die. If Citrix can deliver this with its latest Presentation Server, using commodity technology, it’s going to be real successful…

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