Last year I was in a bad mood about Cloud Gateway. At the time, it was a platform designed to allow users to access applications that were, one way or another, provisioned to them, authenticated via Single Sign On. I was annoyed because it required a NetScaler, and that VMware's Horizon did not. That's changed in the last year, especially with the introduction of Cloud Gateway 2 and it's expanded focus.
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Cloud Gateway 2, which is the foundation of Citrix's MDX platform, has grown to become a full-on application platform all to itself. I'll save this for another article, but I believe that this is the future of Citrix as Windows and Windows applications embark on the path towards legacy middleware. While the focus is decidedly mobile now, Cloud Gateway also retains the SSO and identity federation capabilities that put it on our radar in the first place. That said, it still requires several components, including a NetScaler, so why the change of heart? The answer is easy enough - it has to have SOME infrastructure, right?
VMware Horizon of course fits into this discussion, but let's set Horizon aside for the time being. While it's a platform with similar capabilities, it is undergoing some changes as VMware incorporates all the new technologies that are part of the Horizon Suite. We'll get to those shortly.
What really brought me around was when comparing the Cloud Gateway 2 MDX solution to that of Good. It occurred to me that, while I was annoyed that I had to have a NetScaler and other components, I needed those for Good, too. I'll hold off on a feature-by-feature comparison (Jack's going to work on that), but between that and competitive, realistic licensing, I think Citrix has got the kinks worked out.
The four components that make up a Cloud Gateway solution are:
- Receiver (client components)
- NetScaler (provides security and traffic optimization)
- AppController (integrates with mobile, SaaS, web apps, and ShareFile)
- StoreFront (provides access to virtual Windows desktops and apps. Also acts as the middle man between Receiver and AppController)
Everything else--the applications and services--all have their own infrastructure, too, of course, but these are the components that make up just Cloud Gateway.
How does that compare to, say, Good? To us (well, to me), Good was something I knew about because I knew the people in charge of managing devices and securing their access to corporate resources before everyone had iPhones. For instance, Good was the way my former company gave us access to corporate email on our Palm Treos.
This weighed 8 pounds
Then the iPhone came along, followed by Android devices, and prompted this shift in the way we consume data and how we use applications. Good adapted and expanded, and as such now shows up on our radar again.
Good, and I believe Citrix, too, are quick to say that there are many differences between the products. While I want to leave that larger comparison for Jack to take on, there are certainly different focuses. For instance, without development, there is no federated app management solution, and Good's solutions don't have anything to do with deploying any legacy applications or desktops. None of this is a bad thing, and I only mention them to illustrate different philosophies.
Good's solution isn't one offering with multiple features, rather, it's multiple products:
- Good Dynamics (mobile application management, deployment, and security)
- Good for Enterprise (email, collaboration)
- Mobile Manager (device and application management essentials)
- Good Share (SharePoint and file server integration)
- Good Connect (Instant Messaging)
Each of these products has its own server component, client component, and management component. They can share data between each other, so there's some level of integration despite the appearance of fragmentation. Frankly, I'm probably just romanced by the "one interface for everything" approach that Citrix is taking. Good has intentionally avoided this because they feel like each of these products is aimed at different areas of the IT department and that the email admin wouldn't need or want to have anything to do with the mobile application person.
The only reason I'm focusing on Good right now is that they are, in terms of portfolio feature set, probably the most direct competitor of Citrix in this space. VMware is hot on their tails with the Horizon Suite, but we have to wait for that to come out before we can safely say what all is going into that. As it stands, we know that it will combine things like:
- ThinApp (Windows application virtualization)
- Horizon Mobile (mobile application/device/OS management)
- Horizon Application Manager (identity federation for accessing, managing, and provisioning SaaS, web, other apps)
- Horizon Data (data sync, mobile data, local and cloud data, etc…)
The point, though, is that getting annoyed by the fact that these things require more infrastructure and more money for that infrastructure isn't realistic. I'm not the only one who complained about that, so I thought I'd share how I got over it. It's a combination of product growth and a shifting industry that has led to this point, and what these companies are trying to do isn't exactly easy. I'll save the conversation about how they do it for another time, though.