BrianMadden.com Podcast #58 (Special Edition): Citrix talks about the evolution of desktop virt

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We're very excited that we were able to have Sridhar Mullapudi and Rakesh Narasimhan join us live on a special edition of the BrianMadden.com podcast to talk about the evolution of data and cloud services, the renewed focus on delivering applications over desktops and what Citrix is doing both with today's products and the upcoming Citrix Workspace Services.

We're very excited that we were able to have Sridhar Mullapudi and Rakesh Narasimhan join us live on a special edition of the BrianMadden.com podcast to talk about the evolution of data and cloud services, the renewed focus on delivering applications over desktops and what Citrix is doing both with today's products and the upcoming Citrix Workspace Services. 

Sridhar and Rakesh, as part of their effort to further engage the entire Citrix community stressed the need for customer feedback on all their products, specifically XenApp and XenDesktop, and spoke about how they are working to integrate the old desktop thought processes with the new ones. We spent a lot of time talking about how Merlin and Arthur (the current and upcoming versions of XenDesktop/XenApp, respectively) fit into the evolution of Windows desktops, and about how the focus is on integration with existing and future systems. We also talked about some history, the challenges of moving from IMA to FMA, and a little bit about what's in store for Citrix Workspace Services.

 

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Here is my feedback from my students and customers:


1) Listen to your customers. Make your decisions by putting yourselves in the place of the customer instead of your stockholders otherwise all stakeholders will be negatively affected.


Citrix has an attitude of being tone deaf to customers input.


2) Simplify:


Bring back IMA and give your customers a choice.  


You have many "XA only" core customers who will leave you because you have abandoned your "XA only" customers by forcing XA to be managed by XD complexity.


2) Quit changing the names of your products and components. You force your customers to be tethered to you for information. You are not recognizing that this is not customer friendly.


3) Embrace VMware ESXi for the Hypervisor. Most of your customers are using the VMware Hypervisor to host XenApp and XenDesktop.


4) Simplify: Have 1 edition for your products.


Forcing XA customers to use the XD more complex management model is comparable to MS forcing the customer to swallow the new Windows 8 desktop changes.


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@StephenRae


I'd love to know why you think XD has a more complex management model than XenApp?  IMHO quite the opposite, it is much simpler to manage an XA/XD deployment now than it ever was!!


I think the feature disparity issue is the real problem.....if XD 7.0 did everything that XA65 did when the product shipped then everyone would be singing its praises.


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Wow! Just listened to the podcast. It really can't get any more fluffier than that.


Citrix, please send some product managers next time!


The main audience here at BM are still techies, not CxO people!


This podcast raised more questions about the future of XAXD than it answered.


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You have misinterpreted my post.


I am not talking about XA/XD customers.


I am talking about the many "XA only" customers.


Who can deny that Citrix has re-built the NEW XA 7 based on XD?


Who can deny that the traditional XA administrator has to learn a whole new way of publishing applications while losing some features that were in XA 6.x?


XA Administrators have to learn a new management console, build a new storefront, build a new catalog, then build a new user group before the app gets published while losing features?


I hope Citrix goes back to IMA to save many of her customers. Give them a choice and let them decide.


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If Citrix took that approach our XA administrators would still be battling with ICA Browser issues and accessing apps via the Published Application Manager, whilst struggling to integrate NFuse with Project Columbia and CSG and hitting issues with Diffie-Helman encryption whilst setting up the XML Service.


The world moves on to a better place. Yes, things have changed, but all of these changes mean that we get much better scalability, administration is actually simpler, upgrades are much simpler (just a VDA update on the workers), you can provide a wealth of additional functionality without needing multiple products and consoles. Don't want to sound like a Citrix FanBoy but in this case I think things are moving in the right way....if they'd only fix the feature parity issues....which is well underway AFAIK.


I hated MetaFrame XP and it's funky new IMA architecture when it first shipped, MF 1.8 was much simpler.....but out of this you got your XenApp which you seem to love so dearly.


XenApp 6.5 is great and well understood but it has it's limitations!


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I have to throw my hat into the ring as another member of the club that hopes Citrix does NOT bring back IMA. IMA is 13 years old, based on a closed, encrypted home-brew mash of LDAP, and it is not a good architecture for what we need today.


To me it's important not to confuse the issue of XenApp 7.5 losing features with the issue of IMA versus FMA. FMA makes so much more sense moving forward. Citrix needs to focus on getting the features customers need into FMA, not simply going back to IMA.


As for the other comment about the guests on the show not being product managers, having higher-level people is exactly what I wanted! I was hoping to hear that Citrix execs "get it," as opposed to rank-and-file PMs. (That said, Sridhar is a director of product management.) I also feel like they answered all the questions that we asked and that people posted in the chat box?


But if you have questions you want to ask lower-level PMs, please post them here. I'm sure we can do another show with them and get all the questions answered that you want. Just let us know!


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TCPIP is 40 years old and it still works well.


Ethernet is 30+ years old and it still works well.


IMA may be 13 years old but it works well.


IMA allows for a FARM across multiple sites.


Does a FMA site allow this?


When a company releases new technology they need to ensure that the customer has a smooth and comfortable upgrade path without being disruptive.


When any organization upgrades a product they should not lose features but gain features. We all agree on this.


If it is painful for the customer to upgrade, more complex to upgrade, more costly to upgrade, and they lose features then it becomes a downgrade. The customer will start analyzing other competing products on the market. This is exactly what is happening.


Many XA customers say that they will hold onto XA 6.5 as long as they can while avoiding to upgrade to XA 7.x because of the complexity, cost, and lost features.


XA 7.x is not a true upgrade.


It is a porting over of XA functionality into the XD architecture in hopes that the customer will buy XD in the process. The problem with this strategy is that this abandons the "XA only" core customers. XA has become a subset of XD to Citrix.


Citrix would do well to simplify.


Give the customer a choice and bring back IMA.


Do not force XA customers to go to the more complex XD administration model.


I interact with a lot of Citrix, MS, Cisco, and VMware customers on a regular basis. My comments reflect what I am hearing from customers.


@Brian and @help4ctx views may apply to the customers who are using both XA/XD. However, they do not reflect  the views of the traditional "XenApp only" customers who have been with Citrix for years with no need to go to XD.


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@StephenRae


We'll have to disagree on the point of progress :-)


I can't however disagree with your comments about the upgrade process but there are tools in the pipe which will address this omission.


Personally, I've always been a big fan of parallel migrations as they give you the chance to cleanse and optimise your environment while providing a fallback position if any part of the migration fails. Adding an XD7 site alongside your XA 6.5 infra and aggregating apps using Wi or SF is seamless to your end users and provides the safety net of a fallback XA farm.


I think Citrix could do well to review the app publishing and management process in XD7 as this is not as clean and intuitive as it should be.


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I would have posted questions in the chatbox (wherever that box is), but I didn't really want to get up at 230AM in the morning. :P


All I heard from Rakesh in the podcast was: "We have the right people/teams". Which is not something from the GM/VP of the dominating market-leader for Session/Desktop virtualization products. Especially considering that XA/XD is right now being seriously challenged for their position in the market for the first time ever. (I don't consider Quest a 'serious' challenger. Neither is Ericom. Neither of these 2 brands has visibility at the CxO level)


Being the market leader in Desktop and Session virtualization, Citrix should be doing just that! Leading the market, in innovation, in growth. Citrix Workspace Services is *not* innovative! Citrix Workspace Services is taking an existing concept (Citrix ShareFile) and port it to another offering. Hardly innovative if you ask me.


And what does 'having the right people' mean in the context of the XAXD group mean anyway? The right people to transition towards an agile development model? I highly doubt it. The current QA issues in SuperCodecV2 are taking me back to the days of MPS 3.0.


At least with XA6.5, Citrix had the development and engineering process down to an acceptable level! (I'm not trying to get into a IMA vs FMA debate. I honestly don't even care. FMA rules!)


The XAXD group will have to answer some serious questions from many of their long time customers over the next 12 months.'


Don't get me wrong, this is not a bashing of the current state of the XAXD product (yes, it's still a product. not a service yet). I LOVE the bleeding edge performance of SuperCodec on both commodity hardware and specialized virtual GPUs. I LOVE the modernized architecture that FMA brings!


I would just hate to see Citrix XAXD group taking a wrong turn.


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To be clear.....FMA is fine moving forward for XA/XD.


IMA choice for the "XA only" group is the point I am making so they do not lose the features they have built their existing infrastructure upon.  AppCenter management for XA is a lot cleaner for publishing apps than the new console designed for XD.


Make it simple for the customer.


Listen to customers and do not force them into a different administrative model by bundling products that are disruptive to the customer.


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F these customers who don't want to move forward with modern tech. IMA is not to the task. Suck it up and move on. All this cloud BS is years in the making, so for now stick with 6.5 XA and wait for FMA to catch up. Don't buy into the cloud marketing/.


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