Citrix Synergy 2018: Citrix makes good on its 90-day promise

We ran through the whole keynote and cross-referenced it with announcements since then. Did Citrix live up to their promises?

Monday, August 6 was exactly 90 days since the keynote address at Citrix Synergy 2018 in Anaheim, California. On the stage on May 8, 2018, Chief Product Officer PJ Hough stated, “Everything that we’ve shown today here on the main stage of keynote [sic] is either already available or will be generally available in the next 90 days.”

Unlike many other industry keynotes, this session did not focus on long-term potential capabilities that might or might not come to market, but instead was crisp in terms of the new and soon-to-be-released technologies.

Let’s run a fact check to determine which announcements have come to fruition, as well as cover caveats and any items that aren’t ready for primetime.

The various announcements are graded based on the following:

  • Fully or largely available
  • Not available

Please note that the cloud components released on Monday, come in a slow, orchestrated rollout; thus, not everyone will have access to new features right away.

Citrix Workspace app: Check

As I discussed in my previous article about Citrix Workspace app, this product is a combination of marketing, rebranding, and a few premium features. Although the client-side component, i.e., Receiver, has not been released as the rebranded version, the cloud component is largely complete.

As such, we’ll give this item a check because all the components are in place.

Google Cloud: Check

Basic integration with Google Cloud was available prior to Synergy, so this was largely a marketing announcement.

Citrix Analytics: Check

Citrix Analytics has been in technical preview for several months, and v1.0 is available now. Please note that this initial release includes features such as notifying administrators, initiating session recording, blocking devices, and disabling users, and more features will be added in future releases.

Citrix Analytics is based on machine learning and targets enabling organizations to provide greater security and control of their internal data and perimeter. The Analytics data is based on the entitlement of the specific Citrix Cloud version subscription.

One hurdle for implementation is that it requires XenApp/XenDesktop 7.16 or later for on-premises integration. Considering that many organizations deploy the Long-Term Service Release (LTSR) versions of those products, which is currently version 7.15, the number of IT departments running a version that can correspond with Citrix Analytics will be small.

One consideration regarding Citrix Analytics is how your data is handled. According to the Citrix Analytics Getting Started Guide, it specifically states: “By uploading your data to Citrix Analytics and by using the features of Citrix Analytics, you agree and consent that Citrix may collect, store, transmit, maintain, process and use technical, user, or related information about your Citrix products and services.” Further, users are referred to the Citrix privacy policy.

Endpoint Management (formerly XenMobile): Check

At Synergy, we were advised that Windows 10 with SCCM and macOS with FileVault encryption would be made available in short order, as well as support for Workspace Hub, Chrome OS, Apple tvOS, and Alexa for Business.

While some of these endpoints were supported prior to Synergy, as of the latest release, all of these endpoints are indeed available. 

Citrix Cloud for Azure Government: Check

Citrix Cloud for Azure Government was available prior to Synergy; however, the minimum requirement is XenApp/XenDesktop 7.16. Again, for those that are using the latest LTSR version, it’s not compatible.

Cloud App Control: Check

Cloud App Control is a feature of the Access Control / premium NetScaler Gateway service and is available as part of all editions of Citrix Workspace. It supports not only single sign-on and integration of web apps, but also features such as watermarking. This too has been in preview since the Synergy timeframe and was released August 6.

SD-WAN Service for MSPs: Check

This was a marketing/pricing announcement that enables Citrix Service Providers to offer NetScaler SD-WAN based on monthly service pricing. There were no technological changes, and it was available prior to Synergy.

Intelligent Traffic Management (Cedexis): Check

As a follow-up to the Cedexis acquisition in February, Citrix has rebranded the offering as Intelligent Traffic Management. As such, this was a marketing announcement as opposed to new technical functionality.

ServiceNow integration: Check

Was ServiceNow integration committed as part of the keynote? There was some confusion about whether it was shown as a future technology or part of the 90-day commitment. It is indeed available as the IT Service Management (ITSM) Adapter Service (Workspace Integration with ServiceNow) in Citrix Cloud. Provisioning and managing Citrix resources has been taken to a new level of automation with ServiceNow integration. 

Windows Server 2019 and RDMI Support: Pending, but that’s okay

Key future roadmap items, such as Windows Server 2019 and RDMI support, were clearly delineated as future capabilities and not expected as part of the 90-day commitment; nonetheless, they are indicative of a positive future trajectory.

Wrap-up

Rumors from behind the scenes indicate that quite a few people put in extra hours to make all these capabilities available, and it is evident that the bold technology commitments made during the Synergy keynote have been fulfilled within the stated timelines. Congratulations to Citrix for achieving this level of success. 

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Another CTP making Citrix look good. Is this a paid post?
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This is not a sponsored post, if that's what you're asking. We asked Jo to write up a scorecard on Citrix's 90-day pledge, and here we are.
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If you look through the articles I've written, you'll see that I'm not about painting a fairy tale picture of Citrix; I'm fairly certain that you'll come to the conclusion that I both critique and applaud as warranted. 
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Shouldn't an independent 3rd party validate the claims?
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ServiceNow integration: Check is a joke. Did Jo test this? I bet she just took the word that this is there.
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If you go to the ServiceNow Store, you'll find the Citrix IT Service Management Connector, as well as the Installation Guide and ITSM Adapter Service User Guide

Please read through the docs because they describe not only how to enable this integration, but also the admin account requirements and other prerequisites.

Lastly, for all new Citrix Cloud capabilities, look for new feature availability based on an orchestrated rollout (canary) rather than a binary on/off cutover, i.e., not everyone will have full access to all new features right away. 
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I want to be respectful but this is all hot-air. Canary releases and access is restricted is not GA. If you are doing checks, you are responsible for deep checks and not superficial checks!


Lastly, for all new Citrix Cloud capabilities, look for new feature availability based on an orchestrated rollout (canary) rather than a binary on/off cutover, i.e., not everyone will have full access to all new features right away.  
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Most IT professionals implement new features and functionality in a graduated manner, and Citrix is doing the same with the new Citrix Cloud features.  Reality is that v1.0 releases of any new product aren't always perfect when implemented into full production, so orchestrated/canary rollouts are prudent.
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How many customers have the canary release? 
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Good article Jo, as for the haters, I'm guessing there was never any Horizon FUD? VMware marketing is easily 6 months ahead of engineering. Just like with their USB support. Check out the Citrix dare to compare videos. Pretty hard to argue with actual facts and video. VMfork was rushed to market that when it was finally released the use cases were so extremely tiny it was practically un-usable for anyone, but I'm sure no one wants to discuss that. Puh-leaze.
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Nick: Citrix employee?
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Nope, IT Director at local recycling company
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Great article and follow up. Enjoy the new features in the US. We have to wait a little bit longer in Europe.
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This article is a shame for a CTP. Yes, Citrix delivered Workspace app but it did not do the same with Workspace Experience. Jo, you said some stuff about the Canary upgrades but you know it is not true. There is 0 customer with Workspace Experience today. There are many lies in this articles including Google Cloud integration. Citrix promised way more and delivered very little.
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Hi James - The canary rollout I discussed above is indeed in motion.  Almost half of Citrix Cloud customers have Citrix Workspace Experience available, and that number is expected to increase significantly in the next few days.  So far as Google Cloud, you've been able to create power managed machine catalogs for a while now, and tighter integration with Google Cloud is coming.
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