Yesterday Citrix announced a Feature Pack for XenApp 5. (Interestingly they're just calling it "XenApp 5 Feature Pack," not "Feature Pack 1" or anything.) From what I can tell, there are not any new features per se, but rather Citrix is changing which features are enabled in which editions (Advanced, Enterprise, or Platinum) of the product. Who knows whether this is related to the economy or to VMware or to the XenServer announcement or what?
The thing is, I just can't get excited about this annoncement. (Again, I guess I get excited about new features more than which features come in which package.) But that may be more related to my position, since I'm not actually a Citrix customer and I don't have any of my own users. Citrix's Sridhar Mullapudi and Vinny Sosa blogged about the change, and one of the first reader comments was about this being the most major announcement Citrix has ever made. So I ask you: is this a big deal?
If you haven't read through the fine print of the deal, Sridhar and Vinny created a great chart. (I just copied and pasted it from their blog post, so they deserve credit for this, not me.) This chart shows ONLY the new or changed features in the XenApp 5 Feature Pack.
| Citrix XenServer
| Application streaming
| EasyCall voice services
| Workflow Studio orchestration
| Load testing services
| Profile management
| Provisioning services
| Single sign-on
A couple key takeaways that might night be apparent from the chart:
First, Citrix XenServer is now free for everyone, so it's not *technically* a feature of the XenApp 5 Feature Pack.
Next, the big change to the application streaming component is now it also applies to streaming applications that run locally on the desktop in ALL editions. (This used to be a Platinum and Enterprise only thing. Advanced edition users could only stream apps into XenApp sessions, but not down to local desktops.)
Third, the Profile Management piece is the Citrix User Profile Manager, which is based on the product Citrix licensed from Sepago. Apparently that's technically been in beta this past year, so in this case Citrix is saying this is a new feature for the suite. What I don't understand is that UPM is not too particularly advanced, and Citrix themselves says it's for more basic environments. So it seems weird to me that you have to buy at least Enterprise to get it.
Finally, Provisioning Services in Platinum means you can use Citrix Dynamic Provisioning Services (formally known as "Provisioning Server," formally known as "Ardence") to stream your Citrix XenApp server images. (If you want to stream desktops, you still have to buy XenDesktop.)
Oh, the single sign-on thing in Platinum is also for offline too. (Previously you could only use the single sign-on capability within your XenApp session, but now Platinum customers can also use it locally on their desktops.)
So what do you think? Is this a big deal? Or just a way to try to take some spotlight away from VMware this week?