Citrix announced today that they would be extending the Citrix Receiver and Citrix Dazzle client software so that it can also provide “one client” access to applications delivered via Microsoft App-V. This will be in addition to the products’ current ability to deliver XenApp hosted (via ICA) and XenApp streamed apps. Citrix is planning for this functionality to be rolled out before the end of the year.
When released, the Citrix clients will be extended so they recognize the Microsoft App-V client. The whole process will be completely transparent to the end user, leveraging the “plug in” architecture of the Receiver and Dazzle clients.
Is this the death of Citrix XenApp streaming?
This is the million-dollar question.
Citrix XenApp already has a streaming feature which pretty much competes head-on Microsoft App-V. Quite frankly the only reason that anyone would use XenApp streaming over Microsoft App-V was that XenApp streaming was free (well, “built-in” to XenApp), while Microsoft App-V required the MDOP package which required an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft with Software Assurance. (In other words, while App-V is a better product, it’s harder to get.)
It looks like that might be changing, with Microsoft mentioning that App-V will be a key feature of Windows 7 at their worldwide partner conference. (The same event where Citrix made today’s announcement.) So if App-V is more tightly integrated and/or easier to get, then does it even make sense for Citrix to continue with XenApp Streaming?
I talked to Citrix’s new CTO for XenApp, Harry Labana about this, asking him point blank: “Is XenApp streaming going away?” (I think this was officially his fifth day on the job!) He answered, “No, XenApp streaming is still being invested in.” When asked why, he said, “We know customers use both [App-V and XenApp streaming], so right now we have to support both.”
Did you catch that? He said “right now” they have to support both. ;)
It’s clear to me that things are aligning so that XenApp streaming goes away, with Microsoft App-V built-in to Windows for isolation, virtualization, and delivery of all local applications. And you know what? That’s fine with me!
And I’ll bet it’s fine with Citrix too. I don’t think they actually wanted to sit down and build XenApp streaming. It was just something they had to do to ensure they had access to that kind of technology. So if it’s tightly-integrated or just flat out built-in to Windows, I’m sure Citrix would be happy to put their XenApp streaming product folks to work on more valuable capabilities elsewhere.