Friday Notebook, July 14, 2017: Citrix CEO shuffle, Skycure and RES acquisitions, Windows 10 SPLA

Also: Fireglass, Microsoft 365, RDS modern infrastructure, Parallels RAS 16, FSLogix, and more on mobile threat defense.

This is our weekly log of everything that’s happened in the EUC, EMM, and desktop virtualization space, collected and co-written by Jack and Gabe.


On late Monday afternoon, Citrix announced that Kirill Tatarinov was out as CEO, and CFO David Henshall is taking over, effective immediately. You can read Gabe’s article for our full analysis and more details, but here are some key points: “According to the press release, Citrix now believes they have the ‘right team in place’ to execute their vision of Citrix as a ‘cloud-based subscription business’ in ‘high growth areas, such as data security and analytics services.’” Gabe concluded: “This is tough, but I really get the impression that Citrix as we know it is done. This seems like a product guy wanting to build something, and the board saying, ‘Nah, we need to cut more, so we’re putting a finance guy in charge.’ If that’s the case, then Tatarinov’s legacy will be that of a captain that refuses to scuttle his own ship. I hope I’m wrong.”

Also on Monday, Microsoft announced Microsoft 365, an assortment of bundles comprising licenses for Windows 10 and other cloud services. This wasn’t very surprising, though we feel for the folks who might lose their jobs as a result of the sales reorganization.

The biggest change coming with Microsoft 365, however, is that Microsoft is finally creating a cloud service provider virtualization license for Windows 10. Quoting again from Gabe’s analysis: “The writing has been on the wall for some time now, and we always knew Microsoft would only do it when they were ready (not when we were ready for it), so the general feeling is less, ‘Huzzah!’ and more, ‘It's about damned time!’”

Jack has been writing a lot about mobile threat defense recently, as the the space is rapidly coalescing. The most recent evidence came on Tuesday, when Symantec announced that they will acquire Skycure. This space isn’t likely to take off like a rocket ship yet, and most companies have bigger issues to deal with first, but more companies are beginning to add mobile threat defense to their arsenal, so it’s worth keeping an eye on it.

Speaking of Symantec, they recently acquired Fireglass, a browser isolation startup. From the looks of it—they use the term “rendering content into a visual stream” frequently—this is similar to other desktop virtualization-based browser isolation platforms. We’ve written about Citrix Secure Browser, and just got a chance to catch up with Ericom on their Ericom Shield release (which we will be writing in-depth on soon), and it seems like this concept is due for its moment in the sun.

Not content with just fixing a longstanding licensing problem, Microsoft also announced that they are adding features to Windows Server 2016 RDS that will help service providers eliminate complexity. We need to dig into this more, but the short, short version is that RDS and RDS clients can now use Azure Active Directory with all of its capabilities in addition to (or instead of) classic Windows authentication. The goal, as we understand it, is that if you have everything in Azure, you won’t need to maintain two separate sets of identities. In the same announcement, Microsoft also revealed that they have built an HTML5 RDS client.

Last week, we wrote about Ivanti acquiring RES Software, which means that they’re now under the same roof as longtime rival AppSense. This is a smart move, and there are a lot of good opportunities for complementary integrations. Unfortunately, we also learned that a large number of people were laid off early this week. Among those let go was Pete Downing, so Gabe’s enthusiasm for Pete to join the Ivanti team was short-lived. We hope everyone lands on their feet.

We’ve been hearing about Azure Stack, the on-premises Azure node technology from Microsoft, for what seems like forever, but it always seems like it just over the horizon. This week, word came that Dell EMC, HP, and Lenovo are now taking orders for Azure Stack-compliant systems. This is exciting for many reasons, most notably (at least for us) because it eliminates some of the challenges incurred when trying to move to DaaS. In particular, when the applications are placed in the cloud, but the application data remains local, you have to deal with additional points of failure and longer data commutes. Placing Azure nodes on premises means you can get some of the management and scalability of the cloud while also keeping the applications close to the data. There are many other reasons that we’ll dive into another time, but this is exciting news.

Parallels launched the latest version of their Remote Application Server (RAS) platform, version 16. The update includes a new PowerShell API, integration with for application management, support for Nutanix Acropolis, and several features that appeal to MSPs that might want to use it as the baseline of a managed desktop platform. We have a demo scheduled, so we’ll cover this more deeply in the coming weeks.

FSLogix made some waves this week, hiring Jim Moyle and announcing that Benny Tritsch has become an investor and will help them expand in the German market. This is a great move by FSLogix, since Jim and Benny are two of the best guys in the industry to have on your team. Expect to see an immediate impact from them.

Other news and articles that crossed our desks during the past two weeks:

Our blog posts

Jack: In 2017, Mobile Threat Defense is finding its groove - Part 1 - The landscape. For years, most of the enterprise has ignored mobile threat defense, but now it’s getting much more attention. Part 1 of this series looks at mobile OSes, potential threats, and reported incidents.

Jack: In 2017, Mobile Threat Defense is finding its groove - Part 2 - The technology. Part 2 of this series looks at what the technology does and how it works.

Gabe: Ivanti scoops up RES Software: Here's our full analysis. RES Software has been acquired by Ivanti. It sounds crazy, given the fact that Ivanti already owns AppSense, but it actually makes a ton of sense.

Gabe: Kirill Tatarinov out as Citrix CEO, CFO David Henshall takes over as CEO. Here's our full analysis: Kirill Tatarinov and Citrix have parted ways after just 18 months as CEO. With CFO David Henshall taking the helm, here's our take on the situation.

Jack: Symantec will acquire Skycure, a mobile threat defense vendor. Here’s the context. The acquisition is another sign of mobile threat defense becoming more established, but most companies aren’t thinking about it right now.

Gabe: Microsoft *FINALLY* creates a cloud service provider virtualization license for Windows 10. For many years, we've wanted service provider licensing for Windows desktop OSes. On Monday, Microsoft announced just that. Here's what we know.

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