You probably know by now that Citrix uses the names of famous beaches as the codenames for its new portal products. The “Malibu” product is Citrix’s next major portal implementation. After talking to a lot of people (both inside and outside Citrix), it’s starting to become clear to me that “Malibu” is a lot more than a simple update to MetaFrame Secure Access Manager (MSAM).
Based on what I’m hearing I think there are two main points about Malibu worth discussing:
- Malibu will be more than just a web portal and will instead tie into Citrix’s access strategy by managing access, authentication, and authorization to existing backend systems.
- Malibu will be made up of software and hardware.
In terms of focus, I think Citrix is not going trying to pitch MSAM as competition for other enterprise information portals (EIPs). Instead, Citrix seems to realize that most companies already have EIPs, and those that don’t certainly aren’t going to buy one from Citrix.
So where does that leave Citrix’s portal strategy? It seems that Citrix will leverage their access message and build a Malibu product that acts as the access, authentication, and authorization engine for existing corporate portals. Malibu will still be a “portal” in the sense that it will allow this access from any device over any connection, but the actual data being accessed will come from other backend applications.
Citrix’s portal group can take a play from the Presentation Server group for this. Just like Presentation Server is about “access” to Windows applications (as opposed to the applications themselves), Malibu will be about “access” to web-based and portal-based applications. Customers will be able to use SharePoint or BEA or Websphere or whatever they want, and the Malibu “access” wrapper will add authentication, secure access, and user identity management into the myriad of existing systems.
To do this though, Citrix will have to make their Malibu portal have better integration to other web applications than what is available currently with the little HTML “windows” into other applications.
There are a few ways that Citrix can do this. First of all, they should be able to leverage their Password Manager product in a cool way so that a user’s Malibu homepage pulls data directly from many different systems, different sites, and different vendors.
Then they can make use of the “Smart Access” technology they demoed at iForum last year. (Smart Access is Citrix’s marketing term for their version of endpoint analytics that I first discussed several months ago. Citrix also got some endpoint analysis software from Net6, so I would imagine that they’ll merge these two technologies together.
In general I think the portal will continue to grow within Citrix. It’s probably safe to assume that the “free” portal and access products like Web Interface and Secure Gateway will probably not receive too much future enhancement, creating more “value” for the new features that could be added to the Citrix Access Gateway and MSAM.
It’s kind of funny, but now that it appears that MSAM will be more than a portal, the MSAM is actually starting to live up to its name of “Secure Access Manager.” (Although one person I spoke to at Citrix insisted this was part of the plan all along. :-)
I think this whole Malibu thing will be the cornerstone of the “new” Citrix, where Citrix is really moving in a direction to integrate the various products in the suite so that they tie together in a cool way. By doing so Citrix won’t have to worry about the “server-based computing only” solutions from other third-party vendors or any potential enhancements that Microsoft would make to Terminal Server.
Then again, in order for customers to get the full value out of this, they would need the entire suite (which is exactly Citrix’s plan). However, this would have the effect of essentially raising the “base” price of Citrix’s value from about $400 per concurrent user for the current Presentation Server to $600 per user for the full Access Suite, so it remains to be seen whether the market will perceive the same value that Citrix is trying to create.