My 2ct from Citrix Synergy Barcelona

Last week I attended the Citrix Synergy conference in Barcelona, and I’d like to provide my 2ct of my personal observations. It was my fourth Synergy in a row and probably one of the interesting ones. Synergy events are always worth attending, as the latest in virtualization and cloud strategies, products, and best practices are discussed with forward-thinking industry leaders.

My takeaways:

1. Citrix positioned themselves as the leader in desktop virtualization – facts and figures they provided:

  • Citrix Receiver supports over 1.5 billion devices
  • Citrix XenDesktop is #1 in Desktop Virtualization
  • 1,000 Citrix customers have more than 1,000 licenses
  • 75 customers have more than 10,000 licenses

2. Citrix talked about to focus on TVO (Total Value of Ownership) instead of a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) – and I truly believe in the story. TCO is related to costs which is always important for all kinds of businesses. But it is only limited to one dimension – money. Desktop Virtualization and its technology offers much more value, not only hard facts, but also soft facts. I believe their story that business innovation is not driven by TCO, and TVO covers a bigger mindset. The high level idea is to deliver flexible work styles to enable a better work and better life. That’s the real value what technology should deliver, although “better” work and life is individual to each human.

3. Citrix changed a lot in their market positioning since last Synergy in San Francisco. The move from PC to Cloud era was the big thing. Thesis behind everything: Turn todays exceptions into tomorrows standards.

  • Personal Cloud: All about my life, my work (location, friends etc.) and seamless access to people, apps, data. The mobile workstyle is abstracted to data, apps and people.
  • Private Cloud: All about aggregation and delivery.
  • Public Cloud

4. Aquisitions and announcements
There have been some announcements from Citrix at Synergy Barcelona, but nothing REALLY big. Compared to Synergy San Francisco the European conference seems not to have that much standing. And looking to the fight against VMware it was a comprehensible decission that Citrix announced everything before VMworld.
Short summary:

  • Acquisition of App-DNA: Since ChangeBase was acquired from Quest, now App-DNA is part of Citrix. The migration of applications is a major pain point for every IT department and interesting story for Windows 8 migrations. For me Citrix is sharpening their saw for next year to have a better positioning in migrating to VDI instead of native Windows 8; same story with Windows 7.
  • Citrix CloudGateway: BYOD was a big topic of discussion, and Citrix introduced CloudGateway for centralized and aggregated access and control to all apps across Windows, web, and SaaS, and which will also substitute the existing Citrix Webinterface, which has an end of life planned for 2015. Citrix views the solution as “very clearly a turning point in providing the infrastructure necessary to support the new cloud era,” and refers to CloudGateway as a “Mobile Application Management” solution which, while different from mobile device management, is an important enterprise development as mobile devices and apps continue to proliferate. Citrix is offering an express version of CloudGateway for free to existing XenDesktop and XenApp customers.
    See also summary of Gabe Knuth at SearchVirtualDesktop –
  • Acquisition of ShareFile: Citrix showed some nice use cases at the CTO Super Session with GoToMeeting and shared Workplaces which allows users to share data when collaborating. Also Follow-me data is the consequent story for access on data from any device.
  • Acquisition of RingCube: First integration within XenDesktop was shown. Pooled virtual desktops in combination with a personal vDisk will definitly become a bigger story since user workplaces are different. The combination of pooled virtual desktops and RingCube vDisks reduces 60% storage costs for customers, while offering individualism in the end-user experience. Although RES Software and AppSense cover a bigger story with different technology this is a threat for them in the VDI story. Recommended reading in UEM Smackdown from Ruben Spruijt:; smart move from AppSense and further thoughts:
  • Kaviza’s VDI-in-a-box: Still a good VDI solution for SMBs with less infrastructure. Problem is the cannibalization with XenDesktop and the missing migration path.
  • XenApp 6.5 Mobile Application SDK: This SDK allows enterprise developers, system integrators, and ISVs to create new mobile-friendly applications to be hosted on XenApp, a desktop virtualization product. This topic was also part of the Super Session. Could be one way for Citrix customers. On the long term I thing HTML5 wrappers and native apps will solve the problem here, Citrix showed this use case as well with Google Chromebook. Short and mid-term it is a adequat approach to solve a real pain for home grown applications.
  • Citrix also announced a new system-on-a-chip that will cost less than $100, which means that by next year, virtual desktops will have become less expensive to deploy than physical desktops. So now in addition to lower overall management costs, the deployment of virtual desktops is a more cost-effective option now, too? Sounds like a win-win.
  • CloudBridge: Leveraging NetScaler technology to connect datacenters to any cloud.

5. CTO Super Session: Since Simon Crosby and Harry Labana left the CTO Office the new crew showed up:

  • Martin Duursma, CTO Office Chair and VP Citrix Labs
  • Bert Christiansen, CTO Collaboration
  • Sheng Liang, CTO of Citrix’s Cloud division, formerly from

For me the session was a little bit “fragile”. I liked Bert and his enthusiasm in GoToMeeting, nice integration with ShareFile. Also Sheng showed interesting metrics and insights about their challenges. Martin showed the SDK with live programming. But I really missed a little bit the big picture from each speaker and the wow effect. Interesting comment from Harry Labana about that, think it was my wrong expectation behind that.

Controversal summary from Tim Magnan –
Mulligan: Did Citrix CTO Martin Duursma signal a change at Citrix Synergy Barcelona –; also have a look at comment #4 from @harrylabana

6. The Breakout Sessions were a little bit to perfect. I’ve seen so many slides and videos instead of yesterday’s credo: DDD = Demos, demos, do more demos. Let’s see how this work out next time.

Recommended readings:
Benny Trisch:
Tim Mangan:
Gabe Knuth:
Nico Lüdemann:
Impressions by Helge Klein:
UEM Smackdown:
AppSense UEM further thoughts: 

Those were my impressions about Synergy Barcelona and the 2ct I’d like to share. Did you attend? What did you think? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section; you can also tweet me @Virtual_Patrick.

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