Channel bullish on Citrix’s DaaS strategy

Citrix Systems Inc. quickly brought its channel strategy into focus during its conference last week, reinforcing it’s going to keep working with the channel to reach its customers.

During its Synergy conference in Anaheim, Calif., Citrix made a number of announcements during its keynote sessions, announcing new products, services and integrations in virtualization, mobile, and cloud. However, what was more interesting to those in the channel was the company’s commitment to its Citrix Service Providers (CSPs).

For example, to hear Citrix’s executives talk about desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) outright was a huge step forward for Jeremy MacBean, director of business development at IT Weapons Inc., a CSP and IT consulting company based in Brampton, Ont. IT Weapons was named Citrix’s Platinum Partner of the Year in 2010.

“It’s really nice to see them referring to what they’re doing as DaaS,” MacBean says. “They’re taking DaaS more seriously, and they’re formalizing it … they’re doing what we’ve been doing, and they’re leveraging their CSPs for that.”

And while Citrix’s actual product announcements weren’t particularly surprising this year, MacBean says he felt reassured to see Citrix has been integrating its product offerings.

For example, the company has pulled together some of its products into integrations like Workspace Suite, allowing a business’ employees to securely access their files from anywhere, including their desktops and mobile devices.

Suites like these will make it easier for CSPs to talk about the technology they can deliver through Citrix, as it will be simpler for clients to understand, MacBean says.

There are about 2,300 Citrix channel partners in the U.S., Latin America, and Canada, with 280 of them in Canada alone, says Mike Fouts, Citrix’s vice-president of channels and field marketing.

Introducing Workspace Suites and tying up other products into integrations has been important for the company this year, but so is separating other products where needed, he adds. For example, Citrix’s XenApp is now being released as a separate offering, though it used to be part of XenDesktop. XenApp allows users to connect to their company’s applications through other desktops and mobile devices, while XenDesktop can help users virtualize full desktops.

“This is a big deal in the partner community … one size doesn’t fit all, and not everyone needs a virtualized desktop,” Fouts says, adding that’s where channel partners can come in to offer small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) services like XenApp. And on the flip side, some SMBs may want the full portfolio of services like those offered with Workspace Suite, something the channel can also deliver.

He adds Windows-as-a-service is also an important service in Canada, the U.S., and Latin America among SMBs, as is Citrix’s partnership with Google for Google’s Chromebook and the Chrome operating system.

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