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Citrix Offers Easy App Delivery via Xen

Citrix wants to deliver applications to couch potatoes. The company today said that ordering an enterprise app should be as easy as buying a song on Apple's iTunes service or ordering a movie on DISH Network's DirecTV service.

"Consumerization will change the face of enterprise computing," said Wes Wasson, Citrix's (NASDAQ: CTXS) chief marketing officer, speaking at a press event opening the Citrix Synergy conference in Las Vegas this week. The new products are Citrix Dazzle and Citrix Receiver and are free to anyone using Citrix Delivery Center products like XenApp and XenDesktop, said Wasson.

Citrix Dazzle acts as a virtual storefront for enterprises that are already using Citrix Delivery Center products and runs on Macintosh and Windows, said Wasson.

Dazzle can deliver Windows apps through Windows terminal services, SaaS applications like SalesForce.com and Citrix GoToMeeting through the cloud, Web-based services through direct access to Web sites or through XenApp, and can even deliver virtual machines to technical users.

"Citrix Dazzle puts the 'personal' back in personal computing," said Wasson. Dazzle's store enables end users, rather than the IT department, to choose the applications that run on their PCs, the company said in a statement.

Employees are eager to move beyond the software that has been assigned to them. "If employees want access to something new, they either wait for IT to respond to a help desk ticket, or they simply go around IT altogether to find something on the Web. This approach not only limits employee productivity, it introduces security risks and can be extremely expensive to maintain," Citrix said in a statement.

Dazzle employs an easy-to-use GUI that explicitly imitates Apple's iTunes and the Dish Network's DirecTV service, an improvement over the previous generation of this software, the company added.

Dazzle is integrated with Citrix Receiver to deliver apps securely to the desktop. Citrix Receiver manages the desktop, and is currently available on Windows, but will be available later this year on Machintosh, Windows Mobile, and Symbian operating systems. Citrix is working with Open Kernel Labs to deliver Receiver for Android and other phones.

The company will announce iPhone availability this week too. "This is not just a publicity stunt because the iPhone is sexy," said Wasson. "Our iPhone release takes advantage of the pan and zoom functions and has a built-in document finder feature. Often, you get an e-mail with a PowerPoint file, you open it, change one page, and then forward it. The PowerPoint application is not downloaded to the iPhone. It's running on Citrix Xen but you're accessing every feature of it using your iPhone."

Citrix Receiver relies on a virtual appliance, the Citrix Merchandising Server, also available for free, to keep track of users, application updates, and patches, the company said in a statement.

Together, the company says, they deliver secure applications anywhere. "Now, you don't have to ask IT for permission to access applications. IT doesn't care. As long as Receiver is there, they're sure the connection is secure," said Wasson.

Wasson said that the timing is right, and not just because of business's increasingly Web 2.0-savvy workers. "This is about more than just Generation Y and a new digital generation. It will completely reshape the way enterprise IT is done. With limited access to capital, we are in a perfect economic storm."

He said that enterprises can follow the tech leaders by adopting virtualization and implementing it from the desktop to the datacenter. He said that today, Citrix is talking about the desktop and tomorrow it will talk about the datacenter.