Citrix Systems CEO Mark Templeton is banging the drum about the consumer web and how it will change the technology landscape as much as the PC did when it swept out the mainframe. We hear a lot of execs talk this talk. But few bring the consumer edge to their business as much as Citrix is doing while advancing into new markets with a mix of cloud-based and virtualization services. Yesterday, Citrix announced Dazzle, an iTunes like service that takes a page from the consumer space by offering a service that will give IT managers the ability to pay as they go. It’s another channel for IT managers to buy apps when they need them. Dazzle works right into the Citrix platform. The service is set up as a store front that can automatically stream the application on a virtual desktop to a Windows PC, an Apple Mac or an iPhone. From ITBusinessEdge:
Reports coming out of the Citrix Synergy Conference this week say users can literally browse among applications and arrange them as playlists in their XenServer, XenApp or Citrix Desktop environments. Managers can organize the offerings into department- or team-specific categories, or according to function or even vendors. Managers can also restrict access to certain users, make them available on a time-limited basis, or impose fees for use. And the system contains a Workflow Studio module allowing workflows to be added to manage usage and distribution.
What’s the difference between Citrix and its competitors? Citrix is using Dazzle to offer a bit of sex appeal but at its core, they are appealing to the traditional enterprise market. They are adding a layer of abstraction to the complexities of virtualization and cloud computing. Perhaps even more important, they are not rocketing into the cloud as some of their competitors are doing. The service plays to Citrix strengths in virtualization but creates a distinction between it and competitors like Microsoft and VMWare. What may be just right is its appeal to the majority of the market, more comfortable with a service that doesn’t force them to embrace something so new as cloud computing. There is a perceived risk in cloud computing. Security and reliability are big question marks for most IT managers. A service like Dazzle lets them try something new yet still feel a sense of control about the applications they offer and the virtual environment they deploy. Watch out. Citrix may be the one to beat.