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Citrix Systems is gearing up to offer companies a suite of technology to turn data centers into "delivery centers" that distribute application services to users across the Internet.
Mark Templeton, chief executive of Citrix, told attendees at the Interop conference in Las Vegas that the company plans to deliver the complete set of necessary components later this quarter. Details of the new technology will be discussed at Citrix's Synergy 2008 user group May 20 in Houston.
The product line includes virtualization technology for desktops, applications, and servers. The products are called XenDesktop, XenApp, and XenServer, respectively. In addition, Citrix will offer tools, packaged under the name Workflow Studio, to compose, integrate, and orchestrate rule-based workflows across an application delivery infrastructure.
At Interop, Citrix introduced a product called NetScaler MPX, a Web application controller that offers service delivery at 10 Gbps. In addition, the appliance offers data acceleration and traffic compression, and includes an integrated firewall. The new product comes in two models, the MPX 15000 and MPX 17000, which will be available this month. Pricing starts at $180,000 per pair.
Because Citrix is all about delivering a personalized desktop and applications over an IP network, Templeton devoted his keynote to selling that architecture as more flexible and easy to manage then today's more common distributed computing model with applications and desktop operating systems stored on the PC.
Citrix believes companies would be better off if they move to a service-delivery model to reach customers and employees in branch offices anywhere on the globe. Such a switch would offer end users an experience they've become use to in tapping services offered by Internet companies from Salesforce.com to Amazon.com.
To do that, companies have to transition their legacy data centers into delivery centers, Templeton said. "An application that's delivered fast and securely to any device anywhere on the planet is an application that has high value."
Following Templeton's speech was a panel discussion that included Gary Dobbins, director of information security at the University of Notre Dame, and Gary Hodge, CTO for U.S. Bank. The moderator was John McNulty, chief executive of Secure Computing. Dobbins and Hodge are customers of Secure Computing.
In discussing security and the emerging world of Web 2.0, Hodge said the bank is looking at how it would deal with the variety of devices, from smartphones to mobile-Internet devices, that people eventually will want to use to access online banking.
Such devices today do not have the kind of security software that has evolved over the years for the PC. Considering it took 10 to 15 years for people to secure their computers with the proper technology, Hodge wondered how long it would take and how the technology would evolve for handheld computers. "We're not sure what they are going to look like at this point in time," he said.
While banks simply lock down whatever technology they believe is risky, universities have to depend on students, professors, and administrators becoming "good network citizens," which means they have to cooperate with IT to keep Internet access as open as possible.
If a university's IT takes security measures that are too draconian, then the pushback from users is swift and vocal. "The challenge in higher education is to implement security that no one knows is up and doesn't impede the mission of the university," Dobbins said.