May 25, 2011, 1:36 PM — During the huge rush of product announcements due to begin this afternoon, Citrix will trot out new ways to attack VMware's hold on the cloud market, and introduce a new, oxymoronic term for a computing concept invented by users as a series of jury-rigged workarounds: the personal cloud.
"We're in the middle of a transition from the PC era to the cloud era. It's a profound change," Citrix senior VP and CMO Wes Wasson told reporters in a teleconference yesterday, in preparation for the big reveal at Citrix Synergy in San Francisco this afternoon. "We're entering a third phase of the PC industry, driven by consumerization, mobility and virtualization."
The biggest change, from Citrix' perspective, is the chance to continue to sell thin-client software to connect relatively stupid devices to smart servers.
That concept – expanded to include virtual-desktop clients on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, connected to back-end data centers – forms the hardware platform for the "personal cloud."
The rest of it consists of the mesh of social-networking, SAAS, Web connections, email and other random, networked functions end users choose for their own entertainment or to let them get work done without being chained to their desks.
"The personal cloud is an aggregation of the desktops, applicaiton data and social contacts I engage with on a daily basis to do my job," Wasson said.
To make the personal cloud drift in its direction, Citrix is expanding its popular GoToMeeting service to add a free, high-definition video service on desktop computers for a single flat rate.
It will help administrators manage all that virtual interaction using GoToManage – a management app to run on the iPad, though there are versions for other platforms as well.
The idea is to provide a mobile all-purpose management app IT people can use to diagnose, administer, remote control and repair users' systems no matter where either of them sits.
To make all that personal clouding more popular Citrix will expand the HDX high-performance graphics in its Receiver software. Additions to its XenClient will let users work offline as well as on, by caching data, apps and configurations on a local machine securely by encrypting it and giving administrators remote controls including the ability to wipe data from a device that's been lost or stolen.
Citrix' other cloud news a little less sexy.
It will make its virtual desktop, server and cloud software more easily installable and friendly, for SMBs, as well as adding the VDI-in-a-Box capability from its acquisition Kaviza.
It will also expand the abilities of its Netscaler Cloudbridge – a remote-connectivity device designed to connect data centers to public or private clouds, and expand the administration apps designed to manage Citrix clouds.