Citrix Dazzle Promises to Bring the iTunes Experience to Enterpise Software

Citrix announced recently the launch of several products, the most interesting of which was Dazzle:

Citrix Systems » Products » — Receiver » Dazzle

Citrix Dazzle – the first self-service “storefront” for enterprise applications – gives corporate employees 24×7 self-service access to the applications they need to work. Dazzle offers a rich, intuitive user experience that requires no training. If you’ve used DirecTV or Apple iTunes, you already know how to use Dazzle. Dazzle makes self-service IT a reality for the first time ever, giving users simple access to apps and IT services, and bringing the economics of the web to enterprise IT.

With Dazzle, Citrix hopes to bring to the enterprise the same smooth customer experience consumers enjoy with services such as Apple’s iTunes store in acquiring applications. Here is a screenshot:

From what I understand, these are virtual apps that can be “streamed” or downloaded and run on a user’s desktop (and even on mobile devices via Citrix’s Receiver–also announed at the same time) with minimal effort. Any application or desktop that currently can be
virtualized under Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenApp, and Citrix Desktop
can be loaded into the store and made accessible to end users.
Although similar services already exist in the market today from vendors such as rPath (virtual software appliance creator service) and Jumpbox (turnkey open source software appliances), these services suffer from the fact that they are able to offer only a limited number of applications and don’t have the support of the larger vendors (ie Microsoft, SAP) to be able to sway corporate-type IT guys to try it out–something that Citrix with its existing partnerships and channel relationships just might be able to do.

The announcement is interesting in that it provides end users with another alternative channel from which they can acquire IT applications and services. Taking a page from the success companies such as Apple have had with music and videos in the consumer space, enterprise customers will soon be able to use and consume software when they need it, and pay by the drink. The applications will look and behave the same way as their existing desktop applications, but offer the convenience and economy of cloud-based alternatives.  This can be just the right intermediate technology before everything moves to the cloud.

Dazzle is expected to become available later in the year. It wil be interesting to see if the service will be a success.



Red Hat and Microsoft Work Together to Have Interoperable Virtualization Platforms–Battlefield in Enterprise Computing is Shifting

Red Hat announced a few days back that they have signed an interoperability agreement with Microsoft. Under the agreement both companies will allow operating systems from one to run on the hypervisors of the other. | The World’s Open Source Leader

“The world of IT today is a mixture of virtualized and non-virtualized environments. Red Hat is looking to help our customers extend more rapidly into virtualized environments, including mixed Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows Server environments,” said Mike Evans, vice president, Corporate Development at Red Hat. “Red Hat listened when our customers asked us to provide interoperability between our respective guest and host virtualization solutions. We are excited to announce these agreements today as the result of our collaboration with Microsoft.”

Now from a technical standpoint–this news isn’t much, but it is significant for the enterprise end user and partner channels as this would put the resources of both companies in testing, validation and support for each other’s operating systems when
running on each other’s server virtualization hypervisors. As part of the deal, Microsoft is now a partner in Red Hat’s
virtualization certification program, and Red Hat has joined
Microsoft’s server virtualization validation program.

Clearly this piece of news shows that virtualization technology is now mainstream, and shows customers are putting enough pressure on the big vendors to set aside market place rivalry and philosophical differences to meet their needs. Customers are now running heterogenous or mixed operating system environments. Long term this also shows that the importance of the operating system is becoming less and less, and the battle will move on to the next level up the stack–in Middleware. In Red Hat’s case its Jboss and for Microsoft its .NET (Microsoft supports Novell’s efforts to support .NET in non-Windows environments). Also the battle is now being moved to another front–this time away from the enterprise data center and standardized, big iron machines and into the Internet cloud of commodity, virtualized heterogenous systems.

Welcome to the new world of computing!