Virtual Desktops and Applications are not as important as you think

We spend a lot of time optimizing how we deliver desktops and applications. But, the future will trivialize these things as the focus shifts the focus to data and the data moves to the cloud. It is happening now in the consumer market and the trend will infiltrate the enterprise as BYOD continues to become more prevalent.

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We spend a lot of time optimizing how we deliver desktops and applications. But, the future will trivialize these things as the focus shifts the focus to data and the data moves to the cloud.  It is happening now in the consumer market and the trend will infiltrate the enterprise as BYOD continues to become more prevalent.

Applications are useless without data

Take a word processing application for example. Without data, the word processing application is really stupid. As soon as you start typing a document, you are creating data.  The application is just a mechanism for creating or consuming data.  And, in a lot of cases, this data is interchangeable between applications.  In other words, it is the data that is important – not the application.

Applications are just a data access layer

I like programming and a staple of any good programming language is object orientation. One of my favorite design patterns is called a façade pattern. The definition of façade is “the face of” something. So a façade in this case is the face of an object. The “face” is easily switched out, but the underlying objects remain the same (loose coupling).

Let’s relate this to applications. Applications are the façade to the data. Let’s take our word processing example again. I personally use Microsoft Word (for Windows and Mac), Google Docs, and iWork Pages. All these programs access the same data and they are easily switched out, so they are the face of the data. Dropbox (and more recently GDrive) keep my data where I need it, so those things are completely different facades to the exact same data. I can get my data on a fat client, web, mobile, offline, etc.

Consumerization and Cloud is driving the trend

Mobile devices have exploded and BYOD is gaining popularity. These 2 trends are directly associated with user demand – not IT demand. Brian Madden put it well on ConsumerizeIT.com – “The new reality: The IT department has to compete against every random app & website out there!”

Let’s look at another example that is more consumer related.  When I purchase an online book from Amazon, I’m paying for the data (book).  I then have a choice of interchangeable applications that can be used as the face of the data – many versions of the Kindle, multiple iOS applications, multiple Android applications, multiple Windows applications, etc.)  The application is much less important than the data.  Consumers are getting used to freedom of choice and everything “just working.”  The same will creep into the enterprise and IT will need to cope.

So now what?

Windows applications aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so we’ll still be delivering those for quite some time. However, I see where the application is less important and we’ll be thinking more about data security, offline data, application and platform choice (Windows, Mac, Linux, mobile, web, etc.), data integrity, etc.  Or, perhaps I’m way off here.  What do you think?

Further Reading

VDI, ok? What’s next? Stephane Thirion http://www.archy.net/2012/05/31/vdi-ok-whats-next/

The VDI Party is Over. Benny Tritsch http://drtritsch.com/2012/05/the-vdi-party-is-over

Citrix Synergy 2012 Live Blog

It’s time for Citrix Synergy 2012. I’ll be live blogging the keynote again this year. I’m looking forward to hearing about some of the Cloud/multi-tenant announcements and mobility improvements.

It’s time for Citrix Synergy 2012. I’ll be live blogging the keynote here. I’m looking forward to hearing about some of the Cloud/multi-tenant announcements, mobility improvements, and desktop management. Continue reading “Citrix Synergy 2012 Live Blog”

Citrix Acquires ShareFile – a Citrix Service Provider Perspective

Citrix Systems recently completed the acquisition of a company called ShareFile. In this post, I take the perspective of a Citrix Service Provider (CSP) and dream up some ways that ShareFile could be used to add value to CSP subscribers.

Citrix Systems recently completed the acquisition of a company called ShareFile.  ShareFile provides several services including file synchronization among many devices and creating custom-branded, password-protected space where you can exchange business files with clients easily and securely.

Brian Madden wrote an analysis on this acquisition already, but I wanted to share how this service can be used to supplement a Citrix Service Provider’s (CSP) architecture. 

File Transfer to the Cloud

One challenge that many CSP subscribers face is data upload to the cloud.  Now, Citrix has client drive mapping that can help transfer files from the subscriber’s local workstation to the CSP cloud, but explaining the nuances of client drive redirection to subscribers can be a challenge.  Plus, the Citrix virtual channel for client drive mapping is not optimized for file transfers.

Now, image if the subscriber had a special folder on their workstation where they can put a file and it “magically” shows up in the CSP cloud.  That would be cool and ShareFile makes this possible (to be fair, DropBox could be used to do the same thing).

 

Mobile Device Synchronization and Offline File Access

People use multiple devices to access CSP cloud resources.  Imagine ShareFile synchronization components being available as a Citrix Receiver plugin.  Then, certain files could be made available on mobile devices.  Picture this, you need to access an Excel spreadsheet you created in the CSP’s cloud from your iPad and you do not have WiFi or 3G access available.  Normally, you would be out of luck.  But, if this file was synchronized to your iPad via ShareFile, you would have mobile offline access to the file. 

Sharing Files with non-CSP Subscribers

ShareFile allows you to create a custom-branded, password-protected space where you can exchange business files with clients easily and securely.  This is kind of ShareFile’s forte.  CSP subscribers oftentimes want to share a file beyond the boundaries of the CSP’s firewall.  ShareFile makes this as easy as sending an email.  Since everything is encrypted along the way, could this also be used as a make-shift email encryption mechanism?  The following graphic depicts all the pieces together: