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Citrix Synergy 2015: The channel partner highlights

At Citrix Synergy 2015, the key news for Citrix partners included a XenApp 6.5 extension, the debut of Workspace Cloud and a new data center specialization.

Citrix Summit 2015 held in January may be the vendor's premier event for channel partners, but this week at Citrix Synergy 2015 in Orlando, the vendor included some relevant announcements for its partners among the many announcements made during the May 12 keynote session.

The first news item of interest to partners is the extension of the end-of-life schedule for XenApp 6.5 to year-end 2017. Other channel-related developments include the release of a new feature pack for XenApp 6.5; Citrix Workspace Cloud; and the availability of the Citrix Specialist in Networking for Data Center specialist track, according to John Carey, senior director of worldwide channel strategy and development.

XenApp expansion

The new feature pack for XenApp 6.5 adds virtual storage, enhanced profile management, Director help desk and troubleshooting, and enhanced Microsoft Lync support. It also includes new client software for accessing XenApp deployments, dubbed Receiver ".NEXT", and Citrix StoreFront 3 with a new look and feel. Users also gain the ability to run and manage multiple versions of a XenApp environment under a single console, according to the vendor.

For partners and their customers, the upshot of this announcement is that customers who are ready to move up aren't going to be put in a position where their businesses are put at risk, Carey said. "There are new features and value being added that was restricted to the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 platform that's now being made available to these customers," he said.

On a related note, Carey mentioned one of the conference's themes, "We love XenApp," is a purposeful attempt to drive home the company's message that XenApp is here to stay. Some channel partners have believed that Citrix was moving away from applications, Carey noted.

"The apps and data combined is where work value is realized," he said.

Citrix Workspace Cloud

The XenApp-related news led up to the announcement of Citrix Workspace Cloud, a new platform designed to simplify the on-demand delivery of a range of IT tools and services. Today, Citrix invited all 12,000 attendees (which includes physical and virtual attendees) to explore and test-drive Citrix Workspace Cloud, with each attendee allowed to sign up five individuals. The company will provide attendees with a link to the Citrix host test environment this week. General availability with pricing will be made available in the third quarter.

The relevant news for partners here is that with Citrix Workspace Cloud, the vendor has moved the management plane to the cloud. "By moving the management plane up and into a provisioned service, it has no impact on partners' revenue potential -- while removing low-value, complex work," Carey said. Instead of focusing on maintaining consoles and scripting, partners can focus on value and processes, a conversation between customers and partners that will continue, he added.

Citrix Workspace Cloud was announced at Citrix Summit and partners have had input into test-drive experience. "Partners see [Workspace Cloud] as a way to maintain their relevance to their customers, having minimal impact on their value proposition because app migration, data migration, definition of workspaces, security policy definition -- all of these activities, which are high value -- continue to be needed," said Carey.

Networking for Data Center specialization

Finally, regarding Citrix Solution Advisor Program specializations announced in January at Citrix Summit, the vendor announced that partners could now register for the Networking for Data Center practicum. The first test will be available on June 2.

The Networking for Data Center specialization is the fourth and final specialization to be made available. The other three specializations are Citrix Specialist in Virtualization, Citrix Specialist in Mobility Management, and Citrix Specialist in Networking for App and Mobile Strategy. The vendor's mobile technology includes XenMobile.

Carey also noted that all of the Citrix Solution Advisor Program specializations would extend to support services delivered from the Citrix Workspace Cloud.

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Will the end-of-life extension for XenApp 6.5 help you and your customers?