ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Citrix's new XenMobile is an intriguing option for organizations that need a mobile management tool for devices and applications.
The new XenMobile platform, revealed during this week's Citrix Synergy conference, offers a unified interface where end users access various types of business apps from smartphones and tablets. That feature isn't unique in the
"They already have a foot in the door," said Greg Tiber, an Exchange administrator at a financial services firm in Wisconsin. "They own the application delivery market."
XenMobile combines the mobile device management (MDM) software that came to Citrix in the Zenprise acquisition, the mobile application management (MAM) software formerly known as CloudGateway and cloud storage and file-sharing from ShareFile, plus several new features.
Administrators can select which apps to make available to users and put them in an enterprise app store, from which users can download apps to their devices.
The cornerstone of the MAM component is the concept of Worx-enabled apps: wrapped mobile applications to which admins can apply specific security and management policies.
Developers can make their apps Worx-enabled by adding one line of code -- an attempt by Citrix to attract as many popular business apps as possible to the platform. Eighty Worx-enabled apps, including Box, Concur and Expensify, plus Citrix-developed apps for email, browsing and other common tasks, will be available at launch next month.
"What [users] really crave is that native experience," said Scott Wright, technology architect at Marathon Oil Corp. in Houston. "That technology is huge for us."
Windows, Web and Software as a Service apps can also go in the enterprise app store.
It's good to have one place where users can get everything they need, said Grant Conklin, manager of next generation solutions at software developer Intuit, Inc. The company already uses RES Software's IT Store, which provides a unified back-end infrastructure for app stores and offers the benefits of one-stop shopping.
"It simplifies the experience," Conklin said.
A new mobile software development kit, designed to make Windows apps easier to use on smartphones and tablets instead of building new versions from scratch will also make XenMobile more attractive to businesses, Conklin said.
Citrix XenMobile is supported on a wide range of devices, from iPhones and iPads to Android-based cameras. That's important because the smartphone and tablet markets can change so quickly.
Newmont Mining Corp., based in Greenwood Village, Colo, uses BlackBerry Enterprise Server for MDM but is evaluating more device-agnostic options.
"One of the biggest challenges is, what will the future look like?" said David Collier, a global senior Citrix engineer at the company. "How do we make sure we're there for tomorrow's device?"
Mark Farrow, who spoke on a customer panel with Collier at Synergy, shares those concerns.
"I can't put all my eggs in the iPad basket, because I don't know if that's going to be the device in two years," said Farrow, chief information officer at Hamilton Health Sciences, a hospital group in Hamilton, Ont.
XenMobile will be available in three editions: MDM-only, MAM-only and Enterprise, which will include all features. Pricing starts at $65 per device per year.