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Citrix Synergy 2014 conference coverage

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IT voices concern over XenMobile deployment challenges

Despite strength in the market, IT pros still have concerns about XenMobile, and they have plenty of other options to choose from -- namely VMware.

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Citrix Synergy 2014 conference coverage

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ANAHIEM, Calif. -- IT buyers have a lot of choices for mobility, and if Citrix wants to remain a key player, it may need to listen to those implementing XenMobile.

While Citrix may have been ahead of the game in enterprise mobility management (EMM) with its acquisition of Zenprise in late 2012, other companies have caught up. .

That includes chief rival VMware, a company competing with Citrix for an overall end-user computing (EUC) platform with products for mobility, desktops and applications.

Citrix has added XenMobile to its EMM platform since it was released a year ago, including integration with Citrix Receiver and the suite of wrapped Worx applications for productivity that got more updates this week. Instead of end users adding their own enterprise apps to devices or using native applications, Citrix lets IT push out apps it deems users need through the Worx suite.

Their primary competition right now is VMware... [Citrix is] further ahead.

Jack Gold, mobile analyst, J. Gold Associates

But that creates a quandary for IT buyers about the best way to proceed, according to Jack Gold, a mobile analyst with J. Gold Associates in Northborough, Mass.

“Your applications are basically being served up to the device,” said Gold. “There are a lot of reasons to do that, but there are reasons not to. That’s the decision point… it doesn’t work for everybody.”

That flashpoint was evident during a breakout session here at the Citrix Synergy 2014 conference, when IT pros were asked to voice their issues with XenMobile.

The discussion touched a number of areas, including implementation issues, specifically the need to make it easier to separate the mobile device management (MDM) and application management products, as well as the lack of a consistent experience across devices, in particular with the applications in the Worx suite.

“Why can’t we have WorxMail on a PC?” asked Warren Simondson, a senior systems architect with Ctrl-Alt-Del, an IT consultancy in Australia and a Citrix partner who led the discussion.

Meeting the challenges of XenMobile implementation

XenMobile has made strides since its earlier days. A large Norwegian enterprise with over 4,000 users implemented XenMobile App Edition over the last year through IT consultancy Wedel IT.

The company chose XenMobile App Edition and not another XenMobile edition around MDM because it did not want control of user devices but wanted control of the business information on the devices, according to Daniel Wedel, owner and senior consultant for Wedel IT. Still, they had some challenges with the implementation, including differences with wrapping Worx applications in Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

“It’s not perfect quite yet, but Citrix has been paying a lot of attention to the product so hopefully it will get a lot better,” said Wedel during a conference session.

It’s important for IT to have a plan and know what it wants to get out of its XenMobile deployment before taking the plunge, and it should implement the platform in stages, according to Kenneth Fingerlos, solutions architect with Lewan & Associates in Denver.

“It makes your life a lot easier when you know the rest of the infrastructure is stable and predictable,” said Fingerlos. “If you put it all in at once, it’s hard to figure out what’s broken.”

The complicated nature of rollouts onto XenMobile can be contrasted with the software as a service approach from a company like AirWatch, which has beenpraised by customers in the past.

Citrix is still in an enviable position for mobility because it has the products around EUC to make it all work, according to Gold.

“Their primary competition right now is VMware… [Citrix is] further ahead,” said Gold. “Citrix has more of the components necessary to make it all work, at least in the short run.”

Citrix originally hoped to have 500 Worx apps by the end of last year, but it scaled that back to around 100. Now, Citrix would like to have more than 200 by the end of 2014, according to the company.

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