How CloudGateway works to enable enterprise mobility

Through its CloudGateway product, Citrix offers an enterprise app store, app wrapping tools and more to help organizations and their users go mobile.

CloudGateway, Citrix's unified service broker, facilitates the secure delivery of traditional desktops and Windows

applications to mobile devices.

Citrix Systems Inc. is a longtime player in the application and desktop delivery game. Now CloudGateway is part of Citrix's Mobile Solutions Bundle, which also includes XenMobile (formerly Zenprise) for mobile device management (MDM).

The Mobile Solutions Bundle gives IT pros the application and desktop delivery capabilities that Citrix is known for, plus support for data delivery, all from a centrally managed point. The bundle adds the missing pieces of enterprise mobility management to Citrix's arsenal and gives IT pros an array of tools to secure and centrally manage employees' devices. On the downside, it has a lot of components and can be hard to work with. Plus, the MDM tool is fairly new to Citrix and still has some growing up to do.

There are two versions of CloudGateway. The first, CloudGateway Enterprise, has an enterprise app store, tools for app wrapping and controlling users' access to data, and a client to make all these components work on mobile devices. The second version, CloudGateway Express, has the same tools as the Enterprise version, minus the app wrapping and access control services. CloudGateway Express is used strictly for enabling access to XenApp and XenDesktop virtualization products and is not part of the Mobile Solutions Bundle.

Inside CloudGateway's components

Let's take a look at the specific features of CloudGateway.

AppController is a service that controls user access to websites, data and Software as a Service (SaaS) as well as Android and iOS applications via single sign-on capabilities. It also has an App Preparation Tool that allows administrators to wrap iOS and Android applications. AppController features the me@work suite, which provides a sandboxed email client (@WorkMail) and Web browser (@WorkWeb).

StoreFront, formerly known as Citrix Web Interface, is a Web app store for users. Administrators can make virtual apps and desktops, SaaS apps, ShareFile files and internal websites available to users securely through the Secure Sockets Layer virtual private network that Gateway Services provides in StoreFront.

Gateway Services give users a virtual place where they can access their applications and data from anywhere they can establish connectivity to this server. Citrix has two product lines that can host the Gateway: AccessGateway and NetScaler hardware and virtual appliances.

Receiver is client software that can run on many different platforms, including Macs, Windows PCs, and Android and iOS devices. It's designed to hold plug-ins to enable the functionality of the other pieces of the Citrix ecosystem, including StoreFront. There are also plug-ins for other companies' products, such as Microsoft App-V.

Using CloudGateway with XenMobile

XenMobile MDM has policy-based control, remote kill, monitoring, reporting and other device management capabilities. It is available separately or as part of the Mobile Solutions Bundle with the other CloudGateway components.

CloudGateway with XenMobile MDM is a one-stop shop for organizations that want their enterprise mobility management tools all under one roof. Close integration of these services and access to data via Citrix's ShareFile storage service makes the prospect of enabling mobility more palatable. The Mobile Solutions Bundle gives companies more control over how data is accessed, shared and -- when necessary -- destroyed. If your organization already has a significant investment in Citrix desktop and application virtualization, the Mobile Solutions Bundle could be a good addition.

The downside of the Mobile Solutions Bundle is its sheer complexity. There are a lot of moving parts, and some are still immature, such as the MDM component, which Citrix acquired in December. These downsides mean that the Mobile Solutions Bundle demands more IT effort up front than do other, more established tools that provide the same -- or better -- functionality. Many other management tools on the market are not nearly as complex to implement as the Citrix offering. The disadvantage of other tools, however, is their narrow focus. Citrix's Mobile Solutions Bundle considers the entire landscape and has a central point of control, which can make for a better overall user experience and improved security.

This was first published in April 2013

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