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Citrix Dazzle Offers Self-Serve Virtualized Apps

Dazzle converts the nonnavigable IT infrastructure "into a self-service application store, like iTunes," Citrix executive says.
Citrix Systems is bent on deploying inside the enterprise lessons of the consumer marketplace.

At its Citrix Synergy Conference in Las Vegas this week it launched Dazzle, a storefront where end users serve themselves virtualized applications from an IT-prepared menu.

Dazzle is accompanied by Citrix Merchandising Server, which allows IT staff to prepare a wide variety of applications to be included in the Dazzle storefront, and Citrix Receiver, client software that allows the end user to receive a virtualized application or desktop. It also can receive a streamed application or virtual desktop that will run on the end user's own machine. Receiver is available for Windows PCs, Apple Macintoshes, and iPhones.

"There's an epic battle shaping up between consumer culture and inertia," predicted Wes Wasson, senior VP, who foresees a contest inside the enterprise like the one that saw the PC challenge the dominance of the mainframe in enterprise computing 25 years ago. Dazzle converts the nonnavigable IT infrastructure "into a self-service application store, like iTunes, for employees," he said.

Dazzle store visitors may browse among selections or search based on an application name or generic type. They can also choose applications from IT-defined categories based on department or team names. An application is selected by clicking on an icon under Windows or dragging it into a folder or dock on the Macintosh. Selections may even be organized into "playlists," Wasson explained.

Any application or desktop that currently can be virtualized under Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenApp, and Citrix Desktop can be loaded into the store and made accessible to end users, Wasson said.

IT can restrict what's available to groups of users, impose a charge for use, create applications for a certain time period, and restrict availability to members of a particular project. If the application is streamed to the end user, then he may disconnect from the network and still work with the application. If an end user leaves work, she may reconnect to the virtual desktop from a Mac at home, provided it has Receiver on board.

The management console of Merchandising Server includes Workflow Studio, where workflows may be built to control the distribution of particular applications and the groups eligible to make use of them.

Receiver for the Macintosh won't become generally available until the second half of the year. It's available for Windows PCs and iPhones immediately, said Wasson.

A technology preview of Dazzle will become available in July, with general availability to follow in the second half of the year.

The pieces of merchandising and storefront applications as well as the Receiver client are free to existing users of Citrix Delivery Center virtualization products, such as XenApp and Xen Desktop.


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