Having grabbed a large share of the multi-user Windows market, Citrix is extending its purview to the web-based VPN market. with the release of its South Beach environment.
The company plans to carve out a crucial role in what consultancy the Meta group sees as a trend to use remote access more and more for collaboration rather than transaction. It will talk in terms of access to services rather than servers; applications documents and colleagues should be easily and securely locatable in a web or metaframe environment, says Meta spokesman Kevin McIsaac.
The security elements of South Beach can render documents invisible, or present them as greyed out icons, so an unauthorised employee is aware they exist but cannot read them.
With South Beach, Citrix can once again ride on the vehicle built by Microsoft in the .NET space, and on webservices. “We will incorporate .NET, and South Beach will also help us with the collaborate with the things coming out of .NET, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton says.
It’s a resurgence of the perennial vision of the “information utility,” an environment in which information flows from a socket and can be used by a variety of appliances.
A lot of application providers and users talk about “web-enabling” their applications. Citrix enables the process of web-enablement, says Templeton.
And yes, South Beach takes its place in that other perennial vision – teleworking. Every company and its employees has its own reasons for wanting their employees available to work remotely. “Companies want employees to work close to the customer, they’re getting more productivity [by having them constantly available, they avoid the traffic - and to these factors can now be added nervousness about the vulnerability of working in a large office building.
A portal is a logical addition to secure web access, and Citrix plans collaboration with a variety of application providers who will give access to their services through portals built with South Beach.
In the PC environment, Citrix has now provided the capability to access the applications on another worker’s PC as well as a server.
On the Windows front, there is no problem accommodating Windows XP, says Templeton – it just snaps in. The Windows XP development is significant not just for its functionality, but because the current Microsoft operating systems are now unified on one code base.