Fixed costs eat up IT budgets, claims Citrix

27 Feb 2007

DUBAI: A leading software vendor has warned that IT budgets may stagnate with between 70pc and 80pc of IT budgets going towards fixed costs. This means IT managers will need more money to innovate, according to Citrix.

“There are key trends that will continue to drive the relevance of Citrix,” said vice-president Mick Hollison, speaking at the launch in Dubai. He cited globalisation and how “work is shifting to optimal places”, as well as consolidation and regulation as key factors that will drive organisations towards different models of access infrastructure.

Equally significant are stagnant IT budgets, 70-80pc of which are going on fixed costs rather than enabling organisations to deal with the rate of change, according to Hollison. “They either have to have a lot more budget or do things smarter,” he said.

This week sees Citrix launch the latest version of its flagship Presentation Server product, which it claimed allows customers more flexibility in how they use its application delivery software and incorporates other stand-alone Citrix services.

Last year, Citrix became one of only 20 software firms to achieve billion-dollar annual revenue and the company is in bullish mood, confident that the new version will help sustain its growth.

It’s not an easy sell, according to Hollinson, because most organisations have IT components trapped in vertical silos and struggle with the horizontal view that Citrix provides with centrally hosted infrastructure.

A new feature on Presentation Server 4.5 is Application Streaming, which isolates and then streams an application to an end user, removing issues around application and system conflicts. Disconnected from the data centre, suitable applications, such as Microsoft Office, are cached for offline use.

This feature greatly simplifies delivery and maintenance of applications across any-size Presentation Server farm, according to Citrix. It provides an alternative to the traditional Citrix model of ‘virtualised’ applications that are hosted at the data centre and distributed to users on thin-client desktops.

Presentation Server selects the best application delivery method for the user, the application, the device or the network. Streaming applications will suit mobile users who need the local CPU resources, require local peripherals or need to work offline, Citrix claimed. Virtualised applications ensure maximum control and security, keeping confidential data in the data centre.

Stand-alone Citrix products have also been pulled in to the Presentation Server suite: EdgeSight, for performance monitoring, and Access Gateway, for secure single sign-on.

Other new features are Health Assistant, a software agent that can identify a server problem, fix it or alert an administrator, and SpeedScreen, which accelerates the performance of graphic-intensive applications such as CAD.

Citrix maintains that by centrally hosting applications organisations can deliver and maintain Windows-based applications more efficiently, making light work of upgrades while reducing hardware costs.

The special relationship with Microsoft, which frequently prompts speculation that Citrix is ripe for acquisition by the Seattle giant, takes a new turn as the two companies have joined forces to deliver a branch office solution.

At least 18 months away from the market, the partnership intends to deliver a single box that simplifies server management and application delivery in smaller offices with limited IT resources.

More imminent is Citrix Desktop Server, which will launch in the second quarter. The software delivers a user-specific, virtualised desktop. Aimed at relieving time-consuming desktop support, it brings the most fundamental PC interface under the centralised control of the IT department.

“It’s a dynamic desktop that will be optimised for the end-user and delivered – not deployed,” said Hollinson, highlighting what Citrix sees as an important distinction that will strike a chord with IT departments.

By Ian Campbell in Dubai