Zivaro Blog

Citrix Synergy 2014 Recap: Part 2, Strategic Partners

To continue my recap of Citrix Synergy 2014, I wanted to talk about Citrix’s focus on Strategic Partners. Those of you who have used virtualization in general, especially the technologies from Citrix, know that often what makes or breaks the solution is a combination of the core product, delivery partners and associated other vendor technologies. […]

To continue my recap of Citrix Synergy 2014, I wanted to talk about Citrix’s focus on Strategic Partners. Those of you who have used virtualization in general, especially the technologies from Citrix, know that often what makes or breaks the solution is a combination of the core product, delivery partners and associated other vendor technologies. As a consultant, I see firsthand when it is done well, as well as badly on occasion. This is actually one of the reasons I have gravitated towards Citrix in the last 10 years or so. In a nutshell – Citrix gets it.

Global Partner Council

As a Citrix Platinum partner, GTRI has a special perspective and relationship with Citrix – not just as someone who can sell you licenses, but we can also advise you on the best way to implement Citrix and its surrounding technologies, and even help you do it with our professional services. So, we were very pleased when Citrix asked us to come the day before Synergy began to be a part of the Global Partner Council. The Council is a meeting of elite partners from across the world who met for the entire day on Monday, May 5, where Citrix shared several announcements with us.

So, GTRI had a wonderful opportunity to hear about many of the things introduced on Tuesday a day in advance, but also to get some key insight into the internal methods at Citrix. They didn’t have to share these things with us…but they did. It shows the overall trust and commitment that Citrix has in its key partners.

Synergy Mark TempletonMy favorite moment from the Global Partner Council was when Mark Templeton greeted us all – no PowerPoint presentation, no agenda – just getting up in front of the 200 or so of us and talking to us. It was a great moment for me personally, affirming many of the reasons I am supportive of the company. Mark also shared the “why” of some of the company’s mobility strategy – in fact, at his suggestion I am currently reading “Age of Context” on my Kindle.

Mark also talked about the concept of “Receiver” and why it matters. Drawing correlations between Netflix, Facebook and many other similar vendors, he noted that we currently expect to consume and interact with these products on multiple devices. We are already in that culture, and it’s great that Citrix has been in this space for so long that they very much lead the market – they have the right experience and focus to make it happen.

As a side note, I am very excited to see the tech preview of the Chrome Receiver in Q3 of 2014. The ability to have USB, two-way audio and especially touch has great implications for using the Chrome OS and very affordable devices in healthcare, education and many public sector areas. Additionally, I was pleased to hear the announcement and demonstration of new capabilities of 3D offloads to the client…on Mac OS (for tech people, this means it’s translating DirectX to OpenGL and back within Receiver). To say that the Citrix experience is competitive doesn’t quite cut it. The experience is getting to the point of being even better than having a desktop on the LAN. And that’s amazing. Why? Because it’s what the customer needs, not just another toy or impressive gadget. Citrix is meeting the customer where they are, not demanding that the customer join them.

I’m looking forward to a tighter integration as a partner with Citrix in the coming year, but more importantly, as someone who is passionate about getting my clients exactly what they need, I’m glad that Citrix is LISTENING to both its customers and partners. I have to admit that I do not always see that same attitude in other vendors, and I applaud Citrix for leading the way.

There was another key thing that was mentioned during Mark’s talk, but first some context. Mark announced earlier last year that he was seeking a replacement as CEO. In fact, many of us wondered if there would be an announcement at Synergy about this (and there wasn’t, to end the suspense). I won’t get into the details, but needless to say I understand and support his decision to put family first. In a tearful heart-to-heart with the partners in the room, he shared that Citrix is “His Baby” and that he will always be passionate and working with Citrix in some fashion. Of course, this was met with applause and a standing ovation.  It was good to hear the heart of the company will continue to be strong, and that Mark will continue to be involved even if he’s not at the helm.

As for GTRI, we look forward to further participation in the Global Partner Council and helping them improve as they help us improve!

Two Inch Stack of Business Cards

Synergy DJ HP Here I am riffing along with the entertaining and knowledgeable HP employees at Citrix Synergy 2014. Hey, they gave me an empty plastic bag, what else was I supposed to do with it?

This year’s Synergy had a very large Expo floor with a great many of vendors and partners demonstrating their products, talking to people about how they integrate and make life better for all of us.  When I went to Synergy, I thought I would be attending sessions all day and hoping to learn new things.  I have to be honest, I found myself spending most of my time on the Expo floor. Not just because I dig new stuff, but because there is one thing that is central to my reason for being there…


I am asked almost daily to give recommendations on products that meet the needs of you, the customer. I take that seriously; in fact, to win my recommendation, a company really needs to prove that they are the best and provide the best value to my customers.

When working with virtualization technologies, especially Citrix, you cannot be good at just one thing. You must be aware of multiple product offerings from multiple vendors and how they fit in with your goals! So I talked with well over 100 people from over 30 different vendors while I was at Synergy. Storage, management, printing, profiles, workflow, networking and analysis are just a few of the areas I covered.

GTRI has several strategic partners, and I’m proud to say most of them were there at Synergy. Ultimately, we may recommend products outside of these key partnerships if it meets the customer’s needs, so I look forward to meeting more with these vendors, making recommendations and giving reviews in the coming months. It’s far too early to give you results of these meetings, but suffice it to say that GTRI has been expanding its focus with some of our largest vendors such as Citrix, Cisco, Splunk, NetApp and EMC/VMware, but we are committed to exploring more options that focus on your needs as well.

Synergy NVIDIAWe will be comparing solutions such as vSAN with solutions from Nutanix, Atlantis and others to determine how they work and fit into your datacenters. We are also working with solutions for workflow and profile management with RES and comparing with AppSense, TriCerat and others so we know when to recommend them and when not to. And we continue to grow our relationship with NVIDIA.

We are also talking to Imprivata, who is Citrix’s new preferred partner to replace SSO for XenApp/XenDesktop for Single Sign on and exciting solutions in proximity-based logon solutions. Though I already have known, loved and used solutions from Liquidware and Lakeside software during the assessment phase of a project, I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts as to when to use them appropriately for your projects for the entire lifecycle. And, of course, as a Splunk Elite partner, we will compare and contrast monitoring solutions and learn more about how to enhance our offerings and add value.

Also, Load Testing is always one of my more vocal recommendations, and I hope to share more about using tools like LoginVSI in the real world in the coming months.

As a solutions-focused Architect at GTRI, it is very important to me to understand new products and how they actually fit in for you. Each product has its own nuances and benefits so it’s hard to make a judgment call by just visiting their booth. Obviously, I can’t give more information just yet but I did want everyone to know that we take seriously the notion that the customer comes first, and that I will always recommend the best fit to you – whether we sell it or not!  As we engage further in testing and partnerships, we will let you know our honest thoughts!

Speaking of products, I know I originally promised to combine Partners and Products into one blog. But there was just way too much to talk about, so this three-part series just became a four-part series! (Don’t worry, I’ve submitted the correct Scope Change form and gotten signoff — it’s how we work here at GTRI.) Stay tuned next time for a look at the Products announced at Synergy! And if you didn’t get a chance, please read Citrix Synergy 2014 Recap Part 1: The People. In fact, if you have a few hours and didn’t get to see the Keynote from Synergy 2014, I encourage you to view it on YouTube.


3900 E Mexico Avenue, Suite 1000,
Denver, CO 80210