Citrix Fleshes Out Cloud Fantasy With Excalibur And Merlin
Excalibur and Merlin look to slay cloud migration and management beasts
Citrix has fleshed out its cloud strategy at its Synergy conference in Barcelona this week, with products known as Excalibur and Merlin leading the charge.
They form part of Project Avalon, which Citrix expounded on earlier this year, and that will look to deliver Windows apps and desktops “as a true cloud service”. Avalon builds on other Citrix assets, namely XenApp, which brings applications to thin client endpoints, and XenDesktop, which delivers desktops through a virtual desktop infrastructure.
Citrix wrenching sword from the stone
The first is Excalibur, which is “all about simplicity and mobility”, explained Wes Wasson, chief marketing officer for Citrix.
Excalibur, which goes into tech preview on 1 November, includes FlexCast 2.0, which offers a single platform for IT to deliver apps and desktops over different models, from full VDI to shared hosted deployments, for “unified service delivery”.
This will “dramatically simplify” the process of delivering Windows experiences over the cloud to whatever device businesses are using, Wasson said. It combines Citrix’s HDX mobile and video technology, designed to bring “high definition” experiences to end users, and HDX EdgeSight, which provides IT with diagnostics and the ability to monitor various activities on a per device, per desktop basis.
Excalibur is managed and administered over two different interfaces – the browser-based Director tool for maintenance and Studio for provisioning virtual desktops.
The second part of Avalon is Merlin, which Citrix promised would go into tech preview at the beginning of next year. Merlin is all about automation and cloud, Wasson said, and “taking people out of the equation”.
John Fanelli, vice president of product marketing in Citrix’s enterprise desktops and applications group, explained that Merlin would give IT the ability to provide self service of apps for employees, and create desktop experiences for specific teams or purposes, such as marketing teams or specialised research divisions who need certain kinds of applications where the data needs to be secure and managed centrally.
When IT wants to push their virtual desktops out to the cloud, they can do so using Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure with the Merlin software. “[This means] you’re not just moving to the cloud for the sake of moving to the cloud,” Fanelli said.
Citrix also announced today its CloudBridge product, designed to let IT expand infrastructure or projects into public clouds, would support AWS and Azure.
This could all hint that XenApp and XenDesktop are being phased out. But Fanelli told TechWeekEurope the company would continue to push those products, although Excalibur and Merlin were the next “evolution” of XenApp and XenDesktop.
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