Citrix is Teaming with Microsoft for “Branch Office in a Box”
Written by: Philip Winslow and Dennis Simson
Branch Office Partnership. Citrix and Microsoft announced an expansion of their current partnership to create a branch office appliance combining Windows Server and ISA Server with Citrix’s technologies from both Orbital Data and NetScaler. We expect the yet-to-be-named appliance to be launched in the second half of 2007. Both companies will contribute R&D and marketing support over a multi-year period, and the appliance will be sold by Citrix as an addition to the WANScaler product line with close integration with Microsoft’s field organization. Besides enhancing Citrix’s efforts in Layer 4-7 networking, the broadening of this relationship should ease investors’ concerns about long-term competition from Microsoft.
Improved Positioning in WAN Optimization Market. Through combining Orbital Data’s strong background in TCP acceleration and compression technologies and NetScaler’s dynamic caching
functionality with Microsoft’s caching, security, and networking capabilities found in Windows Server and ISA Server, we believe that this partnership has the potential to reshape the WAN optimization market over the next several years. The biggest hindrance of the new appliance will most likely be its Windows-based operating system (i.e., a corporation has removed the data and servers from the branch offices but not the risk). Over time, we believe that Citrix will enhance both this new appliance and WANScaler with further feature sets.
What is “Branch Office in a Box?” From a macro-perspective, we believe that a move towards an IT service delivery model will drive a more-centralized computing paradigm, and we believe that this trend
to datacenter consolidation will increase the uptake of WAN optimization technologies. Specifically, we expect large enterprises to remove branch office computing resources (e.g., print, file, and application servers, storage, etc.) that will be released by a multifunctional networking box with “application awareness” to optimize application and data flows between the datacenter and the branch offices, so that the end user application experience remains unaffected by the physical location of the computing resources.
Outlook. We have been encouraged by Citrix’s expanding product portfolio with the acquisitions of Net6, NetScaler, Orbital Data and the introductions of Access Essential and Project Tarpon, and we believe that this expanding product set positions Citrix to redefine the company from just “the MetaFrame guys” to a broader access solutions vendor—especially with the added support of Microsoft.
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Philip Winslow, CFA
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