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Citrix Systems: Not the Cheap Seats

By Baselinemag Print this article Print

Customers say Citrix Systems offers tested products and good tools to access desktop applications—to some, however, its pricing is exorbitant.

They may not be bargains, but Citrix Systems' remote-access products are reliable and useful, customers say.

"Basically, we've had no hiccups," says Chris McDaniel, CIO of securities broker Mutual Service Corp. The Florida company uses the SSL encryption features of Citrix Presentation Server to provide agents in 2,200 offices secure access to a variety of applications, including stock and bond trading programs. The Citrix software has been rock-solid since the company installed it four years ago, McDaniel says: "It's tried and true."

And unlike other SSL gateway vendors, Citrix provides full-fledged access to desktop applications and security rolled into one. Eric Hanson, manager of information security at commercial printer Quad/Graphics, says Citrix Presentation Server has become "the dominant method for remote access" for the company's 11,000 employees. That's mainly because it provides a simple way to serve up Windows-based applications, including Quad/Graphics' homegrown project management system, Hanson says: "If you want the full desktop experience, Citrix is where you want to be."

Citrix products, however, are pricey, says Tarron Weir, vice president of network operations for HUB International Northeast, a commercial insurance broker in New York. To provide secure application access for 500 employees, Citrix was asking more than $100,000. "We felt it was exorbitant," says Weir, who opted instead for an SSL VPN appliance from Array Networks for $50,000.

Clarence White, CIO of Salvation Army USA West, concurs: "They kill you with the per-seat pricing." His group, which covers 13 Western states, recently bought two Citrix Access Gateway appliances to give 6,000 workers access to an accounting system and other applications. Citrix charges $99 per user concurrently accessing a gateway; White estimates he will need to buy a license for 1,400 concurrent users—for a total of about $140,000. (By comparison, F5 Networks' FirePass 4100 has a list price of $85,000 for 1,500 concurrent users.) Still, White believes Citrix is the best option because of its reliable software. "I have a love-hate relationship with Citrix," he says. "They cost too much—but they deliver on their promises."

A Citrix spokeswoman says its SSL VPN products are less expensive than competitors' at "lower user counts" but that "at very high thousands of users, the Citrix [suggested retail] pricing does appear uncompetitive." As a result, she says, the company plans to revise its price list soon to reflect volume discounts.

Secure Remote Access

Citrix Systems
851 W. Cypress Creek Rd.
Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33309
(954) 267-3000


Mark B. Templeton
President & CEO
Joined Citrix in 1995 as vice president of marketing. Previously held management positions at Keyfile, LANSystems and UB Networks.

Murli Thirumale
VP & GM, Gateways Group
Previously CEO of Net6, an SSL gateway vendor he co-founded that Citrix acquired in 2004.

Citrix Access Gateway NV2000 appliance lets up to 1,000 concurrent users access files, e-mail and other applications over encrypted SSL connections. Citrix Presentation Server, which provides access to Windows or Unix server-based applications, also supports SSL. The NetScaler appliance (from a 2005 acquisition) provides performance enhancements for Web and SSL traffic.
Reference Checks

Eric Hanson
Mgr., I.T. Security
Project: Printing company uses Presentation Manager to provide access to Microsoft Office and other applications for its 11,000 employees.

Community Banks
Jeff Lyons
Network Engineer
Project: Bank in Blue Ball, Pa., gives 1,000 employees in 17 branches access to applications—including a check-imaging system—via Access Gateway.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Ross McKenzie
Dir., IS
Project: Medical research organization gives 300 faculty members remote access to their desktop computers via Citrix's GoToMyPC SSL-based service.

Salvation Army USA West
Clarence White
Project: Western region of the social services charity provides access to Microsoft's Great Plains accounting software and other applications via two Access Gateways.

Princeton Financial Systems
Charlie Morris
(609) 987-2400
Project: Provider of financial portfolio management software uses Presentation Server to deliver hosted services to 1,000 of its customers' employees.

Mutual Service Corp.
Chris McDaniel
Senior VP and CIO
Project: Security broker provides agents in 2,200 U.S. offices access to financial trading applications and other systems via Presentation Server.

Executives listed here are all users of Citrix' products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Citrix Operating Results*

2005 2004 2003
Revenue $908.72M $741.16M $588.63M
Gross margin 93.6% 96.4% 94.7%
Operating income $204.49M $158.99M $154.39M
Net income $166.34M $131.55M $126,94M
Net margin 18.3% 17.7% 21.6%
Earnings per share $0.93 $0.75 $0.74
R&D expenditure $107.04M $86.36M $64.44M
Sales, marketing and support $391.51M $337.57M $252.75M

* Fiscal Year Ends Dec. 31

Other Financials**
Total assets - $1.68B
Stockholders' equity - $1.20B
Cash and equivalents - $484.04M
Long-term investments - $51.29M
Long-term debt - $31.00M
Shares outstanding - 182.77M
Market value, 1/26 - $5.52B
** As of Dec. 31, 2005, except as noted

This article was originally published on 2006-02-07
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