Citrix Systems: Versatile ToolsBy Darrell Dunn | Posted 2007-08-14 Email Print
Citrix customers have watched the firm expand its capabilities.
Initially used primarily to streamline the implementation of troublesome applications, Citrix Systems' Presentation Server now helps businesses secure mobile deployments. The software is sometimes used in combination with thin-client computers but is also being deployed with standard laptops to allow enterprises to gain greater control over security.
Presentation Server lets businesses manage, deploy and secure applications and data centrally within the data center, eliminating or reducing the potential for data loss. By keeping applications and data stored in centrally managed data centers, an I.T. executive can maintain control of sensitive materials and manage those who access the data. Presentation Server has been used extensively in desktop and laptop installations, and in the past two years has seen increased deployment to securely manage PDAs.
As server team leader for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Mike Prewitt has seen Citrix evolve. BCBS-Tennessee was an early adopter of Citrix's remote application delivery technology primarily to provide remote application delivery, "but we've watched as they've become more and more of a security company the past few years," Prewitt says.
"As we've seen our requirements for mobility grow as well in recent years, we've now been able to leverage their technology to allow the use of mobile devices by using the security features they've wrapped around their products," he adds.
The health insurance company implemented a corporatewide mobility initiative using Presentation Server to create the policy-based delivery of applications. Mobile workers use laptop computers with cellular wireless connections to enter the network remotely. Once connected, they can access centrally managed and distributed applications.
"If we make a mistake and let some information out regarding someone's health care, we can't reel that back in," Prewitt says. "Now our people can get whatever information or application they need, where they want it, and we can do it securely."
The Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library has worked with Citrix for more than a decade, according to network manager Jim Kenzig. Over the years, the library system has deployed a variety of Citrix thin-client-based products for its staff and for use by patrons. The library system currently has a combination of about 150 thin clients and laptop computers managed centrally on a Citrix platform used by workers and patrons.
The library system now provides public WiFi access in and around about 10 branch locations, where both patrons and staff can securely access the library's information and applications on separate local-area networks.
As the library changed its services and computing requirements over the years, Kenzig says Citrix has always listened. "You can talk and write to the developers about what is working and what's not working, and they take it to heart," he says. "I am an enthusiast for Citrix, but I also understand [thin-client computing] has its places where it works great, and there are places we feel we need a full-blown client. We can make that determination."
Frank Norton, director of information technology for Boston law firm Morrison Mahoney, used Citrix to replace 350 desktop and 40 laptop computers in the firm's nine offices in the Northeast with thin-client terminals managed by Citrix's Access Gateway. The SSL virtual private network appliance provides a single point of access for applications and protocols, including multimedia and voice-over-Internet Protocol for mobile terminals.
"Citrix is truly partner based," Norton says. "I have encountered so many other companies that just don't take the time to create the support really necessary. I've also found their resellers are very well trained, making the implementation process very smooth."
*Fiscal year ends Dec. 31.
Source: Company Reports