Citrix acquires Framehawk to extend virtual access to mobile devices

Citrix has been trying to reduce or eliminate the difference between direct access and virtual access of workloads. Framehawk's technology and engineering talent should help Citrix further improve its technology and reach to deliver applications to smartphones and tablets.

Citrix Systems just announced that it has acquired Framehawk to enhance the experience of individuals accessing remote workloads via their smartphone or tablet computer.

Here's what Citrix has to say about this move:

Citrix today announced it has acquired Framehawk. The Framehawk solution, which optimizes the delivery of virtual desktops and applications to mobile devices, will be combined with HDX technology in the Citrix XenApp® and XenDesktop® products to deliver an unparalleled user experience under adverse network conditions. Framehawk’s leadership and engineering teams will be integrated into the Enterprise and Service Provider division of Citrix.

Delivering a Powerful Experience Over Unreliable Networks

With the increase of mobile users adopting tablets and smartphones, it is critical to ensure a rich virtual application and desktop user experience on Wi-Fi and cellular networks where quality may be intermittent or poor due to congestion, high packet loss and high latency. These mobile workers need anywhere, anytime access to their business resources with a user experience that is equal to what they have in the office. The market-leading Citrix HDX technologies in XenApp and XenDesktop combine to deliver a high definition experience to users of any application, on any device and over any network. The integration of the Framehawk solution with HDX technology will further extend the Citrix leadership position in application and desktop virtualization user experience. Where other solutions cause end-user frustration and low adoption, HDX technologies continue to improve the experience for mobile workers, even when they are on less than ideal networks. No other app and desktop virtualization solution has the ability to address the wide range of challenging network scenarios that are common in today’s mobile workplace.

Snapshot analysis

Virtual access tools are often the unsung heroes of a virtual environment regardless of whether this means accessing local or remote workloads. There are many problems that have to be solved to create a good experience accessing remote workloads that are hosted either in the company's own data center or the data center of a cloud services supplier. Dealing with sporadic, bursty or slow-speed networks is one problem. Making the workloads' user interface match that of users' access point devices is another.

Citrix, one of the early pioneers of virtual access technology, has been pushing the envelope and trying to reduce or eliminate the difference between direct access and virtual access of workloads. The company has been working to achieve two goals:

  1. One goal has been to eliminate the perceived performance differences between directly connecting to a workload running on the user's own desktop system and connecting over the network to a workload running in the company's own data center or in the data center of a cloud services provider.
  2. Bridging the user interface gaps between enterprise applications (typically hosted on Windows, UNIX or a Mainframe) and those offered by Android and IOS powered devices.

Achieving these goals presents a challenge because some graphically intense workloads deliver huge amounts of data so that detailed models can be displayed or manipulated at the desktop or deliver streaming video or audio content.

Citrix faces the challenge of finding new and creative ways to reduce that huge amount of data to what a typical network connection can easily carry. The company has been progressively improving its products and has gotten to the place that most typical workloads can be executed remotely. Framehawk's technology and engineering talent should help Citrix further improve its technology here.

Making Windows-, UNIX- or mainframe-hosted workloads look and work like a locally hosted application on an access point device executing Android, IOS, Linux or OSX is another challenge. Citrix, by quickly creating and offering a "receiver" for just about anything having sufficient resources and power to display these workloads, has continued to be a leading player in this space for decades.

Citrix, however, isn't the only company addressing this challenge. Microsoft, VMware and various open source communities are attacking the same set of problems.

Is Citrix's approach the best solution to your company's access challenges? As with other levels of virtualization technology, the answer is "it depends."

What is clear is that Citrix believes that Framehawk's technology will help it win over the others and make virtual access simply the way things are done.

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