Citrix Follow-Me-Data yokes applications to users

Follow-Me-Data Fabric is a technology that brings Dropbox-like functionality, identity awareness and the ability to access software on any device to applications virtualised by Citrix

Citrix has introduced Follow-Me-Data Fabric, a technology that brings Dropbox-like functionality, simple use of any device and identity awareness to its suite of applications.

The technology, announced on Wednesday, is based on a storage cloud owned and operated by Citrix. After being authenticated, people can use a Citrix-virtualised application on a range of devices, operating systems and file formats without needing to access it via different programs. Their data, stored in the cloud, 'follows' them on whatever software and hardware they are using.

"Wherever I go, whatever device I'm on, I have access to those applications and all the data I need," Brad Peterson, director of executive engagement for Citrix, said in a speech at the Citrix Synergy event in Barcelona.

As part of its announcement, virtualisation specialist Citrix unveiled versions of three existing products — Receiver, ShareFile and Workspaces — that hook into the technology.

Follow-Me-Data via Citrix Receiver integrates data sharing and syncing into the device-agnostic application delivery platform. This means people can use Citrix Receiver as a single point of access for any application, and the application will be rendered into HTML5 if viewed on a device that does not support it natively. It automatically gives access to relevant files stored in the Citrix storage cloud, according to the identity of the user.

"With the new Follow-Me-Data-enabled Receiver, end users will be able to use either virtual applications or local applications to access and edit, as well as synchronise and save, work files and data," Benjamin Baer, a Citrix Receiver marketing executive, wrote in a blog post.

Another release is Citrix ShareFile, which is based on technology gained in the acquisition of ShareFile in October, and which delivers Dropbox-like functionality for enterprises. Finally, GoToMeeting with Workspaces amalgamates meeting notes and data into a single place.

Follow-Me-Data rollout

Initially, Citrix plans to roll out the fabric across these three products. Follow-Me-Data should come to Citrix Receiver in the next few months, the company said.

Next, the company plans to add identity brokerage and control to Citrix CloudGateway, so administrators gain greater control over how data follows people and where it is allowed to go. CloudGateway Enterprise will be a central management portal for deploying applications and brokering identity across Microsoft Windows, web and software-as-a-service apps to any device in any network.

CloudGateway Express is a scaled-down version of CloudGateway Enterprise and focuses on Windows apps. It is expected to have similar functionality to CloudGateway Enterprise and to be available free to customers who use XenDesktop or XenApp.

The CloudGateway features will be available as a technology preview in October and should become generally available "in the next three months", Citrix said.

The announcements see Citrix step closer to VMware in strategy and technology, as Follow-Me-Data Fabric bears close similarity to the approach taken by VMware's Project AppBlast and Project Octopus schemes.

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