Invest in networks despite downturn, Citrix CEO says

Invest in networks despite downturn, Citrix CEO says

Despite a bad economy and restricted IT spending, it's time for businesses to revamp their networks to deliver better-performing applications more economically, the CEO of Citrix Systems told Wednesday's Interop Las Vegas 2008 keynote audience.

IT costs are fixed, leaving little room for projects that might help improve corporate bottom lines,  Mark Templeton said. "We're in a bad spot," he said.

Nevertheless, businesses need to forge ahead with corporatewide IT improvement plans and adopt a software-as-a-service model internally and externally, Templeton said. That will take bold initiatives by IT executives. "I think it's time to rethink everything we've done with enterprise computing," he said.

Based on recent revenue from his company's Go2Meeting and GotoMyPC services, he sees departments within businesses --not corporate IT departments -- making decisions about how to carry out what would traditionally have been an IT decision. "They're taking matters into their own hands," he said.

Traditional, static network architectures no longer efficiently support far-flung users, customers and applications, Templeton said. "We have to try to leap to a service-oriented infrastructure. It's not optional for a world that's changing as rapidly as it is today," he said. "You need to think in a new way about your role as an IT leader," he added.

He ticked off six features revamped networks need to supply:

• Fast, on-demand, self-service

• User access to applications

• Delivery of a choice of devices, access networks and applications

• Built-in content security and access control

• Dynamic capacity that can be turned up and down with changing demand

• Predictable operational and capital costs

Citrix has promised virtual platforms later this year that will support these goals. By the end of this quarter, the company is expected to release XenDesktop to virtualise desktops; and later this year, Workflow Studio, software that organises workflows from XenDesktop and other Citrix virtual platforms (XenApp and XenServer) and NetScaler hardware application-acceleration appliances.

This package would make it possible to monitor and coordinate network capacity and performance to deliver applications more efficiently. "You'll be able to observe everything that's happening," Templeton said.

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