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Citrix, Microsoft unveil branch office app-delivery solution

Citrix and Microsoft announced at Citrix Synergy the immediate availability of Citrix Branch Repeater, a new line of branch office appliances developed and marketed as part of a strategic alliance between the two companies. By staging the delivery of applications and Windows services closer to branch office users, Citrix Branch Repeater helps make branch office computing faster and more cost-effective for companies.

Citrix Branch Repeater will be sold as part of the Citrix Delivery Center product family, an end-to-end infrastructure designed to help customers transform static datacenters into dynamic delivery centers. Just as digital television repeaters amplify and retransmit media signals to homes in a given neighborhood, Citrix Branch Repeater sits between corporate datacenters and branch offices, amplifying and retransmitting applications to branch office users. Based on Windows Server and available with Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server software, the Citrix Branch Repeater provides an ideal complement to application virtualization solutions, enhancing application delivery and performance while simultaneously delivering critical Windows Server infrastructure services in the branch.

"This type of alliance will give companies more flexibility for managing their branches, and it will address never-ending bandwidth demands from branch workers," said Robin Gareiss, Executive Vice President and senior founding partner, Nemertes Research. "The adoption of managed services at the branch is increasing. Today, 63 percent of companies use some form of managed services at the branch, compared to 46 percent in 2007."

Citrix Branch Repeater optimizes the branch through:

-- Staging streamed applications closer to branch office users:

Windows applications streamed to branch employees by Citrix XenApp (previously known as Citrix Presentation Server) can now be staged at the front door of the branch by Citrix Branch Repeater. Once an application has been received at the branch, it can be delivered rapidly to branch employees directly from the Branch Repeater, eliminating unnecessary traversal back to the datacenter across expensive and often slow WAN links. As new or updated applications are staged in the datacenter by XenApp administrators, they can be easily delivered to each Branch Repeater for fast, efficient and secure 'rebroadcast' to each branch employee's desktop as needed.

-- Consolidating Windows Branch Services:

Citrix Branch Repeater is built on Windows Server, enabling the consolidation and delivery of native Windows services such as file, print, Active Directory, domain name system (DNS), and dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) plus ISA Server 2006 Web caching in a single, easy-to-manage appliance. IT staff also can use native Windows management tools to remotely manage Citrix Branch Repeater, helping minimize support costs in remote offices.

-- Accelerating all applications delivered over the WAN:

Citrix Branch Repeater accelerates the delivery of application traffic to and from the branch using advanced wide area network (WAN) optimization technology from Citrix. In addition to improving application performance for branch office users, this optimization can reduce bandwidth consumption by up to 75 percent.

"We have been customers of both Citrix and Microsoft for many years, and their respective technologies have continuously benefitted our growing company," said Tom Allen, Director of IT, Ozinga Brothers. "Citrix Branch Repeater will allow us to further enhance our use of Citrix XenApp and Windows Server to deliver applications to our branches without increasing our IT overhead while keeping our branch users satisfied."

"Branch office employees should have the same productive computing experience as employees at headquarters," said Bala Kasiviswanathan, Director of branch and storage solutions, Windows Server division at Microsoft. "Windows Server-based branch office solutions help customers deliver core infrastructure services that are required to keep branch office applications and operations running efficiently. The Citrix Branch Repeater streamlines and consolidates the application delivery infrastructure while delivering on the performance and availability expectations of the most demanding branch office environments."

"Citrix Branch Repeater is an impactful addition to the toolkit of enterprise IT departments, because its easy integration with the application delivery infrastructure helps solve the key challenges facing IT administrators," said Troy Trenchard, VP and GM, Access and Acceleration Group at Citrix. "The seamless environment allows customers to place the technology where it makes the most sense for the business."