Virtualization Technology News and Information
Citrix Dazzle Puts the Personal Back in Computing
Today at Citrix Synergy 2009, the conference where virtualization, networking and application delivery meet, Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) took a major step toward transforming IT into an on-demand service with the introduction of Citrix® Dazzle™ – the first self-service “storefront” for enterprise applications. Dazzle gives corporate employees 24x7 self-service access to a broad array of applications, desktops and content, allowing them to choose exactly what they need, when they need it. For the more than 200,000 enterprise customers already using Citrix Delivery Center™ products like Citrix® XenApp™ and Citrix® XenDesktop™, Dazzle effectively acts as a storefront to their existing delivery infrastructure. Best of all, Dazzle offers a rich, intuitive user experience that requires no training. If you’ve used DirecTV or Apple iTunes, you already know how to use Dazzle. In short, Dazzle makes self-service IT a reality for the first time ever, giving users simple access to apps and IT services, and bringing the economics of the web to enterprise IT.

“Every day, employees are presented with an amazing array of exciting apps and services on the web that spark their imagination and put them in full control of their experience. Then they come to work, and their IT experience is mandated by a bland ‘general issue’ sameness that threatens to drive every ounce of productivity and innovation out of them,” said Mark Templeton, president and CEO, Citrix Systems. “Now, for the first time ever, we’re giving IT a tool that helps them truly ‘dazzle’ end users with an ultra cool, self-service storefront, empowering employees to select the apps, desktops and services they need, whenever they need them. The hidden reality, of course, is that by giving employees the choice they so desperately want, IT actually saves a ton of money and gains even more control over the things that really matter.”

Consumerization is Changing the Shape of Enterprise IT

With the introduction of Dazzle, Citrix is helping IT respond to the growing gap between web-based consumer services and traditional enterprise computing – a gap that has simply become too big to ignore, both in terms of user experience as well as cost of delivery. On the web, consumers get a rich self-service experience with the freedom to choose from thousands of services such as shopping, productivity tools, games, music and other consumer content. The most successful on-demand content services in the consumer arena have at least two things in common – broad choice and user self-service. For example:

  • DirecTV has 999 channels and an on-screen guide for both pay-per-view and free on-demand programming.
  • The Apple® iTunes® Store has thousands of entertainment titles available 24x7 from any PC, Mac®, iPhone™ or iPod touch®.
  •’s® Kindle Store has over 250,000 books and periodicals available wirelessly from, accessible directly on the screen of the Kindle reader.

This rich variety and on-demand choice is hardly the way enterprise computing is delivered today. In most companies, applications, desktops and other services are pre-determined by IT and baked into hard-coded desktop images that are then “pushed” to users based upon their role, physical location, or employee status. These images are rarely updated for anything other than maintenance and security patches. If employees want access to something new, they either wait for IT to respond to a help desk ticket, or they simply go around IT altogether to find something on the web. This approach not only limits employee productivity, it introduces security risks and can be extremely expensive to maintain. In 2009, industry experts estimate that IT will spend over $6B on systems designed to enable traditional push-oriented desktop management systems. With pressure growing on all sides, IT organizations that do not find better ways to adopt on-demand “pull-oriented” self-service models will find it increasingly difficult to keep their heads above water.

How Dazzle Works

Dazzle is a user-facing application that runs on any Windows or Mac computer. It essentially acts as a lightweight storefront for all the applications IT has centrally staged in head-end infrastructure products like XenApp. To select an application in Dazzle, users simply browse and search based on application name, description, or type. They can also choose applications based on IT-defined categories such as functional department or group name. Selecting an application is as simple as clicking an icon in Windows, or dragging it into the Applications folder or Dock on a Mac. Organizing selected applications into user-defined “playlists” is equally simple and intuitive, giving Windows users full control over how apps will appear in their Start menu. Apps available for offline use are clearly designated in the Dazzle console, making selection easy for laptop users who need to work while disconnected from the network.

Getting users started with Dazzle is easy because it’s fully integrated with Citrix Receiver™, a new universal software client that makes it easy for users to access corporate apps and desktops from any device they choose (see separate release on Receiver). Dazzle also interfaces directly with Citrix Merchandising Server, a new head-end management system that makes it easy for IT to actually start “merchandising” apps to users, not just delivering them. Using Merchandising Server, for example, administrators can set up a list of “recommended apps” in Dazzle that highlights applications they want to promote to employees – or even post “advertisements” for new or under-utilized IT applications.

Many of the applications available in a typical company’s Dazzle store will be offered for free unlimited use by any employee, much like the free channels in a broadcast media service. Other apps may carry a chargeback to the employee’s department or require approval from his or her manager. Applications that are only needed for a specific project can even be set up to expire after a certain number of days. In all cases, Citrix makes it easy for administrators to set up scenarios like these in Dazzle using the Merchandising Server console and its Workflow Studio feature to create automated workflows that capture user requests, route them to the appropriate decision-maker, and schedule any necessary follow-up actions.

Not Just an Application Store

Because Dazzle is designed as an open self-service storefront, it can be used to offer a wide range of IT services to users, including:

  • Online and offline Windows applications delivered by Citrix XenApp, Microsoft Terminal Services, or other app virtualization solutions
  • Online and offline virtual desktops delivered by Citrix XenDesktop and other virtual desktop solutions
  • Web-based applications published through XenApp or linked directly to external websites for native delivery
  • SaaS applications such as Citrix® GoToMeeting® and
  • Enterprise content, including documents, videos and intranet sites like Microsoft SharePoint
  • Virtual machine compute capacity requested by technical users for self-service server provisioning

Pricing and Availability

Citrix Merchandising Server is available now and will be free to all Citrix customers on active subscription for any Citrix Delivery Center product. Dazzle for both Windows and Mac will be offered at no additional charge to customers on active subscription on a when and if available basis. A technology preview of Dazzle will be available later this year.

Published Tuesday, May 05, 2009 6:05 PM by David Marshall
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