The annual pilgrimage for Citrix enthusiasts is now over and it’s time to take a step back from the excitement and draw some conclusions.

Citrix Synergy 2017 full coverage

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What is Citrix Synergy ?

Citrix Synergy 2017 is an event that Citrix enthusiasts wait for every year, and many travel from all corners of the globe to connect with Citrix peers, grow professionally, and have a little fun in one non-stop week. I wrote a comprehensive article about Synergy 2016 last year and decided to do the same this year. 

For those who are not familiar with this event, Synergy is the can’t-miss event for anyone who wants a first glimpse at the future of Citrix. Leaders from the organization use Synergy as a time to introduce new features, product improvements, and their vision for the next 12 months. Citrix Synergy 2017 was a 3-day conference from Tuesday 05/23 to Thursday 05/25. The two main keynotes were held during the first day and two sides keynotes were scheduled later on (with Malcolm Gladwell on Wednesday and Colin Powell on Thursday).

Keynotes Recap

Vision Keynote

The first keynote was led by Kirill Tatarinov (@kirilltatarinov) and Tim Minahan (@tminahan), who shared the vision of Citrix for the future. Citrix is a sponsor of Red Bull Racing and we saw many videos related to that partnership, too.

The keynote was kind of empty and low energy. Citrix spent long minutes talking about Formula One and Red Bull Racing with Christian Horner (@TheHornettesINA) discussing live form Monaco with Kirill. Really nothing came out from this. Then Kirill started talking about how the world is changing and how Citrix help customers embrace this new world. He said that 3 billions new customers are going to join the connected world in the next few years. He also mentioned that Citrix will help its customers to meet the expectations of digital natives(people born with technology). Digital transformation is changing many organizations businesses. The #1 enabler of digital transformation is the Cloud for Kirill as it truly changes the way we communicate with each others. Hybrid Cloud is absolutely essentials for Kirill but Citrix knows that it will takes some time for organizations to embrace it. At the same time, Citrix want to helps organizations to put in place BYOD philosophies and policies. Then he started to talk about AI (Artificial intelligence) and said that we are only slowly starting -with machine learning- to embrace data and analytics today.

Kirill then made a bold statement saying that the world was under attack and that World War 3 was happening right now as a cyber war. Most of us were shaking our heads at this statement.. Malwares and hackers have been around for years now. It looks like that Citrix was just trying to surf on the #WannaCry wave. Citrix strategy is based on Cloud, Mobile, IOT and Cyber Security. Citrix is agile by delivering for the future. He also mentioned the Citrix Secure Digital Workspace strategy that favors more the users and enables software-defined perimeter (devliered via NetScaler) that helps customers manage assets/devices. The focus of his presentation was on Unified WorkSpaces -with the announcement of Citrix Workspace Service– and Cloud services.

At some point during this keynote, Citrix introduced a video message from Satya Nadella, C.E.O. of Microsoft. I wish Satya would take the time to show up at Synergy one day. You can find more details about the Microsoft partnership later in this article.

Based on last year release of NetScaler Management and Analytics System (MAS), Kirill announced that Citrix went to the next level with Citrix Analytics Service allowing organizations to have full visibility on the Citrix ecosystem. He also announced Citrix Security Practices that is a new Citrix consulting offer focused on Security assessments.

The last 30 minutes of the first keynote were focused on feedback from partners with Roland Cloutier from ADP (urging organizations to invest in Security and R&D) and Karyn Jeffery (@karynJeffery) from Fujitsu. He also talked about Samsung and its DeX dock supported by Citrix. Google was also part of the party with the support of Chromebooks, improvements for Skype for Business and full integration of G-suite in Citrix Sharefile. Same as last year, Healthcare was on stage with Jim Noga from Partners Healthcare sharing his Hybrid Cloud strategy and his will to engage patients anywhere. By the end of this part of the session, most attendees were looking at their phones and lost interest in the presentation.

Kirill ended his keynote by mentioning that Citrix was back and completely focused on its customers and partners.

After the first keynote, they opened the Synergy Solutions Expo with 54 vendors. The Synergy Park—including the Social Hub—opened later that day.

Technology Keynote

The second keynote was more dynamic and led by PJ Hough (@pjHough), Brad Anderson (@Anderson) and Tim Minahan (@tminahan). They demoed some of the announcements made last year and some of the Synergy 2017 announcements as well but nothing really new.

Calvin Hsu showed Citrix Secure Digital Workspace from different contexts (trusted device, untrusted device, etc) and how we can apply different policies based on the contexts of the users.

Workspace IOT was also demoed with Smart Spaces where the system can detect that you are walking near your desktop and automatically open a session for you.

The most exciting part of the second keynote was when Ron Oglesby (@RonOglesby) showed off some of the cool stuff in Citrix App Layering (previously Unidesk) and the release of Citrix App Layering 4.2. Unfortunately, his session was only 5 minutes and we could have expected more time as Citrix App Layering is clearly the most exciting technology part of Citrix right now.  

Citrix also entered more in details about few announcements made in the first keynote like Smart Tools (Smart Build, Smart Scale and Smart Check) and XenServer w/ BitDefender.

Abhishek Chauhan took over from PJ and discussed the Digital Jungle in a fun and interesting way. We can all agree that Abhishek was the best speaker of the conference. During his time on stage, Abhishek announced NetScaler Secure Web Gateway (encrypted traffic control), gave an update on Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN, discussed the new features of NetScaler MAS 12 and demoed Citrix Analytics Service.

Regarding the two super sessions, the feedback I received from attendees for Gladwell (@Gladwell) was mixed between great speaker/author and not the best speaker for an IT conference. The feedback on Powell’s session was unanimously excellent.


Citrix Synergy 2017 full coverage

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