In this installment of The Summit Series, Insentra’s Aaron Parker interviews Nabeel Youakim, Vice President of Products and Alliances.
Nabeel and Aaron discuss just how much Citrix has evolved over the past 20 years. Nabeel explores the importance of Citrix’s relationship with Microsoft and how Azure and Microsoft Office 365 are evolving the channel.
TIMELINE / KEY POINTS:
[06:26] With Citrix Cloud, it’s true hybrid model, where you can move in either direction whenever you want to. You get the best performance, the best cost, the best application compatibility for your applications and your users.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT
Aaron Parker: Hi, I’m Aaron Parker, I’m a solution architect at Insentra, and we’re here at Citrix Summit 2018 in Anaheim. I’m here with Nabeel. Nabeel, we’re going to ask you a few questions. First of all, can you tell everyone who you are and what your role is at Citrix?
Nabeel Youakim: Sure. My name is Nabeel Youakim, I’m in the products group. I’m the vice president for products and strategic partnerships. I’ve been with Citrix, just coming up to twenty years.
Aaron: Wow, that’s amazing. I met a couple of other guys who’ve been with Citrix a long time as well. Being with the company for that long, you’ve obviously seen a lot of changes within Citrix at that time. Are you energized with the new leadership team and what we saw this morning?
Nabeel: Yes, [00:00:51] it’s amazing how many transformations a company can go through, but Citrix is transforming yet again. We had a great 2017, thanks to a great set of customers and a lot of partners out there hoping to sell our solutions. I think 2018 is very, very exciting as we transform, do a lot more of the Cloud services, and work with some very strategic partners as well.
Aaron: Let’s talk about Citrix and Microsoft. Can you talk about why the relationship with Microsoft is important?
Nabeel: Honestly, the two companies have been working together for a long, long time. Really, Citrix started on the Windows platform, been involved with Microsoft since the early ’90s. More recently, we’re very engaged with them with the Office 365 and Skype for Business rollouts. Moreso recently, of course, it’s all about the Cloud and Azure. We’ve done a lot of work with Microsoft to get all the Citrix products, including Citrix Cloud all running on Azure.
Aaron: At Insentra, we see a lot of that. I work a lot with Microsoft, especially on top of Azure, and working with customers, was doing that. They’re very keen to move to Azure. I see Citrix Cloud, hopefully, as being the big part of that as we move forward. [00:02:05] Microsoft does have a pretty interesting announcement coming out very soon in regards to RDS workloads and how that will affect and change everyone deploying to things like Office 365, different applications on top of Microsoft RDS. Can you talk to that as well?
Nabeel: Sure. [00:02:24] First of all, it’s important to understand that Microsoft are investing in the RDS platform is great news for Citrix customers, because they’ve all invested in the Citrix model of computing. This whole idea of virtual desktop delivering applications virtually. Whether it’s on-prem or on the Cloud, delivering a virtual application is really the best way to deliver an application from a security perspective, from a performance perspective, from providing access to the user from anywhere on any device.
Microsoft recognizing this as a deployment model that’s becoming very, very popular. They are really investing in their RDS platform, actually, completely reengineering the RDS platform for multi-tenancy for the Cloud, and making it even easier to run all those Windows 10 applications in a virtual environment. What they’re doing is they’re announcing a couple of things. The first one they’ve already announced called RDMI.
It’s just a new platform for RDS. It’s a new way of deploying RDS in the Cloud. It’s a multi-tenant platform, so really giving partners a lot of costway to manage and support their customer workloads on a RDS environment. That’s great news. We’re going to get a lot more users running on the RDS world. Of course, Citrix being a close Microsoft partner, we have been working with Microsoft on the new RDMI platform. Making sure things like HDX and Storefront, and all our integration product components are going to work on the new RDS platforMicrosoft.
It’s very exciting, very good for partners because they’re going to lower the cost of deployment. And [00:03:52] great news for customers because it means Microsoft are investing in RDS. That’s really part of the news. The other big news is Microsoft changing the platform where RDS runs. It’s been running on Windows Server since day one, when Citrix first developed the multi-win technology on Windows NT and Windows Server. Now, they’re going to move it from Windows Server to Windows 10 as the platform.
That’s very exciting. People got to think about what does that mean. I think it’s great, because one of the biggest challenges we’ve had with Windows Server is application compatibility. Applications are being written to run on a Windows desktop. They work fine on a Windows desktop. Once you put them in a multi-user Windows Server environment, they may or may not work. Now that the platform’s going to be Windows 10, it’s a Windows desktop platform, putting an RDS on Windows 10 is going to mean every application is just going to work out of the box.
Secondly, it’s a great way to deliver Windows apps on Windows desktop as we will migrate to Windows 10, whether it’s on-prem or in the Cloud, which we want everyone to move into in the Cloud. Then [00:05:00] it’s going to be very, very exciting because now people can deploy W10 and RDS all in the same environment, on-prem as in the Cloud. Citrix with XenApp and XenDesktop, hopefully, supportive. We have work with Microsoft to make sure this new platform when it’s released will be available to our customers as well. I think it’s going to really accelerate the number of applications people will deploy in a virtual environment.
Aaron: I’m pretty excited about it too because I’m fairly gungho, I guess, on the universal Windows platform applications. I’m pretty excited about the adoption of your new types of applications through VDI and RDS as well. In terMicrosoft of, say, partner and customer adoption of Cloud, have you any recommendations of what they should be looking at to be successful for Cloud adoption?
Nabeel: Certainly. You’ve got to start from where you’re strung already enough because that’s all about being on-prem. Today, a lot of customers are on-prem. They’re running very well on-prem as Citrix workload. Really, [00:05:58] with Citrix Cloud and their hybrid model, we’ve made it very, very easy for customers to migrate to the Cloud. You don’t have to move everything to the Cloud, you can start by putting in a control plane in the Cloud and keeping your workload on-prem.
Slowly, as new workloads come about, or new users, or new applications that we deployed, you can run them in the Citrix Cloud and have a hybrid model for as long as you want to, and be able to move workloads back and forth. You may want to start in the Cloud and move back on-prem, or get your on-prem workloads to move to the Cloud. [00:06:26] With Citrix Cloud, it’s true hybrid model, where you can move in either direction whenever you want to. You get the best performance, the best cost, the best application compatibility for your applications and your users.
Aaron: What sort of skill sets would you recommend that Microsoft partners invest in to help their customers be successful in Microsoft technologies, Citrix technologies in Cloud environment?
Nabeel: Obviously, for Microsoft partners and the Microsoft CSP partners, especially, they’re all about Azure, so making sure they understand Azure. We have XenDesktop and XenApp essentials, both in the Azure marketplace. Actually, we’re going to enable XenApp and XenDesktop essentials to be sold by Microsoft resellers, by Microsoft CSPs, coming in February of this year. Any Microsoft partner now will be able to use the Azure marketplace to resell XenApp and XenDesktop essentials. Turn Windows 10 into Cloud and run Windows applications in the Cloud.
They will be using Citrix Cloud as the underlying platform but acquiring everything from Microsoft from the Microsoft marketplace. For Microsoft partners, it’s great that their Microsoft skill set around Azure, Windows, obviously Windows 10, Microsoft 365 and Office 365, all those skills will be critical for those partners as they’re able to use Citrix Cloud and the Azure marketplace to deploy virtual applications and virtual desktops.
Aaron: I’m also excited about the integration between Intune and XenMobile as well. Being able to integrate things like NetScaler and Intune on top of Azure is really exciting.
Nabeel: Mobile applications, obviously, are growing. Everyone wants to run their mobile apps on any device. Citrix had a great store with XenMobile, but now we’ve announced that we’re going to integrate XenMobile with the Microsoft EMicrosoft Intune solution. Now, any XenMobile customer can use EMicrosoft Intune, because if you’re going to use Office 365, you need to use Intune to manage those applications on a mobile device.
We’ve integrated all that technology into Intune, but additionally, we’ve added the NetScaler MicroVPN technology, giving you a per app control of all mobile applications on the Microsoft Intune platform. Citrix NetScaler will be embedded inside the Intune SDK, a very unique thing where actually Microsoft have licensed the NetScaler MicroVPN technology into their Intune product, into the SDK.
Customers who use Intune will be able to connect back to the corporate environment on a per app basis, providing great security, great performance, and enabling mobile applications everywhere.
Aaron: I think it really speaks to that Microsoft and Citrix partnership where Citrix enables, embrace and extend those Microsoft platforMicrosoft and provide additional capabilities.
Nabeel: Work doesn’t stop there. Really, what we have in the park at the moment, and we got a lot more work. We talked about analytics today at Summit, and how Citrix analytics are really going to help out our partners and their customers better manage, provide better performance and security. We’re going to integrate all our analytics into all sort of Microsoft Azure platform as well in the future.
The relationship continues to develop. It’s a very, very unique relationship. It’s one of the longest relationship in the industry. Really, it started because [00:09:30] Citrix and Microsoft found the need where applications can be virtualized and delivered to customers in a very new and secure way. We’re very excited about the relationship with Microsoft, excited for our partners to be on this roadmap with us, moving forward helping customers deploy a virtual environment everywhere.
Aaron: Fantastic, thanks very much. Final question, for a Citrix partner who’s not been in Summit, or perhaps a Microsoft partner who’s not currently a Citrix partner, what would you say to those partners? Why should they come to Summit next year? What would they get out of it?
Nabeel: Summit’s a great learning– this is part, of course. Great place to visit the US, but also a great time to learn all about the Citrix technologies and how to deploy them. We’re getting told by all the analysts all around the world now that [00:10:12] the best way to deliver Windows applications is virtually, to lock them down, secure them and make them perform on any device.
This is the place where everyone’s going to go when they deploy Windows applications. We need much more partner skill sets there to do that, coming to Summit is the best way to learn about how to deploy Windows applications via Citrix, and to manage them going forward. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more partners from Australia here at Summit in 2019.
Aaron: Excellent, thank you for your time, for sharing.
Nabeel: Thanks, Aaron, it’s really a pleasure.
ABOUT NABEEL YOUAKIM
VP Products & Alliances Citrix Systems
Nabeel Youakim has been with Citrix for 20 years. He is in the product group and works on product directions and strategies to align the Citrix products with key alliances. Youakim leads a team of solution architects and field product leads with a focus on product initiatives and strategic alliances. He works with the key alliances, including Microsoft to ensure alignment around product directions. He is based at Citrix headquarters in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
ABOUT AARON PARKER
Microsoft MVP, Citrix Technology Professional; Solution Architect | Insentra
A user experience guy first and foremost, Aaron is an experienced End User Computing Solutions Architect with a history delivering innovative end user projects to customers and organisations in APAC and the UK.
Awarded Citrix Technology Professional (2012-2016, 1 of 50 people worldwide), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (2011-2016) and AppSense Community Contributor (since 2012) for community involvement and contributions with blogging and regular speaking at events including Citrix Synergy (US/EU), BriForum (US/EU), E2EVC and the UK Citrix User Group.