Citrix offers self-service virtualization delivery with Dazzle

With Dazzle, enterprises can allow end-users to subscribe to the applications they need, when they need them, on a self-service 'storefront' model

At the Citrix Synergy show in Las Vegas, Citrix launched a new product called Dazzle, adding yet another technology into its arsenal and helping the company stay at the forefront in application delivery.

Claiming it would transform IT into an on-demand service, Citrix said Dazzle would be the first self-service "storefront" for enterprise applications. The company compared this new storefront concept to the Apple iTunes and Apple App Store that many consumers are already accustomed to using in their everyday lives.

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"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 of 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."

Rather than relying on IT administrators to provide end-users with the applications they need to do their job on a case-by-case basis, Dazzle will allow end-users to subscribe to the applications they need, when they need them, on a self-service model. IT administrators can still control who can see and receive what, and access can also be controlled by Active Directory to ensure the user has proper authorization before subscribing.

So how does it work? First, Dazzle runs on any Windows or Mac computer and acts as a lightweight storefront for all the applications IT has centrally staged in head-end infrastructure products like XenApp. Users then simply browse the catalog and choose applications based on IT-defined categories such as functional department or group name. Applications can even be made available for offline use by laptop users who need to work while disconnected from the network. An application is selected by clicking on an icon under Windows or by dragging it into a folder or dock on the Mac.

Dazzle is fully integrated with Citrix Merchandising Server, which allows IT staff to prepare a list of applications included in the Dazzle storefront, and Citrix Receiver, a client software that makes it easy for users to access virtualized applications and desktops from any device they choose. Citrix Receiver is available for PCs and smartphones such as the iPhone, and will be available for the Mac in the second half of the year.

If the application or desktop can be virtualized with Citrix XenApp, XenServer, or XenDesktop, it can be loaded into the store. Once loaded, the application or desktop is made available based on rules and permissions defined by IT for the end-user. In addition to restricting who can see what, IT also has the ability to impose a charge for use or to set time constraints. Seems fairly straightforward and simple, yet extremely powerful.

A technology preview of Dazzle will be available sometime around July, and general availability will follow later this year.

So are you ready? Will this consumerization of IT and applications and desktops work in corporate America or around the world? Will IT administrators be open to the idea? Will they see this as yet another tool to remove some of their mundane day-to-day job functions, or will they see this as a threat? And does this solve a major pain point for you, or would you consider this more of a nice to have?

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.