The times keep changing: first there were devices, then there were apps, and today, if you don’t develop a strategy for enterprise mobility and get ahead of the trend, the mobile wave will leave you behind. A year ago, after talking with many of our customers, partners, and our own technical sales teams, we realized that IT organizations were facing enormous challenges when making the transition from simple BYOD to adopting an enterprise mobility strategy across the business. As is typical during such tremendous market transitions like mobility, IT organizations were spending a lot of time figuring out how to line up the pieces required to support a mobile workforce, sorting through and weighing the many technology and vendor choices.
Today in conjunction with our friends at Citrix, we are happy to highlight the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix, built on the Citrix Workspace Suite. We are very excited to deliver this first of its kind, comprehensive solution to our customers. Today I’d like to take a step back and set the stage for the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix by taking you through our thought process in creating the right enterprise mobility solution for our customers.
The first step was getting agreement on the set of core objectives we wanted to deliver. Our final list of objectives includes:
- Application-centric thinking and the premise that mobile applications and data are key for mobile productivity
- Abstracting the workspace from devices, so that a person’s work is not tied to any single device or platform, but can be securely accessed with different devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones
- Seamless access to the workspace whether working in the office or off-premises via mobile access
- Delivery of a full range of mobile application options, including legacy apps, browser-based apps, and native apps
- A comprehensive layered security model that gave IT the visibility and protection needed for compliance
- User experience had to be easy to onboard, easy to get the apps they need to be productive, and have as close to a wired-like user experience as we could attain
Building on the work Cisco had completed on the foundational Unified Access and BYOD solution CVDs, we set out to develop a solution which could truly deliver any device, any application, anyplace access, where people could take their workplace with them wherever they needed to work. Hence, the Mobile Workspace solution was born.
We knew Cisco could not deliver on this vision alone and that we needed strategic technology partnerships to complement Cisco in key areas of the architecture. Citrix was an obvious choice to be our first Mobile Workspace solution technology partner. By bringing Cisco and Citrix technologies and expertise together, we had a unique opportunity to leverage a full range of mobility capabilities and integrations needed to deliver a complete workspace environment.
This joint solution stack brings together a formidable set of Cisco and Citrix technologies needed to provide the flexible and secure mobility platform customers need. The Cisco technologies include Unified Access, IWAN, Security, Policy, Collaboration and Data Center. The Citrix products in the stack include XenMobile for mobile device management (MDM) and mobile app management (MAM), XenDesktop for app and desktop virtualization, App Controller for a unified app store, and ShareFile for secure content sharing.
There are several key integrations of Cisco and Citrix products in the solution stack that optimize the overall solution. For example, the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) and Citrix XenMobile Device Manager (MDM) share information via an API to provide integrated network and device policy. Another integration example is the Cisco Unified Access WLAN being Citrix protocol aware, allowing IT to identify and prioritize the right set of mobile applications for business productivity and user experience.
So how does this joint solution help IT?
Well, whether you’re an IT executive, mobility manager, network manager, or responsible for applications, the solution addresses your four most pressing challenges: mobile security, bridging the gap for legacy application access, providing the best user experience, and last, but not least, simplifying the planning, design, and operation of what can otherwise be a daunting project.
- Security: Security is the number one obstacle for successful mobility programs. Together, Cisco and Citrix manage and enforce security policy up and down the stack, including tying together user, device, network, and application policy. This enables IT to align the appropriate application delivery models and security approaches to the specific trust models your business policies demand.
- Bridging the Application Gap: Another challenge is how to achieve a transparent, natural user experience across any mobile applications, any device, and from any location. The joint solution gives IT flexibility to deliver mobile apps natively, virtually, browser-based, software-as-a-service, or real-time voice, video and collaboration. This enables immediate delivery of legacy apps today, while the organization transitions its most critical business apps to mobile app frameworks.
- User Experience: There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to mobile workspaces. IT must satisfy the needs of the different work-styles and employee roles on many device types and work locations. That’s why we built the solution as a flexible platform that can support many role-based policy options, and also leverages the high performance Cisco Unified Access solution using the latest 802.11ac Wireless LAN (WLAN) technology, which has been optimized for mobile applications.
- Reducing Complexity: By bringing the Cisco and Citrix stacks together, we are able to provide a validated, comprehensive solution, yet provide it in a modular way which reduces deployment time and risk. IT organizations can implement the solution in phases to simplify the impacts and project complexity.
Of course, when it comes to the fast moving mobility landscape, there are always new market requirements and new technologies under development to address them. Already, we are hard at work on future phases of this solution. Some of our objectives are to continue to simplify IT through automation, improving the user experience when roaming into and out of the Enterprise network, and application of next generation technologies like Software Defined Networking (SDN) to the mobility architecture.
There you have it—a look behind the scenes are what we were thinking when curating the pieces that make up the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix. We know that to make enterprise mobility real for our customers, we needed to commit ourselves to creating a CVD dedicated to our solution. I’m very excited to announce that it will be released to the public at the end of this month. Stay tuned!
If you are attending Citrix Synergy in Los Angeles this week please come along to our Booth # 204 and get a personal demo of the solution. Also come along to our Mobile Workspace session on Wednesday at 1:30pm. If not, you can learn more about Cisco’s Mobile Workspace Solution at www.cisco.com/go/mobileworkspace.
Resources for the Curious:
- Product Page: www.cisco.com/go/mobileworkspace
- Citrix Press Release: http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/may-2014/workspace-suite-announcement.html
- Citrix Blog: Citrix and Cisco Collaborate to Help Customers Embrace Mobile Workspaces
- Citrix Blog: The Significance of Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix and Enterprise Mobility Management
- CXO Unplugged! http://cxounplugged.com/2014/05/cisco-mobile-workspace/
- Cisco Press Release: http://newsroom.cisco.com/release/1415818