Infrastructure IC

    The times when specialists worked exclusively for their PC workers have long gone. Employees enter corporate systems not only from their office PCs and not only during working hours, they have connected a whole range of corporate (or even personal) mobile devices to an active workflow. In such a heterogeneous environment, the fragmentation of infrastructure software is beginning to present an increasingly serious problem for businesses. I propose to talk about how to create a single workspace for the user, and what Citrix offers in this regard. All interested in asking under the cat.

    Half a century ago, at the first stage of the development of corporate information systems (CIS) of integrated IT products that integrate various functionalities in themselves, did not exist in principle. As the maturity of this market increased, little by little, the concept of “integrated IT system” became more familiar, and this class was initially formed solely by the products of applied automation. The benefits of integrated systems seemed very simple. An employee of the enterprise every day from his personal workplace logged into the system and performed some operations in it, and the integration of functions guaranteed the consistency of the information resource of the enterprise as a whole. A number of auxiliary systems designed to provide a more productive, safe, efficient and user-friendly environment for the execution of application systems, of course, existed at that time, but the deep integration of their functions was not very much in demand. The patterns of use of KIS at that time were extremely simple and with all the dynamics of the improvement of information technologies almost did not change with time.

    Now the situation is changing radically, and these changes are well known. Employees enter corporate systems not only from their work computers, but also from any other devices, including personal ones. They do this not only during working hours and not only inside the perimeter of the enterprise IT system. The notorious KIS IT landscape of an enterprise is also not limited to it for a long time: the most diverse IT services of a company often create for themselves in public clouds and from there they are also exploited.

    From all devices, applications and locations

    So, today, the infrastructure software market, like the once-applied application market, needs complex functionality, and this is an objective trend, confirmed by independent research companies. I must say that for us all these conclusions did not come as an unexpected discovery, and we have been working at least since 2014 to create a single platform uniting the functionality of our products.

    Next, we will talk about the trend of integrated functionality of infrastructure systems in general and for example, the activities of Citrix in particular.

    The first question is that in general it should be understood as a complex functionality in the case when it comes to the most effective support for business users. The first thing to do is to reduce the ability to work with all types of applications (for today, first of all: SaaS, virtual, mobile and classic desktop applications that work with different operating systems), with different content (in IT -Systems of the customer or in the external cloud environment) and with a full range of client devices used in modern business (desktop, mobile systems, and possibly IoT devices).

    This thesis is essentially the main one when we talk about the Citrix Workspace platform or, as the name implies, a single workspace with which a corporate user can interact.

    We will talk about the structure and specific product content of this solution. And first about several important nuances that detail the thesis of complexity.

    1. The formation of a full-fledged universal work environment cannot be provided within a single product. We are always talking about a certain set of closely integrated IT products that solve a particular problem in the aggregate.

    2In addition to functions, it is very important to ensure the formation of a single user interface. This is a separate task, which today, as you know, is being solved not only on the client devices themselves.

    3. One of the cornerstones of the integration of infrastructure solutions today is the concept of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), combining the well-known ideas of managing classical client workstations (CMT - Client Management Tools) with the methodology of managing corporate mobility (EMM - Enterprise Mobility Management). The latter, in turn, is also a symbiosis of the concepts of MDM (Mobile Device Management) and MAM (Mobile Application Management), respectively, responsible for managing mobile devices and the applications installed on them.

    four.In addition to managing applications and providing access to them, it becomes extremely important to ensure effective work with the information resource of the company as a whole. He, as you know, turns into an asset of business that has an independent value.

    The amount of information that today is in the work of large and even medium-sized enterprises is growing at an extremely fast pace. This is a well-known and often pronounced thought today. Rarely speak of closely related with this growth quality shifts. And here the logic is approximately the following - an increase in the amount of data creates a powerful potential for effective business development. Sources of formation of this IT resource, as a rule, are dozens and sometimes hundreds of business applications, but its value is concentrated in its unity. A very sensitive side effect of the formation of a single IT resource is that it ceases to be associated with any one application and, in the sense of supporting the mechanisms for working with it, remains, as it were, "orphaned." To fill this gap, the notorious “Big Data” concept often comes to the rescue. But let's be honest, in a number of cases, this is what is called gun shooting at sparrows. In practice, nowadays, more often, simpler methods of operational work with this data and, accordingly, effective, reliable and universal access mechanisms are required. And here we again return to the thesis about the importance of having complex infrastructure software.

    Integration in action

    Let's move closer to the Workspace tool environment and see how these ideas are implemented in it. The Citrix Workspace platform is the result of a functional merger into a single solution for essentially all the company's products previously positioned separately.

    It is important that we talk about a cloud service that combines all the components necessary for an employee to work - virtualization of desktops and applications, management of mobile OS and applications, as well as various devices (Windows, MacOS, Android, AppleTV, IoT, etc.) and also provides access to various file resources that a user needs to work (file directories, SharePoint, ShareFile along with a set of connectors for popular cloud storages - Box, DropBox, OneDrive). WorkSpace has built-in support for working with the most popular SaaS office and business applications (Salesforce, SAP, Workday, Tableau, Oracle, Ariba, GSuite, Office 365 and some others). In this case, we can talk not only about the availability of the application component of these applications,

    Access to a number of applications can in particular be carried out using the built-in WorkSpace browser with a number of additional security features. You can also use content filtering functions, impose special “watermarks” on the screen image, limit copying / paste copying, etc. And finally, WorkSpace initially incorporated integration tools with public cloud solutions from market leaders - Amazon , Google, Microsoft and several others. In total, the WorkSpace includes support for more than fifty SaaS solutions that are fully integrated into the corporate space.

    It should also be noted that the WorkSpace functionality can be partially implemented in the local installation mode, but without a number of components.

    Today's technological environment is mostly heterogeneous. As a result, dozens of patterns of user interaction with IT systems have long been worked out in it, and the effectiveness of each of them in a particular business scenario has long been proven. In this situation, the most deeply thoughtful, functional integration without solving the issue of optimizing the user interface will not be successful. The Citrix WorkSpace user interface gives employees the ability to access their applications and content from anywhere, once they have registered on the corporate network. It must be said that very difficult work in this direction was carried out by Citrix on a step-by-step basis over several years. It all started with the concept of today the most famous under the name "application store". Further, it developed towards the formation of a cross-platform interface.

    In addition to the functionality and interface, administration services play a huge role in building solutions that stimulate the efficient work of users in the heterogeneous IT landscape of the company. Today, they, of course, also have the idea of ​​complexity, which is acquiring a more specific methodological profile in the already mentioned Unified Endpoint Management concept.

    In our case, Citrix Endpoint Management is responsible for implementing the functions traditionally classified as MAM and MDM, and supports the iOS, Android and Windows 10 platforms. Citrix also offers Virtual Apps and Desktops for Windows desktops, as well as virtualized applications. If we are talking about client systems, today we can’t ignore Internet of Things devices.

    Separately, I will add about the WorkSpace Hub software and hardware complex, this time being a joint solution of Citrix, NCputing and ViewSonic. From the point of view of the hardware platform, we are talking about an extremely miniature device about the size of a matchbox, built on the basis of the well-known Raspberry Pi platform in the world of IoT solutions. Nevertheless, its computational potential and possibilities of supporting wireless communication allow us to consider this device as the basis for organizing an employee’s personal information interface and its electronic interaction with colleagues in the office. Solutions to these tasks can be practically any, which in principle can be built on the basis of those information display devices that are currently surrounded by an employee (desktops, laptops, wall panels, tablets, smartphones ...).

    The software framework of WorkSpace Hub, in turn, is closely related to the implementation of the concept of Citrix Casting, which allows you to broadcast the current session of work with the application in real time. The session can now be opened on the user's mobile device and broadcast to any information display device connected to Workspace Hub. In another embodiment, the session from the mobile device is transmitted as in roaming to the Raspberry Pi device. Thus, a certain conditional boundary of the two main modes of operation (in the office and outside the office) is finally erased.

    A complex system, however functional it might seem, probably cannot be viable without the ability to provide technological interaction between various categories of its users. In this case, we are essentially talking about two categories of users - employees who work directly with application software through Citrix solutions, as well as administrators. The connection of these two categories has traditionally been provided on the basis of a number of ITSM processes that have been fully developed and popular in the corporate world and, of course, their information support. Citrix in this regard offers integration with the ServiceNow solution, which allows you to automate the execution of the most popular ITSM processes (including in the mode as close as possible to self-service user requests).

    And, of course, it is now difficult to imagine a serious information system of any category without artificial intelligence systems. Its application for each IT system has its own. In this case, we are primarily talking about proactive mechanisms to solve problems with the reliability and performance of the main functions of the system and, of course, to identify potential threats to IT security. All this is implemented in the Citrix Analytics solution announced in the middle of last year, about which we need to say a little more. To begin with, the meaning of using such products appears in the integrated environment. Here again, it is useful to draw an analogy from the field of application software. According to a well-known thesis, the use of analytical software becomes as efficient as possible in a closely integrated landscape of application systems, and not then, when they function in isolation from each other. There are a lot of reasons, as a rule, associated with the disclosure of the potential of business analysis.

    In our case, we are mainly talking about identifying (using already quite industrial Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning methods) certain implicit patterns that mostly indicate security threats, as well as incorrect work of users or IT systems. And here it is very important that with the help of Citrix Analytics within the Citrix Workspace (and therefore a fully integrated environment) we can aggregate information and correlate data about users, devices, applications, network traffic and files used. Only by combining all these IT resources and methods can we talk about the analytical solution of today.

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