REDMOND, Wash. and FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. and Citrix Systems, Inc. , today announced they plan to expand their existing partnership in access and end-to-end application delivery to make computing faster, more secure and more cost-effective for employees in branch office locations. The two companies will collaborate on developing and marketing a new multifunction Citrix branch office appliance based on the Microsoft(R) Windows Server(R) operating system and Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server and utilizing the recently announced Citrix(R) WANScaler(TM) solution.
The planned joint solution represents a new type of branch office appliance that combines advanced wide area network (WAN) optimization technologies with consolidated branch office services in a single, multifunction appliance that is easy to administer remotely. This combination helps solve a major problem for customers that cannot be solved today with traditional networking solutions or individual point products and that Microsoft and Citrix are uniquely able to address with their technologies, channel partners and customer reach.
"This is another major step in delivering on our overall access strategy and in meeting the needs of our customers in the branch office," said Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of the Security, Access and Solutions Division at Microsoft. "Citrix is a strong, trusted partner, and its technology and market success in application networking complements our expertise and leadership in server technologies and core networking services."
"As a market leader in end-to-end delivery infrastructure, Citrix is serious about pursuing strategic opportunities that help customers deliver any type of application to any user with the highest level of performance and security and the lowest possible cost," said Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix. "By expanding our already close relationship with Microsoft, we have a unique opportunity to address the needs of enterprise branch offices in a way few other companies can."
The joint marketing and development plan comes amid growing trends in both branch office IT consolidation and increased mobility among branch office and remote workers. An estimated 55 percent of enterprise employees today access all of their mission-critical business applications from a remote office location, according to Citrix's research. Before these applications reach the intended user, they must travel long distances over wide-area networks (WANs), a process that can significantly degrade performance, impact the user experience and force expensive bandwidth upgrades. Support for workers in locations beyond headquarters is a major challenge for corporate IT departments.
"The limitations of the distributed computing approach are apparent with the arrival of global competition and more focus on controlling costs and complying with regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II," said Joe Skorupa, research vice president at Gartner Inc. "As a result, companies are looking for ways to get the most out of their branch office WANs by removing most IT from their branch offices. This is driving the need for a new appliance called a branch office box, which represents the convergence of networking, storage and servers."
The planned products will combine Microsoft's core ISA firewall technologies with Citrix's strengths in application acceleration and WAN optimization along with each company's capabilities in security and access. This solution will enable customers to realize immediate cost savings and enhanced information worker productivity in the branch, and also take advantage of the familiarity and manageability of Windows Server, which is already a core component of many customers' infrastructure.
The new initiative builds on an already extensive partnership between these two market leaders and is the first step in a long-term plan by the two companies to collaborate on other Windows(R)-based application delivery and access solutions.