Citrix Summit 2017 Keynote Summary

At Citrix Summit in Anaheim today, Citrix outlined their vision and plan for 2017 with the theme of “Winning Together”. The messaging and vision outlined showed how strong 2016 was for Citrix and how they plan to execute in 2017 on a refined version of that plan. Craig Stilwell, VP – Worldwide Partner Strategy & Sales at Citrix, detailed the key messages from the keynote is his blog post this morning – Winning Together in 2017.

Summit 2017 has 4000 attendees with 53% being Citrix employees and 47% from partners, representing a total of 1880 individual partner organisations. Overall it’s fair to say that the atmosphere here is very positive from both employees and partners. It’s very interesting, and positive, to me to hear the strong stance Citrix is taking against their primary competitors.

There were a number of announcements and discussion points during the keynote; however, the most exciting announcement had to be the acquisition of [Unidesk](

What is Unidesk?

Unidesk is one of the first application layering vendors. Application layering is a solution to capturing an application in a virtual disking and attaching or layering the virtual disk onto the virtual desktop as required to deliver an application or a set of applications. This enables you to separate applications from the base image and thus solve a number of use cases, such as narrowing the gap between non-persistent desktops and a persistent experience.

What has Citrix bought?

Citrix has acquired the entirety of Unidesk, so that includes the technology and the people. Both, of course, are important to the success of integrating Unidesk into Citrix and making the product a part of XenApp and XenDesktop. Given the deep experience Unidesk has in this space, it’s a very important acquisition for Citrix and I think one of their best in a number of years.

Why Unidesk?

While the acquisition of Unidesk could be seen as a (delayed) response to the purchase of CloudVolumes by VMware (now App Volumes), I believe Unidesk will become an extremely important part of the success of XenApp and XenDesktop on Azure.

While Unidesk will be a great addition to the toolset for customers with on-premises deployments of XenApp and XenDesktop, Unidesk support on Azure enables simpler lifecycle management by reducing the reliance on custom core images. If you can separate the applications from the image and use the native RDSH images provided by Microsoft.

Why not AppDisks?

When Citrix first announced AppDisks, my first thought was “why not purchase Unidesk?”. Citrix has even created a well performing solution AppDisks, but for reasons only known entirely to Citrix, they have decided  Unidesk is strategically the better way forward.

My thoughts above on the Azure integration are the best explanation I currently have for why Unidesk has ultimately been chosen over AppDisks.

I suspect that AppDisks and Personal vDisks will ultimately give way to an integrated solution built on Unidesk.

What about PVS and MCS?

Today Unidesk is a separate deployment to Citrix PVS and MCS and requires separate infrastructure, but does provide integration points. Understandable given up to now they’ve been separate companies.

In the short term, things won’t change – if you want to deploy Unidesk as soon as it’s available to you, the current architecture is required. While PVS and MCS have been seeing additional features over the past few years, I imagine that Unidesk will become a core feature of these existing deployment solutions.


This has been a great Summit thus far, with two more days and a couple of keynotes to go. Tomorrow is the Tech Talks Keynote where we might see some additional technology-based announcements, so we’ll have to wait to see.

I’m very excited by the addition of Unidesk to the Citrix family and can’t wait for the solution to be available to exist Citrix customers as it will provide plenty of opportunity for our partners and allow our customers to improve user experience.

Finally, I wanted to leave you with this article on the Unidesk announcement from fellow CTP, Bas van Kaam, that provides a great overview of what Citrix, partners, and customers are getting with this addition: Citrix acquires Unidesk — here’s everything you want/need to know!

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