AI Means Data

On 23 May 2017 by Pete Petersen
Artificial Intelligence

Image source: The Times of India Blogs

There were several announcements at the opening Vision Keynote address today at Citrix Synergy 2017, including:

  • Citrix Workspace Service – “The future of StoreFront”
  • XenApp 7.14 – “Time to get off of XenApp 6.5”
  • Citrix Analytics Services – “AI Means Data”
  • Citrix Security Practice – “Team of Citrix Security Experts”

Of all of those, it feels like the most significant is Citrix Analytics Services, and for good reason. Several, actually.

Analytics

First, Citrix CEO himself, Kirill Tatarinov, said so. “This is, perhaps, *the most critical announcement* at this conference. And it doesn’t come out of the blue.” Doesn’t seem to be much disagreement on that point. This comes on the heels of NetScaler MAS (Management and Analytics Services) announced last year at Synergy 2016.

Visibility

Second, there has always been a huge need for visibility into the environment that the users live in. Whether that’s distributed to disperate endpoints or centralized in a XenApp/XenDesktop implementation, the need to really understand what the users are doing and feeling is critical to properly managing the environment.

Cyber-security

And third, and perhaps most importantly, security. There has never been in the history of mankind more of a need to protect users, their experience, and the data they produce and utilize, than today. Everything is connected. The Internet used to be classed as a non-critical connection; it has long since outgrown that expectation. And with the more and more organizations utilizing cloud services (think Office 365, SalesForce, and SAS as examples), the need for understanding the environment, all the way from its perimeter through every shrink-wrap or user-installed app to the slightest back-end service.

Hosting Vendors More Secure?

That last one gave pause for thought. One of the guests on stage with Kirill was Jim Noga, Chief Information Officer of Partners Healthcare in the Northeast. Jim said something that struck a significant chord. He said to the effect that Azure and Citrix as providers are much better at Cyber-security than any individual organization. Now, instead of being a security risk, the right cloud solutions are now ways for us all to secure our environments, their functions, and importantly, their data.

It’s All About the Apps

I have often said: The most important thing is the applications. This is how users get the stuff done that’s important to any organization. That being said, unless that is done efficiently, it doesn’t matter. Likewise, unless that is done securely, it doesn’t matter. Therefore, giving users secure and efficient access to their applications in a way that makes sense for them so that they can be as effective as possible.

Wandering Too Far…

There was an analogy delivered later in the day about users walking down a path in the forest (complete with picture). If the users stay on the path, green light. If they stray from the path a little, we might start asking them some questions. And if they stray a lot and start visiting questionable sites, etc., we may shut them down. This is what Citrix Analytics Services is designed to do–all without waking any human up at 3am to go look at what a user is up to. It takes a lot of data to effectively make that analysis.

AI Is About Data

One other thing to think about. There has been a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence over the past several months. Interesting thing is there has been talk about Artificial Intelligence since computers existed. We are now poised to do something about it.

But not for the reasons that are on the news. Not for the almost-human robots that can almost respond like a real person–a physical chat-bot. And not because they can out-think humans. Or take over the world with Skynet.

The real reason it’s something now more than ever before is because “Artificial Intelligence” can be used to process vast amounts of data. AI is about the data. Vast amounts of data. One comment from Kirill indicates that serving 400,000 customers over the past few decades has amassed a lot of data at Citrix–data that Citrix uses to build their products, like Citrix Analytics Services. In addition, Citrix Analytics Services provides organizations with lots of intelligent data, combined with intelligent alerts, announcements–and action.

Citrix Analytics Services is Citrix’s foray into AI. And it has very little to do with human-looking chat-bots.

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