We’ve been talking about virtual workspaces for way too long, even before there were iPads.

The idea of being able to easily reach your desktop from any endpoint has long been a promise, but never one that was widely accepted by end users or delivered to the masses by IT.

That’s because no one could satisfy the end user experience and security and compliance requirements at the same time. Throw in cloud apps, and the story gets even more complicated.

“It was always too much of a challenge to think through the on-ramp,” said David Johnson, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

Of course, there was Citrix’s GotoMyPC that some of us used and many still use. “That was the gateway drug,” added Johnson. But it wasn’t widely deployed in the enterprise.

Presenting Workspace Cloud

And while VMware has a virtual desktop play, much of it via AirWatch, and Microsoft may have something in the works, no one really comes close to what Citrix’s Workspace Cloud can do.

We gave it a test drive today, you can, too. It is expected to become generally available in the third quarter.

Citrix CEO Mark Templeton officially introduced the Workspace Cloud at Synergy, his company’s user conference in Orlando this week.

It provides cloud-based services, apps, documents and collaboration services that people use for work.

The beauty of it is that it delivers them across devices and the end user experience and access points are consistent on each, whether a tablet, an iPad, a Mac or an Android device.

In other words, your workspace is everywhere you need it to be. So if it’s built with Windows apps, web apps, mobile apps, desktop apps, documents and collaboration tools, they will come together on whichever device or network is being used.

While companies like Microsoft and maybe even Amazon might be able to do this with light applications, getting the whole ball of wax, especially where CAD, engineering, Adobe Illustrate, Reddit and other more sophisticated programs are concerned, it’s no easy feat. Until now, that is.

Easy to Use

While Citrix’s Cloud Workspace solution isn’t quite plug’n play, it’s also not labor intensive, unless the enterprise chooses to customize it to the nines. It was built Cloud-first, after all, emphasizing the user experience Enterprise-grade security and compliance. It’s remarkable.

“I’m surprised it’s working so well,” said Johnson who was trying it out while we spoke. “This is a first,” he added, staring at a complicated engineering design. “This stuff can be very difficult to display, and look at it”. We were in a crowded room where bandwidth was likely to have been challenged.

It’s worth noting too that, despite its name, Citrix’s Workspace Cloud works well with on-premises applications as well. “It has to,” said Jesse Lipson, VP and GM, Data Sharing, “We’re working in a hybrid world.”

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by Joel Mueller.