Citrix Buys Framehawk to Extend Mobile Productivity

Bandwidth Loss, Responsiveness

Even though more workers than ever try to do work on their latest and greatest mobile devices, the networks that carry those signals are less reliable than hard wired connections. Witness the loss of bandwidth over crowded Wi-Fi connections or on some cellular networks. We know people are less likely to stay on a website that takes too long to load, so imagine how workers react when their own business tools are less responsive.

That's seems to be why this deal was made. Under what Citrix calls adverse network conditions, its HDX technology kicks in to help offset any lags or high latency. This technology is used in the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop products to provide critical applications with lower latency across whatever network is being used.

"Citrix needs a protocol that performs well over mobile networks as part of its desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) platform strategy," David Johnson, a Forrester analyst, said in an email about the deal.

Johnson alluded to Framehawk's framebuffering protocol because it was designed for mobile carrier networks such as 4G/LTE where there is often highly variable latency, loss and jitter.

"One of the barriers to the success of DaaS in the enterprise and a potential source of value for service providers is the user experience on mobile devices over mobile networks."

Competitive Take Out Play

The DaaS industry is forecasted to have a very good year as companies combine new devices and operating systems with older Windows apps that are simply too expensive to modernize for use on tablets and smartphones, Johnson said. That seems to bode well for Citrix and it seemingly would have gone well for Framehawk before this acquisition.

That's not to say it won't be a good year now that the deal has gone down. Rather this deal could have been a competitive take out play, Johnson said. Framehawk uses buffering technology that was built in part by engineers that had been employed by NASA working on spacecraft communications.

"Framehawk's technology approach, while expensive, had some advantages," he said. "Citrix was probably starting to see them in more deals with them."

Citrix, like many technology vendors, has been focused on the impact of mobile devices on business. Citrix, for instance, demonstrated this interest not only with the Framehawk buy, but with its purchase last October of a company called Byte Squared.

Byte Squared provided the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents on an iPad, a popular use case.

As we continue our transition into the mobile world, Citrix clearly plans on being part of the conversation. Let us know in the comments if you see mobile lag and latency as a major problem with your remote desktop or application streaming service.

Title image by hywards (Shutterstock).