Cloud Desktop Delivery Methods - 2017

09 August 2017 | By John Merryman

Virtual Desktop has traditionally relied on a range of proven technologies with Citrix XenApp taking the lion-share of market for the last 20 years. With the advent of hybrid compute models and public cloud services, we recognize the number of customer deployment and service options is rapidly expanding. 

The following chart summarizes the mainstream options in market:

Option
Benefits Constraints Implementation Effort Licensing/Hosting Cost Factors
Citrix Cloud Leverage Citrix Cloud control plane, but host XenApp Session Hosts in AWS (or Azure) Control plane* hosted and managed by Citrix, thus ensuring simplified management and maintenance of control plane. Allows Citrix XenApp session hosts to be placed in a location of Customer’s choosing.

* The Control Plane consists of StoreFront, Delivery Controller, and SQL components.

Requires the existing Citrix licenses to be upgraded.* Relatively new and immature product. Few successful use cases to reference.

* The Citrix Cloud licenses are based on a ‘user/device’ licensing model and have different use rights to the legacy licenses.

Moderate Cost estimated is based on the following conditions:
  • Only the Citrix XenApp session hosts located in AWS.
  • 2 x availability zones for HA and DR.
  • 2 x Citrix Cloud Connector VMs.
  • Customer typically bring their own Microsoft Server and RDS licensing.
Citrix XenApp Essentials All components to be hosted in Azure, as part of the subscription-based offering All control plane components hosted and managed by Citrix and Microsoft, thus reducing administrative overhead. No further investment in hosting resources required outside the subscriptions fees and resource usage charges. Product limitations suggest this platform is not suitable to be expanded upon for future advanced and/or enterprise-wide usage – Published Applications only. Relatively new and immature product from a security and authentication perspective. We expect these features to advance with adoption. Moderate to Low Cost estimated is based on the following conditions:
  • Charges for Session Hosts are additional and will be as per pricing the Azure Windows Server 2016 instances.
  • 2 x Resource Groups for HA and DR.
  • 2 x Citrix Cloud Connector VMs.
  • Customer typically bring their own Microsoft Server and RDS licensing.
Citrix on AWS All components to be located in AWS, leveraging EC2 server instances, in a similar fashion to a traditional deployment There are a number of successful use cases and references for similar deployments. GlassHouse have developed a methodology for automated and dynamic workload scaling, thus helping ensure cost efficiencies. This deployment provides the most flexibility for future growth, additional application use cases and disaster recovery. There is the highest amount of administrative overhead with this option. Star would essentially be managing their own control plane, session hosts and hosting layer. Customer would be managing multiple separate agreements pertaining to this solution, with AWS, Citrix and Microsoft. Moderate Cost estimated is also based on the following conditions:
  • 2 x availability zones for HA and DR.
  • Customer bring their own Citrix, Microsoft Server, SQL (Standard), and RDS licensing.
  • Leverage existing on-premise Citrix NetScaler appliances if available, otherwise leverage AWS Load Balancing or Marketplace based Netscaler appliances

AWS hosted RDS database services (BYOL license).

Citrix On-Premise All components to be located on-premise The most proven and tested deployment option. There are many successful use cases and references of similar deployments. Lowest cost option. $0 upfront fees for licensing and external hosting. Inflexible in comparison to the cloud hosting options. Scaling the environment may be cumbersome and time consuming. Upfront costs required if hardware, storage, and virtualisation capacity is unavailable. Moderate Cost estimated is also based on the following conditions:
  • Existing on-premise assets (if applicable)
  • 2 x availability zones for HA and DR.
  • Customer bring their own Citrix, Microsoft Server, SQL (Standard), and RDS licensing.
AWS AppStream Subscription-based access to applications streamed from AWS

Overwhelmingly the simplest option, with respect to deployment complexity and administrative overhead. No need to manage various control plane server components. Not currently available from Australian-based AWS availability zones (Tokyo is the nearest). Relatively new service, which will likely add feature depth and geographic coverage as adoption occurs. Low Cost estimated is also based on the following conditions:
  • 24x7 running configuration of stream.compute.2xlarge fleet instances.
  • Usually a single stream.standard.large image builder instance.
  • Typically customer brings their own Microsoft RDS licensing.

Lastly, if you like this content, be sure to check out our 2017 DaaS State of the Market report here for additional insight on how this market for DaaS technologies is evolving.

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