The Evolution of Citrix Cloud

02 August 2018 | By David Baird

The adoption of Citrix Cloud requires a significant change from the traditional Citrix deployment methodology. The Citrix Cloud deployment model provides a managed control plane for the core Citrix environment functions, simplifying the on-premises deployment requirements for organisations wishing to use Citrix to deliver applications and desktops to their users.

With the availability of the Citrix Cloud control plane hosted locally in Australia on Azure, usability and uptake of the platform has increased, as organisations close out concerns with data sovereignty and location of Cloud services. The regional cloud model addresses cross-geographic risks and demands for locally accessible services. Coming to Citrix Cloud (announced at Synergy 2018) is a revised Workspace service with a new client access application (Citrix Workspace App) that will provide full integration of multiple product lines under a unified service offering, comprised of the following elements:

  • App and desktop delivery – via XenApp and XenDesktop
  • Enterprise mobility management – via XenMobile
  • Secure browser access
  • File sync and sharing – via ShareFile for either on-premises or OneDrive for Business data
  • SSO to SaaS applications
  • Cloud based ICA proxy service – via NetScaler Gateway

Both the updates to Workspace service and Citrix Workspace App are currently in Tech Preview, with timelines from Citrix suggesting that the Workspace app client will be released shortly, with the new Workspace service in general availability sometime in August.

The new services will provide a vastly different user experience to the traditional Receiver / StoreFront implementation, with the products focussed towards whole of business adoption and greater cohesion for user access.

Playing to this strength are the abilities to integrate OneDrive for Business in a multi-user environment using ShareFile Connectors and the optimisation of video for Skype for Business applications.

Where the application stack is Microsoft centric, Citrix Cloud can be more attuned to the hosting of workloads on Azure than other Public Cloud providers, as more options are available with respect to how existing Microsoft licensing can best be leveraged.

This being said, Citrix Cloud is being positioned as both Cloud provider and hypervisor agnostic, providing support for AWS, GCP, Softlayer, Vmware, Hyper-V, XenServer, KVM, and others. Within the Australian market, we foresee that many clients will favour the integration with Azure and AWS, in line with their overall Public Cloud strategies, with additional uptake of GCP for those clients adopting GSuite for line of business apps.

For smaller organisations or where the access requirements are simpler, additional options are available:

  • XenDesktop Essentials - for a pure VDI play based on Windows 10 Enterprise (Current Branch), XenDesktop Essentials provides a low barrier entry to VDI implementations.
  • XenApp Essentials - introduced as the replacement for Azure RemoteApp services, this offering provides a basic service for the hosting and presentation of applications, using Azure as the underlying platform.

Citrix have also recently announced that the Microsoft Cloud Solutions Providers providing Tier 1 and 2 services can now purchase XenDesktop Essentials and XenApp Essentials services on behalf of their customers, further simplifying the onboarding of these services for smaller clients.

We anticipate that this fundamental pivot to how Citrix is being positioned for the delivery of applications will reinforce Citrix’s play where organisations are looking for increased simplification and optimisation of application delivery, with increased rigor and maturity in terms of access controls and supportability.

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