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Using Citrix to Host Your Cloud

When asking the question, “How can I leverage the cloud for this workload?”, application delivery and VDI are often not the first responses that come to mind. Most organizations that are looking to the cloud will usually answer this question with “infrastructure workloads” and the thought of end-user computing doesn’t usually come up. The cloud is usually an afterthought possibly due to complexity or management assumptions. 

Today, many organizations utilizing Citrix XenDesktop deploy on-premises to single or multiple data centers for the majority of VDI and application hosting. But what many of these organizations don’t realize is that cloud integration is built right into XenDesktop or that Citrix offers a hosted cloud solution. Both of these options can greatly reduce complexities with cloud hosting and ease management of multiple environments. In this post, I’ll be discussing cloud hosting for an existing XenDesktop environment, Workspace Cloud, and where they make sense in your enterprise.

Citrix Cloud Hosting for Existing Infrastructure Environments 

When it comes to your existing infrastructure, Citrix offers more than one solution for hosted cloud options. Citrix first introduced the Connector in XenDesktop and XenApp 7.5 where a few clicks of the mouse allowed administrators to deploy directly to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Later in XenDesktop/XenApp 7.7, Microsoft Azure support was added, allowing organizations even greater flexibility in cloud options. Both of these options allow machine lifecycle management (deployment, updates, and decommission) in the cloud from their existing Citrix infrastructure.

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As the modern end-user computing landscape demands greater and greater elasticity and use cases quickly expand, cloud hosting can become a perfect option for existing environments. For example, you might have a large group of developers coming in for a short period of time that need to start working on a project within one week. Or, maybe you’re in an industry like retail that requires additional infrastructure for a couple of months each year. Either of these scenarios are a good fit for the cloud since they involve a limited subset of users, for a short period of time, and still require the existing on-premises infrastructure. 

Another benefit of utilizing existing infrastructure, like depicted in the above scenarios, is the transparency to the end user. With this option, there is no need to reconfigure endpoints or ask a subset of users to use separate URLs. In this case, users are allowed to utilize the same workflows that they are familiar with. 

Citrix as a DaaS Solution

What if you don’t want to manage your VDI infrastructure or you don’t have any sort of application delivery in-house? That opens the door for a true DaaS solution, such as Citrix Workspace Cloud. citrix_workspace_cloud.jpg

Citrix Workspace Cloud operates opposite of Citrix XenDesktop; the infrastructure sits in the Microsoft Azure cloud and is managed by Citrix and the day-to-day operations are handled by the user. It removes the need for users to worry about version upgrades or hotfixes and leaves the infrastructure to Citrix.

Confusion often occurs when people see the word “cloud” in Workspace Cloud and assume all workloads must reside in the cloud. It is important to understand that Workspace Cloud workloads can be hosted both in the cloud and on-premises.

Perhaps there is an application that utilizes data located within the data center and security policy dictates that it must not reside anywhere else. In this scenario, the majority of users can access VDI workloads running in the cloud while the restricted VDI instances can be deployed within the enterprise on-premises. Just like XenDesktop, Citrix Workspace Cloud can use the same access point for all users and all endpoints can be configured the same way. Both the user accessing the restricted application and non-restricted applications can utilize the same URL, creating a similar transparency where the user doesn’t even realize where their actual desktop resides.

I hope this post gets the wheels turning a little and answers questions in regard to what Citrix can offer within the cloud. If you’d like to learn more about Citrix cloud options or any other mobility solutions, you can schedule to meet with us in the AHEAD Lab and Briefing Center where you can meet with subject matter experts to discuss strategy and assess the latest technology offerings.

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