How to Use the Benefits of Software as a Service in a Citrix Cloud

The Citrix Cloud simplifies deployment and management of Citrix technologies. But how does it work? In which scenarios will its use be beneficial? Our Cloud Director Walter Hofmann picks some easily understandable examples to illustrate how you can reap the rewards of Software as a Service (SaaS).

Walter Hofmann, Director Cloud at COMPAREX

An article by Walter Hofmann, Cloud Director at COMPAREX

One of the important requirements facing modern IT is to ensure the increasingly quick availability of necessary resources. But for many technologies it is first necessary to build, maintain and service infrastructural systems. The administrative effort required for updates can quickly get out of hand. As a result, the systems regularly become obsolete and present security issues or performance problems.

The challenges so far in building a Citrix environment

Customers have benefited from Citrix environments for around 30 years, building bigger and smaller infrastructures and using a huge variety of tools to manage them. Essentially it has been necessary to create two hierarchies in order to construct a Citrix environment.

The actual instances

They consist of XenApp (XA) and XenDesktop (XD), which also go by the name of workloads. Here, the challenge consists in the composition and number of required images, as well as their administration and deployment in virtual environments.

Citrix Workload
Fig. 1: Citrix workload, comprising a VDA (virtual delivery agent) and the XA or XD instance, source: Citrix

The management part of the Citrix environment

It consists of:

  • Citrix Director
  • Citrix Studio
  • Citrix Delivery Controller
  • Citrix License Server
  • Citrix StoreFront and
  • a SQL database instance for administration

So far, therefore, it has been necessary to implement a suitable management setting in order to create a functioning Citrix environment. It follows that the tasks facing administration have not been restricted to working with the – hopefully functional – XenApp and XenDesktop images and their users, and instead have extended from time to time to updating the environment, the use of LTSR (Long Term Service Releases) or complete farm migration. But these things are all in the past now.

How Citrix is simplifying the management of environments

Citrix now provides the entire management part of the environment as a cloud-based SaaS. A completely operable scenario is available at the push of a button and in just a few minutes. Here, the pertinent question relates to the location of the workloads, and the Citrix Cloud caters to all variations.

The workloads and the corresponding backend systems can remain completely on-prem or be operated entirely in a public cloud (e.g. Azure or AWS) with their matching backends. A hybrid solution with the best of both worlds is accommodated using two Windows2016 instances (Cloud Connectors). Citrix operates the Citrix Cloud and the associated Cloud Connectors as part of the service, ensuring that the Citrix environment remains up and running smoothly. But it is still necessary to define and build runnable, purposeful images of the workloads.

The Citrix Cloud: Examples of possible implementation variants and deployment scenarios

Citrix Cloud services simplify the deployment and management of Citrix technologies at the push of a button, removing the need to build a proprietary management environment.

Citrix on AWS/Azure: Organizations can decide additionally whether to migrate the workloads (XenApp/XenDesktop) to a cloud as well (not the Citrix Cloud).

Essentially, there are two distinct forms of implementation.

1st example

Use of the Citrix Cloud; all workloads, backend systems and data remain in the customer’s on-prem datacenter.

Citrix Cloud example 1
Fig. 2: Citrix Cloud example 1, source: Citrix

We believe that this scenario is ideal for customers who want to keep their data on-prem.

Benefits:

  • Deployment of applications and desktops – or complete, secure, digital workstations – in hours instead of weeks
  • Control over all proprietary information contained in your applications, desktops and data
  • Implementation of a fully integrated Citrix portfolio on one management instance in order to simplify administration
  • Environment no longer requires updates

2nd example

Use of the Citrix Cloud; all workloads, backend systems and data are migrated to the public cloud.

Citrix Cloud example 2
Fig. 3: Citrix Cloud example 2, source: Citrix

This is the ideal scenario for customers with a “cloud first strategy”.

Benefits:

  • Deployment of applications and desktops – or complete, secure, digital workstations – in hours instead of weeks
  • Decision for implementation in a cloud setting
  • Implementation of a fully integrated Citrix portfolio on one management instance in order to simplify administration
  • Environment no longer requires updates

3rd example

Of particular interest to this consideration are the variants in which the backend systems for the workloads remain on-prem, while the workloads themselves are implemented in the cloud. This brings to an end the decades-old adage that “the workloads should always be kept close to the backend systems”. But the architect will need to pay particular attention when implementing this scenario. In these cases, the backend systems are connected to the cloud-based workloads using dedicated lines and express routes.
Use of the Citrix Cloud; all workloads are migrated to the public cloud, while the backend systems and data remain on-prem.

Citrix Cloud example 3
Fig. 4: Citrix Cloud example 3, source: Citrix

Still not sure which Citrix cloud option ticks your boxes?

Our experts are happy to advise you in choosing an option. We would be delighted to provide you with help and assistance as Platinum Partner. Feel free to contact our experts with any questions about Citrix.

 Get in touch with us

Leipzig, 14.03.2018

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