Desktops solutions – #1: Citrix Workspace cloud


Desktops solutions – #1: Citrix Workspace cloud

This blog series will give you an overview of different desktop solutions available now. both Citrix and VMware have multiple solutions and I think it’s useful to give some overview. In a quick overview I’ll tell you what it is, where things are ran and what you need.

It’s a series, so part 1 is about Citrix Workspace cloud.
Part 2 will be about VMware Project Enzo and part 3 about VMware Horizon Air.
Perhaps a part 4 and 5 will be coming as well talking about the on-premises solutions of both vendors.

Citrix Workspace cloud

First let’s take a look at Citrix Workspace Cloud. It’s a cloud based workspace model that allows you to run your resources (shared or private desktops) in the cloud or on-premises.

The basics

Where are my backend server?

  • The backend servers, the controller, the database and the storefront server are located in a Citrix cloud.

Where are my desktops/Applications?

  • It’s the Citrix mantra, anywhere you want, in the cloud or on-premises

Will my data be safe?

  • Your data is never stored with Citrix, your data is stored where you allow it to be stored. If you run hosted and your data is stored there you need to make sure it can’t be access by anyone else.

Who manages my backend server?

  • Citrix, they will make sure the servers are updated and patches are applied.

Who manages my desktops/applications?

  • I hope you do or someone you pay to do that. You deploy them so you manage them

Who can access my data?

  • That’s up to your configuration, make sure you got a good data protection plan ready and make sure data can only be shared with people you trust the way you trust.
Are both MCS and PVS supported?
  • Only MCS is supported at this moment, to manage it from the cloud it’s kinda hard to have a few servers streaming on-premises. With MCS they don’t have that issue.
Is it available?
  • Yes it is, look for a partner to help you with this. – e.g. PQR

Terminology 

There are a few things to understand before you understand Citrix Workspace Cloud, the following terms are related to Citrix Workspace Cloud:

  • Resource locations
  • Notifications
  • Subscribers
  • Identity and acces management
  • Cloud connector
  • Life cycle management

Resource locations

Resource location contain the resources you will deliver to your users, Citrix calls them subscribers. The kind of resources depends on the services you are using and the services you want to provide.
The following resources are available:
  • Citrix Storefront servers
  • Citrix Netscalers
  • Hypervisors
  • Virtual delivery agent (VDA)
  • Citrix Life cycle management agents (CLCMA?)
To setup your Citrix Workspace Cloud you need two components;
  • Citrix cloud connector
  • Access to your Active Directory domain(s)
Your resources are best located close to your users or the data depending on your organisation. Any distance between the data and the desktop will be impacted by latency.

Notifications

Notifications are the information messages administrators are given about the environment. It might be about the number of domains connected but also about the number of workspaces or resource locations (where you run your resources).

Subscriber

Subscribers are the users that have resources published to them. The subscribers are located in your active directory. Users will be grouped in Active directory security groups and these groups will be used to group resources that you assign.
It is possible to have different subscribers in each resource location, also you specify which domain you want to use to provide this information.
If you have a forest with multiple domains you need to install a cloud connecter in each domain. If you disable to enumeration from a certain domain you will need to remove entitlements also otherwise users (subscribers) will still have access.
This could also happen if all you cloud connectors are down for some reason.

Identity and access management

Now that you know what resource locations and subscribers are, identity and access management isn’t that difficult to understand anymore. It’s all about managing who can access resources and who can managed the environment.
So remember there are two roles you need to think about
  • Administrator
  • subscribers

Cloud connector

The cloud connector secures the communication between the cloud management located servers and your on-premises environment. So it facilitates resource management from the cloud.
To install Cloud Connector you need at least two Windows 2012 R2 server that are domain joined.  Communications is all about 443 (HTTPS). A cloud connector will perform three things:
  • Active directory enumeration
  • Publishing of resources (Desktops/applications)
  • Publishing of delivery groups.

Life Cycle management

Life cycle management is as written before, a service offered with Citrix Workspace cloud that enables automatic deployments from a blueprint or an upgrade for your old 6.x installation.

Q&A

What do I get, what packages are there?
  • There a several options, I added a screenshot from the different ones.

What kind of pricing is there?

  •  As expected there is a trade-up available. I did a quick trade-up to see what I would get. If you trade 1000 XenDesktop Enterprise concurrent user licenses you will get 2000 (1:2) Workspace cloud licenses.
  • Per license you pay $62,50 extra so with 2000 licenses that is $323K (including $99 mandatory maintenance). 
  • If you don’t have licenses the initial costs per license are $450 + $99 maintenance, so according to sales people you save a lot 😉
  • If you buy outside the trade-up program this number of licenses could be over $1M.
The future comes at a price 😉

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