Setting the Playing Field Right for Citrix Cloud
October 26, 2018
Let’s get this one out there first: Citrix Cloud has enormous potential. But is it living up to that potential? To put it as a football metaphor: I wouldn’t want to be feeding all the “next Messi’s” or “next Ronaldo’s” out there.
A series of events triggered this blog post. Or rather: my observations of Citrix Sales pitching Citrix Cloud to C-level execs.
Let’s start with the very basics: what is Citrix Cloud? And equally important what it isn’t.
Citrix Cloud is a workspace management platform for IT administrators to design, deliver, and manage virtual desktops and applications and other services, such as file sharing, on any device.
In layman’s terms: the Citrix servers needed for the management of a Citrix environment, such as Delivery controllers, license servers, the SQL database, are provided to you by Citrix. Citrix takes care of the VMs running underneath, Citrix updates the platform and looks out for high availability of the platform. To put it very bluntly: Citrix provides you with a working, hosted version of Citrix Studio and then it’s up to you, the admin.
So, now that we’ve set the stage let’s discuss what Citrix Cloud is not. And this is the part where a lot of misconceptions start to show.
1) Is Citrix Cloud a managed service?
No. Citrix provides the management tools, not the management activities carried out by using those tools. Citrix will not publish any resources to any of your users.
2) Does Citrix Cloud host your apps and desktops?
No. This is about where your beloved users are doing their work, meaning: run those (pesky) apps. That “location” is completely up to you: public, private or hybrid cloud, or even just your good “old” on-premises resources. Any resource ties into Citrix Cloud through Citrix Cloud Connectors.
3) What about the “Service” naming then?
Citrix has a very rich history of name changes. XenApp Service is now Virtual Apps Service. This may set you on the wrong foot there. The “service” piece is not Citrix servicing your environment. It’s about Citrix providing/hosting the tools to you to maintain your environment from the cloud.
So, the question may arise: should you consider Citrix Cloud, and why?
It’s always a good idea to keep an open mindset and to be aware of all the possibilities out there. That’s a genuine challenge in today’s rapidly evolving world, I know.
The obvious answer is: it depends. A new company, starting with a green field deployment? Or an enterprise with custom, legacy apps? It all depends. Maybe I’ll turn the answer into another article someday.
Does Citrix Cloud have a “killer feature”?
Maybe it was a bit lacking in that department until recently with the Workspace App. Unification has always been a “thing” but presenting it “as a service” now is an entirely different ball game. Again, Citrix is providing you with the capabilities to create a unified Workspace. Citrix is not managing that workspace for you. But don’t dismiss that Workspace idea just yet. If anything, this may very well be your entry point to Citrix Cloud.
So, the future for Citrix Cloud looks all bright and shiny then?
Not so fast. Workspace (App) is evolving rapidly and will change. As will the entire platform. You need to be able to cope with that.
Just think about your endpoints for a second. They need to be able to connect. This means that you’ll have to keep them updated, just to keep up with the changing demands from Citrix Cloud. If sometime in the future Citrix requires a certain level of encryption, your endpoints need to be able to establish that encrypted connection.
There are other challenges too. Citrix requires that you purchase a minimum number of Cloud seats. This means that a lot of small businesses will not meet those numbers and have the option to pay too much or to look elsewhere. It’s not the first time I’ve hit on that topic.
Equally, even in a cloud world, there’s nothing like “seeing is believing”. Therefore, it’s a real shame there are no NFR or internal use licenses of Citrix Cloud for Partners. Partners that have built relationships with their customers will have to pay to show those customers their way to the cloud. Another missed chance, one that will drive adoption forward.