Let’s say you have been a Citrix Access Essentials customer for some time or you are considering implementing Citrix Access Essentials for the first time to reap all the remote access benefits.  As an IT authority for a mid-size business, you really like the way Access Essentials easily integrates into your existing environment and extends the workplace to allow your employees to work remotely.  But now Microsoft has officially released their Essential Business Server (EBS) product.  This solution is also designed to streamline the installation and maintenance of your core IT infrastructure needs.  With all this big software vendors providing “simple and easy” software packages, you are starting to wonder ‘How are these two products going to integrate together?’ and of course the most pressing question of all ‘How much is all of this going to cost me?’

The Citrix Worldwide Consulting Solutions team choose to analyze the integration of the two products (Microsoft EBS and Citrix Access Essentials) in the Solution Center lab.  We wanted to install EBS from scratch and then add in the Access Essential components to examine the Forefront security configurations, Terminal Services licensing, software management integration, etc. Given that the Solution Center lab has also been a hotbed of XenServer virtualization efforts including projects like XenDesktop Scalability testing, the Consulting Solutions team decided to take the integration project to the next level by introducing XenServer into the overall solution.  The scope of the project was expanded to include Citrix XenServer virtualization technology. XenServer allowed the team to install and configure Essential Business Server Standard Edition and Citrix Access Essentials as virtual machines running on a single HP DL360 G5 server running Citrix XenServer.   As XenServer gets added into the mix, there is no doubt that the overall software price does increase, but in our research we found that the introduction of the XenServer virtualization software costs was actually more beneficial than overall hardware cost associated with implementing a dedicated physical server for each component of the solution.  The documentation produced as part of the analysis found that there would be an approximate 30% cost savings for a single server deployment based on hardware costs alone.  In addition to the overall cost savings, a virtual solution also provides the additional benefit of a smaller datacenter footprint and increased energy efficiency.

Then there is the simplification of management.  Virtualization simplifies the management of all virtual images through the XenCenter console, but Citrix went the extra mile to make sure that the Citrix Access Essentials software management tightly integrates with Essential Business Server management.  Citrix provides a Citrix Access Essentials and EBS management console integration executable that installs on the EBS management server.  The tool allows the administrator to manage the day-to-day operations associated with Access Essentials from the EBS management console.

The Consulting Solutions’ Citrix Access Essentials and Microsoft Essential Business Server with Citrix XenServer Integration Benefits and Deployment Recommendations whitepaper provides the reader with an in-depth overview of the product integration, installation instructions, and detailed cost savings analysis.