In CloudPortal Services Manager there are two ways to provision Citrix XenApp applications and desktops.  We sometimes get asked “Why are there two?” and “Which one should I use?”

Let’s look at some of the differences:
Citrix service

  • Can be used to deliver other kinds of apps (for example XenDesktop apps/desktops or even RDP apps).
  • Can be used to deliver resources (to configure printers, specific AD settings, etc…).
  • Allows tenants to create their own groups of apps.
  • Does not use the User Plan model for management… instead you select the apps for each user.
  • Has support for private apps (apps that can only be assigned to one user).

Hosted Apps and Desktop service

  • Uses the User Plan model, so it follows the familiar way to provision services.
  • Does not support streamed apps (though you could conceivably do this with a workaround).
  • Based on the App Orchestration technology, which is the future of how we’re provisioning apps and desktops.
  • As a result it allows you to quickly configure XenApp farms for new tenants.
  • You can configure 3 tiers of tenant isolation in XenApp (shared, private server, private farm).
  • Also get 3 tiers of tenant isolation for Web Interface (and it will provision WI for you).
  • Has enterprise-ready features such as support for app upgrade/user migration.
    • This will save your admins lots of time when you next need to deliver a hotfix for an app or upgrade to a new version of an app.

Which one is right for you depends on your requirements. At the risk of perhaps over-generalizing I’d say that the Citrix service requires more manual work. Also, Hosted Apps and Desktops is the way to go if you want to really scale. It’s a key component of our Avalon story which we’ve announced at Synergy. With Avalon you’ll be able to really automate your data center by leveraging CloudPortal Services Manager to provision offerings to your users from App Orchestration, which handles complex XenApp and XenDesktop deployments for you.

In the “Private Demo Room” at Synergy Barcelona I did a demo that really showed how much you can automate from end-to-end using the Hosted Apps and Desktops service and App Orchestration, starting with defining your offerings all the way to the end-user logging in to Outlook through Citrix Receiver.

It was a big eye-opener on the simplicity and power that we see in terms of automating your data center!