The race to zero is on with two major forces fighting over the customers and you are caught in the middle…

This “problem” actually provides both challenges and opportunities.

The first and obvious benefit with a price war is that the services get cheaper for the users, and in this case without affecting quality.

The downside of this is that it makes it harder then ever to choose which provider you should use to build your services on. Normally when looking at a service provider of any sort price is a big factor. But what happens when this no longer can be used to distinguish the different providers…and how do you even verify what the actual cost is considering all the different options and services available?

That’s where this presentation/material comes in. The goal is simply to provide the needed information you require and will need in order to understand what benefits and consequences come with choosing on over the other of these two giants. Starting with the obvious…how much will it cost?

Cost

The problem with this question is: it depends. A number of factors and choices can influence the cost. For example, what type of partnership agreement do you have or what licenses do you use? Are you going for the latest and the greatest and aiming for XenApp/XenDesktop 7.5 or are you thinking old and proven and go with XenApp 6.5 in the cloud? This choice alone changes the possibilities and cost by for example leveraging hosted SQL versus a Windows instance with SQL Server installed.

Some other decision factors: are you planning on bringing your own licenses or use hosted…can you even bring your own licenses? What is a reserved instance and how is it different from a commitment plan? When is it beneficial to use reserved instance over on-demand instance? What is light reserved vs heavy reserved?

Purpose

One of the main arguments to go to public cloud is that it’s cheaper because you only pay for what you use. But what if the cost for running something 24/7 is nearly the same  as running it 10 hours per day and without the complexity of working with dynamic worker groups?

Are you looking at extending existing on-premise platform or setting up a new DR site? Will the workloads running on a public cloud only be used as buffer when the on-premise servers die? How do you connect your existing environment with the public cloud and how much does that cost depending on how you do it, 5 cents or $1.5 per hour? These numbers might not sound like much but it spans between $36 to about $2800 for just one instance of a secure connection service on a monthly basis. Which amount would you rather pay?

Security

Another extremely important item today is security, how does that work in a public cloud? For example if you work in the government or require HIPAA. How do you handle authentication and user/change tracking/audit? How well can you monitor the platform for service health? How can you track, report, and alert on billing to avoid paying a small country’s GDP because someone started 400 servers to use for BitCoin mining?

Automation

Another key item is how will you integrate with the new services. Are you a Microsoft shop with full SCCM/SCVMM or do you prefer CloudFormation and autoscaling? Or can you simply use the same for both?

Moving forward we also have services for infrastructure like load balancing, DNS, DHCP, App-V, SDN…all of these can make or break your solution depending on your planning or lack thereof…

Redundancy

Also a important feature…backup. What options do you have, how much does it cost, what SLA’s do I get and where should I put my data?

Remote Access

Lastly we have access. Will this be a private/hybrid cloud solution or a completely self-sustainable cloud based platform with no interaction with your current infrastructure? Will you – and can you – use a NetScaler for access?

Reading all this you are probably wondering how all this will fit in one session. We will pack the information through comparison charts, cost estimates based on different usage scenarios, and some real-world examples. You will walk out with a deeper understanding of how and why to select one cloud over the other, and just how many $$$ we are talking about per user.

I am also planning on following up with more data, presentations and information on https://blog.henrikjay.com as well as on twitter: @HenrikJay.

So if you have any thoughts at all about public cloud for desktop delivery I hope I will see you at Citrix Synergy on may 7th, 2.30PM at SYN254 and later this summer at BriForum for a longer version with even more details!

Henrik Johansson is an infrastructure and solution architect/designer with focus on ADC’s, Public/Private cloud, Networking optimization, Multi-tenancy and Security. He is the Director of Professional Services at nGenx with 17+ years in IT and 13 years with Citrix products, with a background in security testing/advisory and development. He is also a NetScaler wizard/evangelist and frequent presenter at industry events like Citrix Synergy/Summit and BriForum . Henrik is a CTP, CCIA, Citrix MVP SME.

Citrix invited the author of this blog post to present at Citrix Synergy 2014 and to participate in a related contest.  The author received an entry into the contest for submitting this Blog.