I often work with customers who are interested in pursuing virtual desktops for various reasons (enable field workers, teleworking, disaster recovery… the list goes on) but worry about having enough resources to take on what can become a complex project depending on their user requirements. Not only will they need Citrix experience in-house to build and manage this virtual desktop environment, but they will also need to acquire the infrastructure needed to host these virtual desktops. While this is an accomplishable mission, as evidenced by our expanding XenDesktop install base, it may require more resources than many of my customers currently have access to making it a harder sell for IT internally to their management.

Now, let’s bring Remote PC into the equation. As a quick overview for those not familiar, Remote PC is a component of XenDesktop that allows IT to turn a user’s existing physical desktop into a “virtual desktop” which they can then access remotely as they would a typical VDI or virtual application. With Remote PC, that user can now access all of the resources they use on a daily basis even if they are not sitting in their office at their desk. If you want a deeper dive into Remote PC, check out Gabe Carrejo’s blog here, as he gives a great overview.

Securely connect to your existing PC with RemotePC

So, how does this help my customers address their concerns? It’s relatively simple, has lower upfront costs, and requires minimal changes in how the end user interacts with their data.

  • First, Remote PC is simple to setup. The process includes installing the XenDesktop VDA on the physical desktop IT wants to virtualize; adding that machine to the XenDesktop Catalog and assigning a user (or users) to that machine; and finally, allowing that user to access their desktop from any device that has Citrix Receiver installed. Most of this can be automated as well, to make the process even simpler.
  • Next, Remote PC has a lower initial cost due to the fact that the customer can leverage the computing power of those physical desktops they already own. No need to purchase additional servers or storage.
  • Finally, IT can sleep easy knowing that their end users won’t be calling in complaining about loss of functionalities, customization, or profile differences. The end user is connecting into the desktop they’ve grown accustomed to using, but now with the flexibility of accessing from anywhere, on any device.
  • As an additional bonus, the connection between that user’s end point device and their physical desktop in the office is made utilizing our HDX protocol, allowing IT to avoid the use of complex/cumbersome VPN tunnels.

I have recently seen an increased interest from my customers surrounding Remote PC, and believe this option makes a lot of sense for even more of my customers as they start looking at virtual desktops in the future. Ultimately, I don’t think Remote PC is the end-all-be-all of virtual desktops, as it doesn’t address things like single image management to manage updates and new apps, OS migration, or PC refresh to new a few; but, I believe it is a great entry point to virtual desktops as it allows for a quick win for the customer, creating buy-in within the agency while giving IT time to ramp up their Citrix skills and appropriately plan a larger virtual desktop rollout.

Thanks for reading!

Rob