Ah, the good old days.
If you think back how managing a Citrix environment used to be about 10 years ago, a typical Citrix administrator had just one product to worry about: Metaframe/Presentation Server. Even with that single product, administrators found it difficult to maintain Citrix environments due to the effort it required. Fast forward to 2015 and the infrastructure supporting our Mobile Workspaces has many moving parts (XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, Sharefile, Netscaler).
With all of this, planning and completing infrastructure upgrades in large organizations can take months or, sometimes, years.
Wouldnt it be nice if someone could magically make all of the Citrix infrastructure a “black box” (so to speak), so you didnt have to worry about your valuable resources and could start focusing on the things that mattered to the business, as opposed to working on mundane operational tasks? In addition, wouldnt it be nice to always be evergreen and have the latest and greatest features at your disposal instead of waiting and figuring out how to upgrade your environment?
These challenges are exactly what Citrix plans on solving with Citrix Workspace Cloud.
Citrix Workspace Cloud is a hosted control plane that is fully supported, end-to-end, by Citrix. It includes all the infrastructure components required to deliver a mobile workspace to the end user. An IT admin can launch a web-based management console and provision a workspace that encompasses windows apps, mobile apps, windows desktops, data and manage their mobile devices all from a single pane of glass. The customer would still maintain the supporting infrastructure (Active Directory, DNS, etc.), thereby maintaining the security boundary that most require.
Additionally there is no requirement for a VPN tunnel between the Citrix Control Plane and the customer’s data center. Instead, the Workspace Cloud Connector is installed on a Windows server in the customer data center that communicates via SSL with the Citrix Control Plane. Citrix will also handle lifecycle management that will help customers automate the entire infrastructure deployment by providing blueprints that follow industry best practices. The solution will also include end-to-end monitoring capabilities for your infrastructure and provide you true visibility into how resources are being consumed.
Citrix Workspace Cloud makes total sense for an SMB or mid-market customer with limited resources to administer their IT environment and that probably has limited infrastructure to host these solutions. Such customers typically prefer an on-demand hosted model where they pay based on consumption, which is exactly what CWC is! But how about Enterprise customers who have large, dedicated Citrix teams who have very defined processes and workflows. I would argue that there is a place for CWC, even in that space. Most enterprise customers have multiple Citrix farms/sites, some of mine having upwards of 30 XA/XD farms/sites.
Now, if you want to design a totally redundant and highly available infrastructure, think of the number of servers involved and the operational challenges on a month to month basis. With CWC the IT organization would be able to reduce their data center footprint and reduce OpX significantly.
Citrix Workspace Cloud can also be looked at as a great DR solution.
Many of my customers spend millions on hot standby DR data centers that are rarely utilized. What if you could setup the barebones DR infrastructure leveraging Citrix Workspace Cloud and then spin up additional capacity only in a true DR scenario? This could lead to significant CapX and OpX savings.
I have always been a proponent of new technology solutions, but only when it makes business sense to my customers. I believe Citrix Workspace Cloud is promising in that regard and for that reason I am truly excited for what the future holds!
If you plan on attending Citrix Synergy 2015, be sure to take a look at my recommended sessions this year. There are some great sessions by Joe Vaccarro, Harsh Gupta and the rest of the Citrix Workspace Cloud team covering the solution in depth. Watch out for some awesome announcements, too!!
– George (Twitter: @gkuruvilla)