This is the first blog in a series of technical deep dives into the Applications and Desktops Service.
Last month, we launched our Citrix Applications and Desktops Service delivered through Citrix Workspace Cloud. Here, we will take a deeper look at the inner workings of the service and how it delivers all the benefits of workload flexibility, accelerated deployments and on-demand growth.
The Applications and Desktops Service leverages Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop technology, which streamlines the administration of the service and enables admins to apply their previous XenDesktop admin knowledge. The same advantage applies to the end-user experience. The Applications and Desktops Service leverages Citrix Receiver with industry-leading HDX technology to deliver an excellent end-user experience from any device, which is consistent with the key focus and fundamental design principals of all Citrix solutions.
Let’s start with the basics.
When Citrix introduced Workspace Cloud, we introduced the concept of “Resource Locations.” Resource Locations are the places where you host your application and desktop workloads. For the Applications and Desktops service, these are the servers and desktops running the Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs). In the architecture picture below, you will notice that the Resource Location outlined in black is managed by you.
While components like the Delivery Controller, Director and StoreFront are familiar from an architecture perspective, one of the key differences with the Applications and Desktops Service is that these components are located in the cloud and managed by Citrix. This ensures that the Citrix Workspace Cloud management console is always available and is up-to-date with the latest features and functionality. However, you, the admin, still have complete control over all the application and desktop workloads located in a resource location of your choice, which can be either in an on-premises datacenter, a public cloud or a private cloud.
But it gets better.
With the Applications and Desktops Service, you can leverage the multi-geo feature, which allows you to manage multiple resource locations from a single control plane. This provides tremendous flexibility and control for how you deploy and manage your workloads and data. For example, you can deploy your data and workloads within a certain geographic location for regulatory or security reasons. You may keep workloads physically close to the data for better performance. You can also have one resource location for your permanent employees on premises, a resource location for seasonal workers in a public cloud and for your call center in a private cloud — and manage all of them from on single console through the Applications and Desktops Service.
So, now you are probably thinking, “How do I connect my resource locations to the Applications and Desktops Service? Do I need an IPSec tunnel?”
The good news is that the answer is, “No.” Citrix has also introduced the Workspace Cloud Connector to connect your resource locations to the service in the cloud.
The Workspace Cloud Connector installs on a Microsoft Windows server that is joined to your Microsoft Active Directory domain. Once the connector is installed, you simply point your Virtual Delivery Agents to the Cloud Connector server and you are all set. Now you can start creating machine catalogs and delivery groups just like you would have done with a standard XenDesktop deployment. With the Applications and Desktops Service, set-up is that simple. You can set up your management infrastructure in minutes and without worrying about installing or configuring various components, especially the Microsoft SQL database.
The Applications and Desktops Service provides the management and operation functions, leaving you to manage your workloads. For example, the server and desktop golden images are always hosted in your resource locations, and the Applications and Desktops Service will perform management operations like cloning of the images through the provisioning API calls. There is no direct or indirect access into the image content isolating the network and data in your resource locations from operations provided by the Citrix cloud services. It is also important to note that all private Active Directory data stays within the resource location, and is not shared with the Applications and Desktop Service components in the control plane. If Active Directory access is required, there is a one-time, on demand read which means no Active Directory credentials are stored or constantly communicated to the service.
When using the Applications and Desktops Service, Citrix takes care of the patching and upgrading of the service. This means that you get instant access to the latest features and patches without needing to do anything.
Once new features or patches are developed and tested by Citrix, they get rolled into the service’s control plane and you get access to them without lifting a finger.
Learn the benefits of this new service in a quick video from Carisa Stringer, Senior Product Marketing Manager for the Desktops and Apps Team.
In summary, with the Applications and Desktops Service you can be up and running in a matter of minutes, enjoy the latest functionality, streamline the management of multiple resources, and rapidly grow across clouds to support employees worldwide – to name a just few.
Gunnar Berger does a great job in walking you through the setup process in 3 simple videos. Take a look in his Beginners Guide to Citrix Workspace Cloud.
Stay tuned for further technical blog topics. Please don’t be shy, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments on this very exciting new announcement!