Dear XenApp Customer,
You might not realize it, but a public cloud is probably in your future.
You can chalk this viewpoint up to my recent attendance of the AWS re:Invent conference, which was overwhelming to say the least.
There is little doubt that public clouds will play a key role in 9 out of 10 companies’ IT strategies–they’re pulling in $8 billion and growing at 80% per year! There is also a high probability that you won’t just be be leveraging a public cloud in the near future, it’ll also be one that’s loaded with Citrix products.
Now, I am not saying that you would be moving lock, stock and barrel into a public cloud. But it’s probable that you will be leveraging a public cloud in some shape or form in order to satisfy your IT needs. It need not be AWS, but it might be Azure, SoftLayer, Rackspace or Google Compute Engine.
Sorry, I lied. You won’t be adopting *A* public cloud, but many public clouds.
My experience, to date, with customers who have adopted a public cloud early on is that, in short order, they evolve from a single cloud to a multi-cloud strategy. See the stats below that show a majority of customers are planning on adopting a multi-cloud strategy.
This is just one of the areas in which Citrix Workspace Cloud outshines its competitors’ solutions, especially VMware’s. VMWare forces customers to use one cloud. Not just any cloud, but “their cloud” whether or not it fits your business needs.
Citrix, on the other hand, embraces an “Any Cloud” strategy, allowing our customers to choose the right cloud or clouds that suit their use-case and business needs. Not just that, it offers a set of services via Citrix Lifecycle Management that makes multiple cloud adoption simple and practical.
Let’s look at the top 3 ways Citrix Lifecycle Management enables you to adopt a public cloud strategy.
1. Simplify provisioning by masking the underlying public cloud complexity.
A typical IT administrator that has spent years learning hypervisor architectures is now presented with the enormous challenge of learning an entirely new set of architectures. For example, AWS offers different services such as EC2 & VPC (virtual private cloud), ELB (Elastic Load Balancer), SGs (Security groups that substitute traditional firewalls), EIP (Elastic IP), all vastly different from traditional hypervisor concepts.
While other vendors makes their customers fend for themselves in this complex, technological wilderness, Citrix Lifecycle Management offers pre-validated blueprints for all Citrix solutions that will seamlessly orchestrate across these architecture components. An admin can deploy an entire XenApp solution, including the controllers, storefronts, databases and NetScaler to the prescribed architecture on any of the supported public clouds. A simple click-through interface even allows the users to customize the deployment to the desired business use-case. Pretty cool, right?
2. Ensure the deployments in a public cloud are secure.
One of the key concerns for enterprise leveraging public clouds is Security.
Citrix product groups teamed up with our security experts to outline the ideal architecture and best practices for a secure deployments of XenApp, XenDesktop, NetScaler and other workloads. Not surprisingly, these recommendations are specific to a public cloud. For example, on AWS, it’s ideal to deploy XenApp in a virtual private cloud that has no access to public Internet. End-users access their virtual apps and desktops via NetScaler gateway.
Of course, there are best practices in deploying NetScaler securely on AWS. Further, admins should access the delivery controller (Studio, Director, etc.) via a ‘bastion server’ that effectively provides NAT functionality. Enterprises can go a step further to isolate the XenApp / XenDesktop control plane from VDAs by deploying them on separate virtual networks.
Look here for a more detailed reference architecture for deploying XenApp in AWS: https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-xenapp-on-aws-reference-architecture.pdf
Also, check out a step by step Getting Started guide to how Lifecycle Management deploys on AWS: http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/lifecycle-management/downloads/get-started-lifecycle-management-aws.pdf
IT admins looking to adopt AWS can, of course, spend significant time and resources in understanding these security implications and manually deploying Citrix workloads to the specifications. Instead, CLM blueprints already deploy Citrix workloads to these security recommendations. The focus here is to really help customers get value quickly based on a proven Citrix reference architecture.
Further, the blueprints can be easily customized to include security measures that are specific to your enterprise (e.g. additional hardening of deployed servers, etc.) and ensure that any cloud deployments adhere to your company security and compliance standards.
Note that this gets further complicated for customers who would like to adopt multi-clouds. Azure, for example, offers security paradigms that are quite different from those of AWS. However, as mentioned above CLM will deploy the blueprints per Azure security models.
3. Enhance public cloud day-to-day operations through consistent “Manage” services
Another legitimate concern that our customers and partners often cite in adopting a public cloud is the day-to-day operational overhead. Let’s start with monitoring, which is essential to ensuring workload availability. On-premises IT admins would have used traditional tools like HP Node Manager or IBM Tivoli. These tools do not translate well for public cloud deployments.
Cloud providers offer custom monitoring solutions to bridge this gap. AWS Cloud Watch is one such example. But, Cloud Watch comes with several limitations. For example, it tracks only limited set of infrastructure. To complicate the matter most other public clouds tackle this in very different ways.
Citrix Lifecycle Management addresses this problem elegantly by providing a in-built monitoring service that tracks infrastructure metrics as well as application specific metrics. It’s also easily extensible. Our CSA partners can leverage this to offer monitoring packs that are ideal for a specific vertical that they are focused on.
You are not restricted to this service though. The Citrix Lifecycle Management platform seamlessly integrates with many of our technology partner solutions. You want proof? Take a look at the blueprints from our monitoring partners Xangati, ComTrade or EG Innovations in the blueprint catalog.
One of the key reasons for customers to leverage a public cloud is to be able to optimize costs for workloads with variable usage patterns. This brings a fresh set of challenges as you would need to be able to scale-up or scale-down the deployment based on load or other application specific metrics.
On public clouds, one has to integrate different services to achieve this. For example, on AWS, Cloud Watch service, auto-scale service and provisioning service have to be integrated to achieve this. As hard as this would be, it still only provides the ability to track infrastructure metrics. If you would like to scale the environment based on application specific metrics such as number of sessions or session performance etc. it would require further customization and complexity.
Citrix Lifecycle Management, again, vastly simplifies this by providing auto-scaling that’s built-in. In addition, apart from monitoring and auto-scaling, Lifecycle Management provides an array of services to comprehensively manage redundancy (auto-healing), disaster recovery etc. It even provides the ability to schedule operational tasks that can be done daily, weekly and monthly basis.
That’s just a fly-by view of how you can leverage Lifecycle Management to significantly lower the bar for public cloud adoption. I hope to delve deeper into each of these topics. Stay tuned!
Sounds too good to be true? Why don’t you give it a quick spin?
All the best,