While a key objective for Citrix Cloud services is to remove complexity from secure app and data delivery, our customers who are migrating their workloads to the cloud want the same management options they have with their on-premises deployments. In order to manage the XenApp and XenDesktop Service within the Citrix Cloud, we wanted to offer cloud administrators the exact same options for managing their site as they have in an on-premises instance of Citrix Studio. When moving to the Citrix Cloud, all experience and certifications gained while administering an on-premises sites can be directly applied to the Citrix cloud services, which simplifies the cloud transition.
When creating a XenApp or XenDesktop site on-premises, the admin manages it via one of two methods:
- The Powershell SDK
- Citrix Studio
Daniel Seltzer has already talked about how we delivered the Remote Powershell SDK, a means of managing the cloud-hosted site with the same cmdlets as an on-premises instance. Today, I want to talk about how we deliver Citrix Studio to cloud administrators with the same interface they know and love.
Running a Windows application within a web browser
As a cloud service, our interface to administrators is the Citrix Cloud website. Therefore, the easiest way to deliver Studio would be through a webpage. Administrators can logon to Citrix Cloud with their Citrix.com MyAccount credentials and select the XenApp and XenDesktop Service. Once redirected, Studio will initiate single sign-on using the same MyAccount credentials and grant access to manage the site.
In order to render Studio for the browser, we turned to an existing Citrix solution; Citrix Receiver for HTML5. Studio is a Windows application that runs in the Microsoft Management Console. By installing the VDA on the same machine as Studio, we can launch Studio using XenApp and connect to it via an embedded Receiver.
In this way, we are using the XenApp VDA to connect a user with their application, exactly what it is designed to do! In order to handle the single sign-on (SSO), we have a separate service that can validate and translate the Citrix Cloud credentials into Windows credentials that authenticate the user to the cloud-hosted machine running Studio. In this way, several admins can manage the site at the same time because they are given separate user accounts and sessions. We can also reconnect an administrator to an existing session if they close or refresh the page, cutting down the time to connect.
How does it work?
- Get the ICA file to Receiver for HTML5
The first step is to get an ICA file, just like you would get when launching any other XenApp app. To do this the Citrix Cloud website first talks with our SSO Service to validate the Citrix Cloud credentials and exchanges them for Windows credentials. Then the SSO Service contacts XenApp to request a session launch for Studio via the Windows credentials and XenApp responses with the relevant ICA file.
- Launch the session using the ICA file
At this point Receiver for HTML5 takes over and begins a typical session launch. Studio runs under the Windows account determined by the SSO Service; this account has full administrator access to the site.
Result – Full Windows Studio in a Web Browser
Once this process completes, you end up with the full Windows Studio application running in any modern web browser:
Because Studio is running as a hosted application, the Citrix Cloud team has the capability to update it at any time with the newest features and enhancements. In the future we will be working to improve the Citrix Studio experience across both on-premises and Citrix Cloud deployments. Stay tuned!
Test drive Citrix Cloud today and experience the simplicity and value of Citrix Studio in any modern browser, from any location.