The Citrix and Microsoft partnership is expanding into new territory to meet the demands of today’s enterprise IT. This blog post specifically focuses on a new Citrix Cloud service we are developing in conjunction with Microsoft targeted at delivering Windows 10 virtual desktops on Azure.

This new service will be unlike any other cloud offering, as it will simplify the provisioning and management of Windows 10 by leveraging the capabilities of industry-leading XenDesktop technology. To understand why this is such an important initiative for Citrix and Microsoft partners and customers, let’s start at the very beginning.

At Citrix Synergy in May 2016, Microsoft’s Brad Anderson joined our own Bill Burley on stage during the Day 2 Keynote to announce plans to work together to help customers embrace our integrated cloud and mobility solutions. The big news regarding Windows 10 is that Microsoft announced that they will enable customers with Windows Software Assurance on a per-user basis the option to host Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business images on Azure.

Windows 10 Enterprise CBB:
The First Desktop Operating System Supported on a Public Cloud

There are two key elements to note from this announcement. First, while there are public cloud offerings for virtual Windows desktops today, these Windows desktops are typically a beefier server operating system, not a lean desktop operating system. For example, you get a Windows Server 2012R2 virtual server instance as your virtual desktop, not a Windows 7 desktop. Windows 10 Enterprise CBB will be the very first desktop operating system to be supported on a public cloud, which will be limited to Azure.

It’s also important to note that only qualified Microsoft Software Assurance/Enterprise Agreement customers will qualify to run Windows 10 on Azure. Microsoft and Citrix partners and customers need to understand the details. At Microsoft World Partner Conference this week in the Citrix booth 1434 we will be spreading the news and providing details.

Citrix Cloud XenDesktop Service Supports Azure Resource Manager

Secondly, Microsoft announced that this historic change will be available later this year. Because of the expected demand and need for massive scale Microsoft reached out to Citrix to develop a Citrix Cloud service based on XenDesktop to simplify Windows 10 migrations, deployments, ongoing management and deliver a high definition Windows 10 experience on any device.

Since the Citrix Synergy announcements in May, Citrix and Microsoft have been working closely together to develop this new Citrix Cloud service specifically designed for Windows 10 on Azure and we wanted to give you an update on that joint development effort. Together, we have achieved our first major milestone which was optimizing the XenDesktop and XenApp service on Citrix Cloud for Azure Resource Manager (ARM).

Now that the Citrix Cloud XenDesktop service supports Azure Resource Manager, you can provision, de-provision and power-manage virtual desktops like Windows 10 hosted on Azure right from the Citrix Studio console. This major integration point means that Windows 10 migration just got a lot easier since you will be able to manage all your Windows 10 virtual desktop instances along with the associated access policies and user assignments all from a single console. After accomplishing this major milestone, all efforts are now largely focused on integrating the new Citrix Cloud service with Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

Purchase, configure and deploy Windows 10 on Azure

Our goal is to fully integrate our new Citrix Cloud service with the Microsoft Azure Marketplace to enable Windows Software Assurance customers to purchase, configure and deploy Windows 10 on Azure using the new Citrix Cloud service. We have been working closely with the Microsoft Azure Marketplace team to bring you this integrated purchasing and deployment experience.

That’s why at the Microsoft World Partner Conference we are meeting with Microsoft and Citrix partners giving them all the latest information and details on Windows 10 as a cloud service. We will be giving several short presentations on the upcoming service for Windows 10 virtual desktops on Azure, provisioned and managed by XenDesktop.

If you are attending the Microsoft World Partner Conference, please come by booth 1434 and share your feedback.

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