Many of us remember when calling from a cloud would have meant you were one of the two or three passengers on a flight who actually used the Airfone® at $3.99 per call plus $4.99 per minute.

Times have changed! Today, calling from a cloud has a whole new meaning, with Skype for Business Online and Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop for Azure. Co-developed by Microsoft and Citrix, this unique solution brings not only telephony, but a full repertoire of Unified Communications features to the Azure cloud.

Citrix has been selected by Microsoft to deliver Windows 10 virtual desktops on Azure, as announced in May. This offering will use XenDesktop and our HDX technologies to provide a great experience to users on any device. And Microsoft announced that they will enable customers with Windows Software Assurance on a per-user basis with the option to host Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business images on Azure.

Additionally, Citrix XenApp has been chosen by Microsoft as the platform for the next generation of the Azure RemoteApp service. XenApp Express will build upon Microsoft’s vision of Azure RemoteApp by tapping industry-leading XenApp technology to provide additional management, user experience, and security features. And the XenApp and XenDesktop service in Citrix Cloud enables you to maintain complete control over policies, users and applications including the Skype for Business client.

These solutions will let you run the Skype for Business client from the Azure cloud—either as part of a Windows 10 virtual desktop or as an app delivered from the XenApp and XenDesktop service—and deliver it to users on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Dell Wyse ThinOS devices, with full audio-video functionality, including Cloud PBX features. And Skype for Business Online—delivered by Microsoft on Azure as part of Office 365—gives you all of the required infrastructure for Unified Communications with a per-user, per-month pricing model.

To achieve the highest possible audio-video quality, Citrix and Microsoft co-developed an architecture that optimally leverages the user’s device for encoding, decoding and media transmission. The HDX RealTime Media Engine, a plug-in to Citrix Receiver, supports the various codecs used by Skype for Business and negotiates network traversal, while the Skype for Business client on Azure handles authentication to Office 365 and initiation of real-time communications sessions.

Is your organization considering a move to the cloud? With the joint solutions coming from Citrix and Microsoft, you’ll be able to deliver the rich experience of Windows and Office 365 from Azure, including the advanced audio-video features of Skype for Business Online.

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