Transitioning your Citrix XenMobile on-prem environment to Citrix Cloud XenMobile Service is not only something we recommend, we did it internally over a year ago!
Over the course of a three-part blog series, we will take a look the transition of the Citrix internal XenMobile environment to the cloud. First, we’ll look at the genesis of the decision to transition and the planning that went into it. Next, we’ll look at the transition effort and deployment considerations. Finally, we’ll look at the lessons learned from it and some of the ongoing operational activities.
Why the move?
Citrix IT Manager Lee Milligan reports that the goal of Citrix IT is to be “the first customer and best customer” for all Citrix products and XenMobile is no different, so the opportunity to transition to the cloud was something we wanted to do. At the same time, IT has been driving toward the goal of moving to the cloud to take advantages of the many benefits from reducing time spent on operations to rapid feature releases. Also, the XenMobile environment was on version 9 and moving to the cloud was the obvious choice to transition to version 10+ (XenMobile 9 End of Life is scheduled for the end of this quarter on June 30, 2017). Those reasons aside, there are many benefits to using XenMobile Service hosted in Citrix Cloud.
Citrix Cloud XenMobile Service
Some of the many benefits of XenMobile in the cloud include:
- Shares the same code base as XenMobile on-prem solutions
- New features and bug fix availability prior to before on-prem
- Common management dashboard alongside all Citrix Cloud services
- Assisted web-based on-boarding process can have the XenMobile service up and running in a matter of hours
- Refocus IT staff time on other projects with upgrades and many operational management tasks offloaded by Citrix Cloud Ops
- Peace of mind with 99.99% uptime SLA
- Reduced infrastructure to implement and maintain
- Predictable budget with elastic pay-as-you-go SaaS subscription (Opex vs. Capex)
- Reduced subscription cost when Citrix services are packaged together
Making the move to the cloud does take planning. Lauren Tobon, Lead Organizational Readiness Analyst at Citrix, led change management for the transition. A few tips she shared from the project include that it was important to communication with all stakeholders throughout the transition process, to setup a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environment, and to gather and utilize UAT feedback prior to beginning the transition.
- Executive sponsor – enlist an executive that will “champion” the project and initiate communication to employees highlighting the benefits of the cloud, and encouraging them to follow the requested transition steps in a timely fashion
- Promote – advertise the move dates along with links to training guides on frequently asked questions such has how to un-enroll, upgrade platform OS (iOS, Android, etc.), or re-enroll (iOS, Android, etc.)
- Feedback – host a location to gather user feedback during User Acceptance Testing and the launch transition period. Citrix used our flexible project management tool Podio.
XenMobile Admins who manage an On-prem environment will find transitioning to the cloud intuitive, never the less there’s plenty of transition help available to those that need it:
- Utilize the XenMobile Rapid Deployment Team for help setting up your NetScaler Gateway
- Transitioning Your Legacy XenMobile 9 On-Premises Deployment to Citrix Cloud
- Transitioning Your XenMobile 10 On-Premises Deployment to Citrix Cloud
- Citrix Cloud Adoption Services to the rescue (talk to your account team about how they may aide your transition)
- The $$$ savings of transitioning XenMobile On-prem to the cloud
Below is a snippet of a communication requesting UAT participants (note that “Worx” Apps have been renamed and are now called XenMobile Apps, Worx Home is called Secure Hub, WorxMail is called Secure Mail, WorxWeb is called Secure Hub and XenMobile in Citrix Cloud is called “XenMobile Service”)
Some of the lessons learned from user feedback obtained during UAT included:
- Maintain parity in feature settings between On-prem and the cloud to avoid confusion
- Provide users with a means of providing feedback and request features or settings
- Utilize public app store apps for faster installation and ease of management
- Encourage users to upgrade their mobile device OS to the latest version and thereafter install the latest version of Secure Hub
- Ensure users have access to the same sites with Secure Web that they had On-Prem
- Prior to the start of production transition notify users of any outstanding “known issues” discovered during UAT and their workarounds if applicable
In the blog we highlighted some of the benefits of moving to XenMobile Service in Citrix Cloud and reviewed some of the key steps in the planning effort that went into that transition including good communication and thorough user acceptance testing. In the next blog we’ll look at lessons learned from the actual deployment including how Citrix IT benefited from many of the same tools available to customers including XenMobile Analyzer Tool, XenMobile Deployment Handbook, and Citrix Consulting.