Citrix transitioned our own internal Citrix XenMobile on-prem environment to Citrix Cloud XenMobile Service over a year ago and learned several lessons during the deployment.
In the first article in this three-part series, we looked at the genesis of the decision to make the transition and the planning that went into it. In this second blog, we will look at the deployment or, in other words, the execution of the plan to transition. In the next, and final, post in the series, we’ll look at lessons learned from this process along with some of the ongoing operational activities.
An important aspect of the design was the selection and grouping of apps to transition from the on-prem environment. They included XenMobile apps, other public store apps, MDX wrapped apps, and virtual HDX apps. Many of the same categories utilized in the on-prem environment were reused in the cloud environment, all broken down into functional categories, some of which are shown below.
Key device polices were also migrated, including a terms and conditions policy to alert users of changes to their devices and to confirm agreement to those changes shown below. It calls out details including the Worx pin length required, the need for passcode protection, and the inactivity timer which defines the time in minutes that users can leave their devices inactive.
To support the migration, the Citrix team utilized the XenMobile Analyzer Tool. Analyzer is a powerful diagnostics tool hosted in Citrix cloud that is a great resource to identify issues during a migration. It also now includes scheduled health checks and provides a great way for administrators to ensure their XenMobile environment is operating at 100%. By using this feature, admins can be sure that when they enter the office in the morning they are not surprised by an issue with enrollment, etc.
Coming out of a period of successful user acceptance testing, Citrix IT was armed with good detailed feedback from users to enhance the front-end experience, which we outlined in the first blog. In parallel, they identified several updates to apply to the back-end based on design recommendations from the XenMobile Deployment Handbook.
A key area of the handbook that customers are encourages to review, to optimize their cloud environment, is the Authentication portion of the Design and Configure section. Here, you will find configuration guidance to select settings that ensure security posture is met while providing the best possible user experience. Recommendations for settings, like the “Inactivity Timer,” are provided and range from minimal security and limited user experience impact, to the highest security and more intrusive user experience.
Citrix XenMobile customers also have a variety of professional resources at their disposal to help with their transition (contact your Citrix account teams for more information):
- Citrix Consulting Services can evaluate the on-prem environment, suggest transition paths and review any potential limitations. Consulting Services offers some fixed price XenMobile Quick Start engagements as well as custom engagements.
- The Rapid Deployment Team will deploy new XenMobile instances leveraging the proven Citrix Cloud best practices, and will continue to work with customer teams until the XenMobile instance is provisioned, enterprise connectivity established, and the first test enrollments have been completed.
- The Citrix Cloud Adoption team will help manage the process with transition teams to ensure a smooth transition from your existing XenMobile On-prem environment to the new XenMobile cloud environment.
We pointed out in the first blog of this series that after the XenMobile Service environment was built, a group of users did acceptance testing for several months. Thereafter, while there was a “go live” date, when users could begin enrolling in the production environment, users were given a couple month to transition by design. Subsequently there were a variety of communications to ensure that users transitioned steadily and there were no surprises once the On-prem environment was finally decommissioned.
On the right, you see one such post titled “The Clock is Ticking,” and gave users a reminder of the benefits of the Citrix XenMobile cloud environment and at the same time promoted internal sessions to help users with the transition.
A great aspect of our cloud transition SKU is that you are given two years whereby your On-prem licenses remain active in parallel, so our customers also have the ability to coordinate phased live transitions from their XenMobile On-prem environments to their XenMobile Service environments in Citrix Cloud.
Some of the other key activities the Citrix team did to ensure a successful transition included:
- Encouraged users to upgrade their mobile devices to the latest platform OS prior to re-enrollment
- Supported and highlight the availability of MAM-only enrollment for users with privacy concerns
- Shared a list of known issues that were part of the latest product release or still under investigation from User Acceptance Testing
- Hosted a location where users could submit environment enhancement requests. IT used the flexible Citrix project tool Podio to host a site whereby users could readily post queries and receive feedback
In this post, we highlighted some of lessons learned through the deployment phase of the Citrix internal migration to XenMobile Service in Citrix Cloud. We also reviewed some of optimizations implemented and key activities that took place as part of the final push to transition all users to the XenMobile Service environment. In the next, and final blog post, we’ll look at lessons learned from the recent migration of XenMobile Apps to the public app stores, the use of the MDX Service for app wrapping hosted in Citrix Cloud, and share screen shots of the production XenMobile server dashboard.
And don’t forgot Citrix XenMobile 9 is scheduled for end of life on June 30, 2017!