Have a XenMobile deployment on premises today that you are thinking about consuming as a service? Or maybe you are planning your brand-new XenMobile deployment and are torn about whether to deploy on-prem or consume XenMobile Service as part of Citrix Cloud? You certainly aren’t alone and the decision can be a daunting one.
The XenMobile Service offers a number of great advantages, including reduced infrastructure overhead, simplified administration (Citrix owns all XenMobile Server patching), and the dependability that comes with regimented and repeatable deployment architectures that are characteristic of cloud services. Maybe you operate in an environment that seems to attract every software gremlin out there. With the XenMobile Cloud Service, that becomes much less of a concern.
On the other hand, many of our customers still have much more established standards for on-prem deployments, and/or may like the degree of control associated with managing their own upgrade timelines. For them, the on-prem route feels like the path of least resistance. Even with that in mind, because of the advantages the cloud service has to offer, for the last 18-24 months we’ve been asking customers to really give the XenMobile Service a strong look. Based on a few recent announcements that you may have either seen or heard rumors about, there are now some even more compelling reasons.
The first is the one I’m most excited about. Many of my existing on-prem customers have been thinking about making the move to cloud for the last year or so, but the conversation always seems to stall in the same place: “I’ve got 3K, 5K, 12K (insert your favorite number here) devices enrolled. To move to the XenMobile Service, I’d have to re-enroll all of them, right?! I just can’t do that to my users.” Totally understandable. After all, at the end of the day, it all comes back to the users.
That big challenge was standing in our way…until now! With device re-enrollment no longer necessary, users don’t have to pay the price if you want to make the move to cloud, and even the administrative configurations can be replicated. The best part is, we have already successfully gone through the migration process from on-prem to XenMobile Service with a few customers.
You probably just went back and read that ‘no re-enrollment’ part twice like I did the first time I heard about it, but you read it right. You can migrate an existing on-prem XenMobile deployment to XenMobile Service WITHOUT re-enrolling users or reconfiguring all of your hard work. We also still have the option to create a new or parallel deployment like we always have, which is appropriate if you are either new to XenMobile, or would rather start from a clean slate and are willing to have your users (re-)enroll.
But if we can do this without re-enrollment, why even think about that parallel option? There are a few common reasons. First, some customers out there have lessons learned or adjustments they want to make based on their initial experiences on-prem, for example, implementing cert-based authentication, which requires re-enrollment anyway. Others just don’t like the idea of a “big bang” cutover unless they can thoroughly test beforehand and would rather more of a phased transition model. Those of you familiar with the XenMobile 9 to XenMobile 10 migration know how difficult that advanced testing can be, with XenMobile needing to maintain the same base enrollment URL for the old and new environments. During XenMobile 9 to XenMobile 10 migrations, we came up with some fairly intricate processes to work through that testing with a few customers, but we planned ahead this time. We now have an easier-to-use cloud-based DNS service that allows you to test drive your migration with a handful of devices to make sure everything is in working order before you pull the trigger.
There are a few prerequisites you’ll need to meet to be a candidate for this new path. For example, like any XenMobile Service customer, you will need to stand up a couple of Cloud Connectors; a .bacpac file will need to be created to export your existing SQL database; and you’ll have to know some of those initial PKI passwords you used during install. But for the most part, they are pretty manageable.
This is just a core overview of a new option we have at our disposal. Obviously, there are a few tips and tricks we have learned along the way, and a host of pros and cons to weigh before making a final decision, but I’d be here writing this blog all day if we tried to get into all of those pros and cons now!
Instead, you can gain more insight, learn what our recent announcements around XenMobile mean for you, and find out what you can do to prepare your environment for this new migration model by joining Steve Beals and me for a free webinar on January 18 at 9 AM or 2 PM EST. Similar to our previous TIPs events, there will be a live Q&A session at the end of the webinar so you can ask any question of us and one of our XenMobile Service product managers, who will also be joining in for the Q&A.
Hope to see you then,
Senior Architect, Citrix Consulting Services