Azure Virtual Desktop e-book

Set your hybrid workforce up for success with virtual desktop infrastructure on Azure

Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be complex. With Citrix Workspace and Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop, it’s easy

Are you looking for an easy way support secure hybrid work? With Citrix Workspace and Azure Virtual Desktop, you can. Together, Citrix and Microsoft are redefining what it means to create a modern digital workspace experience. Which means it’s easier than ever to deliver apps and desktops from the cloud—simply, securely, and at the pace that works best for your business.

01

Accelerate your cloud journey with Azure Virtual Desktop

If your business is in the midst of fast-paced digital transformation initiatives, you’re far from alone. Organizations of all sizes have been turning to Azure to meet rising work-from-home needs, leading Microsoft's cloud services to grow an astounding 50% in a single quarter1.  Research shows the rate at which companies are developing digitally-enhanced offerings has sped up an astounding seven years2,  and that IT decision makers expect as little as 22% of workloads to continue residing on premises—a significant drop from the pre-pandemic average of 35%3.  Add in the fact that eight in ten companies plan to embrace hybrid work models moving forward,4  and the need to quickly provide secure digital workspace experiences becomes even more acute. 

No matter where your organization stands today, the implications for tomorrow are the same: The future of app and desktop delivery is in the cloud. And the time to initiate your move is now. 

So, how can you ensure the transition will be a smooth one? That’s where Citrix Workspace and Azure Virtual Desktop come in.

While it can be tempting to approach the planning process from an “Azure Virtual Desktop vs Citrix” perspective, it’s important to understand that the two in fact go hand-in-hand. Citrix Workspace lets you unlock the full potential of your Azure Virtual Desktop licensing for all kinds of user scenarios. Whether you’re supporting seasonal staff and contractors, getting ready for a merger or acquisition, or simply preparing for new hybrid work policies, Citrix makes it easy to meet business needs quickly and securely.

02

Why deploy Azure Virtual Desktop with Citrix Workspace?

Moving to the cloud has traditionally been viewed as a major initiative with lots of moving parts. From desktop reimaging and automated deployments to server-based remote desktops and virtual applications, it's been quite an evolution. And now, things are changing yet again. Just as on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) was once a major driver of IT change, cloud-hosted virtual apps and desktops offer exciting new benefits in scale, cost, and security.

For example, Azure Virtual Desktop services can position you to:

Increase ROI.

While CAPEX-driven infrastructure often has its benefits, this approach can limit your ability to scale as the business grows. On-premises VDI requires purchasing and maintaining servers, hypervisors, networking, storage, and images, all of which can limit your ability to quickly respond to spikes in demand or new use cases. For those scenarios, cloud VDI can be especially valuable. With virtual desktop infrastructure on Azure, you can add new workloads any time new needs arise—without having to increase spending on hardware, datacenter space, endpoints, and other IT equipment.

Simplify capacity planning.

Unlike on-premises deployments, cloud-hosted desktops are designed for time and cost-efficient scaling. Real-time provisioning tools allow IT to be prepared for capacity bursts and long-term growth without costly over- or under-provisioning of infrastructure hardware. With the latest developments in cloud desktops, processes that once spanned weeks or months can now be achieved in a matter of minutes.

Improve the user experience.

Inadequate infrastructure, network, and performance planning doesn’t just impact ROI and scalability. These issues can also lead to slow logins, sluggish apps, choppy videos, and an overall subpar end user experience that negatively impacts productivity. With the modern digital workspace experience, you can rest assured your key infrastructure components are always up to date. Users have consistent access to high-performance apps across devices, without disruptions from downtimes.

By combining your Azure Virtual Desktop deployment with a modern digital workspace experience, you can ensure your organization will be positioned to take advantage of these benefits and many others.

Together, Azure Virtual Desktop and Citrix Workspace help make cloud desktop management more secure, flexible, and efficient than ever. Here’s how:

  • Moving your virtual desktop environment from the datacenter to the cloud starts with Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly Windows Virtual Desktop), a Microsoft 365 entitlement that allows organizations to enable secure remote work.
  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service provides a rich administration layer to Azure Virtual Desktop, giving IT the flexibility to deliver any app or desktop—Windows, Linux, web, or SaaS.
  • At the top of the stack is Citrix Workspace, which brings specialized high-definition technology and a unified, intelligent experience to your users.

These solutions come together for increased security, superior performance, and a better user experience—all while simplifying management and reducing total costs.

03

The top 5 benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop services with Citrix

Here are five ways deploying Azure Virtual Desktop with Citrix helps accelerate digital transformation:

1. Hybrid and multi-cloud deployment options let you leverage existing datacenter investments alongside new Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines—available only with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service.

2. Flexible IT management makes it easy to burst to cloud as needed and then spin back down when it’s time to maximize current datacenter investments. And if you have existing Azure Virtual Desktop licensing entitlements, you can use those credits to reduce your overall costs.

3. Cloud-based deployment tools increase the speed at which services can be deployed, allowing you to meet emerging business needs in minutes or hours instead of weeks or months.

4. Adaptive security and performance settings are automatically applied both in Azure and on-premises, ensuring your environment stays secure and the user experience is reliable—no manual updates and patches needed.

5. Dynamic workload management tools let you balance on-premises and cloud deployments to optimize operating expenses, with options to unlock up to 70% savings with Citrix cloud services on Azure.
 

 

How much can you save with Citrix? Find out with the Azure Virtual Desktop Calculator

See how much you can save (and gain) by running Azure Virtual within your Citrix environment.

04

How to make the most of your Azure Virtual Desktop deployment

 

1. Modernize IT while transitioning at the pace that works best for your business

Most businesses have existing on-premises application and desktop investments, including app virtualization and VDI, which means transitioning everything to a cloud-only model all at once may be inefficient. But while your desktops and apps aren’t in one place, managing them can be.

With a hybrid cloud strategy, you can transition virtual apps and desktops to the cloud at the pace that works best for your business while leveraging existing investments along the way. This middle-ground approach allows you to source applications, services, and desktop workloads incrementally, rather than being forced into an all-at-once cloud assimilation. That’s why Citrix Workspace allows you to fully support Windows Enterprise 10 multi-session desktops—available only as part of Azure Virtual Desktop—while maintaining on-premises investments, resources, and policies. 

Because Citrix provides full hybrid-cloud management of Azure Virtual Desktop workloads alongside on-premises or existing cloud VDI deployments, taking the hybrid cloud road can be highly effective. You get full cloud management of all virtual apps and desktops whether they’re on-premises or in Azure. Administrators can manage multiple environments from Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service to support different user needs or data types. And advanced Citrix tools such as image management, application layering, and advanced analytics can also be used for Azure Virtual Desktop.

This unique hybrid management approach equips you with all kinds of advantages, including the ability to:

  • Automate scaling and provisioning
  • Optimize app and desktop performance
  • Gain real-time insights with end-to-end visibility
  • Improve login speeds
  • Centralize image and profile management

2. Set the stage to support secure distributed work

From business continuity and disaster recovery to new hybrid work models, there will be plenty of instances where fast, secure rollouts are essential. Citrix Workspace with Azure Virtual Desktop is ideal for modernizing the workplace and solving both short and long-term business requirements. For example, with Citrix Workspace and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service, you can:

  • Increase business agility. These days, the ability to roll out new deployments in hours or days, instead of weeks or months, can be the difference between a company that thrives and one that stalls. Whether driven by seasonal staff, contractors, mergers, or an increasingly remote workforce, agility is key. Being able to deploy virtual apps and desktops to workers without the complexities and costs of traditional desktop management can help ensure your organization stays competitive.
  • Create an effective business continuity plan. With Citrix Workspace and Azure Virtual Desktop, you can easily create a business continuity plan that establishes remote work as the norm—not the exception—and easily allow employees to work from any location.
  • Increase security and compliance. With Citrix Workspace, you can keep company data protected without stifling employee productivity. Apps are secured, passwords are protected, and real-time visibility into user behavior lets you find and stop threats faster. In addition, centralized control of data makes it easier to comply with regulatory laws and policies.
  • Unlock cost savings. With Citrix, there’s more to Azure Virtual Desktop pricing than meets the eye. By taking advantage of license entitlements, Citrix Autoscale options, and other features, you can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in ROI—all while deploying workloads up to 4x faster.

3. Meet the demands of your modern hybrid workforce to boost productivity

While Azure Virtual Desktop can go a long way in ensuring employees have fast one-click access to apps and desktops from anywhere, the advantages of Citrix Workspace are even bigger. Your users benefit from an adaptive digital workspace that’s personalized to each individual employee. Daily tasks are organized into simple, time-saving workflows, and people are empowered to focus on work that matters.

And they can do it all in a high-performing environment optimized for productivity.

To understand how big a difference that can make, consider what’s happening with unified communication platforms. As organizations seek the best ways to support secure flexible work, many are making Microsoft 365 cloud migrations a top priority. Driven by the 2020 pandemic, for example, Microsoft Teams usage soared from 32 million5  to 115 million daily active users. Employees around the world generated more than 30 billion collaboration minutes in a single day as people communicated, collaborated, and co-authored content.6 

Now that 90% of employees prefer flexible work,7  that virtual collaboration is here for the long haul. But to be effective, a reliable experience is critical. You need to ensure the virtual experience is as natural and friction-free as meeting in person. Dropped calls, buffering video, and lagging apps simply won’t be tolerated.

Azure Virtual Desktop with Citrix Workspace solves this issue by creating the most complete, full-fidelity Microsoft 365 app experience. Citrix optimizes Microsoft Teams with specialized HDX technology for clear, crisp, high-definition voice and video calls, allowing employees to collaborate securely from any location with any Windows-enabled device. And that high-definition experience isn’t limited to just Microsoft 365. Other apps—Windows, Linux, web, or SaaS—gain the same benefits of an improved employee experience along with the security and scalability offered by Citrix Workspace.
 

05

Choosing the best Azure Virtual Desktop deployment for your business

Ready to take the next step in your journey to the cloud? Citrix and Microsoft are committed to making hybrid cloud strategies a reality for businesses of all sizes. Together, Citrix Workspace and Azure Virtual Desktop can help speed your adoption of digital workspaces to enable greater business agility, employee productivity, and security. Best of all, you decide which deployment option works best for your organization.

Need to move quickly? For the fastest, easiest way to deploy cloud desktops, there’s Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Standard—a turnkey DaaS solution that lets you roll out fully managed apps and desktops in minutes.

Looking for advanced capabilities? Organizations in need of robust hybrid cloud support can leverage the Premium edition of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service to open up a wide range of options. You can use public cloud providers like Google Cloud and AWS, or add Citrix Managed capacity to burst to the cloud quickly.

Ready for an all-in-one workspace solution?  Citrix Workspace Premium Plus provides the most comprehensive digital workspace experience for all your resources.

No matter what you choose, Citrix will help move your apps and desktops to the cloud in the way that’s right for you.

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WHITE PAPER

Business value and cost savings analysis of a modern cloud deployment

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SOLUTION BRIEF

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is the best way to manage Azure Virtual Desktop

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CALCULATOR

Unlock cost savings with Citrix and Azure Virtual Desktop

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