If you think back how managing a Citrix environment used to be about 10 years ago, a typical Citrix administrator had one product to worry about – Metaframe/Presentation Server. Even with that single product, administrators found it difficult to maintain Citrix environments due to the effort it required. Fast forward to 2015 and now the infrastructure supporting our Mobile Workspaces has many moving parts (XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, Sharefile, Netscaler). Planning and completing infrastructure upgrades in large organizations can take months and sometimes years.
Wouldnt it be nice if someone could magically make all of the Citrix infrastructure a black box so to speak that you didnt have to worry about so your valuable resources can start focusing on the things that mattered to the business as opposed to working on mundane operational tasks. In addition, wouldnt it be nice to always be evergreen and have the latest and greatest features at your disposal as opposed to waiting and figuring out how to upgrade your environment. These challenges are exactly what Citrix plans on solving with Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC).
CWC is a hosted control plane that is fully supported end to end by Citrix. It includes all the infrastructure components required to deliver a mobile workspace to the end user. An IT admin would be able to launch a web based management console and provision a workspace that encompasses windows apps, mobile apps, windows desktops, data and manage their mobile devices all from a single pane of glass. The customer would still maintain the supporting infrastructure such as Active Directory, DNS etc thereby maintaining the security boundary that most require. Additionally there is no requirement for a VPN tunnel between the Citrix Control Plane and the customer’s data center. Instead the Workspace Cloud Connector is installed on a Windows server in the customer data center that communicates via SSL with the Citrix Control Plane. Citrix will also handle lifecycle management which will help customers automate the entire infrastructure deployment by providing you blueprints that follow industry best practices. The solution will also include end to end monitoring capabilities for your infrastructure and provide you true visibility into how resources are being consumed.
CWC makes total sense for an SMB customer or a mid-market customer with limited resources to administer their IT environment and probably have limited infrastructure to host these solutions. Such customers typically prefer an on demand hosted model where they pay based on consumption, which is exactly what CWC is! But how about Enterprise customers who have large dedicated Citrix teams who have very defined processes and workflows. I would argue that there is a place for CWC even in that space. Most enterprise customers have multiple Citrix farms/sites, some of mine having upwards of 30 XA/XD farms/sites. Now if you want to design a totally redundant and highly available infrastructure, think of the number of servers involved and the operational challenges on a month to month basis. With CWC the IT organization would be able to reduce their data center footprint and reduce OpX significantly.
CWC can also be looked at as a great DR solution. Many of my customers today spend millions on hot standy DR data centers that are rarely actually utilized. What if you could setup the barebones DR infrastructure leveraging CWC and then spin up additional capacity only in a true DR scenario. This could lead to significant CapX and OpX savings.
I have always been a proponent of new technology solutions, but only when it makes business sense to my customers. I believe CWC is promising in that regard and for that reason I am truly excited for what the future holds!
If you plan on attending Citrix Synergy 2015, be sure to take a look at my recommended sessions this year. There are some great sessions by Joe Vaccarro, Harsh Gupta and the rest of the CWC team covering the solution in depth. Watch out for some awesome announcements too!!!