As we all know by now Citrix has gone cloud with loads of product announcements in the last year. Finding out what each of those products do and how they relate to each other is still a bit vague. What we have seen at Synergy San Fransisco is that Citrix is trying to integrate everything, which is cool but I needed more detail on what all these components actually are all about.
So I went on a quest, the quest for finding the way in the huge Citrix Cloud products portfolio. The results are in this article.
First we need to start with which products I was able to dig up from the Citrix website and announcements.
The mystery of the missing use case for stateful VDI
Since I started doing VDI projects a couple of years ago on each project I run into cases where certain user groups demand a personal stateful VDI desktop. I have heard lots of reasons, the problem is that I haven’t heard a single good one yet!
The first thing I run into is that customers want to squeeze all of their users onto VDI while most of the times 80% of the users will have the same experience on a RDS desktop. Would we ever think of letting a user install his own applications on a RDS desktop?? I don’t think so!
So what about the 20% of the users that actually need a VDI desktop? Do they also need to install their own applications? I would say no but let’s look at some of the use cases users think of.
Citrix Cloud Gateway Express (CG Express) StoreFront is a new product and will be completely replacing the Citrix Web Interface and its functionality somewhere near 2015.
If you are, just like I was, thinking that this is just another update with a new marketing name you are seriously underestimating what Citrix has done here. Of course on a functional level it will do the same as the Web Interface, offer a portal for access to XenApp and XenDesktop resources, however the way in which Citrix is doing this is completely different and way more Enterprise ready then what we have seen before with the Web Interface.
What I like most of all is that there seems to be a vision behind the way the management consoles are designed. There is a familiar feeling in regard to the XD 5 Desktop Studio when I use the CG Express console. The modular design in XD 5 where we first configure a host connection which we can then use for a Machine Catalog which itself can be used in a Desktop Group looks a lot like the store –> Web Store > Gateway idea of the CG Express.
I really hope we will see more of this in future product releases like the next XenApp version.
In Barcelona during Synergy Citrix was talking a lot about making it simpler not only to use it but also easier to manage. I believe that with the CG Express Citrix has done exactly this, it’s much simpler to use and manage but also it scales much better in an Enterprise environment than before with the Citrix Web Interface!
Continue reading to see how I came to my conclusion.
Let’s start with explaining the somewhat confusing naming conventions you will find in the documentation regarding Citrix CloudGateway. When you look at the Citrix product pages Citrix refers to the names Cloud Gateway Express and Cloud Gateway Enterprise. When you dig only a little bit deeper suddenly they start talking about stuff like “Storefront Services” and “AppController”. To make it even more confusing, in some docs you will find all the names mixed and matched.
Let’s start with making things simple and short
- Citrix CloudGateway Express comprises of two components 1. Storefront Services and 2. Gateway Services
- Citrix CloudGateway Enterprise comprises of three components 1. Storefront Services, 2. Gateway Services and 3. AppController
When you go to the download page of the Citrix Cloud Gateway Express you are actually downloading the Storefron Services component, when you go to the Cloud Gateway Enterprise page you download the AppController.
Over the last few years we have worked with a lot of customers and partners who use(d) Citrix products like Citrix XenApp. Not all of them are, to say the least, “happy” with it. My article focuses on “how did that happen?”.
It all started some years ago with Presentation Server nowadays called Citrix XenApp. We have heard them all “Citrix XenApp is slow”, “Citrix XenApp is unstable”, Citrix XenApp is hard to use and one of the best “don’t virtualize your Citrix XenApp servers”.
I will not go in to details about all of the issues customers are experiencing because this article would end up as a book. What I want to focus on is the big picture.
This article has been updated with a 2013 revision.
Earlier this year Daniel Feller wrote a great blog article on how to choose between PVS or MCS . This article can be found here.
With the release of the XenServer Intellicache feature and Provisioning Services 6.0 the question is “Is the decision tree still valid”?
This is what I will try to answer in this article.