What’s the deal with the Citrix Cloud?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Citrix Cloud

Chris Hahn and Sam Jacobs recently had some words about the Citrix Cloud.  Here’s a breakdown of what I learned from that conversation.


After training on Citrix cloud last week, focused on the Virtual Apps and Desktops service, here are some of my thoughts on the subject.   Currently it consists of cloud based delivery controllers along with cloud based versions of Netscaler and Storefront.  Citrix VDAs and Provisioning Servers (if using) would still be hosted in the customer’s datacenter and are not maintained by Citrix through the cloud offering.  The cloud based Netscaler and Citrix Workspace (Storefront Equivalent) are maintained by Citrix but you can still use and maintain your own existing Storefront and Netscaler servers if desired.  Citrix Cloud could be a good option for some clients, particularly those with smaller remote sites or DR sites where they may not want to maintain Controllers, Storefronts and Netscalers.

Benefits:

  • Cloud components are always up to date
  • No need for SQL Server or SQL replication for controller databases
  • Eventual cloud web management console will replace legacy MMC or Silverlight consoles for Studio, App-Layering, PVS etc..
  • On premise infrastructure swap is easy, you just replace the existing controllers with cloud connectors
  • Netscaler gateway service is geo-load balanced worldwide across 12 datacenters.  For customers with smaller remote sites they could implement VDAs in a remote site without any Netscaler, Storefront, Controllers or even firewall rules needed for the initial setup.  For remote access traffic is proxied from Netscaler gateway service through cloud controllers to VDA (or direct to VDA with latest VDA).
  • Customers with existing NS / Storefront could potentially have the Netscaler gateway service  / Cloud workspace as a backup login option instead of additional Netscaler hardware.

Disadvantages:

  • There aren’t any built in tools for migrating existing sites (if you know of any – please drop them in the comments)
  • Currently if using the Cloud Workspace / Netscaler Gateway Service the URL has to be  xxx.cloud.com
  • Two factor authentication options are extremely limited currently.  They support Azure AD / Microsoft MFA only.
  • Netscaler Gateway service is ICA proxy only, it does not replace any other Netscaler features

If you are interested in checking on the reliability of the Citrix Cloud, you can check out the Citrix Cloud Status Page, which in addition to the current status, gives you the historical status of the various cloud services.

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The cloud landscape is moving and changing fast.  Be sure to always read up or speak with people who are up on the subject.

- Carlo

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