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Posts Tagged ‘DaaS’

Citrix Lifecycle Management cloud service – is it something for you? YES! – #Citrix, #WorkSpaceCloud, #DaaS @EnvokeIT

I must admit that both Microsoft and Citrix are on the right track, it’s amazing to see the number of great “cloud” services that they now are releasing. If you’ve been reading my blog and follow me on Twitter then you know that I’m already a HUGE fan of Azure and all its offerings, and now Citrix comes up with a real interesting cloud based service to simplify the life-cycle management of their offerings, great job!

In this post we’re going to look at little closer to the Citrix Lifecycle Management service. So let’s start of with what it is, have a look at this great overview video:

Citrix Lifecycle Management is a comprehensive cloud-based lifecycle management solution to accelerate and simplify the design, deployment and ongoing management of Citrix workloads and enterprise applications.

Supporting many types of IT workloads across virtual and private or public cloud environments, this solution enables IT organizations to become faster, more cost-effective and more agile, and it helps maintain service quality and high availability with redundancy, automatic scaling and disaster recovery of applications. Built on blueprints incorporating validated reference architectures, configurations and best practices, Citrix Lifecycle Management provides a unified and standardized set of management tools for rapid and best practice-driven design, deployment and management of Citrix workloads and enterprise applications.

See this blog for a further explanation of Citrix Lifecycle Management.

Citrix Lifecycle Management is delivered as a cloud-based service through the newly launched Citrix Workspace Cloud.

The cloud service interacts with many types of supported Resource Locations that can be located either up in a public cloud service like Azure (that rocks!) or your on premise location and leveraging any of these technologies:

Citrix-lifecycle-Management-Resource-locations-support

Once that you’ve connected the service to one of your Resource Locations then you can really start to look at the process of deploying your services to it, here is a good overview of the process of deploying a blueprint:

Citrix-Lifecycle-Management-process-deploy-blueprint

As you can see the process is really straight forward, 1 connect to your Resource Location, 2 Add your blueprint and then as the 3rd step you Deploy it! Read more…

Finally – Citrix Workspace Cloud is GA! – #Citrix, #WorkSpaceCloud, #DaaS, #SaaS, @EnvokeIT

This is something that we at EnvokeIT have been trying out for quite a while and really enjoy, it’s a great service that will simplify a lot for many service providers and customers. Contact us at EnvokeIT if you have any questions or if you need assistance on your journey to the cloud!

Workspace-Cloud-Launch-300x183

Now your business can take advantage of Citrix Workspace Cloud, the fastest and easiest way for IT to enable business productivity with secure apps, data, device management and more.

I’m pleased to announce the general availability of Citrix Workspace Cloud, the industry’s simplest way to build and deliver a complete workspace without compromise.

Now, you can easily combine virtual apps and desktops, mobile apps and device policies and data – securely delivered from any cloud or infrastructure you choose – whether on-premises, off-premises or both in a hybrid model.

Workspace Cloud is Revolutionary

Over the past 18 months, the team has been busy engaging with customers, partners, industry analysts, media, Citrix Technology Professionals, ISVs and alliance partners around the world as we built Workspace Cloud.

The general reaction has been consistent: Workspace Cloud is unlike anything else and comprehensively addresses the biggest challenges in workspace management.

The cloud-based management and control plane accelerates deployments. The choice of infrastructure locations provides the flexibility partners and customer’s demand, and the comprehensive set of workspace services that are always up to date ensure you can meet the broad set of IT use cases.

A single unified, global, and multi-tenant SaaS platform to create complete workspaces

People do their best work when they have immediate access to their work resources – the people, apps, and files they need at any specific moment or context.

While other vendors offer a ‘workspace’ that is nothing more than virtual desktops offered in their own cloud, Workspace Cloud makes it easy to deliver a people-centric, modern workspace located on-premises, off-premises or both in a hybrid model.

Easily compose workspaces containing apps, desktops, mobile and data. Workspace management allows you to use existing corporate Active Directory domains to add, remove or change the resources from one place once and on-demand – everyone and every resource in the workspace is updated.

Stay in control and retain choice for your infrastructure and cloud selections

Want to run your contractor applications out of Amazon, your productivity apps in Azure to be near their Office 365 data, and desktops on-premises? No problem. Workspace Cloud provides the only solution that allows you to select the best infrastructure combinations based on economics, performance, existing capacity, sovereignty, and expertise. This means the selection can be made on a per-service basis. This choice extends not only to your applications and desktops, but also to your data.

Workspace Cloud accelerates deployment and management through a SaaS-based control plane and securely communicates with your infrastructure through a simple cloud connector. Driven by a simple stateless, zero-touch management architecture. After a simple installation the connector is ready to provision resources, enumerate users from Microsoft Active Directory domains, and launch session requests.

Comprehensive portfolio of workspace services available as a subscription

Workspace Cloud subscriptions contains services that address the core use cases customers face every day and are available today. Start with one offering but easily add more based upon your expanding business needs.

The core services we’re announcing today include:

  • Applications and Desktops Service – Deliver secure virtual apps and desktops to any device, and leave the product installation, setup, configuration, upgrades and monitoring to Citrix based on industry-leading XenApp and XenDesktop technology.
  • Mobility Service – Provide cloud-based, comprehensive enterprise mobility management (EMM) — including mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management, and enterprise-grade productivity apps — for a secure user experience on BYOD or corporate devices based on XenMobile technology.
  • Secure Document Service – Meet the mobility and collaboration needs of employees and the data security requirements of the enterprise with this secure enterprise file sync and sharing service based on ShareFile technology.
  • Lifecycle Management Service – Accelerate and automate the design, deployment, and ongoing management of Citrix enterprise workloads with comprehensive lifecycle management. The service provides standardized, repeatable automation technology with a catalog of blueprints – assembled scripts that capture configurations, settings and other complex details into a single repeatable solution. Read more about this new technology here.

Continue reading more here!

//Richard

See how Citrix XenDesktop for Linux looks – #Citrix, #XenDesktop, #Linux, #EnvokeIT, #BYOD, #DaaS

June 4, 2015 1 comment

This is one of the coolest things a part from the Workspace Cloud service that Citrix is working on. I’ve had the pleassure of trying this out and we at EnvokeIT have been doing a lot of tests of this Linux VDA tech preview.

Isn’t it great that both Microsoft and Citrix now seem to love Linux 🙂   (and yes, I manipulated these images so it’s not an official Citrix statement!)Richard_happy_when_Microsoft_and_Citrix_Loves_Linux

So this little blog post is just going to show of the capabilities and how nicely this integrates with the Citrix XenDesktop architecture. First of all I’d like to say thanks to my colleagues Björn Bekkouche and Peter Smali for letting me use their lab environment!

Before we get into showing how it works and looks I must just highlight that if you have any questions about how we can assist you to deliver Linux-based Terminal Servers or VDI’s to remote users in a secure and optimal just contact us at EnvokeIT here or pop me an email: richard at envokeit.com.

This is great for all of you with Developers on Linux! Have them code from anywhere in a secure manner! They can run their Linux VDA in your datacenter, connect to it from an Receiver compliant device and code from them and you have your intellectual property secured internally instead of having them checking out Git repositories to their local devices etc.!

So what is XenDesktop for Linux? Well, to answer that really simple I assume that you have some basic knowledge of the Citrix XenDesktop architecture.. if you don’t then please read up on that a little before continue reading, one really good contribution to bulding your architecture is described in this Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook or this Citrix XenDesktop – Blueprint. These contains a lot of valuable information that you shall think of and how to configure the environment to fulfill you use cases.

But overall think of the XenDesktop architecture of something like the following pictures (click to enlarge them). The first one shows the new model where we could run and take care of the VDA’s ourselves on-premise but leverage the Workspace Cloud service from Citrix so that we don’t anymore have to bother about the XenDesktop infrastructure components and the life-cycle management etc. of those. The second one is the more overall traditional architecture overview that you’d see of the different layers.

Apps-Service-Overview

XenDesktop_overview_architecture

And as you see above this details the standard architecture wher you would have your Server or Desktop VDA’s in the resource layer hosting the desktops for your users to connect to, but they have all been Windows-based up until now!

Now with the Tech Preview we can actually install the Linux-based VDA on a Red Hat or Suse machine and access that through the SAME Delivery Controllers and StoreFront stores that also manage our Windows-based VDA’s.

And this is awesome! 🙂 We can leverage the already existing Windows-based architecture to just “hook in” our Linux-desktops as well and get users to conect through Receiver for Web, Receiver and even through the NetScalers if you need (works like a charm!!).

So as you can see here we have a nice little landing page for our entry points that are running different versions and access different environments etc.

EnvokeIT_Access_Portal

So we have Peters entry point running one NetScaler version and theme: Read more…

#Citrix Workspace Cloud Setup on Microsoft #Azure – #EnvokeIT, #DaaS, #XenDesktop, #NetScaler

This is just so cool and great! Finally we who have seen and played with it can talk about it in the open and Citrix is showing the new Workspace Cloud services!

You can also login and try it out at http://workspace.cloud.com

Of course it’s not 100% ready for all use cases etc. but the concept is just great! There are so many customer out there that don’t want to manage their XenDesktop infrastructure components and just want to purchase XenDesktop or XenMobile like a true cloud service.. and this is it!

Gunner Berger created this great demo video on how he just spins up a couple of Windows server with RDS in Azure and then installs the components on the servers and connector in order to be able to connect the domain and workers to the Workspace service, really cool!

Have a nice weekend and contact us at EnvokeIT if you like to know more about this or if you need help with Azure, Office365, Microsoft Infrastructure or Citrix XenDesktop, NetScaler or XenMobile! 😉

//Richard

Which #DaaS architecture is right? – #Azure, #RemoteApp, #Microsoft, #Citrix, #Workspace

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

I really feel for you Solution Architects out there that have to struggle with how to revamp your companies or customers Hosted Desktop/App services. They may be provided by a service provider today, or you do it yourself on-premise and manage them, or you’ve already taken the step to purchase it as a true DaaS/SaaS service from a public cloud provider. Today the options are many, and too many if you add all the hosting models and the technology options you have. From a business perspective you’re getting the heat to deliver something with the word “cloud” in it just because it’s hot, and management then expect that TCO is sooooo low and that you have now problems in delivering at all within a couple of weeks and you can scale up and down without any issues at all from a financial or technical perspective… 😉

Often you also don’t even have the business, security, functional or technical requirements either so you’re supposed to come with the magic solution that fits all needs! 😉

My personal view is also that some of our vendors/partners out there don’t seem to have one (1) clear strategy either (at least not officially).

Some are building and providing their own “cloud architecture” models for DaaS for partners to build on (VMware, Citrix, Microsoft etc.), and then they also are providing specific models for certain partners as well that run on top of other cloud solutions, like Citrix Service Provider (CSP) offerings on Azure or on-premise. As a partner to these companies you also are in a tough spot, are you to partner with them and deliver their technology on your infrastructure, or shall you wait until they deliver a fully working public cloud offering (like WorkSpace Services) and then add your added value on top of that? Options are many and I don’t think that Citrix has given their whole story yet, I still think that they business wise need to go where Microsoft is going by providing a DaaS service by themselves directly to customers and thereby also “cut” the partner network out because once the technology and self-service becomes to easy then what shall they add as value then? There will always be customers that wants help to onboard, operate etc. of course but this will be another type of service and many Citrix and Microsoft partners need to be become more solution focused and get away from the SME space and deliver integration and more IT management consulting skill sets instead.

But let’s get back to more technology…

I’ve been kind of waiting to get some time over to test the RemoteApp service in Azure. I personally think that this is the future and they way that many small to medium size business fairly short shall start to look at. Not all of these companies have the skill set or financials to look at building a good Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings of Windows applications internally. I’m a bit annoyed though that out of the box there isn’t any Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering and that it’s still just the RDS/Hosted Shared Desktop model that is provided. A real Hosted Virtual Desktop or VDI offering would be nice and a license model that goes with it from Microsoft.

There are today so many different options that companies that want to provide or consume a DaaS service can leverage today, Citrix Service Providers have all of their options in terms of technology stacks (CloudStack, CloudPlatform, CSP for Azure, App Orchestration 2.5, Microsoft System Center, Azure Pack and all options that are out there)… but which one shall/can you select? And what if you’re NOT a Citrix service provider and have a huge datacenter and haven’t already done your CAPEX investments around compute, network and storage etc..? Where do you then turn?

I think that here is where RemoteApp and a future Workplace Services offerings with Citrix on top would be great! You as a customer can turn to a partner/consultant company to get guidance and assess all your requirements and then easily be provisioned an environment that is of the “standard cloud offering” or get a customised one tailored specifically for your needs.

Like in my little demo scenario here I provisioned a fully functional RemoteApp environment that hosted all of the Microsoft Office 2013 apps that I use and also got a lot of storage at the same time… in almost no time at all!

Azure RemoteApp helps employees stay productive anywhere, and on a variety of devices – Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, or Android. Your company’s applications run on Windows Server in the Azure cloud, where they’re easier to scale and update. Users can access their applications remotely from their Internet-connected laptop, tablet, or phone. While appearing to run on the users’ local device, the applications are centralized on Azure’s protected, reliable platform.

Azure RemoteApp combines Windows application experiences with the powerful capabilities of Remote Desktop Services on Microsoft Azure – the cloud for modern business.

I also like the licensing model:

  • Azure RemoteApp is priced per user and is billed on a monthly basis.
  • The service is offered in two tiers: Basic and Standard. Basic is designed for lighter weight applications (e.g. for task workers). Standard is designed for information workers to run productivity applications.
  • Pricing: Each service has a starting price per user that includes 40 hours of service per user. Thereafter, a per hour charge is applied for each user hour up to a capped price per user. You will not pay for any additional usage beyond the capped price in a given month.
This means that you’ll get Office 2013 managed for standard information workers of a max price of 23 USD/month including management of the RDS Image and Office etc. and it also includes user data storage. Then you could of course also upload your own image with your apps as well and publish. Pretty good price model and will be interesting to see if this is what we will deliver in the future for all small/medium size companies instead.
As a comparison you can compare RemoteApp pricing then with the example if you would build your own RDS environment in Azure according to the following good guidelines: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/azure/dn451351.aspx
A little follow up TCO example below. This Azure hosted RDS example would give the 25 user company a dedicated RDS solution in Azure for 27 USD/month from a CAPEX perspective (HW + SW/licensing), I know that this is not a CAPEX investment if you go for it but you should compare it to your CAPEX investment you need to do if you would purchase compute, network, storage, licenses etc. The main point also is that  this does not include any OPEX costs needed to support and operate it. This would be great for providing a Hosted Desktop/Software service for a line of business app… but here you’re already at 27 USD/user/month, and RemoteApp is at 23 including user storage of 50Gb (where Microsoft also manage the “image and software” from a life-cycle management point of view.
image

RDS on Azure example quote:

More Azure solution pricing examples: http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2014/10/14/more-azure-solution-pricing-examples.aspx

What if you then also shall put Citrix on top of that… cost increases of course and still you’re kind of limited of being a SPLA or CSP in order to build this, or you go and ask a SPLA/CSP to provide it for you if you’re an end-customer.

But back *again* to the test-drive that I did of RemoteApp…

Read more…

#Nutanix is the Visionary leader in #Gartner magic quadrant! – #IaaS, #PaaS, #DaaS, #Storage, #Converged

I’m not surprised at all and think that this is a good report by Gartner!

Nutanix is absolutely the visionary leader and once more and more units are shipped they will also climb higher into the leaders section and totally rule! I must say that this is a really impressive product that truly is web-scale ready for SMB to large enterprise workloads!! Contact us at EnvokeIT if you need more details! We know the product and how it can deliver value to you!

magic_quadrant_for_integrated_systems_nutanix

The integrated system market is growing at 50% or more per year, creating an unusual mix of major vendors and startups to consider. This new Magic Quadrant will aid vendor selection in this dynamic sector.

Nutanix has close working relationships with multiple top software vendors, and workloads like VDI, Hadoop and DBMS servers are well-represented among the installed base. Maximum neutrality is a major focus for Nutanix, as it works to build trust across a wide variety of vendors. The vendor frequently targets specific workload needs to penetrate new accounts, and then expands the workload reach to compete with incumbent vendors as client confidence is built. Nutanix claims that 50% of first-time clients expand their configurations within six months (and 70% do so within 12 months).

Market Definition/Description

Integrated systems are combinations of server, storage and network infrastructure, sold with management software that facilitates the provisioning and management of the combined unit. The market for integrated systems can be subdivided into broad categories, some of which overlap. Gartner categorizes these classes of integrated systems (among others):

  • Integrated stack systems (ISS) — Server, storage and network hardware integrated with application software to provide appliance or appliancelike functionality. Examples include Oracle Exadata Database Machine, IBM PureApplication System and Teradata.
  • Integrated infrastructure systems (IIS) — Server, storage and network hardware integrated to provide shared compute infrastructure. Examples include VCE Vblock, HP ConvergedSystem and IBM PureFlex System.
  • Integrated reference architectures — Products in which a predefined, presized set of components are designated as options for an integrated system whereby the user and/or channel can make configuration choices between the predefined options. These may be based on an IIS or ISS (with additional software, or services to facilitate easier deployment). Other forms of reference architecture, such as EMC VSPEX, allow vendors to group separate server, storage and network elements from a menu of eligible options to create an integrated system experience. Most reference architectures are, therefore, based on a partnership between hardware and software vendors, or between multiple hardware vendors. However, reference architectures that support a variety of hardware ingredients are more difficult to assess versus packaged integrated systems, which is why they are not evaluated by this research.
  • Fabric-based computing (FBC) — A form of integrated system in which the overall platform is aggregated from separate (or disaggregated) building-block modules connected over a fabric or switched backplane. Unlike the majority of IIS and ISS solutions, which group and package existing technology elements in a fabric-enabled environment, the technology ingredients of an FBC solution will be designed solely around the fabric implementation model. So all FBCs are an example of either an IIS or an ISS; but most IIS and ISS solutions available today would not yet be eligible to be counted as an FBC. Examples include SimpliVity, Nutanix and HP Moonshot System.

Read the whole Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems here!

//Richard

 

#XenMobile and the #Citrix Mobile Workspaces Architecture – #BYOD

This is a great blog post by Christopher Campbell and good picture to show the overall capabilities and architecture of the Citrix offering!

You’ve heard us talk about Mobile Workspaces and if you’re a techie you’re probably wondering if Citrix really has the architectural components (a complete, comprehensive and fully integrated architecture) that can deliver any app and data to any user on any device over any network?

Well let’s first identify a few of the market leading technologies that make up the Citrix Mobile Workspaces solution:

  • XenApp mobilizes and secures Windows apps on any device
  • XenDesktop securely delivers virtual Windows desktops and apps on any device
  • XenMobile manages and secures mobile, web and SaaS apps on mobile devices
  • GoToMeeting empowers people to meet and collaborate with anyone, anywhere
  • ShareFile shares and syncs corporate data securely from any location
  • NetScaler optimizes and secures app delivery and on any network
  • CloudPlatform orchestrates and provisions apps, desktops and IT services from any cloud

OK, OK. We know you have the products but do they really integrate?

Yes. Don’t believe me? Well as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is what the Mobile Workspace Architecture looks like.

OK. I get it.  You have the architecture but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a seamless user experience.

Still don’t believe huh? Well this is what the user experience looks like.

XenMobile is a key ingredient in delivering a mobile workspace.  Along with XenApp and XenDesktop it allows organizations to deliver on giving users access to any app from any device. In fact, if you’re an existing XenApp or XenDesktop customer, XenMobile seamlessly plugs into your existing architecture.

If you’re a XenDesktop or XenApp customer this is what your environment probably looks like.

Now this is what you need to enable EMM for BYO and COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled) devices and add that MDM, MAM, Secure Email, Secure Data…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

 

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