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#Citrix #SmartAccess = A complete story or not? – #NetScaler #AGEE #EPA

November 29, 2012 3 comments

This little blog post is about Citrix SmartAccess. I’ve been a fan of SmartAccess for a long time, and it’s also something that Citrix has been talking a lot about in their story. The way that Citrix technology can provide applications, desktops and information to end-users on any device in a secure and controlled way.

But the purpose of this blog post is to give you my view of this story, and how true the SmartAccess story is. Remember that this is my personal view and that I’ve actually not tested all my theories below so parts of it is purely theoretical at this stage.

So a bit of background first to build my case…

Citrix has been going on about SmartAccess, and it’s been true that the Access Gateway capabilities once added to Web Interface and XenApp/XenDesktop where great in terms of adding another layer of functionality that the IT supplier could use to determine how the XenApp and XenDesktop environments where accessed, and from what type of device. The device detection/classification is done through host checks (Endpoint Analysis Scans, EPA) that the Access Gateway feature provided as a pre- or post-authentication scan. This scan then resulted that either the device met the policies or didn’t, and then this policy could be leveraged by the other internal components (XenApp/XenDesktop) to control/manage which apps, desktops and functionality (virtual channels like printing, drive mapping etc.) that the end-user should get for that specific session.

And this was/is working well for certain scenarios from a technical point of view. But is it really working for the whole story that Citrix and the whole IT-industry is driving now with BYOD etc.? Think about the message that is being pushed out there today, use any device, we can control and deliver according to security policies, we can provide access from anywhere, etc…

And this is where it becomes interesting. All of a sudden then you as an architect are to take this vision that your CIO or IT-board has and realise it into manageable IT services that combined deliver a fully fledged IT delivery of Windows, Internal Web, SaaS, Mobile and Data for this great set of use cases and scenarios. Wow… you’ve got yourself a challenge mate!

This text is from the Citrix homepage about SmartAccess;

SmartAccess allows you to control access to published applications and desktops on a server through the use of Access Gateway session policies. This permits the use of preauthentication and post-authentication checks as a condition for access to published resources, along with other factors. These include anything you can control with a XenApp or XenDesktop policy, such as printer bandwidth limits, client drive mapping, client clipboard, client audio, and client printer mapping. Any XenApp or XenDesktop policy can be applied based on whether or not users pass an Access Gateway check.

So let’s start of then with going back to the SmartAccess which is the topic of this blog!

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