Citrix Cloud Summit Recap

“In a world of constant change, don’t just adapt. Thrive.”

In keeping with the unusual times we are in, typical in-person events, particularly conferences, have all shifted to virtual. What was once a brief hiatus to warmer weather, packed corridors, endless refreshments and spontaneous hallway conversations, Citrix’s first of three Summits began today, virtually. The three-part digital series will feature Citrix’s insights and solutions to ease transitions to cloud, enable new ways of working and protect your applications and data.

One unexpected change, as compared to other vendor conferences, was to the consumption format. Rather than a stacked schedule and an entire day devoted to keynotes and breakouts, Citrix Summit has instead elected to provide content on-demand, allowing you to work the conference around your schedule, not the other way around.

As a matter of fact, the content will remain for some time, and we invite you to head over to Citrix Summit Series today and view it for yourself. Be sure to also tune in for part two and three of the Citrix Summit Series – Citrix Workspace Summit on October 22nd and Citrix Security Summit on October 29th.

Today, Citrix is focusing on Cloud.

CEO of Citrix, David Henshall, addresses today’s global crisis which has forced technology leaders to consider three critical areas, including the need to accelerate digital transformation efforts, acknowledge and satisfy the new demands for remote work, and mitigate new security risks with a highly distributed workforce.  These critical areas form the basis for the three-part Citrix Summit Series which are addressed through Cloud, Workspace, and Security.

Henshall defines several ideas which will, or have, shaped today’s state of work.

  1. Remote work is here to stay, where work needs to be measured as a level of output, not time spent at a desk or keyboard, and is reflective of all scenarios including office, hybrid, and remote work environments.
  2. Back to office is anything but back to normal. Businesses must adapt to constantly evolving needs and allow employees to get their best work done through positive user experiences and employee empowerment.
  3. Agility is a key competitive advantage that defines the fluid enterprise that can change quickly and move to meet demands of today’s employee needs.

Citrix has long believed work is not a place but rather a measurement of “output and accomplishment”, not “hours spent at a desk or chair.”  People are most productive when they match the physical environment to the type of outcomes they are hoping to deliver.

Hearing Henshall speak around the dramatic changes businesses and people are experiencing reminds us of our post around Workforce Entropy where, at the time, we were largely concerned about micro events impacting employee productivity.  Hindsight is 20-20.  Nonetheless, the need for great agility, scalability, and flexibility around technology investments are paramount today, more so than ever.

As this first part of Summit Series is focused on Cloud, content and announcements are centered around three key areas.

And within each area, several announcements were made, including:

  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) Standard for Microsoft Azure
  • Updated Citrix Automated Configuration Tool
  • VMware Horizon to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Migration Tool
  • Citrix Application Delivery Manager (ADM) Service app migration with Stylebooks
  • Citrix support of Google Shared Virtual Private Cloud for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
  • Support for Citrix Application Delivery Controller (ADC) on AWS
  • Citrix Analytics for Performance
  • Autoscale

But what do these mean to you?

Citrix Cloud Strategy

Citrix’s Cloud strategy suggests significant investments organically and through partnerships to drive innovation across scale, security, performance and reliability.  This strategy is designed to help organizations move to cloud, or multiple clouds, while maintaining management from a single point and providing the same, or better, security posture and controls present in traditional on-premises deployment.  More importantly, the strategy centers on people-centric computing to ensure employees receive a great experience for services delivered via cloud (as compared to on-premises).

Right Cloud, Right Purpose

As each cloud may have different underlying capabilities that fit unique business requirements, Citrix maintains an ANY approach to cloud choice – including support for Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, AWS, IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud – and hypervisor choice – including Citrix Xen, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix Acropolis, and VMware vSphere.  An ANY approach driven by customer preference.

Cloud choice

Customers are progressively able to expand and extend services across a true multi-cloud strategy, maintaining delivery of services and complimenting existing on-premises deployments.  With the announcement of Citrix supporting Google Shared Virtual Private Cloud for CVAD, simplified migration tools for GCP, as well as Citrix ADC and CVAD support for VMWare Cloud on AWS, it is increasingly becoming effortless to consider both GCP and AWS as viable and feature-rich (almost parity) options for Citrix service delivery.

On Microsoft

Of course, let’s not forget Microsoft and Azure, where Citrix and Microsoft have doubled down on continued innovation through expanded partnerships.  First, Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD).  Available on its own through Azure, Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities are extended through Citrix’s unique value add, including simplified and flexible management (the existing toolsets and skills you have), enhanced security, high performance (that adapts to ever changing dynamics), and improved monitoring.

Formerly Citrix Managed Desktops, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Standard for Microsoft Azure, available as a flexible monthly or annual cost, is toted as the simplest way to explore Desktop-as-a-Service and, for that matter, Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure.  We agree.

Further, Citrix also announced a broadened relationship with SAP to help simplify and expedite the transition of SAP workloads to Microsoft Azure – a challenging feat. It will be interesting to see what type of uptick and demand this yields as the plans surface.

Migrations can be daunting

Moving from traditional on-premises environments to cloud environments can be a daunting and time-consuming task.  Involving a significant amount of planning, execution and thorough testing to ensure a positive and compelling user experience, transitioning workload delivery to cloud can ultimately fail.  Citrix’s updated Automated Configuration Tool is designed to alleviate the burden on these transitions by automating migration configurations (policies, catalogues, etc.) from one or more existing on-premises sites to the Citrix Cloud services platform and is fully supported by Citrix and partners.

Citrix’s Automated Configuration Tool is designed to reduce administrative overhead and permit automatic and customizable component updates.  However, the tool is not only designed to be a point-in-time asset but can become an essential tool and ongoing part of operations by:

  • Managing steady state configurations;
  • Syncing existing configurations for version control;
  • Managing development environments through production replications; and
  • Simplifying disaster recovery.

With the support of Citrix and partners for the Automated Configuration Tool, best-practice guides will also be made available to ease its use.

VMware to Citrix

Of course, what would a conference be without some competitive displacement?  In that regard, Citrix announced a VMware Horizon to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Migration tool that will automate the move from VMware to Citrix without requiring manual intervention or workload rebuild while migrating users and respective desktop assignments, and while taking advantage of the HDX protocol to improve overall user experience.

Analytics

One of the most under-utilized and lesser known capabilities of Citrix Cloud delivered services is Analytics – Performance and Security.  Citrix Analytics builds on the capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning and focuses on people-centric computing to provide IT with a holistic view of both how users are experiencing service delivery and how users are interacting with service delivery, positive or negative.

Compared to most tools, which give a piecemeal view of the environment and leave you to derive your own results, Citrix Analytics provides actionable insights that affect real business outcomes, proactively.  Analytics is turn-key – no software or hardware to acquire, setup, or train on.  Delivered as a cloud service, Citrix Analytics provides instant time to value.

Performance

Citrix Analytics for Performance provides a continuously updated user experience score for every employee, showing without subjective interpretation how Citrix is performing for them and where current or future bottlenecks may inhibit positive user experience (i.e. “Citrix is slow”).  Proactively, Citrix Analytics for Performance will alert when users or groups are receiving poor experience and allow IT to drill down to quickly identify root cause.  The best part is you don’t have to be in Cloud to use this feature, as it’s available for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid deployments.

Citrix Analytics for Performance User Session Insights

Security

Citrix Analytics for Security models user behaviour for security risk through a closed loop autonomous cloud service.  As the platform aggregates all telemetry of user interaction across Citrix’s portfolio as well as partner platforms, Analytics for Security provides a continuous risk assessment and allows IT to set thresholds to detect and automatically enforce policies in real-time to protect both the user and corporate assets.

Autoscale

Autoscale is not entirely new.  Remember Smart Scale?  We do.  Autoscale Cloud services allows businesses to automatically adjust for capacity based on load or schedule from a single and consistent user interface.  Autoscale provides support for hypervisors (Citrix Hypervisor, VMware vSphere) and cloud (AWS, GCP, Azure) which is extremely important for cloud cost governance.  As a matter of fact, Autoscale in Citrix cloud services saves on average 50-75% in cloud infrastructure costs.  We can attest to that through one of our clients leveraging Citrix in Azure – watch for yourself.

Citrix Application Delivery Fabric

Moving on to Citrix Application Delivery Controllers and, specifically, Application Delivery Management Service, Citrix has focused on strategy to minimize complexity and fragmentation across application delivery silos, including infrastructure, cloud, application architecture and services.

Citrix ADM Service, a unified cloud-based platform, is designed to simplify orchestration and analytics of diverse hybrid and multi-cloud Citrix ADC and Citrix SDWAN architectures, including support for hardware, multi-tenant, base-metal, virtual, containers, and application security that is driven through a common software code base across the portfolio.

The vision for Citrix Application Delivery Fabric is to provide an autonomous system model that is intent-based and self-correcting, with pooled ability to simplify and dynamically allocate resources when and where needed.  This approach decreases burden on IT, ensures positive delivery of services and minimizes costs around application delivery efforts.

Citrix ADM Service provides predictive modelling to help IT understand appropriate capacity and forecasting while automatically adjusting workload demand and scale before demand is required.  Workflow automation dramatically simplifies management and configuration, supporting automatic deployment, onboard, and upgrade initiatives.

Recap

It was an exciting and insightful digital event and we’re sure to be consuming more content over the day.  We invite you to do the same and join us throughout the rest of Citrix Summit Series.  If you are interested in learning more about Citrix and Third Octet’s expertise, be sure to contact us.  All of these products are readily available for exploration, trial, and consumption.  We’d love to show you the value of Citrix Cloud.

For now, please explore the rest of the content at Citrix Cloud Summit and we’ll see you, virtually, at the next Summit event.

Take me there.

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