Navigating New Citrix Licensing with Service Provider Solutions

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Written by Matthew Metelsky

March 7, 2024

In 2007, as we envisioned Third Octet, we forged our company’s identity and partnership with Citrix over a quick lunch with our leadership teams. We were instantly welcomed as a gold partner, and our path was set, culminating in Partner of the Year for Canada in 2017. Their technology was how we at Third Octet cut our teeth in this industry – from the early days of Citrix MetaFrame, NFuse, and Secure Access Manager (I botched my first demo of this product) to today’s multi-cloud platforms. It’s been a fantastic journey, and we both thank and appreciate the customers we helped simplify application delivery.

And, while we still manage and support several Citrix infrastructures today, parallel technology evolutions have made Citrix less of an essential strategy, especially with small- and medium-sized (SMB) businesses. The advent and rise of Microsoft 365, cloud, and software-as-a-service has provided alternative means to both deliver and secure applications and data to our customers, their staff, and partners. Citrix is no longer the only solution that provides the “anywhere access” today’s hybrid businesses demand.

Don’t get me wrong – the strategy of Citrix and similar virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solutions still play a critical role in many situations for IT architecture, especially around security, efficiency, and simplification. Generally, and I’m oversimplifying this, applications ultimately dictate how a delivery strategy should be architected. The adage, “keep your applications as close to the data as possible,” still rings true today. Complex multi-tier applications are still best delivered within a VDI or DaaS platform. Web-based or SaaS applications and a browser are likely not. And if most of your applications have evolved to web-based, everyone starts to ask, “Why?” And so do we.

Early 2020 was a fork in the road for everyone. Businesses were forced to make quick decisions, and technology providers had to accommodate both demand and uncertainty. For customers well invested in Citrix, March 2020 saw a dramatic increase in consumption. For others not nearly as invested or on the cusp, it was an expedited path to pushing out other solutions, such as Microsoft 365.

Since 2020, we’ve seen changes in how Citrix packages and licenses its solutions. 2023 saw the end of perpetual licensing and a move to subscription only. And this week, we’ve seen further changes in Citrix licensing. If you’re an SMB still invested or dependent on Citrix, read on.

Citrix and SMB

As of March 4, 2024, Citrix changed its licensing (and packaging) significantly, impacting how customers renew, purchase, and deploy Citrix solutions. Here is what we know so far.

Auto-renewal termination. A significant modification is the discontinuation of automatic renewals for Citrix licenses. This means Citrix customers will lose the ease of renewing their licenses automatically and will now need to contact Citrix or a partner to secure a new license actively. This change is happening alongside a significant price hike for Citrix offerings, which could impose financial challenges for numerous companies, especially SMBs with limited budgets.

Minimum seat requirements. Citrix has implemented a new policy that prevents companies with less than 250 “seats” from buying its products. This policy might heavily affect small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that depend on Citrix for their virtualization and networking needs but fail to satisfy the newly established minimum user requirement.

Compulsory Shift to the Cloud. Customers with 250 or more “seats” must transition to the Citrix Cloud and adopt the Citrix Universal Hybrid-Multi Cloud subscription. This mandatory move towards cloud computing aligns with the broader industry’s pivot to cloud-based solutions, offering advantages like scalability, dependability, and the facilitation of remote work. However, it introduces hurdles, including the need for training, transition, and other expenses. And no one likes surprises.

On-premises restrictions. Citrix has specified that only a chosen few of its biggest clients will retain the option for on-site deployments via the Citrix Platform. As far as we know, this appears to be an invitation-only, and the criteria for selection remain ambiguous. Such a limitation may complicate the IT planning of companies with particular compliance, management, or security needs that demand on-premises solutions.

Moving Forward

While the news of these changes is still unfolding, we’re confident of the impacts on SMBs – licensing transitions, price adjustments, and your employees (even customers). Here are a few scenarios to ponder that could reflect on your situation.

  • For organizations currently utilizing Citrix Cloud within their subscription term and above the 250-seat threshold, we expect everything to remain as is until your term approaches renewal. At that point, you will see a transition to the Hybrid Multi-Cloud Universal license and pricing adjustments.
  • For organizations currently utilizing Citrix Cloud within their subscription term but below the 250-seat threshold, we expect everything to remain as is until your term approaches renewal. At that point, you will see a transition to the Hybrid Multi-Cloud Universal license and pricing adjustments with a minimum seat count of 250 (even if it’s not required) or an alternative switch to provider licensing (more on that in a second).
  • For organizations currently on-premises and exploring a traditional/perpetual renewal in the near term, you’ll have two options – 1) transition to 250 seats of Hybrid Multi-Cloud Universal or 2) transition to service provider licensing.
  • For organizations currently exploring Citrix as a viable solution for application delivery, recognize that you will now require a 250-seat minimum or to align with a service provider, such as Third Octet, for your licensing requirements.

Service Provider Licensing

Many of our existing customers benefit from the approach and flexibility of Service Provider Licensing (it’s an add-on capability of our Workplace Suite). With Service Provider Licensing, you pay for consumption monthly rather than procuring a lengthy (and costly) multi-year subscription to Citrix products. Unlike Citrix’s traditional subscription, our licensing model does not impose a minimum on seat count, nor do we enforce a locked-in term – you are free to consume as little as one license across a single month.

In light of Citrix’s changes, Service Provider Licensing provides the flexibility to overcome newly imposed minimums, and for any business dependent on Citrix (short- or long-term), it’s a viable option to consider now. Here are some detailed advantages:


  • Cost Management: With Service Provider Licensing, businesses only pay for what they use, making it easier to manage and predict IT expenses. This model eliminates the need for significant upfront investments in licensing, allowing companies to allocate resources more efficiently and invest in other areas of their business.
  • Access to Latest Features: Subscribers gain immediate access to the newest Citrix features and updates. This ensures businesses can leverage the latest technological advancements to stay competitive without additional investments or upgrades.
  • Scalability: The licensing model supports dynamic scaling, accommodating business growth or seasonal fluctuations without requiring license adjustments. Companies can add or reduce usage based on current demands without financial penalties.
  • No Long-term Commitments: Unlike traditional licensing agreements that lock organizations into long-term commitments, Service Provider Licensing offers the flexibility to adapt to changing business strategies and IT needs without the constraint of lengthy contracts.
Payment Model
Minimum Seat Requirement
Service Provider Licensing
Quickly scale up or down as needed
No long-term commitments
No minimum
Traditional Citrix Subscription
Fixed upfront or annualized payment
Fixed number of licenses
Typically multi-year commitments
Minimum seat requirements apply

Next Steps for Interested Customers

If you’re interested in exploring how Service Provider Licensing can transform your Citrix deployment and align with your business needs, we’re here to help. We invite you to:

  • Schedule a Consultation: Book a personalized consultation with one of our Citrix experts to discuss your specific requirements and how Service Provider Licensing can benefit your organization.
  • Contact Us Directly: For immediate inquiries or to get started with Service Provider Licensing, contact us at or (647)728-0610.
  • Take the first step towards a more flexible, cost-effective, and scalable Citrix deployment. Let us show you how Service Provider Licensing can support your business’s growth and adaptability.

As of the time of this article, we are unaware of any changes impacting our Citrix Service Provider licensing capabilities. If that changes, we will update this article as appropriate.

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