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Microsoft and Citrix to join VDI forces

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Author: Dirk, MD  
  
Last updated: August 3, 2017

On August 12th Microsoft announced that they will ‘gradually wind down the delivery of Azure RemoteApp’ and that customers should look to plan an alternative strategy. They also announced their partnership with Citrix to build an alternative service.

The partnership of technologies is by no means a surprise. With that said, it’s valuable to understand the impact it will have on organisations - here are our top three:

1. Cloud and Mobility go together like fish & chips

Many customers are looking at cloud and hybrid cloud strategies that enable them to move data centre services (e.g. data, apps, virtual machines, middleware) into the cloud.

However, there are scenarios where moving your data and apps from the device you are accessing them with is not always a good thing.

The ability to build an enterprise-class desktop / app publishing that sits in the Azure data centres right next to your apps and data solves a number of performance and security challenges that may exist in a given number of scenarios.

2. Microsoft + Citrix = good news for everyone

For those old enough to remember, Microsoft’s RDP protocol is a spin-off (subset) of the original ICA protocol that Citrix invented.

This resulted in an array of VDI, Desktop publishing and Application publishing solutions from both Microsoft and Citrix which has dominated this space for around two decades (think Intrigue, Winframe, Terminal Services, MetaFrame, Presentation Server, XenApp, XenDeskop, RDS and more).

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3. It breathes new life into VDI (potentially)

In the eyes of many, VDI solutions failed to live up to their promise.

VDI was a solid enabler of data centre consolidation programmes. For companies that truly needed hot desk capabilities, VDI could tick the box. VDI has proven to be expensive to get right. In an age where we expect to work with high-quality media and collaboration technologies, your old VDI deployment was not always the best place to consume this content from.

The further your device was away from your virtual desktop (or published application, content) the bigger the compromise.

For some of these reasons, the industry has taken to solutions that allow you to walk around with your device, dock it anywhere and access your content anywhere (even offline). This is enabled by a number of technologies that have come of age in the last few years including file sync tools, tablets, lighter and more powerful laptops, improved data/content & device encryption tools.

As a result, many enterprise businesses are re-thinking their VDI strategy and whether or not you provide a way to get to your desktop from anywhere or you simply carry your desktop with you and get to your apps and data from anywhere.

The collaboration with Citrix and Microsoft around this Azure offering might give us the best of both worlds.

An “...as a service” VDI offering that gets internal IT teams away from engineering and building expensive VDI platform stacks will be a boon to many. Also the option to quickly enable this Azure based VDI service to augment your tablet/mobile/BYO strategy might just be a sweet spot for many businesses. Could we also see a time where you can deploy the Azure XenApp (as a service) straight onto Azure Stack so you also have an on-premises version of the same thing should you need/want it?

We’ll be updating you over the coming months with more news.

Topics: Azure, VDI, Cisco

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