Blog March 27, 2013

Cloud Computing with Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop

More and more people are turning to Citrix for desktop and application virtualization. Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop are overwhelmingly the most common Citrix products we use at Connectria today. Here’s a quick overview.

With Citrix XenApp, you can have an application installed on a XenApp server in a data center, and anybody around the world can access it. The best part is Citrix XenApp enables you to launch that application on any device, whether it is your laptop, tablet or mobile phone.  There is no need to install any software (besides a Citrix Receiver) or ever have to worry about those pesky upgrade windows we have all seen too many times. There is also no requirement to establish a VPN connection for encryption; Citrix XenApp encrypts all client to server traffic by default. The software works so seamlessly that if you opened a locally installed Microsoft Office on your computer and then accessed the same program through Citrix Receiver you would not be able to tell a difference between the two.

It is also possible to use XenApp to present a full desktop to a user. Whenever you are launching a desktop, you are launching a desktop from a server.  Everybody else that logs in is launching a desktop from the same server.  This allows you to share compute and disk resources across multiple users, however, you still retain the security and capability to setup your own shortcuts and save documents.

How is this any different from Citrix XenDesktop?

XenDesktop provides a desktop operating system. Whenever you connect to the desktop you are the only person using it instead of sharing it with other people who could affect performance depending on the workload.  If you expose a desktop through XenApp, the administrators of that desktop are not going to let you make significant operating system changes to that server. With XenDesktop, you can be allowed to do as much as you’d like. If it breaks, an administrator can instruct the provisioning services within Citrix to spin up a new desktop;you can then login which will create a brand new replacement desktop where your files will automatically be synchronized.   It is like having an “undo” button for your entire desktop.

There are usually specific reasons that someone might want to use XenDesktop over XenApp. Reach out to us and we’ll help you determine what solution works best for you. You can also see some some real world examples of cloud computing with Citrix in another post.

– Dustin

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