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Remote Desktop Flexibility with XenDesktop & DaaS

Posted 18 September 2015 by Kelvin Papp

No matter how much vendors would like us to “ditch the desktop” in favour of Mobile, SaaS, and browser based application delivery the lure of that traditional Windows look and feel is often what drives the delivery methods adopted by many organisations. Familiarity and consistency are often key factors in determining whether end users will take advantage of (and like!), or loathe the working methods available to them – a challenge often addressed through Desktop Virtualisation in the form of Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, or vanilla Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

As a longstanding Citrix partner, we recognise the value that both XenApp and (more recently) XenDesktop can bring to the table when customers are seeking solutions to remote working and data centralisation - we’ve worked with hundreds of customers over the years to implement Desktop Virtualisation. However, the benefits extend beyond remote working and increasingly form part of an approach to data security and administrative streamlining. Furthermore, the popularity of Cloud Computing adoption in the form of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) lends additional justification to a decision to introduce the technology.

I’ve blogged previously (http://www.bluechip.uk.com/news/blog/xenapp-75-dawn-new-era) on some of the technical changes within the latest edition of XenApp - particularly the transition away from the old IMA architecture, and towards FMA which represents a unified platform onto which the two Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) models (Shared, and Dedicated) operate. At a more fundamental level, an understanding of these two models is key in determining which is best suited to your business.

Shared Desktop computing is the foundation of the Citrix product stack – evolving from the early WinFrame product of the 1990’s, through MetaFrame, and onto XenApp which reflects the modern day variant of the Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) extension. XenApp provides advanced optimisation and control of user access to a shared, server based Desktop – allowing multiple users to share the resources of a single server operating system for day to day activities. Dedicated Desktop Computing on the other hand is a more recent phenomenon, providing automated deployment of dedicated virtual machines for users to operate on and more advanced capabilities as a result including the ability for users to customise their operating environment, install applications, and undertake intensive workloads not viable within the Shared Desktop model such as 3D Modelling and Video editing through technologies such as HDX 3D Pro.

On premise deployments of VDI are routine for some of the reasons I outline above – centralisation of data for security compliance, providing a platform for consistent remote working irrespective of device or location, and simplifying the life of IT administrators from a desktop management perspective. A key transition we’ve seen more recently though is the use of Desktop Virtualisation to underpin a move to Cloud Computing. This transition can be characterised through Blue Chip Desktop as a Service (DaaS) which provides a hosted desktop in the cloud that acts as a window not just to SaaS applications from any device (some of which are included, such as Office 365 and Cloud based Backup), but also to traditional non-Cloud-ready applications such as ERP systems or legacy applications which can be published into a hosted Desktop from our own Infrastructure as a Service platform.

In my eyes, Citrix is a real enabler for many businesses seeking to transition to the Cloud – opening up options where barriers have previously existed. Not all organisations are small start-ups with the ability to leverage the full range of Cloud Services which exist – many are curtailed by legacy systems which restrict agility, flexibility, and can be the source of significant additional costs as you seek to integrate them in the modern world.

To find out how Desktop as a Service or a local deployment of VDI could add value to the way you operate,contact us at enquiries@bluechip.com or call us on 0845 034 7222.

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