Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Review

Support had multiple people intervene who provided different incorrect answers, then stopped responding

What is our primary use case?

I need it to be able to access internal resources and work from a secure environment, wherever I am based. Frankly, security is my only concern.

I use the on-premises desktop virtualization and Remote PC Access. 

I am using it for personal use.

How has it helped my organization?

The only reason why I use it is I may need to access my files from anywhere that I am and where I cannot install a VPN to my place or anything else. I have managed to secure it enough to know that my files will always be accessible no matter where I am. I wouldn't use it otherwise.

I perform security tests with external providers.

What is most valuable?

The only thing that is really important for me is being able to connect from wherever I am. It is important for me because sometimes I am in places where there are not enough safe conditions to be able to work safely, in terms of security and confidentiality of my data. Being able to access internal resources from a secure platform allows me to work without fearing that my data has been stolen.

What needs improvement?

The NetScaler Gateway is very customizable. However, it is also a mess in a sense that you can't find what you want or where it's supposed to be. You are supposed to navigate dozens of manuals to find the right one. It is not well-organized. Then, it becomes messy when we talk about configuration.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would rate the user experience when using the solution’s technology remotely as an eight out of 10, because it is normally quick and stable enough. The way it works, it may not be perfect, which is why I don't think it gets a nine out of 10, but it is stable enough to allow me to work. That is what counts in the end.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Since I use one machine, I don't need to worry about scalability, high availability, etc. I just have it up when I need it.

How are customer service and technical support?

When I needed support for a couple of things, three people intervened. Each time, three people gave me a different answer. In the end, they did not manage to give the right answer. At a certain point, they stopped replying. That is no more than a one out of 10. If I could give a zero, I would give a zero.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I am using both Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and VMware Horizon, so I am not really switching to Citrix. 

I prefer Citrix because it is faster and the interface is cleaner. The text is crispier. It looks like a pumped up version of VMware Horizon desktops.

How was the initial setup?

The VDIs are very easy to set up. 

The NetScaler Gateway is very complex to set up, if you want to get to the right level of security. If you just want to set it up and make it run, then it is easy and takes 30 seconds, but it doesn't do anything. It is crap. If you want to really set it up, it is very complex.

The primary steps are pretty much forced. You install the Director and Studio, then you install the deploy machine, which makes it run. I'm not an enterprise, so I don't need to worry about all the preplanning. I just deploy machines and provide some cyberware. I just put it on the machine and let it run. In this case, that is very good. It allows you to do this with no real proper pre-thinking about how many machines you need to deploy, etc. 

What about the implementation team?

To set it up as I wanted, it took me one month. However, I don't do that as a job. I just did it as a hobby or for personal reasons, which are not my job. Then, I worked on it when I had the time, not all day. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Where Citrix really needs to improve is in their support and in the way that they manage their licenses. Everything else comes second because if I'm not in a position where I can get proper support or manage my own licenses in an easy way, then it is pointless. Today, I am at a point where I may not be able to use Citrix anymore because they want to take away some of the licenses that I bought, pretending they are not valid anymore. That is frankly unacceptable. If they don't solve this, everything comes second because I cannot use my product.

On a scale from zero to 10, I would rate pricing a zero. They are trying to take away licenses that I bought because they say they are not valid anymore, even if they are stated as permanent. On the site, they are characterized as permanent. They insist this is an evaluation version that I'm not allowed to use as permanent, which means I will probably be in a position where I can't work anymore. So, their licensing system is bad. The fact that I cannot relocate my licenses alone, but I have to go through and use their support center makes it even worse.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I do not know other vendors aside from VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft Hyper-V, which I am using as well.

  • VMware is easy to set up as a pro and more cluttered as a con. 
  • Citrix, as a pro, is very quick. As a con, their support in the licensing system is so bad that I may leave it very quickly. 
  • Hyper-V is well-integrated as a pro. I just started working on Hyper-V so I cannot give any real con yet because I'm not yet at that stage. I'm still figuring out how it works. I have virtual machines running on Hyper-V, but it is really too early to comment on this solution.

Go for VMware. Seriously, they are the same thing. 

I would rate the solution as a two (out of 10). I cannot give an eight or nine (out of 10) to a solution that works well if the provider does not put me in a position where I can use it.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you have data sources in-house to manage every problem because support may be useless. Make sure that you discuss well in advance and get written proof of what you are buying from Citrix, because there lies a risk not being able to work on your solution anymore from one day to another.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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