Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Review

It uses the ICA protocol, which beats latency and improves performance for slow connections.

What is most valuable?

  • ICA protocol: Beats latency and improves performance for slow connections
  • Provisioning service (PVS): Makes deployment of VDI machines a simple breeze
  • Profile manager: Profile manager makes it very easy to retain user settings. The whole suite of Citrix XenDesktop provides a complete set for managing the environment.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a lot of users in remote locations and some have slow, high-latency connections. So deploying XenDesktop as a VDI solution to connect to our data center overcame the challenges of having remote users and addressed the slow and high latency issues we used to experience prior to deploying Citrix.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better documentation of best practices and communication of newly available tools or troubleshooting tools. If you ask several consultants, each will give you almost completely different designs, as the best practice recommendation by Citrix might be absent.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We did a lot of testing and slowly deployed our environment. Given we are also IT consultants and developers, we had a lot of the issues resolved before reaching production. One tip that is also important is training the end users and making sure they understand the setup.

How is customer service and technical support?

Citrix Premium support is really top notch. They take ownership of the issues and are determined to address it, 9 out of 10 times it is addressed on the spot.

How was the initial setup?

Citrix offers many different components to address all kinds of environments. Simple setup can be done; however, if it is a complex environment, rest assured Citrix will also address it. It all depends on the components used and how to best integrate them.

What about the implementation team?

Implementation was completed by our in-house team.

What was our ROI?

Citrix is not a cheap solution as it addresses a lot of the challenges that no one else can. With Citrix, we do not have to upgrade our network infrastructure of remote offices, which is a lot of ongoing savings.

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

Buying the licenses all at once would give the best discounts. Also using a VAR may give best pricing. Shopping through different VARs is a must as you could see 50% of savings.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated several solutions including MS RemoteApp. Citrix offers better scalability and works much better in terms of WAN and slow connections due to the power of the ICA protocol.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you study the architecture before rushing to go to production. Also make sure to do a proof of concept and pilot deployment before investing. You can get trial licenses. Once you believe you have the whole solution is ready to go, consult a Citrix consultant to take a quick look before you execute, in the event you do not have all the expertise.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarit_user70641 (Virtualization, Remote Access and Mobility Engineering at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees)
Real User

On thing to add to the above, test the Citrix Connection policies thoroughly. There are some performance (perceived and resources wise) that comes with tuning this correctly. If you are using Skype for business, definitely use the HDX Optimization pack and EDT policies