Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Review

Fast, secure and reliable for remote connections

What is our primary use case?

I have a few small companies as customers who need to have access to data stored in a centralized site from remote locations. We provide them with this tool so they can do their work in that type of business model.  

What is most valuable?

XenApp is fast and secure and reliable for remote connections. It is a solution that is completely different than older Windows solutions like Remote Desktop, Server Gateway, and Runtime Brokers. These Windows solutions have never really produced satisfactory results for me.  

What needs improvement?

There are a few things I would like to see improved. First, the price can be improved for sure. Microsoft does not have support for this type of solution to make it easy to use the product. But in using Citrix, I can provide remote access support. The features I use with Citrix cannot be found in Microsoft products with any solid alternative. RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), which is the Microsoft solution, is limited. If you try to go with the solution in the cloud, the RDP is still very slow because there is an HTTPS overlap on the RDS (Remote Desktop Services), and RDP is not secure enough. They also could improve support for the integration of these products.  

The other thing I would be looking for in the next release is that they make improvements to roaming profiles. I think they have already made some additional efforts to improve this. It's good, but it could be better. Most of the problems I come across are caused by profiles being incorrect. That should be fixed but it may not be possible on the Citrix side because it is really a Microsoft issue.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using that for 10 years already.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If I look back at the issues I had over time, there really have not been too many. Most of the issues are Windows Server related, they are not problems with the Citrix solution.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think the product is very scalable. I would say it is really infinitely scalable from my experience.  

I have 16 customers and the customers use XenApp every day, all day. But I can scale that as needed as my client base increases.  

How are customer service and technical support?

In the beginning, the tech support was very good, but today like every other company, Citrix is limiting its support solutions. Right now I would say that the technical support ranks as a six or seven out of ten. Sometimes it is very good and sometimes I find the solution faster by myself than they find it for me. But overall, it is not really impressive and not as good as it was.  

They certainly should improve support. On the other hand, the price of support isn't very much. You have to buy the maintenance every year to get the new versions and support access. For that small price that they charge for the support, you can't expect to have services that are really very good. In the past, you had to buy the products and you have to buy the support separately. Today the cost is more for the product alone. On average the vendor will gain more, but it might be better to have better support packages that you can pay extra for, especially in this case.  

How was the initial setup?

For me and my situation — I have a complete Citrix environment with NetScaler — all services were installed in one day. The most time it takes to install an additional application is one or maybe two days. I may outsource some tasks at times, but nothing about it is really complex. I know using Citrix with Microsoft is fairly complex and you have to use it in the cloud and have things done for you at times. But I don't believe that alone constitutes complexity.  

What about the implementation team?

I do not use other resources for implementation. I do it all myself as I am a partner and reseller.  

What other advice do I have?

The advice I would give to those who want to start using this solution is to beware of Citrix and Microsoft. They are both considered sort of the bad guys in the computing world. They want to push you to the cloud and maybe you don't really need the cloud for your solution. You don't have to listen to them.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product as an eight.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
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