XenApp (Citrix Virtual Apps) Review

Provides flexibility in the architecture but it needs better integration into other environments


What is our primary use case?

Our installation is currently on-premises, but we have already decided that we will move to the cloud. In general, we are using XenApp to make a virtual protected environment in order to link our other applications through Citrix. We want to link data or applications, it depends on the case. Sometimes we don't want to have links from application to application but just for the applications to share the data which they are using. This product provides us some flexibility in the architecture.  

What is most valuable?

I'm not the end-user of the application. My position is very high in the organization. I know that the users who are using this product like it, but I don't know what exactly they like or what might make it separate from similar solutions. From my point of view, the reason they like it is this flexibility that they have. They can connect one application to another application or just to use the data. They have applications locally and use the data in the cloud in a very secure way. They have more flexibility using this solution.  

What needs improvement?

The place where this application can most probably be improved is in the integration with other environments. Right now we have it on-premises, but our plan is to have it on cloud and we have already taken steps with Microsoft to implement this goal. After we move it to the cloud, we will want to add other applications and other data sources to what is already available in order to more easily move the data from one place to another and to use it from different applications. Broader integration would give the user more flexibility. This is why, from my point of view, integrating with other environments is the most important feature that needs to be expanded.  

As an example, IBM has a cloud solution that gives users the capability to connect between different clouds. No matter what kind of cloud you are using the data becomes universal through the capabilities of the IBM solution. You can ensure data security and can move data from one cloud to another. This is the kind of thing I mean by integration. It is an integration of administrative work, resource usage and also of the different environments. Right now we have some things on-premise and we have part of it in the cloud. Most probably will be not only be using Microsoft cloud in the future but also Amazon and Google as well. We want to have this application everywhere in this environment and to be able to use only one interface to let us know what volume of resources we are using, how much different solutions cost us, and if our usage is effective. This way we can make evaluations and change if necessary. The economy of our model is very important for us.  

The other less important point is that the deployment could be faster. We deployed the solution with the help of a vendor, and I do not blame the vendor that things seemed to come together a little slowly because it was not easy to do. I think the implementation can be simplified a little by the manufacturer.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this product for around three years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

XenApp is a very stable solution. This is one of the reasons we were using it. I had some experience with the product at the previous company and we decided just to use the same solution for this company because it is really stable.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't know yet how the product rates in the area of scalability. We are currently moving from one environment to another, and that is an early step in our process. I don't know about scaling because it is a step we will worry about later. These are interim steps we are taking in the plan that we have right now. Our end goal is to be completely in the cloud or in some kind of hybrid environment. When we achieve that, the next step is to use the application to scale. So we are still in a sort of proof of concept period right now where we don't want or have the need to test scalability.  

We currently have 53 people using the solution. Most of them are just users from the office, but we have around 10 engineers and IT people who are capable of doing everything we need for implementation and maintenance.  

How are customer service and technical support?

Because we are using a partner to interface between us and Microsoft, we do not have contact with Microsoft's technical support. The partner has been successful in covering everything we need.  

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

I changed my employment over the past two years. Earlier, I was part of the pharmaceutical company Bcom and we were using the same XenApp product there. Then I moved to a smaller Bulgarian company. We were using a different version of Xenapp there and we had a somewhat different experience. The support that Microsoft provided was different in each case. In the first case, it was a global corporation. In the second case, it was a local group of companies and we were supported by the local Microsoft office.  

But in each case, the reason why I switched products was that I changed employment and not that I changed from an entirely different solution to this one.  

How was the initial setup?

The level of difficulty of the initial setup depends on the situation. Because we have this application through a Microsoft provider which is directly working with Microsoft, they have enough staff and experience with it to set it up. It was very easy for us just to use them.  

If we had to do it alone, I don't believe we had the capacity to do it without a lot of trouble. We prefer this model of having some kind of agent who is more knowledgeable and experienced do the setup. They already know exactly how to set up the environment for using the application, and we would have had to learn it all anew.  

The deployment of the solution was more than five months, but it took that long because we probably caused some delay. We were not pushing for the implementation to be completed, we changed our offices, and many other things happened in between. So it is not because of the application or the group doing the deployment, but because we were moving slowly ourselves.  

What about the implementation team?

We had a third party, the supplier, do the initial implementation for us.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options when making the decision to take on this solution because I already had a positive experience with this product in the past. I wanted to use the same solution because I know it and I know that it works and that it would do what we needed it to do. Stability was the main factor in making the decision.  

Right now the computing environment is changing very fast with cloud, hybrid, containers and other options like that. We wanted to have something which was going to allow us to use a hybrid solution until we define the final model that we want to use.  

What other advice do I have?

Advice that I would give to people considering this solution is to use our model of implementation. I absolutely recommend using a local supplier who is knowledgeable and who has experience with the product and deployment because then you won't have any problems. We are only using it. We don't care how it is set up. We don't care about the model itself, but only that the result fits our requirements. This supplier is doing all the things we don't want to have to learn for us.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product as a seven-out-of-ten.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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