XenApp Review
We upgraded from a previous version of XenMobile as we had a significant investment in the Citrix stack already.


Valuable Features

The main features that I felt were valuable to our organization were:

  • Ability to manage iOS and Android mobile devices.
  • Application white/black listing.
  • Comprehensive rule based policies with relative parity between platforms.

Improvements to My Organization

In this case it was an upgrade from XenMobile 8.6 so it was an upgrade to maintain support from the vendor. The main areas of improvement would be around reporting and integration with ShareFile and access to the Worx suite of mobile applications (WorxMail, WorxWeb, WorxNotes).

Room for Improvement

Even with professional services, deployment can be a challenge; especially when integrating with Exchange when rolling out WorxMail (as an alternative over the native mail clients to containerize and restrict access content). Support is also an area that we struggled with; inconsistent quality between support analysts.

Use of Solution

I have used XenMobile for a little over 2 years.

Deployment Issues

We did encounter deployment issues. Integration with the NetScaler appliances and ShareFile were two of them but one of the biggest issues was around the wrapping of the Worx apps. As the Worx applications were updated, the wrapping tools would periodically also require updates but the releases were sometimes out of sync. Support also was limited with application wrapping. It would have been nice if Citrix Support would have dedicated more staff training for the Worx apps, the wrapping of them and how they are deployed.

Stability Issues

XenMobile v9 was relatively stable once it was up and running. After Citrix professional services left the site, we spent another couple of months tweaking and testing before we were willing to migrate our devices to the new environment.

Scalability Issues

We did not encounter any scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

When you are dealing with the pre-sales teams and the professional services teams, they are really good. Our experience was that typically, if they didn’t know the answer to something, they had access to resources that could bring you closer to a resolution.

Technical Support:

This is one area that concerned me with Citrix. I know that during our deployment, Citrix was making some changes internally and it’s possible that we just got caught in that change. But over the two years that I had access to Enterprise support, it was touch and go getting access to a quality engineer who knew how to actually resolve an issue rather than read it out of a prepared script. We always tried make our calls early in the day when we knew we would get access to support either in North America or UK/Germany/Ireland; otherwise it was always a game of phone tag when dealing with some of the other global call centres.

Previous Solutions

We did not use a previous solution. We upgraded from a previous version of XenMobile as we had a significant investment in the Citrix stack already.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was complex. We had integration into ShareFile, AppController (for the Mobile Application Management -MAM), NetScalers and then we tried to deploy the mobile apps at the same time, so we could get away from ActiveSync. I felt that the complexity simply increased with the addition of integration points. Even our professional services team had difficulties at times as the products are complex on their own, much less when you are trying to get them to work together. I would recommend phasing the deployments, if your schedule permits. Start with getting XenMobile and the AppController up and running first, wrap and deploy the Worx apps and then worry about ShareFile later in the project. The secondary concern is for the end user, because it’s a lot of change to to cope with if there is a "Big Bang" approach.

Implementation Team

We used Citrix’s professional services for the engagement. While they were very easy to deal with and tried to accommodate our design, I think they were still new to their roles.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Sit down and seriously review your mobility strategy. If you don’t have one, draft something before you get started. Consider where you feel your organization is going to be in the next 2 to 5 years. I would consider an mobile device management (MDM) solution to have a lifespan of about 3 years as they have to adapt to a series of vendors (Apple, Google, Samsung, etc.) that move a lot faster than they do.

Determine what features you are planning to roll out to your users over this timeframe (i.e. access to internal documentation [ShareFile], access to Internet sites [WorxWeb], etc.) as Citrix has a variety of options that can affect which licenses you will need and where you can save money. If you have an existing Citrix investment, look at the Enterprise licensing as you get quite a bit extra,(such as ShareFile for free).

Other Solutions Considered

We did not evaluate alternatives due to our existing Citrix investment, so we opted to stay with Citrix.

Other Advice

XenMobile is a good, stable product, but make sure you investigate what features you are looking to roll out and decide whether XenMobile isn’t overkill. Depending on what want to deploy, you may need to examine your resource requirements to not just deploy, but support as well. Training isn’t cheap for any Citrix course but XenMobile from an administration perspective, is pretty simple to learn.

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

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