Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Valuable Features

Technical Team Lead at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Overall, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are highly agile and supported on pretty much whichever platform that you're on. So, the features of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops that we find most valuable in my organization overall are the agility, where we can deploy Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops at my organization. We have resources in Azure, primarily, but we also have resources in AWS and on-prem. We have all kinds of different operating systems as well. We have users who need to access applications on sort of a one-off basis. We also have users who need to access full-blown desktops that live within our data center, either in Azure or on-prem. Just having the ability to serve all those use cases and needs by using Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is absolutely critical. 

Another thing that we really enjoy about it is the fact that we're in Citrix Cloud. Using the service within Citrix Cloud really gives us the ability to not worry about the infrastructure components, because it is a software as a service methodology. Citrix really worries about what those updates look like and ensures that the uptime is as high as possible. This allows my team to focus on the high value items, which is the end user, end user security, and user experience. I think having Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops as a service is really critical for us to do what we need to do and really focus on the things that are important to us as an organization, and we were able to do that quickly, rapidly, seamlessly, and without any user disruption.

When COVID-19 happened and other companies were faced with sending their workforces home, it was very quickly recognized that organizations, certainly in the city where I live, who weren't using Citrix technologies were really struggling with having their folks work from home. However, it has been widely touted within my organization, when we sent everyone home, there were no disruptions whatsoever. We were able to quickly and seamlessly build out and up our environment to suit the company's needs. All of those things have been of super high value, allowing our company to operate.

The third thing that we find absolutely valuable and critical are the Analytics. Citrix has been maturing their Analytics platform over time. It is in a mature state now where we are able to highlight any user's pain points around user experience, security issues/vulnerabilities or bad actors, and security scenario concerns that might be out there. This has been very important for us, as it allows us to get that data into the hands of the right teams so they can action it as quickly as possible. This way, we can offer a safe, secure, highly capable user experience.

We use Citrix ADC. Currently, that is where all of the traffic flows in for us. Anybody connecting to Citrix today flows in through a Citrix ADC environment. Through that, we are able to monitor all the traffic, where they are coming from, and how often they come through. So, we have our security analytics tools that tie into that information quite tightly. Therefore, any bad actors or anomalies get quickly identified, then they get quickly actioned by our operational team as soon as IT security makes us aware of them.

We also use Remote PC Access, which has been a huge bonus for us. It is number one from a security perspective. Our employees can sort of connect through to our Citrix portal and access desktops sitting in the office in a safe and secure manner. We have segregation and data leakage policies in place, which prevent any data from flowing outside of our organization. So, it is quite secure. If you think of it from a full-on perspective, we have Citrix Cloud users connect into our Citrix portal, then we have Analytics there monitoring for traffic and any anomalies or bad actors flowing through our Citrix Cloud implementation, where we have more analytics baked in where we can identify any sort of scenarios that might pose a danger to my organization. To the actual endpoint itself within our building, there are rich analytics, which are being drawn, and can help inform us around any sort of security concerns that might be going on.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops provide everything for us within one integrated platform. With COVID-19 and working from home, it has become clearly apparent that all the use cases currently in my organization have been absolutely met with the services and capabilities that Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops provide. This comes down to our users having a better end user experience and us having the capability of having analytics around that we can tweak and optimize as we go. The ease of manageability for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is huge. We are able to get away with doing a much better job at managing that environment now with less people than we did before.

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CIO at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Among the most valuable features is the Citrix Workspace, which allows us to drive that thin-client connection and the remote control/remote access capabilities. Those things have allowed us to connect an awful lot of people quickly from home and that's obviously helped during the pandemic. There's a concern right now that a second wave of the Corona pandemic is on its way so we're gearing up now to enable a second wave of staff work either from home or from an alternate location. This way we can reduce the number of non-clinical staff in the hospital whilst not degrading the services we provide in any way. Fundamentally we are seeking to keep the number of staff working at the hospital down to only those who actually need to be there.

The user experience, when using Citrix technology remotely, is very good. It's easy to use and I say that with some authority because I've been working from home now for about six months. I've been able to do my role as the CIO entirely from home. I log on through the Citrix gateway first thing in the morning when I start the day and I stay logged in until 5:30 or 6:00 o'clock at night. I've been able to gain access pretty much whenever I want and it's just two clicks to get me there.

I've got friends who work on the wards who use the Citrix client on our workstations-on-wheels and they find it relatively easy. They load the Citrix client, they click on the link to the EPR, and that's it, off they go. Because it's a thin client, because we're not dragging huge amounts of stuff over the network, they get very good performance out of their equipment. And that's allowed us to extend the life of some of our very early workstations-on-wheels. Some of them are now four years old and are coming up for replacement. Indeed that's what we've been doing with Citrix, building the next generation of workstations-on-wheels, to benefit from what we've learned by working with Citrix and partners to deploy this new technology.

The prototype is built and is currently being tested. When we go live we'll see a big step forward in terms of the performance, a notable increase in battery life and the corresponding reduction in the number of times the unit has to be recharged.Those are things that our nurses have told us will be of benefit to them.

The solution also provides the flexibility of being used on any device. We have a mixture of Windows PCs, Android mobile devices, Apple tablets and other Apple devices. We have Citrix installed on all of those and it allows our users to use these devices for any number of things. They can use it for clinical access, bringing patient data quickly to the clinician. For example one such system is the EDM (electronic document management) system that holds the scans of all of our paper documents and using Citrix staff can switch between the EPR and EDM and so get a complete picture of the patient's health. On a more basic note it can also be used to access tasks lists, calendars and email – helping to manage busy lives at a time when hospital staff are working under extreme pressure.

It affects the employee experience in a very positive way because of the way in which we have combined the remote connectivity with the Citrix tools. That means that as long as you have the right level of authorization, you can access a great deal of information from anywhere, and you can do it in one of two ways. If you have a hospital device that belongs to the Trust, then you've got a very high level of access to a lot of information because we can then employ end-to-end security. But if you're at home and you're using your home computer, you can still connect. It's just that there is no data transfer and the performance is less through the published desktop than it would be through the remote connection. But both situations work really well and, obviously, have been tested very severely with the Coronavirus where, very quickly, we had to give a lot of people the ability to work from home. One of the ways we did that was to allow them to use their own computers and come in through the Citrix desktop connection.

It takes a little bit of work upfront to get it configured and operable, but given the length of time we've been working with Citrix and the strength of our relationship, we're normally able to get any glitches ironed out and resolved quickly. That allows us to provide both a strong suite of applications to our users and a good user experience.

In terms of automated analytics to detect serious performance issues, what happens is that Citrix work with us and provide a monthly health check. This service monthly provides a series of analytics reports and tell us that it's all working, or if there is any issue they work with us to get it resolved.

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Citrix Engineer at a legal firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

The Provisioning Services are the most valuable feature. We have Premium licensing, so Provisioning Services is huge for us, along with the Virtual Apps and Desktops part. It allows us to have a vDisk for every region, one that can easily be copied between them if we need to, to limit the amount of updates we have to do. 

The ability to deploy shared, hosted desktops and published applications, is also important.

And I would rate the user experience, when using the solution’s technology remotely, as high as it can be. We have offices all over the world, and some of them are in areas that have absolutely terrible internet service. For users in those areas, while we do get complaints that the experience is bad, on most days it's tolerable, and that's even on the bad days when there is extremely high latency. Especially not knowing where people are going to be working from, I would say the user experience is very good.

When it comes to the solution’s centralized policy control, as in the policies you apply to ICA sessions and session hosts or virtual desktop agents, you can control those through group policy, in addition to group policy, or put them in from the console. But either way, as a central management point for the Citrix sessions, in general, it's very good. It gives us flexibility. For example, with the users who are in the bad internet service areas, those policies give us the flexibility to lower their user experience, to dim down the graphics and sound quality. We can do that on-the-fly when they report problems. That generally helps their experience a little bit. So the policy control is good.

And if you have the full line of Citrix products deployed—NetScaler, MAS, all of those items tied together—the visibility is second to none from a monitoring perspective. We use the NetScaler and the MAS and the data that comes through there is almost invaluable, if you have the licensing to use it.

In addition, the security of your intellectual property and data when remote employees are using Citrix, is very high because, with Citrix you can limit access to the local device and access to the network, so you can't copy files if you have certain policies set between the Citrix session and the endpoint. You can prevent printing. You can prevent any data from ever leaving that desktop. And if you're licensed for it, which we are not, they've recently added the ability to watermark screenshots and to have keylog protection in Citrix sessions. If you're licensed for it, that's just an added bonus to the security features that are built-in by default.

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CEO at Lucid Tech Services

We leverage the following technologies: 

  • Application virtualization capabilities
  • On-premises, desktop virtualization
  • Cloud-hosted desktop virtualization
  • Citrix managed cloud-hosted desktops

The fact that we can work from any device from any location is the most valuable aspect of the solution for us. In the last year, people have been restricted in their movements and we haven't been allowed to just show up to work. The fact that my clients can leverage a remote-first workplace that allows them a greater ability to recruit from a larger geographic area is valuable for us. 

You don't have to be able to commute to a major Metro in order to work there, you can work from any location. If you want to take a few days with your family but you have some projects that you're working on, it's going to take some of your time, but not all of it. You can just go to your Airbnb or wherever your family is staying and work remotely, do your job, and spend the rest of the time with your family.

Team members are relieved that they can continue to work and put bread on the table. They are relieved in the dichotomy that says they can put their family's needs ahead of their workplace's needs or vice versa. Maybe a child has a medical appointment or a social engagement that they would like to be at. You can fit those around your work schedule, work it out with your children and with wherever it is that they're going. In that way, both the employer and the employee realize a lower cost of operations. They realize increased flexibility and agility in their life. That dichotomy is either minimized or removed entirely. That's been very, very groundbreaking for them.

The deployment and management of hybrid Cloud Apps and Desktops is not 100% seamless, although it is very good. When you start mixing a third-party or a cloud-hosted app, it is generally pretty seamless. You don't notice a difference between a web-based app that you run on a physical machine, on a virtual machine, or through a Workspace. I have not seen any problems with that. A legacy application or a computer-aided design program has very specific requirements that can be a challenge. But with a little bit of research, once you settle on the solution, it's pretty good.

Security is a shining point of the Citrix Workspace. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a very robust solution when security is a concern. Furthermore, the content collaboration data-hosting that Citrix integrates with Virtual Apps and Desktops is among the best there is.

It is the same for the security of clients' intellectual property and data when remote employees use the solution. Content collaboration allows you to share data securely and is supported with two-factor authentication. You can have a consolidated data set with a widely distributed workforce and they can all be on the same sheet of music, all accessing the same data. Version control, access control lists, anything you could wish for, is available in their solution stack.

Citrix simplifies the adherence to industry regulations for data protection and for compliance. HIPAA, for example, if you share that data over two or three different clinics or facilities, you have to create and maintain some sort of SD-WAN or VPN in order to make sure that those applications and those datasets are shared only between those locations. With Virtual Apps and Desktops, that either reduces or removes the need for either the VPN or an SD-WAN, because they aren't actually sharing between various locations. You are accessing that data set through various locations. The benefit to that is that you have reduced complexity at the infrastructure level so there's less to troubleshoot. There's less to go wrong.

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Manager of Virtualization Services at a university with 10,001+ employees

We certainly get more bang for the buck with the XenApp environment because we can really stretch that platform to many. It's a low cost when you look at the number of users that we get to access our Citrix XenApp-published desktop and individual applications. Citrix doesn't really even talk about XenApp anymore. They are marketing everything under the XenDesktop piece of the product line. Traditionally, XenApp was just anything that was a server-based OS, and Desktop was anything that was a desktop-based OS. We do both here at the University. We just have more workload on a server-based OS environment than we do on desktop OS. There are ebbs and flows. We used to not have very many virtualized desktop OS deployments, before COVID. We've had to do a whole lot more of that in the last few months. So for us, XenApp is number one, and Desktop is number two. 

The other product that has really helped us quite a bit is that we have a Citrix NetScaler. They now call that ADC. That is our hardware appliance, the physical appliance that sits on the perimeter of our network. It acts as a firewall, router, and load balancer. That's where we can add the extra pieces of security. That's how we're able to use the same physical infrastructure to deliver virtual apps and desktops to everyone at the university and, at the same time, do more specialty, secure network offerings for our School of Medicine and researchers.

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System Engineer Windows and Citrix at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

We can provide tons of applications with different settings, behaviors, and operating systems. It is the same way for the user. Then, we are totally transparent for the user to use a lot of totally different applications, which is the most important part of Citrix today.

Remotely, the user can use his personal computer with a VPN to the bank, as there is not always WiFi. We have seen very low boundaries in some cases. With the Citrix application, we provide very beautiful applications. We are running without a lot of resources in the data center and the user doesn't see it. It's totally transparent for them.

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IT Director at a legal firm with 51-200 employees

The most valuable feature has to be the non-persistent desktop. If one of my users messes something up and blows away their desktop, it goes back to what it was originally, before they had an issue.

Our employees also absolutely love the flexibility of using it on any device. We have quite a few people who use iPads and they really like the experience on that, regardless of where they are. The only difference is that the speed of the connection changes, but nothing else does. The consistency is huge.

The solution's centralized policy control and distributed enforcement work well. We have the desktops locked down so users can not add their own software. That's centrally controlled and it does make it easier to be able to present a consistent experience.

I also like that we have redundancy built in. The last time we upgraded, which was three years ago, we put in dual controllers and dual storefront machines. We have never had an outage that the users were aware of. I did have a desktop server crash and was able to restore that from backup. Nobody ever knew. They had had the same experience regardless.

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Senior Engineer at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

The most valuable feature is the ability to connect to our on-premise applications, through the Workspace app and the Workspace experience.

The user experience when using the solution's technology remotely is outstanding. Our users are able to work and it's seamless with fantastic performance.

The solution provides the flexibility of being used on any device. It improves the user experience because users are able to use whichever device they prefer.

The solution’s centralized policy control and distributed enforcement is a major benefit because it allows us to manage everything in one place. We can enable users to remotely connect and access local devices, and we can change that in one place. It will then either lock it down or give the user the abilities granted. It's all done in one place.

In addition, the solution's user behavior analytics for detecting anomalies and enforcing security policies works. When you put rules in place, they are enforced and the solution will immediately prevent unwanted activity from happening. Our security is improved as a result because our staff who manage security don't have to worry. Citrix is doing the work for them.

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Manager - IT/Telecommunications at Banco Galicia

XenApp is a really good product. The user experience is awesome. The security features that it has are invaluable for a customer like us. Because we are highly regulated, we need to operate in a highly secure environment. 

We love Citrix SD-WAN and have it fully deployed on all of our network and branches.

We saw a huge improvement when we implemented Citrix Director. We have full visibility of our users' traffic, from their houses to our data center. This solution has provided a huge advantage with visibility.

The solution provides everything in one integrated platform. When it comes to monitoring their solution, it is really easy. We have all the information in one place so we can have the right information at the right moment. We can be proactive when it comes to dealing with performance, maintenance, and security issues. 

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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.  

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Director System Integration at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

Citrix tends to have the most capabilities surrounding desktops.

The application virtualization is very, very good.

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Senior Manager, Corporate IT at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

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.

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Infrastructure Specialist at a insurance company with 201-500 employees

The most valuable feature is the gateway to a remote connection, to a physical or a virtual PC. Compared to a normal VPN client and connection, the connection via Citrix is more stable and does not consume as much network bandwidth.

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Owner at 1st Solutions

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.  

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Sr. System Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

Citrix Virtual Apps is the most valuable feature. Many customers use this feature to publish only applications, and not the full desktop. They can publish the internal resource or allow the end-user to reach a site or an application without having the full desktop. That's why they love this feature. It helps them save on resources.

It also provides the flexibility of being used on any device. It makes for a good employee experience because they are able to log in using any device and reach the resource.

We also utilized the centralized policy to apply things to all users or to categorize the users. Once users were categorized we could apply policies based on the categories. It was very helpful. We could allow users in category "A" to reach some of the resources, and allow users in category "B" to reach other resources, based on their requirements. For example, we could block USB for some categories and allow it for other categories.

There is also access control based on device, location, end-user device, or application. This is a good feature because it adds to the flexibility. You can give access based on many factors.

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Project Leader at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The most valuable feature is the automatic software upgrades because they take place on only three or four servers, rather than on 50 or 60 machines.

The administration, security, and flexibility are very good.

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CTO at Greenware Technologies LLC

The most valuable features are user experience and printing capabilities.

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IT Operations Service Delivery Senior Manager at e-finance

The most valuable feature is that users can work remotely from any location. The shadow feature is extraordinary and helps a lot when supporting remote users. The business support team uses this feature to connect to the user session when they are working and can provide instruction on performing complicated tasks.

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Senior Manager of Engineering at Mechanics Bank

I found the ease of deployment, scalability, and security to be to our benefit when supplying virtual applications/resources to our clients.

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System Administrator at a non-tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees

It's most valuable feature is its easy setup.

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Learn what your peers think about Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
511,307 professionals have used our research since 2012.