What advantages do you see with Citrix XenApp or Desktop Solutions?


I work at a University as a senior systems administrator\engineer and take care of classrooms and Labs. I've also built our Microsoft Domain infrastructure and deployed a WatchGuard Next Generation firewall which has kept our Lab and Classroom PCs free from any attack in over three years. I want to now build a SAN based Citrix solution so students can remote into applications they need to study using an easy to use interface from wherever they might be, in the courtyard, at their dorm room, at a local coffee shop, or even in another state visiting their parents on break time. I don't want them to have to drive to campus to use our Labs.

Does anyone have a preference? Some here like MS Remote Desktop because they say they are afraid to learn a new product such as Citrix. I don't however see this as a stumbling block. I was told Citrix will allow students to connect using multiple types of devices.

Any thoughts from anyone would be helpful!

Thanks All !

ITCS user
44 Answers

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

I have had a great experience with Citrix products since 2000. XenApp can be configured to provide a standard desktop environment for your students that will recycle once they log off. So you can keep your licensing down to the number of students that would be logged on at any one time. Citrix Storefront now has HTML5 capabilities so your students can access the system from 3 billion plus devices available, windows - mac - linux system all are supported. I did spend some time as an consultant and I deployed Citrix for a major university. 2k+ students now are able to login to the Citrix XenApp farm from anywhere. Active Directory groups can be setup for which students get access to which applications either standalone or via the Server desktop that is configured to look like a regular windows 7 desktop. As for Citrix being something new, the best way to look at it, is that it is an enhancement to the Remote Desktop Services provided by Microsoft. Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop lays over the top of the underlying remote desktop technology that Microsoft had originally licensed from Citrix years ago.

author avatar

I’m not well versed in Citrix, but I know it is an excellent technology. I don’t know if there is room for another technology but I have had some great success with Vmware’s Horizon product - it seems to me, it would be a good fit in your environment. It allows you to build workstations in minutes. A workstation can be easily configured to reset to it’s initial state after a person logs off a or kept for future use. All workstations work off a given parent, so when you update the parent all children or a given child will be updated at your discretion. In addition a workstation may be accessed via a web browser (if permitted) and even an VMware App on another PC, Tablet, or smart phone may also access the workstation (if permissions allow). The workstations may be accessed using MS Remote Desktop application as well. A given workstation may have up to 4 monitors. When using the App this is determined at login time. The software automatically determines the number of attached monitors and will use accordingly.

author avatar
Top 20Real User

Hi there
XenDesktop gives a full desktop experience i.e. the user gets a Windows machine with a C drive and loaded with a set of applications such as mail, productivity suites and access to files. XenApp however restricts access to only those applications that you, as the admin, will define. XenApp works best if there is no bandwidth limitations in the area you are. It also uses a mix of Microsoft RDS and Citrix to provision the service so bear in mind the licensing cost and the amount of administration behind. The infrastructure for both XenApp and XenDesktop must be carefully designed. We use XenDesktop since 2010 and we found it to be extremely versatile and efficient. From an administrative point of view it is easy to deploy and maintain. If you are going in that direction, have a look at Atlantis Computing as well. XenDesktop deployed along Atlantis ILIO is phenomenal. BTW we run 600 virtual desktops. Happy to help if you need any further assistance.

author avatar

Thanks guys !
Your input was very helpful !

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