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Citrix Unveils Workspace Cloud

It's designed to facilitate pushing desktops and apps to any user on any device through a cloud-agnostic platform.

Citrix today released Workspace Cloud, a platform that the company is positioning as a way to push desktops and applications to end users across any type of cloud, whether public, private or hybrid.

In a blog entry announcing the release, Citrix describes Workspace Cloud as "A single unified, global, and multi-tenant SaaS platform to create complete workspaces." It goes beyond just virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), though, and into enterprise mobility management, one of the fastest-growing market segments in IT.

XenApp, XenDesktop Under the Hood
At the heart of Workspace Cloud is Citrix's core VDI technologies of XenDesktop and XenApp. Traditionally, the desktops and apps were served from an on-premises datacenter. With Workspace Cloud, the control plane, including XenDesktop/XenApp technologies like StoreFront (from which users choose their apps and services), Director and Delivery Controllers, is managed by Citrix.

One differentiator Citrix is strongly pushing is the cloud-agnostic nature of Workspace Cloud. Through a "Cloud Connector," any cloud can be synced with Workspace Cloud, and pushed to users. "With Workspace Cloud being hosted and maintained by Citrix, the control plane is kept up to date and maintained seamlessly in the background," according to IT consultant Jarian Gibson, who said on his blog that he worked with Citrix on the testing of Workspace Cloud.  

AWS, Azure, On-Premises: It's Your Call
The Citrix blog provided an scenario as to how this cloud-agnosticism could play out:

"Want to run your contractor applications out of Amazon, your productivity apps in Azure to be near their Office 365 data, and desktops on-premises? No problem. Workspace Cloud provides the only solution that allows you to select the best infrastructure combinations based on economics, performance, existing capacity, sovereignty, and expertise."

Workspace Cloud is offered with four different "service packages." They start at $20 per user for what appears to be a standard VDI offering; $35 per user for virtual apps added to the desktops; and $40 per user with mobile device and app management layered on top.

Brian Madden, who covers VDI and mobile at his blog BrianMadden.com, was enthusiastic about the concept behind Workspace Cloud when it was first announced last year. "What's most important here is that this is not "XenDesktop on Azure." CWS ["Citrix Workspace Services," the original name] means that you could run your XenDesktop VMs and store your files in Azure, or it could mean you continue to run them in your own datacenter."

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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