Global cloud computing

Last week, Citrix launched its Workspace Cloud product, designed to make it easier to deploy Citrix and partner products across different computing infrastructures. Rather than a single product, it’s a platform that overlays multiple Citrix services. It is designed to automate the delivery of Citrix-based computing resources to users, regardless of location or infrastructure.

Citrix desktops and applications could be located on a customer’s premises, or in a public cloud infrastructure such as Azure. The Workspace Cloud product provides a single point of management, enabling administrators to provision different classes of desktop and different sets of applications for users based on their role.

The platform is available in various packages. Customers can buy packages that slot into the platform. The lifecycle management package enables them to automate deployment in a standardized way using ‘blueprints.’ They can buy a package that enables them to provision user desktops, or one that is focused on application deployment. These packages are also available in combinations or all together.

Customers that have been piloting the product include Fred Devoir, manager of IT infrastructure at Providence, R.I.-based Textron, which owns Cessna among other brands. The firm has 34,000 employees and over a thousand software titles in its portfolio.

“Textron has embraced a cloud-first mentality,” Devoir said. One-fifth of its infrastructure is in Azure, and the firm has virtualized over 80 per cent of its environment. It has to ensure their own intellectual property, such as design data, stays on their premises. The firm is using the Workspace product to unite access to those applications and data, along with Azure cloud-based assets, in a single area.

“What Citrix Workspace cloud does is simplify that, giving me a single point of entry for administrators, and giving them a single point of entry for user assets as well,” he says.

He will use the product to ‘burst’ capacity, deploying temporary workspaces for 3,000 interns each summer.

Duane Schau, a director at Indiana University, has to onboard 40,000 students in a short period when the academic year starts each September. They have an average of three devices each, he said. He wanted to enable them to access their desktops and applications on all of their devices while paring down the necessary compute cycles using cloud computing.

He has to do it all while facing financial and organizational constraints. “Education institutions aren’t funded well for their technology,” he said, adding that he has just one head engineer capable of handling his Citrix portfolio.

“The biggest value is protection in the sense that we can keep the environment going,” he says. “What if your engineer had to leave then? You need the certainty that the evergreen, the patching the core systems are actually up there to take care of Indiana University.”

Bureaucracy in universities can make it difficult for their IT teams to deploy things in the cloud, he added, explaining that it can take up to two years to push a required deployment through the IT policy and security office. Instead, he hopes to join together with other universities and use the blueprinting feature in the new Citrix product to help create standard builds.

“We could take a blueprint and define it with the policy office and replicate that,” he said.

Citrix partners will also be supporting the product. User environment management firm AppSense already launched an installation blueprint for its DesktopNow product on the community section of the Citrix Workspace Cloud Lifecycle Management Catalog.

Citrix Workspace Cloud is now generally available.



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