Yesterday, during the Citrix Synergy 2019 Keynote it saw the light of day, although it’s not generally available, yet. Based on the information (publicly) shared, here’s a rundown of what we know so far. Plus a few personal notes.
Community Citrix Cloud subscription
Because Citrix Cloud, which includes the Managed Desktop service is limited to a minimum of 25 users, and PoC’s (in general) are not free of charge, Kevin Howell together with Leee Jeffries started a shared community initiative. Once they hit a minimum of 25 subscribers a tenant can/will be shared so that costs will be minimal. Go here to sign up: https://podio.com/webforms/22707104/1606087
Here you go:
- You buy everything form Citrix. Meaning the DaaS service itself including the Azure compute needed to run your machines. Finally :) This was missing ‘before’ – one (specified) bill.
- Monthly or term-based consumption model. Term-based is a 1 to 5 year contract. Longer means more discount, of course. Monthly means that customers will be able to ‘subscribe’ and/or ‘unsubscribe’ on a monthly basis, which is good to know. Estimated monthly costs will vary based on desktop-type and usage. Do note that it will be Windows Server 2016 to start of with. Windows 10 Multi User will be added once it hits GA – first day support has been announced.
- Citrix Managed Desktop begins at 25 licenses at a minimum, which will automatically rule-out smaller shops. I guess there’s always WVD to turn to.
- Pricing for the main service starts at 16 dollars per user per month, with, as mentioned a minimum of 25 users. You can bring your own Microsoft licenses, or you can purchase your Microsoft licenses via Citrix.
- To make it a bit more interesting (or confusing), here’s something we (the Twitter community) picked up: @kireeticitrix a Product Manager at Citrix stated, and I quote “We have 25 user min. However, we will allow our partners to serve smaller customers below 25 users. Partners can aggregate multiple smaller customers.“
- There will be a minimum Azure ‘consumption commitment’ of 5 dollars per user per month – this will have to be pre-paid, creating a pool of funds. Cost calculators will be made available to help you estimate your monthly bill beforehand. If you run out of funds an additional invoice will be sent.
- All workloads will be hosted on Azure and managed by Citrix. It is a new service on top of CTX Cloud. That’s where you’ll login, start your deployment, do maintenance, monitoring etc. it’s all the same technology.
- With Citrix Managed Desktops, the customer’s Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) that deliver desktops and apps, plus the Citrix Cloud Connectors are deployed into an Azure subscription and tenant that Citrix manages. Just to be clear, this won’t be your own Azure subscription.
- Citrix is responsible for the security of the Azure subscription and Azure Active Directory (AAD) that are created for the customer. Citrix ensures tenant isolation, so each customer has their own Azure subscription and AAD, and cross-talk between different tenants is prevented. Citrix also restricts access to the AAD to the Citrix Managed Desktops service and Citrix operations personnel only. Access by Citrix to each customer’s Azure subscription is audited.
- Customers do not have access to the Cloud Connectors. Therefore, Citrix is wholly responsible for the performance of the non-domain-joined catalog Cloud Connectors. Note, this applies to non-domain joined machines/catalogs only.
- Citrix is not responsible for performing backups of non-domain-joined catalogs.
- If the customer uses domain-joined catalogs with a VNet peering, the customer is responsible for backing up their user profiles.
- Citrix is responsible for backing up any master images uploaded to Citrix Managed Desktops, including images created with the image builder. Citrix uses locally redundant storage for these images.
- Troubleshooting can be done through Bastion hosts, which can be auto created using the Managed Dashboard and/or directly using RDP (see documentation for details and responsibilities on both).
- There’s nothing to maintain from an architectural point of view (Delivery Controllers, Database, StoreFront etc.). Even the Cloud Connectors are taken care of. No word on the ‘Cloudification’ of all this, with that I mean no more VM’s running these roles/services but serverless, Azure functions and all that. Hence the minimum of 25 licenses, perhaps?
- Management will be done form a new Web based GUI (DaaS.Cloud.com) REST API’s are available as well.
- Built with Partners in Mind: Citrix is working on a built-in multi-tenant management UI that allows channel partners to build services directly on top of Citrix Managed Desktops.
- Since the Citrix Managed Desktop is built on top of and managed from the Citrix Cloud, you are able to configure and manage your Cloud hosted workloads as well as your on-premises hosted workloads from a single location.
- The known Workspace App clients are used by users for connection purposes (HDX all the way).
- The Gateway (HDX Proxy) service is included in the Managed Desktop proposition as well.
- Windows 10 Multi User will be supported as soon as it becomes available.
- Windows 10 Single User is also optional.
- Windows Server 2016 (RDSH) will be the initial OS to start out with.
- Different VM sizes/templates will be supported.
- You can create multiple catalogs with different Operating Systems.
- There is a Citrix managed Azure AD as well. Primarily meant for PoC purposes, to get you up and running quickly (in less than an hour). Nice.
- Images can be built/altered (to install applications, for example) through the Citrix Managed Desktop console using the ‘Image Builder’. There will be ‘Citrix prepared images’ available with the latest VDA and Operating System bits already installed – these will be updated periodically). Bringing in your own images is also optional. Image optimization is for you to handle (assumption).
- Persistent as well as non-persistent configurations are supported.
- You can publish desktops and applications.
- There will be multiple Two Factor authentication options to choose form.
- The VDA’s (your VM’s) are hosted by Citrix. At launch there are four supported Azure Regions: West and East US, West Europe, and Australia East. More will be added in the (near) future.
- Currently there are 11 Points of Presence (POP’s). This is where the Global Azure Gateway access points are hosted. Based on your users locations Citrix will pick the one nearest. In theory this means that even though your VDA’s might be hosted in the US while your users are in Africa, they will be able to use the POP in Africa. From there all ICA traffic will transferred over the Azure backbone to your VDA’s in the US, for example.
- Domain joined or non-domain joined: It’s up to you. Making it easier, and faster to provision desktops. Use non-domain joined in combination with Azure AD (your own, or the one managed by Citrix) to get up and running quickly, for PoC purposes, for example, or contractors. Non-domain joined VDA’s in combination with an existing Citrix on-premises environment, including Active Directory. Domain joined combined with an existing Azure Subscription including an Active Directory, based on VNET Peering. Domain joined combined with an existing Azure Subscription (as mentioned above) and an on-premises deployment.
- In addition to the above options Citrix is working on another domain joined option combined with their SD-WAN technology/solution. Making it possible to connect your on-premises environment directly to a Citrix Managed Desktop deployment in Azure. Setup will be automated as much as possible.
- Setting up Managed Desktop (a.k.a. Citrix DaaS, by the way) can be done using the ‘Quick Create Catalog’, or using ‘Custom Create Catalog’. With ‘Custom’ more advanced options will be available.
- It was also mentioned that the Citrix Auto-Scale functionality is integrated within the service.
- It’s currently in preview, I haven’t heard a GA date, yet.
Let me know if I missed anything.