Citrix Server uses the Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) infrastructure to deliver virtual applications and desktops to remote users. While there are numerous components involved in a Citrix virtualization infrastructure, the two main editions are:
- Citrix Virtual Apps
- Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
Citrix Virtual Apps is the main product used for application delivery. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops extend the capabilities of RDS to publish virtual desktops using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology. Both products deliver secure applications, desktops and resources to users based on location and device-specific security configurations.
Citrix Virtual Apps isolate the applications from the underlying operating system (OS) and delivers them to the target device. The client device doesn’t need applications installed — all the configuration and data are on the server. The user sends keystrokes and mouse clicks to the server and receives screen updates. The client device needs the Citrix Receiver installed on it to gain access to hosted resources from a Windows Server. In this case, the users share the server’s physical resources.
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is used to publish a whole virtual machine (VM) from a hypervisor to remote client devices. A published VM means every user gets a unique virtual machine of the OS and desktop. The resources are not shared between users, as its virtual desktop is allocated with resources.
What exactly is Citrix Server?
Both Citrix Virtual Apps and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops come in three different editions with different features and pricing structures:
Organizations need to search through each product edition to work out which features best suit their purpose. Moreover, additional components such as Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) and Citrix Director for advanced features should be purchased for an improved user experience.
Another challenge is that the installation of Citrix products may be complicated. Often a certified professional is needed to install and configure the product, plus multiple components need to be configured for complete virtualization infrastructure.
Additionally, a Microsoft SQL database is necessary to maintain a healthy Citrix infrastructure. As there can be a multitude of software and hardware components within the Citrix infrastructure, monitoring it may be challenging.
Also, SQL Server pricing may be costly and complex for organizations. The Per Core option pricing model in the SQL server is too high for organizations that want to scale up their SQL instances.
An overly complicated Citrix infrastructure is also challenging when it comes to delivering and maintaining business continuity. Given the large number of components required to deploy Citrix systems and the many failure points, an organization cannot provide high availability and disaster recovery for its assets.
How to configure Citrix server?