Secure Data and Application Access From Any Device: Citrix Workspace Suite

What is Citrix Workspace Suite?

citrix-logo-webIn essence, Citrix Workspace Suite is the branding for multiple Citrix products in one. The primary ingredients are XenDesktop Platinum and XenMobile Enterprise. Basically, you’ll receive licensing for XenDesktop, XenApp, Mobile Device Management, ShareFile, Cloud Bridge and Smart Access licensing for the NetScaler, AppDNA, technical support, and more. The concept of this packaging is to provide secure access to all of a user’s data and applications with the highest level of mobility.

For a limited time, Citrix’s Workspace Suite is being launched with the opportunity for some major discounts. At the time this article is being posted, Citrix is offering up to 70 percent off of Workspace Suite. The savings all depend on what you are trading up from and other variables. The discount varies based on currently owned products, license level (Advance, Enterprise, or Platinum), subscription advantage state (active or not), and other factors. I have found that if the wind is blowing from the East, it is a Tuesday morning, and three Major League Baseball games were won by only one run the day before, you can get the most significant discounts. Okay, all kidding aside, my point is that the discount is variable based upon multiple factors. It seems that the ones who will see the most significant discount in the trade-up program are those that currently own XenApp or XenDesktop concurrent licensing. There are other factors to consider like you may be required to trade-up all your existing product license pool and purchase extra licenses. Also, Software Maintenance for the first year is required in the purchase.

To help you evaluate this offering for yourself, here are the links to some helpful resources with more details:
Citrix homepage for Workspace Suite.

FAQ for the trade-up program

Visit our site to learn more. Our account executives are available to speak with you, with further details at no obligation. As always, if you have any questions, I would be more than happy to help. You can leave your comments below or email me directly.

AZS-3

 

 

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)
Sr. Network Consultant
Craig.Kalty@CustomSystems.com

 

 

 

© 2014 Custom Systems Corporation

Making Sense of Wireless Routers

Anyone who owns a Wireless Access Point I’m sure has seen the different letters are on the side of the device box. Letters such as B,G,N, and even most recently AC. But what do all of these letters mean? They stand for the type of wireless standard that the wireless access point or wireless router is capable of handling. The most common is probably still G, but N is making a name for itself very quickly (and is what I would recommend when purchasing a wireless router). Wireless-B, Wireless-G, Wireless-N, and Wireless-AC are wireless networking terms referring to the 802.11 wireless networking standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This is the professional organization that sets the standards for electronics discussion and publications around the world. These different letters stand for the protocol that this wireless equipment is built to handle and, more importantly, what speeds and what restrictions they have.

IEEE 802.11n is the wireless networking standard that was created to increase network throughput (or speed) as well as other restrictions over the two earlier standards—802.11b and 802.11g. The wireless b standard, which was the first mainstream standard, was capable of 11 Mbps (Mega-bits per second) and the wireless g (or 802.11g) standard took this speed all the way up to 54 Mbps.

For example, most coffee shop hotspot routers run on Wireless-G (54 Mbps).They are constantly being shared by many people so it can be somewhat slow to connect and actually surf the web. It was for reasons such as this that a new standard was needed. As more devices become “connected”, greater speeds are becoming necessary. What made new Wireless-N so significant is that it increased the maximum network throughput by about 850%. That means taking the speed that wireless was capable of from 54 Mbps, all the way up to about 450 Mbps.

Wireless AC is again changing the game and doing to wireless N what wireless N did to wireless G.  The 802.11 AC is capable of speeds up to 1.3 gigabits per second (Gbps). This translates to 166 megabytes per second (MBps) or 1331 megabits per second (Mbps). It is vastly quicker than the 450Mbit per second (0.45Gbps) speeds that the highest performing 802.11n routers are capable of.

It’s important to note that  all the wireless standards are backwards compatible. What I mean by this, is that if you buy an N router it will work just fine with equipment that is built for B or G as well as N. Or if you buy an N router and your laptop is wireless AC, the laptop will work just fine with the N router. It will just not be as fast as it could be if you had an AC router.

There is so much more that could be said about wireless and its capabilities. In my next post I will talk more about the most current standards (currently 802.11n and 802.11ac) as well as what the next generation of wireless will bring.

If you have any questions or just enjoying learning about technology, check out Custom Systems social media pages for tons more great information. Please leave your comments and questions below.

 

Ryan Ash
Network Consultant
ryan.ash@customsystems.com
©Custom Systems Corporation 2014

Time to upgrade to XenDesktop?

Part 2: XenDesktop

 citrix-logo-webAs stated in Part 1; a few of my clients have been wondering whether they should upgrade XenApp and XenDesktop.  Every environment is different; therefore there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  What works for one client does not always work for another.  We need to look at some of the factors that go into this decision.  Since both products have different purposes, I am going to discuss each product separately.  You are not required to upgrade both your XenApp environment and your XenDesktop environment at the same time.  We are going to focus on XenDesktop for this article (See my previous blog for XenApp).  With so much to cover, I’ll cover some of the major issues I’ve dealt with. Please feel free to post questions below, for issues I may not have time to mention.

At the time of this article, XenDesktop 7.5 is the latest version.  When you purchase XenDesktop licenses, XenApp utilization is included as part of the XenDesktop license.  In part 1, I was hesitant about upgrading to XenApp 7.5.  That is not the case for XenDesktop 7.5.  To upgrade to XenApp most likely required a change in architecture (from IMA to FMA).  For XenDesktop, the FMA architecture has been utilized for a while.  So, unless you are upgrading from a really old version, you will stay within the same architecture.  If you are on a really old version of XenDesktop, time to perform a migration.

Deciding factors for XenDesktop:

  • Upgrade or Migration: Can you do an in-place upgrade or do you have to build a new farm and migrate to it?  If you have a version of XenDesktop lower than 5.x or you are on Express edition, then you will need to perform a migration.  There are migration tools for XenDesktop 4, but anything lower and you are in essence building a new implementation.  If you are on version 5.x or higher, then Citrix eDocs tells you to do an in-place upgrade if you want to keep your original farm configuration.  You can have an older XenDesktop and a XenDesktop 7.5 farm in operation at the same time, but they are separate.  Components of versions below 7.0 will not recognize the 7.x components.  And XenDesktop 5.x settings cannot be imported into XenDesktop 7.5.  They must be brought in by upgrading the delivery controller and VDAs.
  • Architecture: As mentioned previously, there is no drastic change in architecture unless you are on a version of XenDesktop prior to version 5.
  • Complexity: Complexity has been decreased in many features.  In the past, larger XenDesktop farms required Provisioning Services (PVS) for a number of reasons.  PVS is can be complex to implement and administer.  In XenDesktop 7.5 Machine Creation Services (MCS) has been improved to the point that the gap in performance between PVS and MCS is not significant.  PVS may now only be needed for large enterprise farms.  The significances of this are that without PVS, we remove a demanding architectural piece, MCS is easier to administer than PVS, and we conserve server resources.

o   As stated in Part 1, do you have the technical knowledge on the latest version of XenDesktop or will you need help?  The difference in XenDesktop 7.5 to older versions depends on how old your previous version is.  The older your previous version, the greater the difference in the latest version.  If you are going from 7.0 or 7.1, then the differences are mostly in feature set.  Anything older and significant differences are involved.

o   Features: The HDX feature set in XenDesktop 7.5 has been improved.  For example, greater client resource and peripheral utilization.  Better storage resource usage and storage support.  Platinum licensing includes AppDNA and XenMobile utilization.  Web Interface support has been reintroduced for XenDesktop 7.5, so that can still be utilized if StoreFront is not an option.  This is significant for many reasons.  One important reason is that StoreFront requires a NetScaler for secure external connections.  If you do not have a NetScaler configuration in your environment, you will need another solution for external access besides StoreFront.

I could go on with more detail, but it all comes back to the basic question: Should you upgrade your XenDesktop environment to XenDesktop 7.5?  The answer actually depends on your environment, corporate policy, and resource availability.  If the needs and abilities are there, then go right ahead.  XenDesktop 7.5 is an improvement over previous versions.

What have you decided – is it time to upgrade?

 

AZS-3

 

 

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)
Sr. Network Consultant
Craig.Kalty@CustomSystems.com

 

 

 

© 2014 Custom Systems Corporation