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Microsoft Azure

Citrix Managed Desktops Generally Available

Back at its Ignite conference in September 2018, Microsoft announced Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) and Citrix said that it would be creating a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution based on WVD.

More details came in October 2018 when Citrix revealed that its DaaS product would provide an end-to-end solution allowing organizations to quickly deploy WVD on Azure, regardless of the skill set of IT staff. Citrix Managed Desktops provides:

  • Citrix prepared Windows Virtual Desktop with Windows 10 hosted on Azure
  • Secure remote access from any device via multi-factor authentication
  • A high-definition user experience that make it easy to work from any device, anywhere
  • Intelligent management and monitoring for simplified on-going maintenance
  • Plus, the associated Azure compute and storage for the virtual desktops

Additionally, Citrix announced that they plan to resell Microsoft 365 licenses to simplify the purchasing experience but also let customers and partners bring their own licenses and images to the solution. As such, Citrix is becoming a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP).

Citrix says that Citrix Managed Desktops includes everything organizations need to securely deliver desktops and applications to any device from the cloud in a one-stop solution. Citrix Managed Desktops integrates with Citrix Workspace and Citrix Virtual Apps and it is designed to provision Windows-based applications and desktops from the cloud to any device. Organizations can purchase the solution on a monthly or longer basis.

Citrix’s DaaS solution is intended for organizations that need to cope with changing demand, like when there are changes because of seasonal work or after an acquisition. And Citrix’s VDA stack provides for hybrid management of on-premises and Azure-based WVD side-by-side, so that IT can migrate workloads, and add new desktops and applications without needing to change the existing infrastructure.

Managed Desktops has multi-region support, can be used standalone or joined to a domain, comes with the Citrix agent preinstalled on images, and will soon support Software Defined WANs (SD-WAN) to help optimize the remote-access experience for end users to Office 365 and other apps.

Windows Server or Windows 10 Desktop?

Citrix says Managed Desktops will be based on WVD on day one of release, but the initial solution will be based on Windows Server. While Microsoft recently announced that WVD is feature complete, it hasn’t reached generally availability yet. So, though Citrix is saying that it is in lockstep with Microsoft to deliver WVD support from day one, August 26th will see the product using Windows Server until Microsoft signs off on WVD. The official announcement also states that while Windows Server will be used initially, Office 365 optimizations will be included.

Organizations that don’t need all the bells and whistles provided by Citrix can still opt to use the vanilla WVD service provided in Microsoft Azure. But customers already using Citrix products, or those that need to more flexibility than Microsoft offers with WVD, could look at Citrix to add value. For more information on how Citrix Managed Desktops will differ from WVD, like details on HDX technology, VNET peering, and SD-WAN, check out the official announcement here.


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IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.

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