Saturday, October 1, 2022

Citrix Workspace Review

The pandemic’s seismic shift to remote work created a surge in demand for solutions to secure remote access for organizations of all sizes. As a result, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) rose dramatically in popularity, because it delivered much more robust security than older remote access technology, such as virtual public networks (VPNs) and remote desktop protocol (RDP).

Citrix offers a suite of products to support desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) and VDI solutions. Of them, Citrix Workspace, formerly known as Citrix Workspace Cloud, directly provides remote workers with secure remote connections to a desktop containing company data and applications.

See below to learn all about Citrix Workspace and where it stands in the VDI market:

Citrix and the VDI market

The pandemic of 2020 kick-started the slow-growing VDI marketplace. In fact, in 2016, experts were predicting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of only 11.4% and for the market to grow to $13.45 billion by 2022.

As late as 2019, the CAGR had only been adjusted to 14.4% with a forecast of $12.97 billion by 2027. However, after the pandemic, revised predictions target a much more robust CAGR between 18.2% and 19.4% and for the market to grow as large as $33.42 billion by 2028.

In 2021, Citrix reported that the revenue of their Workspace category grew 5% to reach $600 million with subscriptions accounting for 53% of the revenue. Citrix is a pioneer and market leader in the category and first began offering virtual desktop solutions in the early 1990s.

Other competitors in this market include Amazon Web Services, Cisco Systems, Evolve IP, IBM, IGEL Technology, Microsoft, NetApp, Nutanix, Oracle, Paperspace, Parallels, SolarWinds, and VMware.

Citrix Workspace features

Citrix Workspace delivers a virtual desktop to client computers that incorporates user applications and data resources. The key features of the Citrix solution include:

  • Advanced analytics with individual user risk scores
  • Application virtualization, delivery, and management 
  • Cloud app security
  • End-to-end secure connections
  • Workflows incorporated into the desktop
  • Single-sign on (SSO)
  • SD-WAN and secure access service edge (SASE) solutions
  • HD video and unified communications support
  • Unified endpoint management 

Benefits

The majority of modern employees want to continue to work remotely, and companies still need to protect their data. Citrix Workspace solves both corporate and user needs through the key VDI benefits.

Consistent experience

Even though employees may be working remotely, they still want access to all of their applications whether they are working on their laptops or their cell phone. Citrix Workspace delivers a consistent and powerful desktop experience hosted remotely and delivered to devices located anywhere. As such, users enjoy consistent access and performance anywhere from the coffee shop to the cubicle.

Corporate control

Companies cannot necessarily control endpoints in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment or home networks. Deploying a virtual desktop provides full control of company assets even without control of the endpoint device. Critical applications and data can be delivered through the Citrix Workspace’s encrypted communication and data exfiltration can be eliminated by denying copy-paste or downloads.

Secure access

Traditional technologies for remote access, such as VPN and RDP, possess significant security weaknesses and are under constant attack. VDI solutions create fully encrypted connections to virtual containers for much tighter and controlled security. 

Use cases

Hollands Kroon

The local government of the Hollands Kroon region of the Netherlands seeks to provide online access to all services to their citizens and hold government employees to results measured by output instead of hours spent in the office. To achieve these goals, Hollands Kroon needed an easily available infrastructure that required minimal support and that would not expose citizen data to data breaches.

Hollands Kroon uses microapps integration to incorporate SAP, Microsoft, Google G Suite, Salesforce, Workday, Atlassian, Zendesk, Tableau, and ServiceNow into standard VDIs within Citrix Workspace. Despite the large number of apps, the time required to set up new accounts has been reduced from six hours to 30 minutes.

“Everything employees need to do their work is now accessed through a single portal, our Citrix environment,” said Frank van Hoolwerff, ICT advisor at Hollands Kroon. “The Workspace app creates a single point of entry to all data, all applications. It’s allowing staff to be more engaged.”

Össur

The 4,000 employees of Össur design and manufacture prosthetic limbs from 100 locations in 26 countries. The five members of the IT staff needed a time-efficient and simple way to deploy secure, robust IT resources suitable for scientists, engineers, and other specialists in the company without costing a fortune.

Össur uses just three desktop images for the entire company. However, Citrix Workspace still allows Össur to automatically deploy resource-intensive 3D CAD apps supported by extended cloud resources, so heavy workload applications work well on any endpoint.

“We’re using Citrix as much as we can to reduce the cost of end-user equipment,” said Infrastructure and Cloud Architect Einar Dagfinnur Klemensson. “We’re exploring how we can use cell phones as a primary end-user device. We’re deploying Raspberry Pi devices and looking at Google Grab and Go Chromebooks.”

Synopsis

Synopsis builds security into silicon chips to power secure application delivery. As a security company, Synopsis requires robust security to remain in place to protect their chip design IP, even as their employees transitioned to remote work during the pandemic.

“Citrix has been our primary access model for employees when they interact with applications hosted in our internal data centers, on public clouds, or delivered as SaaS,” said Joe Fu, IT director of engineering and applications at Synopsis. “Especially critical during the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting work-from-home situation, we have implemented a very stringent process for data protection and data transfer.”

Differentiators

Although Citrix may have been one of the first VDI solutions, many competitors have followed. Customers that choose Citrix Workspace often do so because of the following key differentiators.

Broad flexibility

Citrix supports the broadest range of possible deployment options to fit all types of companies.

  • Deployment choice: Users can select cloud-based hosting or incorporate fully-controlled local resources. 
  • Hypervisor choice: Unlike other solutions that only support one type of hypervisor, Citrix can deploy their own solution or support deployment of VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Host OS choice: Citrix supports Red Hat Linux AS, Novell Linux Desktop, Linux WS, and Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019.
  • Client OS choice: Citrix supports Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, and HTML5.

Tight security

The most bare-bones version of Citrix Workspace uses SSO logins to create an end-to-end encrypted connection to the VDI that encompasses a user’s data, local resources, and SaaS applications.

Security only improves from there, with options for intelligent analytics, adaptive security controls, multi-factor authentication for apps, zero-trust features, browser isolation, and app protection.

User reviews

Review site Rating
Gartner Peer Insights 4.4 out of 5
TrustRadius 8.2 out of 10
G2 4.0 out of 5
Capterra 4.0 out of 5
PeerSpot 4.3 out of 5

Pricing

The license for Citrix Workspace is on a per user basis based upon the duration of the billing period and with a minimum of 25 users. Citrix publishes sample pricing for 500 users and a three-year subscription for their four levels of Citrix Workspace licensing:

  • Workspace Essentials: $2 per month
  • Workspace Standard: $7 per month
  • Workspace Premium: $18 per month
  • Workspace Premium Plus: $25 per month

Conclusions

Even as workforces move into uncontrolled home and public networking spaces, critical and regulated data needs to remain secure and controlled. Citrix Workspace provides a strong VDI solution with broad capabilities to protect workers and data.

The Citrix Workspace solution can help IT teams to deploy powerful and secure DaaS easily and at scale for a variety of applications and a variety of endpoints. Citrix’s long history, strong reputation, and feature set merit consideration for companies looking for a remote desktop solution.

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