Ever since WVD came about we have had a lot of people asking the same question; can I drop Citrix altogether and use WVD instead? The motivation behind the question is usually; 'it would save us money'. But would it really?
First, let's have a look at what WVD gives you
WVD eliminates the pain point of having to run your own virtualised desktop/application environments. Building and maintaining your own underlying infrastructure is both costly and time consuming. Most would look to build ESXi/Hyper-V/XenServer hosts, configuring well performing storage etc. This is a standard pre-requisite for Citrix VirtualApps and Desktops environments and can be a long, and usually complex, process.
In addition to this you need to ensure that you get the sizing right for BAU as well as the 'flex' element for specific projects or peak times. Most companies have adopted vendor developed calculation methods to identify how many users you can accommodate on one host. They are good as a really high level estimation, but realistically none of them really work.
In order to get anywhere near a realistic number you need to carry out extensive load testing. Even then, the usual power/knowledge user method works for some, not for the others. What if you got it wrong and under-provisioned? You need to apply for additional budgets, buy more hardware for additional hosts, or faste storage, configure them, and build your virtual workloads on them. Then everything's fine for a while until a new version of your application blows all of that out of the water and again, you need to invest in more hardware. And what if the app provider stopped supporting the app, and moved to a pure SaaS model? You'll end up with lots of hosts that you do not need anymore.
WVD makes all that go away by using the Azure platform as a flexible and scalable infrastructure. You can use modern DevOps -driven processes to provision your VDI/RDS/VirtualApps environments as code. You can dynamically generate images with all the applications you need. You can scale-up or down at different times of the day, where scaling down equals actual cost savings, not idle hosts. We do not want to turn this into a full blown WVD overview, there are plenty of them out there already. We just want to stress that we, at AppDS, think it is an amazing new product, and an additional useful 'swiss army knife' in your modern workplace tech-toolbox.
So, what's missing?
Well, if you have been used to running a Citrix environment for years, you probably have 1st, 2nd and 3rd line engineers all dealing with day-to-day issues using Citrix Director and MAS. They have the ability to build new virtual machines in a couple of minutes using MCS/PVS.
WVD is great, but it does not have all of that functionality. Sure, it has some ready-made tools that help you with all the above, but they are not quite as enterprise ready as the ones Citrix give you. Citrix connection protocols went through several major transformations, as well as changing the name a few times along the way. It is a mature, performant, adaptable and easily customisable remote connection protocol, which gives you a user experience that RDP simply cannot match.
So, what do you need for your organisation?
The unsurprising answer is; it depends..
If you are a smaller organisation with a Citrix deployment, serving a few hundred seats, all based in the same country, with a short distance between your users and where the platform runs – WVD will do fine for you without the Citrix overhead and costs. We’d be happy to show you how you can make use of built-in functionality to do everything that you require to make the transition.
But what if you need hybrid cloud deployments (to employ a multi-cloud strategy, or to host an old application on-premises etc.)? What if you are a large enterprise with multiple offices, and users all over the world? Or if you have a 1st line support team that uses Citrix Director to carry out their day-to-day duties? Citrix could help you a lot here. This does not mean that you do not need WVD though! There is a very good chance you might still want it.
Citrix and WVD together?
In many cases the answer is yes. This solution provides the best of both worlds. WVD takes your in-house infrastructure woes away, Citrix allows you to keep that top notch connectivity and management capability. It would help you to employ a multi-cloud strategy, where you use Azure, and e.g. GCP / AWS et al for your workloads.
FACT – managing images is not painful in a multi-cloud environment. You just need to write it as a code, like we do. Even using hybrid-cloud environments, with on-premises deployments still in place, does not change much if you do it right.
It all depends on what you want to achieve, with your modern workplace solution(s). Citrix might just fill the current gaps, within the WVD platform, which makes your project an overall success.
What's next for you?
The key question, and the point of this Blog article, is the question; can I get rid of Citrix and replace it with WVD to save money? The answer is almost always yes, but at what hidden cost? In many cases – reduced functionality. You do not need WVD to save costs, if that results in delivering below par solutions and poor end user / management experience.
We would love to be able to tell you more about what is right for your specific situation. Feel free to get in touch, and we will send you our custom-made decision tree that gives you a pretty good idea of where you should be heading, e.g. can you get away with WVD alone? You can always just give us a call and we will talk you through it.