If you have Microsoft 365 and Windows Virtual Desktop, do you need Citrix? Apparently

Redmond's Azure-based system pals up with virty dinosaur


Microsoft has agreed to make Citrix a "a preferred digital workspace solution" for its Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), part of its Microsoft 365 suite.

Described as a "multi-year agreement", the deal includes joint tools and services for migrating on-premises Citrix to Azure, joint products including Citrix Workspace (a combination of virtual desktops and virtual Windows apps), and Citrix SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) to be sold by both Microsoft and Citrix though their direct sales forces, Azure Marketplace, and channel partners.

Citrix for its part is making Citrix Workspace integrate not only with WVD, but also Office 365 and Teams. Citrix is also moving to use Azure and Microsoft 365 for its own internal operations. Today the company said that Azure will be its "preferred public cloud for companies using Citrix solutions".

WVD was launched in February 2019 as an adjunct to Office 365. It is bundled with the Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 enterprise licences, and also with Business Premium, aimed at smaller businesses. Although it does not require additional licences for Windows 10 or Windows 7, WVD customers do have to pay for the additional Azure resources required, including virtual machines (VMs), storage and networking. Considering the high cost of licensing Windows Server Remote Desktop Services, though, WVD can be seen as a bargain.

There are also some special features in WVD licensing, including the ability to run Windows 7 with support until 2023, and to use multi-session Windows 10 Enterprise. "Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session can't run in on-premises production environments because it's optimized for the Windows Virtual Desktop service for Azure. It's against the licensing agreement to run Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session outside of Azure for production purposes," stated the FAQ. A single user or device CAL (Client Access License) for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services, which you can run anywhere, currently costs £186.53.

Microsoft's platform is a hybrid, with desktop applications (not least the Office suite) and custom Windows applications still playing an important role, unlike Google's cloud-centric approach, where you can do all your work in a web browser. This makes WVD and the ability to run desktop applications in the cloud of key importance for fully remote working, and accounts for surging demand for WVD following the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in March this year. "Windows Virtual Desktop usage has grown more than 3x," said the company at the time.

The advent of WVD was therefore significant as a way of enabling Microsoft customers to have a complete cloud platform, including desktop applications, at a reasonable price. However, involving the likes of Citrix would increase the cost, and when WVD appeared as part of Microsoft 365, it looked possible that the business of partners like Citrix and Parallels could be under threat.

That is not what the mood music of today's announcement implies. The Citrix proposition is that it adds value in terms of manageability, easier deployment and additional features such as HDX optimisation, for enhanced audio and video with application such as Teams; and it looks as if Microsoft endorses that view, describing it as a "deepening partnership".

The remote desktop support built into Windows is among its best features, and historically that technology is associated with Citrix. Microsoft licensed Citrix technology for Windows NT back in the '90s. Perhaps therefore a tilt towards Citrix in WVD is not unexpected, though buried in the press blurb it also said "both Citrix and Microsoft will maintain their long-standing policies of supporting choice for those customers who request alternatives to meet their business requirements." ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading
  • Meta hires network chip guru from Intel: What does this mean for future silicon?
    Why be a customer when you can develop your own custom semiconductors

    Analysis Here's something that should raise eyebrows in the datacenter world: Facebook parent company Meta has hired a veteran networking chip engineer from Intel to lead silicon design efforts in the internet giant's infrastructure hardware engineering group.

    Jon Dama started as director of silicon in May for Meta's infrastructure hardware group, a role that has him "responsible for several design teams innovating the datacenter for scale," according to his LinkedIn profile. In a blurb, Dama indicated that a team is already in place at Meta, and he hopes to "scale the next several doublings of data processing" with them.

    Though we couldn't confirm it, we think it's likely that Dama is reporting to Alexis Bjorlin, Meta's vice president of infrastructure hardware who previously worked with Dama when she was general manager of Intel's Connectivity group before serving a two-year stint at Broadcom.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022