Page 1

White Paper The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model By Mark Bowker

December, 2010

This ESG White Paper was commissioned by Citrix and is distributed under license from ESG. Š 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


Contents Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 3 Desktop Virtualization Rising Towards a Top Strategic Business Initiative .............................................................. 4 Customers Struggle with Where to Start ................................................................................................................. 4

The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model ................................................................................................... 5 Making Desktop Transformation a Reality – How to Begin...................................................................................... 5

Common Technical Approaches ................................................................................................................... 6 Distributed Management ......................................................................................................................................... 7 Centrally Delivered ................................................................................................................................................... 7 Optimally Managed .................................................................................................................................................. 8 Transformed Service ............................................................................................................................................... 10

The Bigger Truth ......................................................................................................................................... 12

All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of the Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at (508) 482-0188.

Š 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


Introduction The way businesses design, build, and deploy desktops has been relatively unchanged for years. It is a process plagued with productivity loss, high security risks, and constant asset turnover—all stamped with an enormous price tag. Desktop virtualization is poised to make significant strides to improve this situation and ultimately transform how IT manages desktops and end-users consume applications, choose endpoint devices, and increase their productivity. ESG recently surveyed 465 North American IT decision makers in order to better gauge their current usage of, interest in, and relationships with server and desktop virtualization initiatives. As shown in Figure 1, 36% of respondents that currently have a server virtualization initiative underway indicated desktop virtualization would be a top initiative within their organizations over the next 12-24 months, putting it at the very top of the list. 1 Additionally, ESG discovered that 33% of respondents that indicated desktop virtualization as a top initiative currently have desktop virtualization deployed in production. Figure 1. Most Important IT Initiatives Over the Next 12-24 Months Which of the following would you consider to be important IT initiatives for your organization over the next 12-24 months? (Percent of respondents, N=463, multiple responses accepted) 36%

Desktop virtualization


Data center consolidation


Data center migration


Building our own “private cloud” Automating routine IT tasks utilizing server virtualization technology

23% 20%

Standardizing on a “virtualize first” policy


Enabling self-service of IT resources Use software-as-a-service


Using public cloud services

17% 16%

Deploy unified computing solution Providing organization with IT service catalog


Changing the way we purchase, chargeback, and account for IT services

15% 13%

Migrating IT systems to an outsourcer or collocation facility


Use platform-as-a-service


Use infrastructure-as-a-service 0%









Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2010.


Source: ESG Research Report, The Evolution of Server Virtualization, November 2010.

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


While the majority of desktop virtualization initiatives have been tied to the success server virtualization has had in the data center, looking ahead, 57% of organizations describe that the relationship is only somewhat related or not related at all. Server administrators who have experienced success with virtualization may have initially helped promote desktop virtualization internally, but the biggest proponents of desktop virtualization moving forward will actually be senior level IT managers and executive leaders. With IT budgets increasingly squeezed by the current focus on reducing operations and maintenance costs, it makes sense that top IT management and business leaders would rally behind desktop virtualization as a potential long term source of cost savings and urge their direct subordinates to implement or at least explore the technology. Many businesses also see an immediate benefit in user productivity thanks to desktop virtualization strategies.

Desktop Virtualization Rising as a Top Strategic Business Initiative Server virtualization is a successful IT consolidation Success with Desktop Alternatives initiative that continues to see great success within • Contract workers the four walls of the data center; desktop o Leverage a contractor-owned asset virtualization may share some common terminology, but deployment strategies differ significantly. Most • Offshore developers of the industry is focused on examples of successful o Eliminate new data center build-outs desktop virtualization implementations deployed for • High risk endpoints tactical IT purposes that are primarily locked into the o Contain and manage users, applications, and data VDI model. While in many cases customers have centrally been able to achieve success with these projects, desktop virtualization should be considered a • Simplified application management strategic business directive. These initiatives extend o Decouples the application from the device beyond VDI to deployment models that align with a distributed workforce accessing a variety of applications across multiple device types. Six to twelve months ago, desktop virtualization may not have made it onto IT or business priority lists. ESG research, client engagements, and industry insight show that desktop virtualization is becoming a strategic business decision capturing the ears of key business decision makers who are tasked to reduce costs, mitigate risk, and improve productivity.

Customers Struggle with How to Start Desktop virtualization is challenging many in IT, leaving them wondering where and how to start. They see the benefits and agree with the long term vision, but getting the rubber to meet the road has proven to be an issue. The goal of any desktop strategy should be to set up for an immediate win, quickly gain experience with the technology, and understand how to advance the initial benefits to a wider population of users and endpoint devices. As a leader in the desktop virtualization marketplace, Citrix and an ecosystem of partners listened to their customers and developed the Desktop Transformation Model to help guide customers down this path successfully. The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model provides an industry-endorsed guide to help an organization develop short and long term desktop virtualization strategies that align with overarching business goals and objectives—all based on the collective experience of these industry leaders. The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model captures inputs from the business and provides guidance on: •

Where to begin

How to align with key business drivers

Which end-users to target and when to target them

Which deployment model best aligns with specific users

How IT operations and desktop teams improve management, security, and overall efficiency © 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model takes a layered approach to designing and building a desktop virtualization strategy with each phase defined by user impact, device choice, and anticipated need for future alteration. The model balances user impact, IT operational efficiency, and business goals across the phases. This, in turn, arms an IT architect or system integrator with a clear and well-established plan to follow. ESG finds desktop virtualization initiatives to be centered on cost reduction and streamlined management. Desktop virtualization should be considered one of the key tenets to any desktop strategy, but it is not a one-size-fits all solution. It is important to keep in mind that this is not a flip-of-a-switch exercise and understand the initial high success investments provide stepping stones for scale and long term goals. Equally important is to position the business to accelerate beyond the initial proof of concept stage, which is where ESG finds many customers get hung up and in need of direction—they find the ROI model is upside down, the technology isn’t performing as advertised, etc. and basically feel as if they trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. This scenario is all too common and often affiliated with companies that aren’t looking beyond VDI. Since no two organizations are exactly alike in their priorities and existing infrastructure, Citrix and its partners want to help customers figure out how to create a personalized desktop transformation plan that allows them to consume the breadth of desktop virtualization technologies offered by XenDesktop in a way that brings the most value to their organization.

Making Desktop Transformation a Reality – How to Begin Businesses see the value, recognize they have significant pain points with their current desktop models, and are often motivated by constituents outside of IT. All too often, IT deploys technology tactically to solve a specific task. While desktop virtualization can certainly be deployed tactically, its ultimate value is in understanding the long term benefits and building a plan that maps to many milestones along the way in order to constantly deliver high value and diminish costs.

Physicians Build Desktop Virtualization Use Case • Challenges o Physicians needed to find a way to reduce logon times on the computers located in patient exam rooms. Login times exceeded three minutes, delaying physicians and necessitating an alternative solution. • Solution o The technology department took note and quickly began evaluating a hosted, streamed desktop solution that would significantly reduce logon times. • Benefits o Once deployed, logon times were reduced to less than 30 seconds, ultimately allowing physicians to increase billable hours for their respective practices. At the end of the day, logon times were reduced, IT improved its operational role, and physicians billed additional hours: a true win for all. In this example, the IT department was mature and had available resources to find a solution, but they now want to build a longer term strategy that addresses a larger user population. The example not only calls out the importance of the technology, but also the imperative involvement of IT and business teams in deploying new technology and improving business processes.

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


The age-old adage “a vision without a plan is a hallucination” holds true when applied to desktop virtualization. It becomes important to position the business for initial success and immediate value while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to new technology, improve processes, and extend value to a wide population of users. The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model was designed to help businesses efficiently move or remove delivery models, access swiftly evolving technologies, and otherwise adapt the end-user to the changing needs of the business. The following steps provide prescriptive guidance on how companies can get started with building their own desktop transformation roadmaps: 1. Identify business priorities: Prioritize compliance, security, operational cost reduction, and other top business initiatives. Once business objectives are prioritized, they can be aligned to user groups and IT can create projects based on top initiatives. After a company ranks its business initiatives, it can also identify which user groups align with each priority. For example, a project could be targeting offshore developers to maintain company intellectual property in a central location, which ultimately helps achieve a business priority of improving security. 2. Establish time to value: Identify low risk, high reward groups early as a great starting point, and arm them to be an internal advocate for desktop virtualization. A sign of desktop virtualization’s success is when endusers start to request it as an improved alternative to their current environment. Keep a keen eye out for end-users with security and remote working challenges as they typically tend to be users that can quickly benefit from desktop virtualization. Establishing time to value will help the organization determine which projects to start with and how to expand to bring the most value based its priorities. 3. Define a technology roadmap: Take the time to understand each of the technical approaches to virtual desktops and some of the necessary supporting technologies, including how and when to apply them to the environment. Know that a VDI deployment model is one of many and the sooner it becomes clear how each deployment aligns with the user segmentation, the higher the success rate. As businesses start defining their technology roadmaps, it’s important to work with a strategic system integrator or a Citrix solution advisor to leverage their experience and get it right from the start.

Common Technical Approaches While each desktop virtualization project is unique, there are common technical approaches to achieving a desktop transformation that will help organizations move away from the device-centric, inflexible world of today’s computing to a flexible, user-centric, virtualized model. The Desktop Transformation Model categorizes these approaches into four unique desktop computing architectures, beginning with today’s distributed management computing environments and moving out to the ultimate state of transformed service desktop computing. Figure 2. Desktop Virtualization Deliver Models

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2010.

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


Distributed Management Desktops are currently riddled with inefficiencies, complexity, out of control costs, and risk. Users are tethered to a device and IT often maintains weak controls. As companies explore desktop virtualization technologies, they also must balance the existing distributed environment of today with the transformative nature that desktop virtualization brings to the table. It’s also fair to say that the inefficiencies we live with on the desktop today are not going to magically disappear; we have to learn to manage and maintain them alongside a technology roadmap that delivers greater efficiency, reduces costs, mitigates risk, and creates an improved working environment. Moving to the first phase of desktop transformation requires the management and maintenance of existing processes as well as phasing aspects of them out and adopting the value of desktop virtualization. As companies transition through these technical approaches and replace traditional desktop computing environments, the infrastructure becomes more user-centric and flexible.

Centrally Delivered Desktop virtualization solutions from Citrix enable companies to move, manage, and secure virtual desktops and their individual components all from a central location. All users at this phase of deployment should have similar requirements and use cases. The focus should be on long term total cost of ownership, transitioning desktops into the data center, and extending the useful life of the endpoint. Technology at Work Remember that with XenDesktop, there are a variety of desktop virtualization methods to choose from. To minimize complexity, ESG suggests starting with a single delivery mode in the first stage of deployment. Today, one of the most common methods of desktop virtualization deployment is a centrally-hosted, -executed, and maintained image dedicated to each individual user—commonly referred to as VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure). The desktop image is an exact replica of the user’s existing environment, including personalization, applications, and workspace settings. VDI is a good entry point because it leaves a familiar desktop basically intact—that’s why many deployments start there and then expand. This method is perhaps the easiest to understand as it mimics server virtualization in many ways and has the least impact on existing IT processes, but there are other means of deployment that will complement any initial VDI-only implementations. Once desktop virtualization is deployed and end-users see its benefits, they are going to want increased access— and that means outside the office and off of the corporate LAN. In fact, remote access is commonly the first use case chosen for virtual desktop deployment. Organizations should be looking for a desktop virtualization solution that also optimizes the delivery of virtual desktops over the WAN. Lastly, consider application delivery when deploying desktop virtualization. ESG has seen that customers at this stage typically maintain existing application delivery methods. Applications locally installed on the desktop, terminal services, and existing Citrix XenApp-delivered applications can all remain the same. The preferred deployment method over time will likely be to move more applications from local installations within the virtual desktop to central management and deployment. The main point is that there is great benefit in starting to virtualize applications at this stage, but there is no need to let application delivery slow the adoption process.

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


Figure 3. Dynamic Desktop Assembly

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2010.

Measurable Results By moving from a distributed management to a centrally delivered computing environment, businesses are also experiencing: •

Improved application performance as desktops are located closer to the applications

Mitigated security risks at the endpoint coupled with tighter controls centrally managed inside the data center

Flexible, virtual work and remote work scenarios.

Optimally Managed

Defer Data Center Build Outs • Challenges o Offshore developers require a productive working environment that was leading toward having to build an additional data center overseas that duplicates the North American development center. • Solution o VDI was deployed to enable offshore developers to access their desktops located on the other side of the world. The user experience proved productive and data center build out plans were halted. • Benefits

Up to this point, IT has typically focused on a o Offshore developers accessed the North American single desktop delivery model. Reduced cost and development environment and the business avoided complexity as well as an optimal user experience building an offshore data center altogether as a result are key to successful desktop virtualization of successful desktop virtualization deployment. adoption. Once businesses have taken the initial This favorable ROI cannot be ignored and this kind of desktop leap to move to centralized desktop virtualization further helps to mitigate risk by keeping the management, Citrix provides multiple company's intellectual property under the corporate roof. deployment methods anchored in its FlexCast delivery technology. VDI alone will never transform desktop computing; it is useful technology and a relatively straightforward way to start centralizing the desktop environment, but the right virtual desktop technology must be suited to the appropriate use cases to achieve real cost and flexibility benefits. © 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


Technology at Work Citrix XenDesktop enables businesses to deploy virtual desktops in multiple ways: •

Hosted shared desktops

Local VM desktops

Streamed desktops

Blade PC desktops

Hosted VDI desktops

XenDesktop is one product—one license from a single vendor delivers all these use cases. Companies can also leverage both client-side and server-side compute models, depending on the use case, and apply the technology to a broader set of users without compromising their experiences. Aside from using multiple virtual desktop technologies, at this phase, companies begin to focus in on: •

Single image management to remove complexity and make it exponentially easier for IT to manage and maintain single copies of entire desktops, applications, and operating systems. For example, deploying patches and service packs becomes a whole lot easier. The update is applied to a single image and the user will receive the changes the next time they access an application or logs on to the system.

Dynamic assembly of hosted VM-based desktop images, user settings, applications, and the operating system. Upon assembly, the image will resemble that of the previous deployment model and can either be hosted or streamed to the endpoint device. The advantage of this method is that you can deliver a personalized desktop to each user, without managing and maintaining a virtual desktop image for every individual.

Virtualizing the majority of applications for improved delivery, access, centralized control, and ongoing patching and upgrades. Centralizing applications enables organizations to reduce the cost of maintaining applications, improve security, and deliver applications to a variety of devices for improved productivity and application access.

Secure remote access over an SSL VPN. With Citrix Receiver on the endpoint, users avoid the cumbersome task of having to log on to the local machine, authenticate over the VPN, enter network credentials, etc. Now, the user enters their username and password once and logon credentials are passed through to streamline the logon process. The same experience the user had on the corporate LAN is now available anywhere. Citrix Receiver also starts to set an organization up for self-service, endpoint choice, and application delivery flexibility.

Measurable Benefits At this point, users across the corporation have been matched with effective desktop virtualization models enabled by FlexCast Delivery technology. IT has made massive strides at this point to lower end-user computing costs, simplify application delivery, and transform its desktop management strategy. Businesses are also able to justify the investment in time and technology by recognizing a significant improvement in overall operational efficiency and improved employee productivity. Companies at this point will also: •

Address additional end-user segments.

Scale existing deployments.

Introduce a variety of endpoint devices.

Adopt new application delivery models such as SaaS.

Significantly lower desktop support and maintenance costs while streamlining operational processes.

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


Figure 4. A Fully Personalized Environment

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2010.

Transformed Service At this point, IT lays down the accelerator and starts to put desktop virtualization deployments on cruise control. From an IT perspective, they have mapped the workforce to their optimum delivery and deployment methods and end-users will have embraced the improved computing experience. This is the chance to enable self service and continue to deliver an improved end-user experience. As shown in Figure 5, users can pick and choose applications, virtual desktops, and IT services from an IT storefront. This enables IT to streamline provisioning, lower the cost of desktop support, and monitor application access. Figure 5. Citrix Receiver

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2010. Š 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


Technology at Work New application requests, upgrades, patching, application provisioning on new endpoint devices, and self help can all be significantly streamlined at this point. •

User self-service allows users to self-provision their applications so IT staff does not need to manage application delivery for every user in the enterprise. Citrix provides a technology as part of Receiver that essentially turns IT into a storefront, allowing end-users to choose their own Windows, Web, or SaaS applications to be delivered to their physical desktop, virtual desktop, or mobile device. Citrix Receiver is further leveraged across a wider range of device types, enabling improved access to individual desktops and applications. Citrix Receiver helps IT deliver desktops as a service to the end-user community.

Finally, to make all of this work well in volume deployment, add in: •

End-to-end desktop performance monitoring to ensure a high quality user experience while foreseeing any issues before they arise. This is done by tracking protocol performance, application and desktop usage, CPU and RAM usage, responsiveness, network load, and so on. Leading indicators of poor performance can be identified early on and addressed before users even perceive a performance issue. Citrix delivers this functionality with Citrix Edgesight.

Self help to empower the end-user and diminish the burden on the help desk. Citrix Go to Assist arms a business with a tool to rapidly address and fix any technical problems the end-user may encounter. Go to Assist helps users get instant access to resources and helps businesses further reduce support costs.

Workflow automation for provisioning and billing. As IT enables self-service, it becomes imperative to track consumption and automate manual IT processes.

Measurable Benefits When companies reach this phase, they have transformed the way end-users consume applications and how IT manages desktop and applications. The combination of using the above technologies helps businesses: •

Enable self-service IT for end-users.

Allow IT to dynamically provision resources to different business units as required.

Give IT the right monitoring and reporting capabilities to enable them to charge departments for what is actually being consumed.

Many companies are also exploring and implementing new policies that give end-users a broader choice and customization in endpoint platforms. As companies progress through a desktop transformation, it positions them to introduce new programs that embrace a variety of devices and places this decision in the hands of the end-user. One such policy is BYOC (bring your own computer).

Bring Your Own Computer With BYOC, the company typically shares a list of approved devices and gives users a stipend to purchase their own laptop, desktop, or thin client. BYOC takes desktop and laptop assets off the company’s books and removes IT from a hardware support role. When a user has a hardware issue, they go directly to the manufacturer or their local store. The employee is then responsible for managing and maintaining their personal environment while the business delivers a corporate image which may include an entire desktop or individual applications. The employee would first install Citrix Receiver on the endpoint and choose the applications required for their role. They will be made available for use online and offline for Windows endpoints and online for other platforms.

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

White Paper: The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model


The Bigger Truth The Citrix Desktop Transformation Model is a roadmap that enables companies to address the “how” questions about desktop virtualization by helping them navigate technology, match it to end-users, and scale deployments with confidence. This desktop virtualization solution directive is designed to be tailored to align with business objectives and provide an opportunity to link costs to sources of revenue. In addition, the model maintains the flexibility to retain choice, enabling customers to transition through the model at a comfortable cadence with success and confidence while they match the common technical approaches. Citrix, its partners, and its channel have helped customers solve complex application delivery problems for years and have encountered, as well as solved, critical deployment and delivery challenges. Desktop virtualization is a natural evolution to deliver high value, high performance end-user computing that is simple to consume and optimized for operational efficiency. Companies that recognize the value of desktop virtualization and aim to achieve a high level of success as they build their strategies, invest in technology, deploy solutions, and work with partners should use the Citrix Desktop Virtualization Transformation Model to strengthen designs, point out weaknesses, and build confidence as they navigate the industry and develop their paths to desktop transformation.

Prescription for Success • •

• • • •

Empower end-users to become advocates of desktop virtualization Minimize end-user disruption by combining initiatives such as desktop virtualization and Windows 7 migration Enable a self-service application and desktop delivery model Lock down and secure when appropriate, while providing personalization alternatives Promote and deliver long term strategy, not short term tactics Match desktop computing architectures with technology roadmap

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

20 Asylum Street | Milford, MA 01757 | Tel:508.482.0188 Fax: 508.482.0128 |


This ESG White Paper was commissioned by Citrix and is distributed under license from ESG. December, 2010 By Mark Bowker © 2010, Enterprise...