On day 3 of the Citrix Summit we saw a lot of sessions talking about the benefits of Citrix technologies and Office 365, with many sessions being so oversubscribed they had to close the doors. I should point out that I am a huge fan of some of the integrations and at Alternative we have a large pool of Citrix technology experts, so we deployed these integrations already and use them extensively in our day to day jobs. Here is a quick overview of what the key capabilities are.
Citrix XenApp\XenDesktop and Microsoft Office 365
Many customers are adopting the (IMO) excellent Microsoft Office 365 to deliver productivity and collaboration from the cloud. However for mobile users that often means using the web based productivity tools, as security policies often prevent staff from storing documents locally on the mobile endpoint.
XenApp and XenDesktop, when integrated with Office 365, is able to provide staff with optimised deployments when a local install is required. XenApp and XenDesktop also allows staff to run the full versions of Office 365, including Office plugins and macros giving staff more complete usage of their O365 subscriptions.
So in this scenario all data is centralised and accessed through the remoting protocol, greatly enhancing data security.
Citrix ShareFile and Microsoft Office 365
I have to confess that I am a fan of ShareFile and OneDrive.
Collaborating on a document with internal or external entities can be challenging. We have all seen long email chains, growing inboxes with large attachments which introduce versioning challenges.
The integration of Office 365 and ShareFile simplifies collaboration, approvals, and electronic signatures. Co-author documents with colleagues or external collaborators in real time to ensure a "single point of truth." Securely share documents from ShareFile or the Outlook plug-in, even if they're in SharePoint or OneDrive. All this avoids exchanging countless e-mails. With ShareFile and Office 365, we typically see an increase data security and productivity.
I like ShareFile it because I get to use more of the horsepower of Office 365 particularly OneDrive and SharePoint, whilst adhering to our security policies.
Sales quote coming up:
"ShareFile and Office 365 enable users with anywhere access, editing, and sharing to data, even if stored in OneDrive, SharePoint, or a network share"
ShareFile is supported on iOS, Android, Windows, and has a Web App. So regardless of the device I am using I can link my ShareFile account to my Office 365 account, access SharePoint Online document libraries from the ShareFile mobile app, access OneDrive for Business files and folders from the ShareFile mobile app, check in and check out documents from a SharePoint team folder, edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files using the secure ShareFile document editor and move content securely from Office 365 to ShareFile.
Being a home based worker and often very mobile ShareFile really works for me, keeps my inbox size down whilst keeping the security chaps at work happy.
Citrix XenApp\XenDesktop and Microsoft Skype for Business
Everywhere I go companies are adopting Microsoft Skype for Business largely I suspect because of its integration with Office 365. I use Skype for Business about 5 to 10 times a day, via Citrix XenApp. This is made possible by the HDX Real-time Optimisation Pack for Skype for Business. The Optimisation Pack and it is the only Microsoft-endorsed solution for delivering Skype for Business in a virtual environment.
Any real-time protocol on a virtualised environment has introduced challenges such as voice and video degradation, we have all experienced that robotic sounding VOIP session. What we did at Alternative is deploy the HDX Real-Time Optimisation Pack, on our XenApp environment which, drastically improves experience of voice and video whilst keeping resource requirements to a minimum.
Sales quote coming up:
"The Citrix and Microsoft Skype for Business solution allows customers to gain all of the benefits of VDI—including centralized management and security—without sacrificing the user experience"
The bottom line is, if you're going to use Skype for Business in a virtualised environment, the make sure you have deployed the optimisation pack. Trust me you will be glad you did.
This was a much lighter hearted affair and quite touching at times. Bert Jacobs from the T-shirt company Life Is Good, talked about ethical capitalism, and how technology is helping to reduce the number of disadvantaged in the world. Through the event $60,000 was raised his charity Life is Good's Kids Foundation.
A nice way to close out the week.
The 2017 Summit's key theme was "Cloud First", with lots of Microsoft Azure public cloud integration and hardware appliance based solutions for private cloud. Citrix much like VMware has such a large portfolio of products that for many organisations they are better off employing a partner to maintain and\or deliver solutions that meet their business need, whether that be a public or private cloud solution.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the blog post author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s employer or other organisations with which the author is associated.