Finally cleared to post this again 😉
So if you haven’t seen the latest, Citrix has finally publicly released their XenDesktop Essentials product! It’s exciting stuff – CITRIX BLOG COMING BACK SOON!
That said there are some serious caveats that you need to be aware of before you rush out to enjoy! The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the target audience. If you are thinking XD Essentials sounds awesome for a small shop you are right, its does. Unfortunately you can’t get it as a small shop. XD Essentials can only be used by customers with an EA license from Microsoft with Win10 entitlements. And you only qualify for an EA license if you are (I believe) 250 seats or higher.
So, that small business of 40-50 seats that seems like it would be an ideal candidate for this service can’t qualify. And that, to me, is the major weakness of this product. Let’s be clear, this is a Microsoft limitation and not Citrix. But larger customers who have EA are the ones who would look at Azure and Citrix Cloud primarily from an IaaS perspective. They aren’t going to use the Azure Store to provision new VMs, they are going to handle it themselves (or have partners handle it for them). I am not sure why Microsoft made this decision other than they would rather focus on the bigger $$$ right now. To me, it’s a real shame. This could have been a great way to go for the SMB space but they are immediately eliminated.
There are other design weaknesses… for example there is no NetScaler included with the XDE license which means another cost and more manual configuration that you have to do. And the wizard also doesn’t create the Cloud Connectors, Network, AD, etc; All things required for this service to actually work. So even as an EA customer be ready for a lot of manual setup!