F5 + Citrix: A Coalition For Virtual Desktop Change


Analyst firms assert that the top benefits of VDI include a simplification of operating system management, a simplification of application management and benefits related to disaster recover/preparedness. However, despite these positives, a traditional VDI architecture is at risk of poor user adoption:

• Complexity: Operational complexity of traditional architecture

• Mobility: Lack of mobility between devices and applications

• Reliability: Unreliable user experience

• Security: Multiple points of access control

• Performance: Poorer than expected performance

The VDI market leader is Citrix. In unison, F5 and Citrix allow best-of-breed application delivery in this space.

So, what does F5 bring to the table?

VDI has been making an impact in the enterprise for a number of years now. Add this fact to the current drive towards improving the user experience, security and the management of end-user devices with the added dynamic of increased mobile and tablet usage.

Optimise to ‘operationalise’

Single-Sign-On (SSO) technologies exist which can provide seamless authentication to VDI, web or application servers once the identity of the user has been established. Because users enter their credentials only once rather than for each application, user productivity improves and there are fewer incidents of lost or forgotten credentials that result in costly support calls.

For real-time applications, F5 supports network based Quality of Service (QoS) to XenDesktop and XenApp via Multi-Stream ICA. By supporting multiple TCP connections, each can be associated to a different class of service with corresponding priorities for real-time applications like audio, VoIP and video, so competing demands for audio and video can be optimised to allow a quality user experience.

Application-centric simplification

We also now have the opportunity to simplify management, monitoring and troubleshooting with a single point of control. Plus we can also simplify deployment with application-centric iApp templates for XenDesktop and XenApp. F5 also features native availability monitoring for Citrix applications.

F5’s solution for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop allows the consolidation of three tiers of NetScaler CloudGateway plus two firewalls into a single service platform.

This consolidated architecture reduces the complexity of troubleshooting and provides a common strategy whether delivering Citrix VDI, VMware View, or other enterprise applications. To simplify deployments F5 provides iApps for XenDesktop and XenApp.

Unify access control and security

VDI solutions can contain many disparate components, each focusing on a single task such as user or device authorisation. F5 unified access solutions help manage access and security policies centrally, enabling secure remote and local access to virtual desktops. Our solution works with Citrix and VMware VDI security and access solutions to provide user-based access security policies for local and remote users.

Published Jan 11, 2013
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