Citrix targets the channel with Desktop as a Service Microsoft partnership


Virtualisation firm Citrix launched its Desktop as a Service (DaaS) tool in the hopes of getting its channel partners involved in distribution and development of this service over time.

Citrix Managed Desktops, jointly built with Citrix and Microsoft technology exclusively on the Azure public cloud platform, aims to give employees access to a virtual desktop loaded with Windows-based apps.

The project also aims to cut down the proximity between users and their data by tapping into Azure cloud data centres.

But the company has built this service primarily with the channel in mind, revealing at its annual Synergy conference that it aims to see its partners shape the complexion of virtual desktops and how they are used in hybrid cloud environments.

Chief product officer PJ Hough told press in a Q&A that the Microsoft partnership was an endorsement to grow virtual desktops, after previous industry debates as to whether this was ever going see significant growth again.

"I also think the mix is going to evolve over time, between customers who are going to procure a more packaged version of a hosted desktop versus build their own desktop infrastructure," he said.

"And we have not yet ruled out anything with regard to scenarios for the DaaS service.

"We believe we built it with partners in mind, and built it for our channel to go and deliver it primarily into that CSP [cloud solution provider] marketplace, which is that small, medium, turnkey market.

"But we're seeing enough interest from enterprise customers that we will see some deployments in their estates also."

The DaaS platform, announced at the company's annual Synergy conference, also comes in addition to day-one support for the widely-touted Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) platform that Microsoft has been teasing for several months.

Citrix's own DaaS tool will be based on a Windows Server desktop ahead of Microsoft's WVD release in order to give a seamless transition to customers. This innovation is described as the only license on the market where businesses can host Windows 10 desktops on the public cloud.

Microsoft's corporate vice president for enterprise experiences and management Brad Anderson and Citrix's PJ Hough walked conference delegates through the service in an on-stage demonstration during the main keynote address.

They showed how Citrix Managed Desktop allows IT administrators to create a new catalogue, assign users, select an Azure region, pick out a Windows 10 image, add custom applications to it, and then invite users to the newly-created virtual desktops.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.