Considerations for Cloud Desktops – Skillset

Many moons ago when I first got my driver’s license, I remember driving down the road in the small town I grew up in. All of the sudden, the engine dies. Luckily, I was able to coast into a parking lot. I parked the car and popped the hood. I’m not sure what I expected to find under the hood. Maybe there would be a big sign with flashing lights telling me to reinsert a wire or adjust something.  Unfortunately, there was none of that, only grime and lots of complex looking things that somehow worked together to make my car go.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about cars so I’m not completely useless.  I can change tires (do this twice a year for snow tires), the air filter and wiper blades. I’ve even repaired a door handle and replaced a blend door actuator (I sound pretty smart now). I can learn how to do these things, but for the majority of car service, I prefer to have someone else do it for me. They know it better. They will do it correctly. They will do it faster.

This is the same thought process when it comes to cloud services. Let someone with the skills handle it.

First, we have to concern ourselves with setting up it. For example, if I want to deploy Citrix Gateway to provide remote access to virtualized desktops, I will need to find deployment guides to help me get this done. I’m going to have to get a public IP address and a FQDN. I will have to get a certificate. I will have to configure Gateway so it is able to communicate with the infrastructure.  I also need to make sure I set this up with fault tolerance in mind.  And what happens if I have multiple data centers?  I now need to figure out how to load balance across multiple sites.

So far, I’m only talking about setting up this part of the infrastructure.  What about securing it? I listened to one of Patrick Coble‘s sessions on security and penetration tests.  Let’s just say my lab setups were not well protected.

And third, maintaining it. Certificates expire. Configurations might change. New releases requiring me to update/patch.

As you can see, there are a few things to consider when going solo.

I quickly came to the realization that I’d be better off using a cloud service. I’m up and running in moments. There is less for me to do and manage, which lets me focus on more important things for my role.

And I’m only looking at Gateway. If we expand this out to look at the entire architecture for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, you can easily see how leveraging the cloud service takes a greater burden off of the administrators, whose time would probably be better spent focusing on the user experience.

Excerpt from the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Poster

Skillset is just part of the cloud-based desktop story. I will talk about some of these other considerations in the future, so stay tuned.


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