Author: Greg Shields
The old saying isn’t always true: You actually can occasionally teach an old dog new tricks.
For example: take my own personal journey through decades of work with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop, Presentation Server, MetaFrame and so on).
Even as the world continues its slow but increasing embrace of cloud platforms, I’d always considered Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (CVAD) an on-premises solution. It accomplishes this task remarkably and even today remains a marvel of magically connecting users to applications.
I have designed and installed the solution. I have managed the solution in production. I have built courses on the solution for six generations of its on-premises lifetime.
I can say without reservation that I know this product.
But old habits die hard, and from my experience, they often die fast.
Something within me evolved during the construction of my last Pluralsight learning path on CVAD. In it, I wrote nine courses on the solution. Eight of those were on the design, construction and use of on-premises CVAD, followed immediately by a single and final course on how all those prior topics relate to the cloud-hosted CVADS, the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service.
That ninth course is what changed me. Although I’d witnessed some of Citrix’s earliest explorations into creating their CVAD cloud control plane, it wasn’t until I built that course that I realized how facepalming-ly easy some hosted services can be over their equivalent homebuilt implementations.
What finally got through to me is that Citrix’s flagship solution is undoubtedly impressive in what it does. But to accomplish this, it is also extraordinarily complex to set up. Actually using the thing (once constructed) is far less mentally-taxing—and arguably more fun.
Yes, while some may argue that CVADS seems expensive at face value, and the feature set between CVAD and CVADS haven’t yet reached parity. But there’s an elegance in paying other, smarter folks to do the heavy lifting while I can focus on delivering applications—and delivering applications the whole reason you’re reading this in the first place.
While I’ve made it a lifelong philosophy to never endorse products in editorials like these, I think it’s entirely fair to show appreciation for entire delivery mechanisms when it can make the impossible happen—and when it forces this old dog to learn a new trick. If you’re feeling the same way I was, I’d encourage you to explore CVADS again to see if you might have a similar experience.