Top Three Reasons to Deliver Web Apps with App Virtualization

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1 Top Three Reasons to Deliver Web Apps with App Virtualization Improve manageability, security and performance for browser-based apps. Web browsers can cause many of the same headaches as any other Windows app, from frequent updates to compatibility issues. Browser virtualization provides a simple way to deliver web apps painlessly and securely.

2 Many IT organizations switch from Windows client apps to lighter-weight web-based apps in hopes of solving application development, deployment and maintenance problems. While it s true that this approach offers many benefits, experience has shown that many challenges remain, from compatibility across browsers to security gaps to frequent browser update cycles. Application virtualization offers a way to realize the benefits of web-based apps without the drawbacks. By virtualizing the web browser, you can streamline app development and lifecycle management, improve security and ensure optimal performance for web apps. In fact, this is one of the main reasons organizations implement Citrix XenApp, the industry-leading app virtualization solution from the technology provider of choice for 98 percent of the Fortune 500. This white paper introduces three top benefits of browser virtualization with XenApp, including the ability to manage browser-based apps more efficiently, reduce common security risks and delight users with faster-performing web apps. Why web-based apps often fail to live up to expectations The appeal of web-based apps is easy to understand. By moving from legacy thick Windows client apps to lightweight web browser clients, you can eliminate the need to develop a unique client for each app and test for multiple versions of Windows, and make it possible for people to access most of their apps from a single web browser client. Benefits like these have made web-based apps a mainstay of many organizations IT strategy but in practice, significant drawbacks remain. While IT no longer has to worry about multiple versions of Windows, you do have to worry about ensuring the compatibility of your web apps with the various web browsers people use. Often, organizations are forced to continue to support outdated browser versions because of the web apps written to them an especially problematic approach for Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, which has reached end-of-support in tandem with the underlying Windows XP operating system. Even if you write to the latest standards, you ll still need to test against Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera, which differ significantly from each other. Each of these browsers is frequently updated as well even more often than classical thick-client Windows apps adding back much of the development overhead you d sought to eliminate. 2

3 Web browsers can also expose the organization to security risks such as the interception of network communications, the loss or theft of information downloaded to the local computer, and unauthorized access to the web apps bookmarked in a given browser. Performance is problematic as well. Because of the chattiness of the HTTP protocol, web apps can struggle to approach the performance of classical Windows apps, a problem that becomes worse the further someone works from the corporate datacenter. This can be highly frustrating for users, impeding both acceptance and productivity. The solution to these challenges isn t to abandon web-based development the virtues of this approach remain fundamentally sound. Instead, IT needs a way to zero in on the management, security and performance problems of web apps so they can deliver full value for the organization. Three reasons to deliver web-based apps with Citrix XenApp More than 330,000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix solutions to help their 100 million combined users become more productive while improving the manageability, security and mobility of their IT environment. Citrix XenApp, the market-leading Windows virtual application delivery solution, has transformed IT by providing a streamlined way to deliver Windows apps and data securely on any device, anywhere people choose to work. A single, centrally managed image supports users in any location, increasing IT efficiency as well as performance; because applications run in the datacenter, next to their database, rather than on a client on a distant device, the solution cuts transaction times of client/ server applications by as much as 300 percent. XenApp also aids security and compliance by making it possible to keep sensitive information protected within the datacenter rather than on endpoint devices. The advantages of XenApp apply for web browsers just as effectively as for classical Windows apps, including the following three top reasons to deliver web apps with app virtualization. 1. Efficiently manage your browser-based apps Browser virtualization enables you to reduce web app management costs by as much as 90 percent by streamlining app deployment and lifecycle management. Centralized app management and rapid provisioning help you consolidate laborious tasks such as regression testing and pushing out app updates. This makes it much easier to distribute updates to the entire workforce, with a consistent user experience across any device and browser. Just as importantly, XenApp allows the freedom to update web apps without forcing expensive device-side upgrades to support the requirements of the web app operating system. XenApp also helps you scale up and down more fluidly and cost-effectively based on business needs, and simplifies business continuity by allowing you to host browser apps in redundant data centers. 3

4 2. Address common security risks The centralization of applications and data within the hardened datacenter makes XenApp a secure-by-design solution. Only screen update, mouse click and keystroke commands cross the network to the user s endpoint device, greatly reducing the risk of data exposure or exfiltration. No data resides on the device, and nothing is left behind when the network connection is terminated, aiding security and compliance. Granular access policy enforcement lets you eliminate unnecessary VPN holes and reduce the risk of data loss or intrusion through unsecured connections. As people work in more locations and mobility plays a greater role in the workforce, XenApp helps IT enable secure mobile productivity by creating advanced access control policies for specific groups of users, devices or connection types. For example, you can create policies allowing a group of users to access a wide range of applications and data while on the LAN, a subset of those resources while on a tablet at home, and a smaller subset from a smartphone connected through a public network. Another, less trusted group could be restricted to a small subset of resources under all conditions. Administrators can go even further by restricting the ability of users in insecure environments to copy, or print data, or to save confidential files to removable media. You can also limit access based on the security posture of the specific endpoint being used, or limit users on public kiosks to viewing data and nothing else. 3. Delight Your Users with faster performing web apps Browser virtualization provides simple yet powerful ways to solve the performance problems associated with web apps. By moving the browser to the datacenter, next to its application and database servers, you can cut transaction times by as much as 300 percent regardless of where people work. Instead of having to transfer significant amounts of data through the WAN for every application transaction, the network carries only mouse and keyboard inputs and screen outputs. This eliminates the impact of latency, chatty HTTP protocols and large data transfers to deliver a user experience at least as good as the LAN can provide and often even better. As an added benefit for IT, faster application transaction times mean the application and database servers perform more efficiently and can support higher user densities. Illustrating the benefits of browser virtualization with XenApp As in many enterprises, browser-based apps play an important role in the Citrix IT environment, including both internally developed apps and third-party SaaS solutions. While the number of such apps is growing quickly, the decision to virtualize the browsers used to access them is far from a recent development. In keeping with the company s vision for business mobility, Citrix has long virtualized every app used in its environment, with only network connectivity, security and the ICA client installed locally on endpoints. Today, browser virtualization delivers extensive benefits for both IT and users. 4

5 Management With browser virtualization, Citrix can allow users to choose any browser they prefer Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome without the need for IT to test every browser and version on the market. This especially significant as a broader range of devices enter the workplace, including both Windows and Mac laptops each with their own versions of each browser and mobile devices equipped with native browsers that often break web apps. Central management of patches and updates reduces the number of versions in the environment and ensures that all the latest fixes are applied in a timely manner. We never have to worry about browser compatibility, so we can allow people to choose the experience they prefer without increasing complexity for IT, says Joel Hagans, director of the company s Citrix on Citrix group. Security For someone in our global security office, security would be the top benefit of browser virtualization, says Hagans. For those of us in IT, it s about being able to do things in a secure manner while remaining focused on a good user experience. Integration with Active Directory via SAML enables secure single sign-on, eliminating the need for multiple web application passwords. When a user leaves the organization, access to all browser-based apps can be cut off instantly through AD. Meanwhile, data never leaves the protection of the datacenter. Performance Browser virtualization gives Hagans group a flexible way to ensure the best performance for each app in each scenario. Most mobile apps are pushed down to a virtual desktop on the device, while laptop users access their apps through Citrix Receiver; this speeds load time and responsiveness. For SharePoint and other file or data-intensive apps, we find that the best experience is to have the XenApp server next to the application server, explains Hagans. This enables very fast load and launch times, editing, saving and other interactions. In the event that a user s network connection drops, the session pauses, then resumes seamlessly on reconnection, without the risk of file handle conflicts or confusion. Summary Instead of eliminating deployment and maintenance challenges for IT, web-based app development often ends up substituting one set of problems for another. Browser virtualization offers a way for IT to realize the promise of web-based apps to simplify app development and increase accessibility, without incurring new challenges for manageability, security and performance. With Citrix XenApp, a single image of the browser can be hosted centrally and delivered on-demand to any computer, providing a simpler, more cost-efficient way to manage browsers and the apps that run in them. A secure-by-design architecture, complemented with secure communications and granular access control, close the security gaps that can be introduced by web-based apps. Centralization also improves web app performance dramatically, while virtualization reduces network traffic and increases scalability. As the experience of Citrix itself demonstrates, XenApp has an essential role to play in making web-based app development successful and effective for today s organizations. 5

6 Additional Resources Introducing XenApp, Built on the FlexCast Management Architecture XenApp Overview Compare Citrix XenApp and VMware Horizon Corporate Headquarters Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA India Development Center Bangalore, India Latin America Headquarters Coral Gables, FL, USA Silicon Valley Headquarters Santa Clara, CA, USA Online Division Headquarters Santa Barbara, CA, USA UK Development Center Chalfont, United Kingdom EMEA Headquarters Schaffhausen, Switzerland Pacific Headquarters Hong Kong, China About Citrix Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leader in mobile workspaces, providing virtualization, mobility management, networking and cloud services to enable new ways to work better. Citrix solutions power business mobility through secure, personal workspaces that provide people with instant access to apps, desktops, data and communications on any device, over any network and cloud. This year Citrix is celebrating 25 years of innovation, making IT simpler and people more productive. With annual revenue in 2013 of $2.9 billion, Citrix solutions are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Learn more at Copyright 2015 Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Citrix, XenApp, ICA and FlexCast are trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the U.S. and other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies. 0115/PDF 6

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