AUGI recently had a discussion with Autodesk’s Robert Vizza, Director, Global Alliances, and Rob Cornell, Senior Alliance Manager about Citrix-Ready Autodesk applications.
AUGI: What exactly is Citrix?
Vizza: Citrix offers a thin client product that allows users to connect to their corporate desktop applications without having to install those desktop applications on individual user’s computers. Customers can host applications on central servers to allow users to interact with them remotely.
AUGI: Can you share the Autodesk vision for Citrix embrace?
Vizza: We are increasingly interested in providing solutions that allow our customers to take advantage of the cloud. Citrix’s XenApp and the corresponding Citrix-Ready Autodesk applications form a set of solutions that provide our customers with the benefits of cloud-based remoting. Two primary benefits of cloud-based remoting we hear from our customers are enhanced IT efficiency and centralized data security.
AUGI: How did customers drive the development of the Citrix tools?
Vizza: Working with Citrix was primarily driven by customer demand for our solutions via a Citrix delivery mechanism.
AUGI: It appears that Autodesk has made some product refinements to better enable Citrix use. Is this true? If so, what general areas were modified?
Vizza: We have been investigating remoting technologies from Citrix and other vendors for over five years. In the last year we saw overall solution performance gains in line with our expectations for a positive customer experience. These performance gains came largely from Citrix XenApp infrastructure improvements. Aside from this performance evolution, specific changes were focused on allowing multiple client machines to check out Autodesk licenses from servers running our applications.
AUGI: How does the Citrix focus intermingle with the overall “Cloud” efforts of Autodesk?
Vizza: Our Citrix-Ready offerings represent a customer-hosted remoting solution, which is a complement to other cloud-based offerings from Autodesk today, e.g. Green Building Studio, that largely focus on augmenting traditional product functionality with cloud-based compute power.
AUGI: Many have shoehorned products into Citrix environments in the past with scattered success. What products are now tuned for Citrix?
Vizza: As I mentioned, we have worked on this technology for over five years and believe that all of our Citrix-Ready products are appropriately tuned as long as they are deployed in the specified manner and environment. Our entire list of Citrix-Ready products are as follows: AutoCAD 2012, AutoCAD Architecture 2012, AutoCAD MEP 2012, AutoCAD Mechanical 2012, AutoCAD Raster Design 2012, Revit Architecture 2012, Revit Structure 2012, Revit MEP 2012, AutoCAD Map 3D, and AutoCAD Map 3D Enterprise.
AUGI: To embrace Citrix, does an end user or firm need to purchase or install different software from the desktop install?
Vizza: There are different SKUs for our Citrix-Ready applications, but in general the installation is very similar to our desktop installation, except users would be installing our software on their server.
AUGI: What would the ideal profile be for an end user of the Citrix product? Large firm, small firm, single user?
Vizza: Any firm that currently uses Citrix’s remoting solutions should definitely take a look at this option as they have already found value in remoting. As I mentioned earlier, two primary benefits of remoting we hear from our customers are enhanced IT efficiency and centralized data security.
AUGI: How is licensing handled with this type of install?
Vizza: We have an FAQ that states: Customers who have already purchased an Autodesk product single user or network user license may cross-grade to a Citrix license for products that are available for the Citrix environment. There will be an uplift fee when cross grading from a single license to a Citrix license, similar to the single license to network license cross charge. There is no fee for network to Citrix license conversion.
AUGI: What are clients using Autodesk products on Citrix for? What problems does it solve?
Vizza: Many customers find cost-saving efficiencies in IT including single-point software management, reduced client-side hardware maintenance, and server consolidation. I have also heard of customers benefiting from the ability to more easily and securely manage sensitive model data from a central location, as well as providing field workers with increased computing capacity maintained at the firm’s central office.
AUGI: What is the client hardware footprint for using Citrix for these tools? I assume it would be less demanding.
Vizza: The Citrix client is lightweight and since the Autodesk software is running remotely on the server, demand on the client platform is significantly reduced. However, there is a corresponding need for server hardware to run the software of course.
AUGI: Where would our members go to find more information about Autodesk products for Citrix?
Vizza: Autodesk resellers, product literature on our product pages, and http://autodesk.com/citrix are good places to start.
AUGI: Thanks so much for chatting.
Vizza: My pleasure.