Working in a Citrix environment that had become overly complex, Iain Hewitt, IT Manager at wealth management company James Hambro & Partners, sought MSP Ziptech’s expertise to migrate Citrix to Azure Virtual Desktop. The move would take them out of co-located datacentres and into a full Cloud environment in Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Factors critical to the success of the Citrix to AVD migration project included:
“One of the things that continues to impress me with Ziptech is their approach to project management and the way they execute complex projects. Their whole methodology is really very good. Over the years, we have gained a level of trust in Ziptech and we know the way we work together.”
Iain Hewitt, IT Manager. James Hambro & Partners.
The advantages James Hambro & Partners now enjoy include:
The Citrix environment had been built and extended over many years in partnership with a previous IT service provider. The environment was co-located across two datacentres in the UK. The overheads included tenancy of the physical space, the hardware, cabling and lines, as well as the cost of sending engineers to site. Iain said,
“We realised that our current set up in Citrix no longer made strategic sense and the costs of keeping it alive were increasing. Mapping it out with Ziptech in AVD, we reduced the virtual server requirement from 70 to 14 line of business servers. And even fewer infrastructure servers. Add to that the savings we have made on the cost of two datacentres, the hardware that went with it, and the time and human intervention required to maintain it. We’ve made major improvements.”
Trying to run Windows desktop applications in a Citrix environment can be challenging. It often requires micro level development to get a smooth user experience. Running Microsoft applications in their native Azure Virtual Desktop removes the need for adjustment and additional development. Iain explains,
“We have found that a Microsoft application like Teams or SharePoint running in the Azure environment is inherently more stable so there are fewer problems and fewer tickets. The user experience is much better.”
Comparing his experience in expanding the old Citrix environment to his experience today, Iain said,
“If we needed to grow our environment in Citrix, it would take a lot of planning and there would be costs associated with that. For example, there would be downtime for multiple systems, attending site to change hardware, often adding servers. In Azure, we push a digital button and request more space, and it’s done. The Microsoft Cloud environment that Ziptech has built for us is high availability, high capacity and you can make instant changes when you need more or less.” He added, “It makes us a lot more flexible as a business.”
A big bonus for Iain is the ease at which he can reach the optimum level of cyber security the business requires. Regulated by the FCA, and with rigorous Cyber Essentials criteria to fulfil, the business prides itself in the robustness and resilience of its IT environment. It’s imperative for James Hambro & Partners that every measure possible is taken to secure their business and employees from threat or vulnerabilities.
Describing how the Citrix to AVD migration project enables them to reach these goals, Iain explains,
“Security, patching, and keeping things up to date in Citrix was resource heavy. Now, our servers that are in the Microsoft datacentre are already safeguarded under Microsoft’s security umbrella. We can be confident they are as secure as they can possibly be. That leaves us with only the desktop environment to worry about. We leverage the full Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection suite. This means that every new device is automatically enrolled to our pre-configured spec. We can spin up a new, fully-secured device very quickly.”
Iain explains how the process of testing the Disaster Recovery Plan has also been simplified.
“Using the built in Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery Service has cut out what was previously an over complicated DR startup process with much quicker restore times. As an IT Manager it gives you reassurance to know you can test this easily, as frequently as you like, and to know that it works.”
Iain also works with a 3rd party cyber security provider whose job has been simplified by working in Azure. Previously they had to install a physical machine at the datacentre. Trying to draw down analytics from it was a time-consuming but necessary manual process.
“In Azure, all of my security data and vulnerability scanning is transparent and visible in the Cloud. I have a more holistic view and it is easy to monitor. That’s due to the way Ziptech have built Azure to suit our needs,” added Iain.
Let’s take a closer look at why you should consider migration from Citrix to AVD, what the key challenges are and the benefits you are likely to enjoy.
Citrix is a popular solution for delivering virtual desktops and applications to remote workers. However, Citrix also comes with some drawbacks such as high costs, complexity, performance issues and security concerns. If you’re looking for a better alternative, you should consider moving your Citrix environment to Microsoft Azure.
Azure is the cloud platform of choice for many businesses, offering a range of services and features that can help you optimise your virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). In this extended article, we will explore some of the benefits that other businesses like James Hambro & Partners experience having migrated from Citrix to Azure, as well as some of the key challenges and how to overcome them.
There are many benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop vs Citrix such as:
Migrating from Citrix to Azure is not a trivial task. It requires careful planning, assessment and execution. Some of the challenges that you may face are:
If you want to learn more about how to migrate your Citrix environment to Azure, you can check out our ebook, Implementing Microsoft Azure for Success.
We hope we’ve provided some additional insights into why and how to move from Citrix to Azure and achieve all the advantages that our clients James Hambro & Partners have enjoyed. If you need any assistance with your migration project, please contact us. We are a team of IT engineers and specialists in implementing Microsoft Azure for small and medium sized businesses in the UK. We can help you with your Azure deployment, management and optimisation. Just get in touch.
In addition to the re-platforming project, Ziptech has supported James Hambro and Partners through Cyber Essentials Accreditation and is now working towards Cyber Essentials Plus, then on to ISO270001. Since the migration to Azure, Ziptech provides a fully-managed IT service to James Hambro & Partners, including proactive and reactive technical support, fractional IT Management and vCTO strategic services.