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Citrix SD WAN: Use cases and Benefits

Written by Robert Sturt

Robert Sturt is Managing Director of Netify, an SD-WAN, SASE security & connectivity market network where you can login free to compare and shortlist vendors.

What is the main use case for Citrix SD WAN?

Citrix customers benefit from their single management interface across all of their virtual apps and desktop products. The question is, does the Citrix SD WAN product stand up to the competition? At first glance, their SD WAN capability is standard across support for remote users and branch offices, offering ZTP (Zero Touch Provisioning & Deployment) with SASE security. Citrix benefits include application acceleration (especially if you are a customer), Disaster Recovery, and their management interface/reporting.

Citrix SD WAN is an enterprise-grade solution for businesses looking to optimise and improve their branch office, home workers and remote user connectivity. The Citrix product offers a suite of solutions across three distinct tiers that are designed to support application performance, bandwidth management, secure browsing with SASE security, cloud integration and sophisticated orchestration.

This blog post will explore the main Citrix SD WAN use cases and benefits to help you decide if this is the right product for your business.

What is the Netify opinion on Citrix SD WAN?

One of the main benefits of Citrix SD WAN surrounds their single code base, which is a set of standard software and service components that are shared across the company's product portfolio. We cannot underestimate the power of this integration. As a Citrix customer, your IT team will use the same management interface across all Citrix products, adding Cloud orchestration, WAN optimisation, and security. Whether you are a Citrix customer or not, their SD WAN product is comprehensive and highly rated. We also note that most Citrix WAN edge models support 4G and 5G cellular options.


“One of the main benefits of Citrix SD WAN surrounds their single code base, which is a set of standard software and service components that are shared across the company's product portfolio.

The Citrix single code base offers their customers seamless integration of SD WAN & SASE into the same management interface.



With the majority of IT teams beginning their research with SASE security, it's worth knowing that Citrix offers a complete security stack: next-generation firewall Microsoft cloud access security broker and AI-driven forensics. Although these features are standard components of any SD WAN/SASE solution, Citrix is investing heavily in roadmap enhancements.

What is the Citrix SD WAN use case for improving application performance?

Application path performance spans per-app QoS (Quality of Service) to prioritise traffic. For example, Citrix virtual apps are prioritised and routed based on standard pre-configured policies which is the enabler to fast start capability. Overall, application performance is covered by:

  • Intelligent Path Selection - Provides a higher level of link availability for uninterrupted access to applications.
  • Dynamic Virtual Paths - offers the ability to select paths based on the current state of application performance.
  • Visibility of App Performance - important insights into applications over time which may cause user issues.
  • Centralised Management - Enables Citrix customers to manage the solution across DIY, Co-Managed for Fully managed services.

Citrix provides comprehensive support for device connectivity with provisioning based on discovery by scanning wireless networks within range. If WiFI signal strength or wired internet connection speed can't be detected, the SD WAN appliance or software will automatically discover an available network to connect to establish the VPN tunnel. Once the VPN has been established, devices are automatically connected back through their original network connections as they come online at each location. Citrix SD WAN can helps to bridge the gap between primary sites to provide business continuity during disasters or other outages that disrupt connectivity. Citrix also offers bandwidth scalability by using variable bit rate encoding standards and packet prioritisation algorithms that adapt seamlessly to changing traffic loads.

What is the Citrix SD WAN use case for security?

The more exciting element is the out-of-the-box recognition of SaaS and typical applications that allow security policies to deploy in minutes. With cloud-based AI intelligence, the applications' database is constantly undergoing updates that will automatically deliver updates to your security policies.

Citrix cloud services are essential for securing Internet access across all users regardless of location. In their WAN edge report, Gartner pointed out that Citrix is heavily investing in both security and cloud integration, which are the two most important areas for any business in 2021 and beyond.

What is the Citrix SD WAN use cases for disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC)?

Citrix SD WAN provides an additional layer of protection to the data center. This is done by replicating the application and database from a primary site, situated at another location in case disaster strikes. It also ensures that any Internet disruptions or service outages won't impact the business which is typically the case with traditional methods such as VPNs connections, where if one goes down, then all traffic is affected because they are dependent on each other for functionality. The SD WAN architecture for Citrix discusses 3 methods of setting up disaster recovery, which includes edge mode, inline mode and virtual inline mode.


“The premium product allows IT teams to see the state of any network node at any time, making it easier to detect problems before they escalate into full outages.

Citrix offer three main products based on 1 and 3 year licensing agreements.



The premium product allows IT teams to view the state of any network node at any time, making it easier to detect problems before they escalate into full outages. Data centers have historically suffered from cascading failures that took hours or even days to resolve because it was nearly impossible for operations teams to visualise what had happened in an outage sequence across many complex systems (including vendor equipment). The Citrix SD WAN service is designed to manage data centre and cloud through:

  • Monitoring and analytics.
  • Performance assurance.
  • Optimisation through end-to-end bandwidth optimisation.
  • Quality of experience monitoring, troubleshooting and management tools.

Netify understands that Citrix will continue to invest in their cloud marketplace products. As of writing this article, Citrix have full virtualisation capability within each of the major cloud vendors (Azure, AWS and Google Cloud).

Is Citrix for you?

Their products are sold across all company sizes, from mid-size businesses to large Global Enterprise. The Citrix SD WAN value proposition surrounds good management interface capability, application performance features, cloud integration into the main providers, SASE security, DR support and easy to use orchestration which means services are quick to setup with pre-configured policies.

Netify notes that some publications are suggesting that Citrix have a limited networking history and no real prior capability. While this statement is true, software-WAN is somewhat changing this outlook as the WAN becomes more about code than physical hardware devices with hard to manage operating systems.

What does Citrix say about their SD WAN use case?

Citrix describe their main values as the capability to deliver application performance enhancements (think application acceleration, path selection), security (zero trust) and cloud virtualisation into Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.

What are the three tiers of the Citrix SD WAN product?

1.Citrix SD WAN Standard - sold as the basic Citrix SD WAN product with application path selection based on performance metrics.

2. Citrix SD WAN Advanced - includes security features which include SASE components such as SSL inspection, anti-malware, intrusion protection and web filtering. Note: This is not a full SASE capability - Citrix will require a partner to deliver full SASE security.

3. Citrix SD WAN Premium - Citrix SD WAN use cases for data centers and cloud providers. Citrix SD WAN provides data center operators with a new way to manage, operate and optimise their networks.

Existing customers of Citrix should definitely consider their SD WAN proposition. This is especially the case if your business is running within one of the major cloud vendors, all of which are supported by the Citrix capability. Citrix offers a great management interface, good SD WAN orchestration, out-of-the box security and application acceleration policies and SASE.

Author

Robert Sturt insider@netify.co.uk Last Updated: 27.05.2021
Netify Forbes Members

Pros And Cons | Features | Cloud Access | SASE Security | Solution Overviews | Managed Services

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