What Is Citrix?

Citrix Ready

Even as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions see increasing enterprise adoption and enjoy more widespread popularity as a result, there are still lingering questions about their ideal use cases and what it actually looks like to implement them.

In this post, we’re going to take a brief look at what Citrix is (Citrix being a blanket term for solutions like Citrix Virtual apps and Desktops) with a particular focus on Citrix printing, which is the area where virtual environments tend to encounter the most teething problems.

Citrix 101: A Quick Primer
For the uninitiated, Citrix is an enterprise-grade desktop and application virtualization solution. Like similar VDI technologies, it provides users with software services that are not necessarily hosted or executed on their local machines; the end-user terminals are almost reduced to viewer-like consoles. Instead, the bulk (or even all) of the “computing” is performed on a remote server.

This virtualization process allows organizations to save money by purchasing low-spec “thin” or “zero” clients in lieu of high-powered desktop machines. Virtualization also provides for a more consistent user experience, because the VDI model prioritizes the server-based session over the static desktop. To make a very broad layman’s analogy, it’s not too dissimilar to accessing your Netflix account—no matter where you are or what device you’re using, you always see the same video library and the same list of recent activity.

Citrix in particular is favored for its scalability and security, which is why distributed enterprise organizations that value a uniform desktop experience—think law firms, healthcare providers and educational institutions—have been quick to embrace it.

The Caveat: Citrix Printing
As smart and scalable as VDI solutions like Citrix might be, printing is widely acknowledged as a perennial challenge. To be fair, the problems associated with Citrix printing aren’t necessarily Citrix’s fault. What’s to blame is the fact that printing—even at the enterprise level—remains firmly rooted in the traditional static desktop model. The layers of abstraction and the fluidity involved in server-based computing makes point-A-to-point-B printing considerably more challenging.

There’s almost an entire industry for enterprise printing solutions that claim to solve the complexities of Citrix printing. But in practice, they only add to the complexity. That’s because they try to work against native Citrix printing rather than with it.

PrinterLogic Enhances Citrix Printing
PrinterLogic takes the opposite approach. Our serverless enterprise printing solutions (both on-prem and SaaS/cloud-based) take the existing printing functionality already present in Citrix and enhance it with centrally managed direct-IP printing. That unique platform provides end users with reliable, secure, error-free printing while placing a streamlined, intuitive means of printer configuration and deployment in the hands of admins.

Specifically, organizations can choose their preferred provisioning method, such as the Citrix universal print driver for maximum compatibility and simplicity, while wholly eliminating cumbersome scripts and GPOs from the process. For organizations that prefer model-specific drivers to the universal print driver for Citrix printing, PrinterLogic’s common driver repository consolidates drivers used across the enterprise in one convenient location. This gives admins more at-a-glance oversight, enabling them to quickly identify and disable rogue or incompatible drivers.

Seamless Integration via Centrally Managed Direct IP Printing
A consequence of this—and a clear advantage of PrinterLogic over lesser enterprise printing solutions—is its seamless integration with Citrix printing. PrinterLogic functions smoothly, almost invisibly alongside virtualized apps and within virtual desktop environments as its centrally managed direct-IP printing paradigm allows it to create robust one-to-one connections between clients and printers. At the same time, and in stark contrast to conventional direct-IP printing, admins can use PrinterLogic to monitor and manage the entire print environment from a single pane of glass.

One PrinterLogic feature that speaks to the power of this combination is the self-service printer-installation portal. Once admins have configured printer assignments and uploaded optional floor plan maps, end users can simply visit this consistent web-based portal to identify nearby printers and install new or additional ones with a single click. This portal safely empowers end users with self-guided printer management while relieving IT professionals of the burden of routine installation requests.

By leveraging the strengths of native Citrix printing and augmenting them with next-gen centrally managed direct IP printing, PrinterLogic allows for more flexibility, increased print availability and superior ease of management. And that’s not just some hypothetical claim. Those are the exact results a large diabetes research center experienced after rolling out PrinterLogic in its own Citrix environment (read the case study here).

Whether your organization is brand new to Citrix printing or has been trying to get to grips with it for far too long, you can test PrinterLogic by signing up today and downloading a demo. The trial is full-featured and free to use for 30 days. It might not answer all your questions about Citrix, but it will definitely show you what’s possible with Citrix printing.