Last week at Synergy, Citrix announced support for Office 365 cache data in their Profile Management and WEM products, and more than a few people showed up at our booth and asked what it meant for us. Since so many attendees had questions about it, we figured it was worth writing a blog post so that people who weren’t at Synergy know what’s up, too.
First, this move by Citrix was not unexpected. After all, Citrix offers profile and user environment management products as part of Enterprise and Platinum levels of Citrix Virtual Apps and the Advanced, Enterprise, and Platinum levels of Citrix Virtual Desktops (those, by the way, are the new names for XenApp and XenDesktop). It only makes sense that they’d keep up with the times.
As it relates to FSLogix, we remain a Citrix Ready partner with a mission to continue adding features that enterprises need. This relationship has resulted in a recent blog post from Citrix in which they endorse our Office 365 Container product, in which Citrix notes:
“FSLogix has been working with Citrix to ensure its compatibility with Citrix products. It is verified as Citrix Ready and is listed on the Citrix Ready Marketplace. FSLogix Office 365 Container for Citrix enables true Cached Exchange Mode for all virtual workspaces using Office 365 and real time search for virtual desktops.
FSLogix Office 365 Container for Citrix installs in minutes, and allows enterprises to virtualize and persist OST files for users with XenApp and non-persistent or ‘pooled’ virtual desktop infrastructure. In addition to addressing email and search performance, critical settings for Office 365 such as OneDrive cache, Skype for Business global address list (GAL), and Windows search database now persist between sessions.”
(It's worth noting that, in addition to Citrix’s own testing, Microsoft had our Office 365 Container product independently tested by RDS Gurus, and found that “FSLogix’s Office 365 Container exceeds UPD in Outlook search functionality,” and it resulted in “a significant improvement in user experience when searching in Outlook in non-persistent RDS environments.”)
The key takeaway from the Citrix blog is that while Citrix now addresses per-user Outlook OST files and Outlook search integration, they acknowledge that our Office 365 Container product goes on to support other critical Office 365 functionality, including full Windows Search on Citrix Virtual Desktops. Soon, we’ll be releasing versions of both Office 365 Container and Profile Container that include Cloud Cache functionality that introduces high availability, as well as an add-on module that can place your users’ data in multiple locations at the same time.
FSLogix Office 365 Container works alongside existing profile management platforms, like Citrix UPM. It installs in minutes and is configured by GPOs, with no other infrastructure to deploy besides defining a storage location, so your ramp-up time is minimal. Plus, since it's a subscription model, you're not making a long-term infrastructure decision that holds you back if your overall needs change in the future.
With that in mind, our relationship with Citrix will continue to exist because, after all, the combined Citrix + FSLogix story is extremely valuable. Citrix may have App Layering, but as Robb Shaw just wrote, we add value to CAL by reducing the number of silos/delivery groups you have to manage while also adding in Java Control and license management capabilities. You can say the same about Office 365–Outlook Cached Exchange Mode and Search support alone might be enough for you, but if you use other features of Office 365, our Office 365 Container can help.
So, if you're planning on waiting to see if Citrix’s latest features will solve your problem, use the time wisely to determine how you’ll be using Office 365 in the future. If OneDrive, OneNote, Skype for Business, Teams, and SharePoint are in your plans, you'll want to understand the differences between Citrix's capabilities and FSLogix's. And, if you’re currently experiencing performance issues with Office 365 adoption, especially as it relates to end user performance and scalability, or if you plan on leveraging your Office 365 subscription for more than just Outlook, we have an award-winning solution available for you today.