Citrix RemotePC was released as part of Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 Feature Pack 1. RemotePC is the secure brokering of a physical endpoint (desktop or laptop) that is in your office (typically) via Citrix HDX technology.
Much has been written already by some of my twitter friends:
Think of it as GotoMyPC but with the centralized control over virtual channels (printing, clipboard, local drives, etc), automated provisioning of PC and end users, and the high performance of Citrix HDX. I use Citrix GotoMyPC…and HDX/RemotePC blows it away.
Here is a quick diagram outlining the infrastructure required. In small environments you could combine the Delivery Controller(s) and StoreFront server(s) on the same VM’s to further reduce the number of virtual machines required while still providing high availability.
Funny story…I was talking to a prospect who was interested in allowing their users extended mobility options to their applications and data from personal laptops, tablets, and hotel kiosks. The purpose of the meeting was for me to explain to them how to use “VDI” to provide this type of access. Further questioning revealed their server virtualization infrastructure was non-existent, as in they had absolutely nothing virtualized and use all direct-attached disk. At this point I was not optimistic that they had much chance of accomplishing their goals. However things were looking up when they told me had 100 users requesting this type of access and all of them had physical desktops. RemotePC I exclaimed! I wish I could tell you this prospect was using RemotePC today but to my knowledge they haven’t moved forward on this yet, in my opinion because they are too fixated on a technology (VDI) and not on what they can do immediately to improve the life of their end users. Another barrier for them was that this solution did not provide any BC/DR advantages because if the building power was off, burned down, etc they PC’s would be unavailable. A valid argument…but I still think starting somewhere is better than doing nothing and they’ve got a long road.
Another thing nearly every Citrix XenApp engineer will tell you…”We publish RDP so users can connect to their desktops”. RemotePC! RemotePC! RemotePC!
So you want mobility and you’ve decided that you want to move to a hosted virtual desktop (HVD/VDI) solution so that you can connect to that desktop from anywhere and from any device. Well that’s just great but before you can do that you need to categorize your users, determine which applications they need, determine the server impact of those applications running when they’re sharing a few physical processors (highly overcommitted), buy hardware…and on and on and on….a year later and lots of dollars later you’re ready to roll this solution out. So you can do VDI in a year…or you can deploy RemotePC and broker the user’s applications, data, etc that already works (arguably well enough) tomorrow to any device, anywhere…while still allowing IT to control who, what, and when they can access it. Did I mention that you don’t need a Microsoft VDA license to use it? Boom!
So deploy it already, stop over-thinking it and just do it.
Additional info on RemotePC for your reading enjoyment: