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How does Citrix StoreFront work with XenApp and XenDesktop?

Citrix's enterprise app store can help VDI shops transition to a mobile-friendly virtual desktop and application strategy by broadening remote access and providing a simpler user interface for employees.

Citrix StoreFront brings the XenDesktop and XenApp platforms into the mobile era by giving users' on-demand access to their virtual desktops and applications in a format they're already familiar with -- public app stores.

StoreFront is an enterprise application store that aims to streamline desktop and application deployment and end user access by consolidating both into a single delivery platform. Unlike public app stores such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, admins can customize StoreFront for individual workers or groups of employees and provide access through a secure portal to all the resources they need to work remotely. Employees get their virtual desktops, applications and data all in one place, which they'll likely prefer over logging into separate XenDesktop and XenApp instances. Admins get the similar benefit of managing virtual desktop and app security and access control in one delivery interface.

StoreFront includes features that boost virtual desktop and application security, but are flexible enough that they shouldn't frustrate users too much.

StoreFront is free and available to use with XenDesktop and XenApp 5.5 or higher, and it also integrates with Citrix's XenMobile enterprise mobility management platform to provide self-service access to mobile apps. It's often cheaper for Citrix shops than using a third-party vendor such as Apperian, AppDirect, Embarcadero or Partnerpedia.

What Citrix StoreFront can do

Citrix Receiver client software connects StoreFront to XenDesktop, XenApp and XenMobile servers and can support Windows, Mac, Linux and Google Chrome OS computers, Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices, and even HTLM5 browsers by using Receiver for Web. StoreFront identifies which operating system the end user is running and adjusts its interface to replicate a native user experience on that device. Admins manage StoreFront servers using the Citrix Studio console.

StoreFront includes features that boost virtual desktop and application security, but are flexible enough that they shouldn't frustrate users too much. For example, StoreFront supports single sign-on access, using Citrix's NetScaler Gateway to encrypt remote access to XenDesktop and XenApp deployments. Admins also have the option to enforce multiple types of authentication, including claims-based and extensible authentication. The latter capability also allows StoreFront to integrate with EMC's RSA Adaptive Authentication to provide risk-based multifactor authentication.

Providing virtual desktop and app access through StoreFront can also help IT speed up workspace deployments. It is also useful for updating XenDesktop and XenApp or migrating to a new version, which Citrix says admins can do without disturbing the end user's front-end view or access to resources.

With the continued trend toward enterprise mobility, StoreFront can help Citrix shops transition into the mobile era by making virtual desktop and apps available on all types of devices.

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