Are VPNs and VDIs overkill for work from home software delivery?

By Rory Monaghan

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This great meme has been doing the rounds online. It’s one of those jokes that is both funny and true. While some organizations had been considering a shift to work from home for cost savings prior to the pandemic and some organizations (usually smaller) already had remote employees for many years when it hit, the vast majority of organizations were caught on the hop when the pandemic wave swept in.

This was clear to see with Citrix’s stock price climbing as the Work from Home surge grew. Last August the stock price had taken quite a hit which re-ignited the long-running rumors that Citrix was about to sell. Fast forward to July of this year and the stock price hit a new high of over $167 a share. Citrix was in all the right places at the right time for their customers…when they needed them most!

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There are of course other players in this space but I focus on Citrix for this example as they have seniority and maturity. If you have ever been to a meeting with Citrix marketing you’ll already know that 98% of the Forbes 500 use Citrix. My wife is one of the least technical people I know, yet she knows Citrix from her time in college and from using it at her job. If Citrix were already so widely used, why would the stock price climb now? The obvious reason would be because they gained new customers who needed to get some published apps and desktops for their workforce ASAP BUT also what ended up happening was that existing customers needed to quickly scale up their existing Citrix farms and needed to buy more licenses.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, VMware Horizon, and Parallels RAS customers in the past tended to use the products for specific use cases and not necessarily for supporting all consumption needs of the entire organization on a day in and day out basis. Even most of those who provided a remote access option to all employees before COVID did not have the scale to support everyone in the company working remotely at the same time as each other every single day.

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