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Microsoft To Shut Down Azure RemoteApp Service

Microsoft today announced it will shut down the Azure RemoteApp service. The service launched two years ago as an online alternative to remote desktop Windows application services and the company's applications virtualization (AppV) technology. Microsoft will shift its efforts on helping Citrix build and roll out its new cloud-based iteration of its XenApp platform.

The two companies announced a broad expansion of their decades-long partnership back in May. Citrix agreed to use the Microsoft Azure cloud as the backplane for its new portfolio of services. At that time, Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov, a former Microsoft executive, pledged to move all of the company's core software offerings, including Xen Desktop, XenApp and NetScaler, to the cloud. The two companies said today's move is part of this effort.

"Customers have provided us consistent feedback that they want a comprehensive, end-to-end, cloud-based solution for delivering Windows apps," read a post announcing the plan on the Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility and Security Blog. "The best way for us to deliver this is with Citrix through XenApp 'express', currently under development. This new Citrix service will combine the simplicity of application remoting and the scalability of Azure with the security, management and performance benefits of XenApp to deliver Windows applications to any employee on any device."

Microsoft said it will provide more information on the new offering in the coming months. Bill Burley, corporate VP and general manager of Citrix's Workspace Services Business Unit, in a blog post described the joint effort between Citrix and Microsoft as Azure "RemoteApp 2.0," in which it will provide "simplicity and speed" of Azure RemoteApp with the core functions of Citrix XenApp. Burley signaled this move is part of the company's new Citrix cloud focus centered around simplifying the delivery of virtualized desktop and applications as a service.

"The Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop service provides our enterprise customers with superior performance and flexibility by moving the backend infrastructure to the cloud," Burley noted. "Now Citrix can combine the power and flexibility of our Citrix Cloud platform including the industry leading HDX user experience and extend the original simple, prescriptive, and easy-to-consume vision of Microsoft Azure RemoteApp by orchestrating the applications in the cloud as well. This offering will radically simplify app delivery without sacrificing management or end user experience."

Burley also said Citrix and Microsoft are developing and delivering the new Citrix Cloud XenApp service in tandem with the planned XenDesktop for Windows on Azure service, which the company announced back at its May Synergy conference.

"By integrating all these efforts across the board, both Citrix and Microsoft will be able to drive down the cost of app and desktop delivery while still providing enhanced security, management and application performance from one of the industry's largest public clouds: Microsoft Azure," Burley noted.

Microsoft said it will continue to operate and support its Azure RemoteApp customers through Aug. 31, 2017 and the company noted it is working with customers on a transition plan. The company will stop offering new AzureRemote App purchases on Oct. 1 of this year. In addition to the new Citrix service, customers could opt for using Remote Desktop Services deployed on Azure IaaS or one of the offerings provided by Microsoft's hosting partners. It was not immediately clear how, or even if, Microsoft and its partners will sell the service, though the company noted it will have more to say at next month's Ignite conference in Atlanta.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/12/2016 at 11:32 AM


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