In Part 1 of this blog series we looked at how mobile workstyles have emerged from the earlier days of remote access to meet the needs of both businesses and employees in the mobile-first world. This second part takes a closer look at Remote PC Access, an innovative and unique component of Citrix FlexCast delivery technology for virtual desktops.

Remote PC Access delivers fast, secure, remote access to all the corporate apps and data on an office PC from any device. Remote PC Access is a component of FlexCast delivery technology that enables IT to provide users with access to their Windows desktop running on their PC in the office, while working remotely or from mobile devices.

Figure 3: Remote PC is a part of FlexCast Delivery Technology.

It works by placing the Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) inside the user’s own desktop or laptop – as opposed to a server hosted VM. In doing so, customers can adopt desktop virtualization by utilizing existing distributed computing assets.

Some of the key benefits:

  • Ease of deployment: Remote PC Access is a simple-to-deploy solution that can be easily delivered to thousands of physical desktops via a group policy or electronic software delivery system and automatically assigns users to their PCs with one-touch access.
  • User Experience: Remote PC Access delivers simple access for every user. It leverages Citrix® HDX™ technologies to optimize the user experience over any network connection, including WAN and international connections to ensure the best possible experience when connecting to a physical desktop. Remote PC Access is integrated with the Citrix Mobility Pack to dynamically transform the PC interface into a touch-friendly format when accessing on a tablet or smartphone.
  • Secure and Controlled: While consumer-driven solutions, such as Citrix® GoToMyPC®, are great for self-service consumer cloud desktop access, Remote PC Access provides centralized control and enhances the HDX experience to the physical PC with the SmartAccess policy engine that can configure specific permissions associated with tasks such as drive mapping, clipboard transfers and printing.  Remote PC Access can also be configured for two-factor authentication methods, including smart cards, for an extra level of secure user experience.
  • Future proof: Because Remote PC Access is a component of FlexCast it integrates with the broader suite of Citrix infrastructure without a need to retrofit the OS or apps.

A demo of remote PC can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G4I7XJwJB0

Deployment is relatively straight forward. IT begins by deploying the lightweight Remote PC Service on a XenDesktop server in the datacenter. The Remote PC Service automates VDA assignment to a user. IT then deploys the VDA to the user’s desktop, and the Remote PC Service handles the rest. The following steps describe the process in more detail:

  1. Package the VDA with the installation settings and deploy with ESD
  2. Setup the Remote PC Service configuration to place the desktop in a certain catalog and assignment
  3. Have the intended user login locally to the desktop and the Remote PC Service automatically assigns the user to their PC.
  4. The next time the user accesses Receiver (Desktop, Mobile, HTML5), the desktop is available from their unified desktop and apps list! No need for VPNs, additional passwords or memorization of IP addresses.

Remote PC Access is completely supportive of a BYOD policy. In a BYOD environment, where the user owns the PC that is being virtualized, users do not require IT to migrate their PC image to the datacenter to connect back to their corporate desktop, even on the LAN.  They simply bring their BYO device, install Receiver and they are ready to remote access their desktop over HDX anywhere, anytime.

In the next instalment of this blog series we look at how Remote PC Access fits into the broader Citrix desktop virtualization solution set.