In November 1990, Citrix Systems prepared to launch its first product, Citrix Multiuser. The program allowed users to run several different software simultaneously on one computer. In the early 90s, this was a pretty revolutionary idea.
But Citrix Multiuser flopped. It had been designed for the OS/2 system, but just days before the launch of the original Citrix, Microsoft announced its move to Windows operating system.
Today, Citrix has gained a foothold, with more than 400,000 organizations around the world using it. Although the company offers products for desktops and servers, it is perhaps most known for its virtualization solutions. These solutions help employees collaborate from different locations using the same software.
Whether you are a professional IT professional or learning to become an IT manager, it is important to know how Citrix works. This understanding can help propel your career forward.
What Is Citrix?
Virtualization is crucial for cloud computing and programming. Citrix’s virtualization solutions allow stationary computers, say in an office, to run on virtual computers and servers.
They enable IT departments to easily host centralized applications that the user can access from anywhere, regardless of what hardware they are using. IT technicians can also easily create secure backups with the system.
One of the main advantages of Citrix is that it allows employees to use the same applications, regardless of whether they are using Windows or macOS. Additionally, if a company uses the Citrix Server, it can upgrade to a new operating system without having to ask each of its employees individually to upgrade.
What Is Citrix Used For?
The company provides businesses with solutions for:
- Virtualization. For example, a user can connect with a virtual computer or server.
- Networking. Citrix offers a virtual network that makes all of a company’s applications and programs accessible to any computer, laptop, or mobile device.
- Analytics. With Citrix, a company’s IT department will be equipped with visibility capabilities that enable it to detect any real-time threats based on user behavior.
- Workspaces. In the system, multiple users can remotely access a cloud desktop to improve collaboration.
Types of Citrix
Citrix, or Citrix Server, is the umbrella brand name for several of the company’s virtualization products. The two main ones are:
Citrix Virtual Apps (previously known as Citrix XenApp)
As the name hints, Citrix Virtual Apps is used to make a single application virtual.
Citrix Virtual Desktops (previously known as Citrix XenDesktop)
Unlike Citrix Virtual Apps, Citrix Virtual Desktops allows employees to virtually access a desktop, regardless of whether they are using Windows, Linux, or Mac computers.
Whether you want to become a full-on Citrix Jedi or want to give your current IT career a boost, learning Citrix will be worth your time.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Citrix?
Citrix is much like any other area within IT. It can be challenging and overwhelming at first. But once you learn the fundamentals, you will be able to progress quickly.
If you don’t have any IT experience, you should start by learning about profile management, and system and network administration. This will help you transition seamlessly into learning Citrix.
If you’re an experienced IT professional, before you start looking into Citrix courses or certifications, you should think about what kind of Citrix service you are most interested in working with.
How to Learn Citrix: Step-by-Step
Citrix is more difficult to learn if you are an IT beginner. But hopefully, this guide will give you the tools and encouragement to get started.
- Become a jack-of-all-trades. Since Citrix incorporates many different areas of IT, such as networking, analytics, and operations systems, you should learn a little bit of everything.
- Access Citrix’s resources. Read Citrix’s VDI Handbook and Best Practices. You can also attend a Citrix Master Class online, where Citrix insiders will teach you how to master the latest products.
- Build a home lab or test environment. Home labs are great for learning how to build something from scratch. As new versions of the software are released, you will be able to test them right away.
- Learn cloud computing. There are several cloud computing providers, such as Google, Azure, and of course, Citrix. It is a good idea to get familiar with all of them.
- Listen to a podcast. Podcasts are a good way to get news and insight into any subject. You can start by tuning in to 5 Bytes or Frontline Chatter.
- Become certified. There are many certifications available for Citrix. You may want to get an official certificate in operating systems, networking, or hypervisors. Again, it depends on which Citrix’s products you most want to work with. Even if you are not planning to get certified, you should take a look through the preparation guides for these exams. They will give you a good idea of what you will need to learn to become an expert in each area.
- Attend a conference. For conferences, Citrix Synergy tops the list. Because of COVID-19, the 2020 physical event was canceled, but it is due to take place in 2021. In the meantime, you can head to the company’s website to check out Citrix’s digital event series. The company also holds other conferences, like Citrix’s Field Kickoff. It is a reimagined Citrix Summit that will run from January 12 to 14 and January 19 to 21, 2021. Other virtualization conferences include: Microsoft Ignite, Nuantix .NEXT, and AWS re:Invent.
- Connect with the community. There are many user groups you can join to improve your Citrix skills. Citrix even has its own Citrix User Group Community. In it, you can meet like-minded people and get advice on what step of the learning process you should tackle next.
The Best Citrix Training Courses
Citrix might well be your first port of call for learning the program, as they provide courses and certifications that you can trust.
In-Person Citrix Classes
Obviously, due to the current pandemic, most in-person classes have been transferred online. Nevertheless, if you prefer to learn in a classroom setting, you should contact the course provider to see if their plans have changed in 2021.
- Time: January 4 to January 6, 2021 (CXD-250)
January 20 to January 20, 2021 (CNS-231)
January 18 to January 22, 2021 (CMB-318)
- Prerequisites: Foundational knowledge of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7.1x. (CXD-250)
Strong foundational knowledge of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 (CNS-231)
Experience with previous versions is recommended as this course is taught at a faster pace. Previous knowledge of legacy versions of Citrix Virtual Apps or Citrix Virtual Desktops is also beneficial. (CMB-318)
- Price: $300 (CXD-250 and CNS-231); $6,000 (CMB-318)
Layer8 was founded in 2008 by two technology trainers to meet the growing demand in Southern California for tech education. Now, the company is an official Citrix Learning Partner.
In pre-pandemic times, the institution offered classes all over the US, including in Anaheim, Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Check for a course in these cities once the classes officially restart.
Best Online Citrix Courses
It is worth keeping in mind that both Citrix Education and Global Knowledge normally offer in-person classes, as well as virtual and on-demand options.
- Course: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 Help Desk Support
- Time: January 4 to January 5, 2021
- Prerequisites: Some experience with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
- Price: Varies
This course is designed for anyone who wants to work in IT support. It is perfect for professionals who will interact with end-users on a daily basis to solve issues and troubleshoot. Note that this particular course does not come with a certification.
Citrix Education is especially useful for those who have prior knowledge in Citrix but want to expand their skill set. There are several technical training programs that cover how to achieve greater end-user satisfaction and how to optimize system performance.
- Course: Deploy and Manage Citrix ADC 13.x with Traffic Management (CNS-225)
- Time: February 1 to February 5, 2021
- Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of Citrix ADC a plus
- Price: $5,000
Global Knowledge is an independent e-learning platform that has highly-recommended Citrix training programs and course offerings. The classes are designed to provide students with a solid understanding of Citrix technology.
This particular course closely covers Citrix Application Delivery Controller essentials. It includes architecture, traffic management, and platforms.
Best Free Citrix Courses
If you are a Citrix novice, you should take advantage of the free trials available on LinkedIn Learning and Pluralsight to learn as much as possible about Citrix, cloud computing, and system administration.
- Course: Learning Cloud Service APIs
- Prerequisites: Beginner to intermediate
- Price: First month free
LinkedIn has attracted an awesome line-up of instructors for these three courses.
Joe Lowery is a programmer who has contributed to developments in Adobe Fireworks and DreamWeaver. Robert McMillen is a networking consultant for the US government, and David Linthicum is the chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte Consulting.
More cloud service APIs are becoming available every day, but none are identical. In his course, Lowery will guide you through the most commonly used cloud service APIs. He will also show you how to access corporate APIs, such as Citrix’s.
Linthicum will give you an overview of the three existing types of cloud solutions, and what you should prioritize as you move your data and files to the cloud. In the course, he also reviews some of the most well-known cloud solutions, such as Google Cloud Platform, Office 36, and Amazon Web Services.
- Course: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD): Migrate to Citrix Cloud
- Prerequisites: Intermediate
- Price: 10 days free
This is Puralsight’s highest level course on Citrix. It covers how to install and manage Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVADs). By the end, you should have a much clearer understanding of how CVADs and other services available in Citrix Cloud work.
Headquartered in Utah, Pluralsight is an online IT education company that counts Adobe, Nasdaq, and ADP among its clients. Its video course offerings are aimed at IT administrators, creative professionals, and software developers.
Best Citrix Books
Books are an essential part of learning about Citrix, as you can use them as a reference throughout your education and career.
Citrix XenDesktop Cookbook – Third Edition, Gaspare A. Silvestri
This book has been called one of the best Citrix books on the market. It utilizes step-by-step explanations to make sure all processes are clear to the reader.
The goal of this text is to help you understand things like how to use XenDesktop to configure, implement, and optimize. It will also teach you how to perform actions on the device as an end-user.
Citrix XenServer A Complete Guide – 2020 Edition, Gerardus Blokdyk
This book uses very simple language, so it is suitable for beginners. In addition, it features self-assessments to help you keep track of your progress.
This is a particularly good pick if you are looking to become a Citrix XenServer domain auditor. It explains the concepts and provides you with the best problem-solving techniques.
Mastering Citrix® XenDesktop®, Govardhan Gunnala, Daniele Tosatto
To get the most out of this book, you should have an intermediate knowledge of Citrix or an equivalent knowledge of Windows Server technologies, Windows desktop operating systems and virtualization concepts. The book is aimed at IT architects and administrators.
Most organizations are focused on increasing their use of virtualization, so Citrix XenDesktop is growing in popularity. The skills to set up and maintain a XenDesktop environment are very valuable, and this book will give you the technical background you need for these tasks.
Best Citrix Certifications
Citrix offers many different certifications as part of its product suite.
It is crucial that you have a solid understanding of Citrix before you attempt to get certified.
The certifications range from the introductory Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization certification, which is for administrators who work with XenApp and XenDesktop, to Citrix Certified Expert – Virtualization, which is targeted at designers.
Network Horizons offers certifications in virtualization, cloud, and networking. The certifications are also broken down further into three levels: associate, professional, and expert.
This e-learning platform also provides Citrix courses and training to help you prepare for the various Citrix exams. The comprehensive curriculums are suited for everyone from web developers to business analysts to virtualization architects.
Online Citrix Resources
Jump online and start searching to find videos, webinars, and publications that will help demystify Citrix.
This website is one part trade publication and one part social community for the IT sector. In it, you can find everything from breaking news to advice on tools and best practices. In its resource library, you will find free Citrix white papers and software reviews.
This portal is updated daily with new blog posts that cover the latest ideas and insight into products courtesy of Citrix engineers, community members, and business leaders.
Should You Study Citrix?
If you want to advance your IT career or get your first job in IT, then getting a Citrix certification is a reasonable goal.
The certification is in-demand at many companies and can lead to some great potential employment opportunities. Many certified IT professionals with Citrix experience are offered higher salaries than those who don’t have a background in the program.
Despite the initial difficulty in learning Citrix, in most cases, it can make your IT career path smoother compared to learning programming languages and other complex technologies. Having experience in a Citrix course is like an IT stamp of approval on your resume.
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