Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

Few Technology Options for License Management in Citrix Environments

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In the most recent post in our blog series, “Managing Licenses in a Citrix Environment,” our marketing director, Debra Brandt, discussed the challenges related to antiquated per-device license models that don’t map logically to a user-centric application delivery approach made possible via Citrix implementations. Using the Citrix software delivery model, applications are installed on one or more Citrix servers, then published or streamed to endpoints such as traditional workstations, laptops, and mobile devices.

Embracing the Citrix platform ushers in a whole host of benefits, including optimal utilization of hardware resources, centralized application management, and an improved ability to service the needs of a mobile workforce. However, as Debra explained in her post, there is one major trade-off for organizations wishing to implement Citrix: The potential to open up a Pandora’s Box of new licensing costs and risks associated with a “device-agnostic” paradigm shift. (To read more on this, see Debra’s post, “Archaic EULAs Create a Licensing Quagmire for Citrix Shops.”)

Let’s assume you review all your license agreements and, in an effort to be compliant, conservatively purchase additional licenses for all the users and devices you believe require access to your corporate apps. Unfortunately, you’re not out of the woods yet: How on earth does IT go about ensuring the terms of your license agreements are enforced? How do you know that no more users or devices are accessing a piece of licensed software than are permitted under the terms of your EULA? How do you know that you haven’t purchased more licenses than are actually being used?

These questions are no different from those you need to ask yourself in a traditional desktop environment; yet they are much trickier to answer in a thin-client scenario because precious few software license management tools provide support for technologies like Citrix XenApp or Windows Terminal Server. Organizations using Citrix to serve up applications to end users are well-advised to thoroughly examine the capabilities of their asset management technology within this unique environment. Aside from the primary question as to whether your license management tool can be used in a Citrix environment, there are a number of important considerations to take into account. Among them, does the tool:

  1. Track the use of applications to the end devices and end users accessing them?
  2. Monitor the use of applications that are published, as well as streamed?
  3. Determine license compliance for published applications that are licensed per-seat?
  4. Track individual user logins?
  5. Provide application control capabilities that allow you to specify which users and/or devices are permitted to run specific applications?

Fortunately, Express Software Manager provides exactly this type of support for Citrix and Windows Terminal Server environments. Express Software Manager offers software metering functionality that allows organizations to monitor, analyze, and control usage of applications published or streamed via Citrix XenApp and other technologies* to various endpoint devices, ensuring only the proper users and/or named devices can access those applications. The end result is an extraordinary improvement in IT’s ability to assess and manage software license compliance and security risks, prevent overspending on software, and ensure optimal utilization of licenses and resources in a Citrix environment.

Express Software Manager allows IT departments to:

  • Audit license compliance for per-seat, per-user and concurrently licensed software.
  • Enforce license agreements, security policies and compliance mandates by controlling access to applications delivered via Citrix.
  • Make more informed software purchases by analyzing license consumption and usage.

* Supported environments include those in which applications are published from Citrix XenApp and Microsoft Windows Terminal Server, and/or streamed from Citrix XenApp, VMWare ThinApp, and Microsoft Application Virtualization (AppV).