Adopting OneDrive for Business, SharePoint or Teams in your Citrix Environment.
If you’re the proud owner of a Citrix environment we likely don’t need to explain the issues you’re facing with the OneDrive client. The OneDrive sync client just doesn’t conceptually work that well with VDI environments. It’s just not how it’s designed.
For Citrix customers this is a bit of a blow. There are huge advantages in adopting OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and MS Teams. But, you’re currently facing quite a hurdle. Or at least you were until the very moment that you discovered Cloud Drive Mapper. We’re happy to say Cloud Drive Mapper is hands-down the best solution you’re going to come across to solve this problem.
The solution that isn’t a solution
Microsoft themselves acknowledged the issues OneDrive has in Citrix some time ago. Sadly because there is a fundamental difference between the way VDIs work and the way the OneDrive sync client works there was no easy way for Microsoft to try to support it natively. So Microsoft did the next best thing and went shopping. They ended up acquiring a company called FSLogix who had created a Citrix wrapper for Office 365, which included a container system for OneDrive cloud storage. After buying out FSLogix, Microsoft made the software free. Problem solved? No, unfortunately not.
While FSLogix certainly helps a bit, there are still several major problems with trying to use OneDrive for Business in a Citrix environment. Here are of the issues (in no particular order)…
Limitations of FSLogix
Problem 1 – Sync
FSLogix still uses the OneDrive for Business sync client. Even with Files on Demand enabled, users are able to sync data to local Citrix servers. On day 1, this isn’t a problem, on day 365 it’s getting very messy with huge amounts of data being transferred to your local environment every day. Worst of all, you will need to provide a huge amount of on-prem storage to prevent your users from overwhelming your servers while this is happening. FS Logix is technically free, but you have to spend a fortune on local storage to support it. One of the main points of moving your storage to Office 365 is to get rid of local storage isn’t it?
Problem 2 – Multiple Instances
FSLogix only works on a single server implementation of Citrix. Any organizations running multiple stacks of Citrix servers FS Logix starts to fail. This is because there is a latent process of file synchronization between the OneDrive containers. You end up with a file conflict nightmare.
Problem 3 – No future
FSLogix software was purchased to fill a gap. There is no suggestion that Microsoft has any plans for the software. There haven’t been any recent updates or announcements. It isn’t evolving or improving. Anyone thinking of using it should consider the support and maintenance implications.
Problem 4 – Uncontrolled updates
The OneDrive client auto-updates, which is nice for consumers, but it can cause potentially serious unanticipated problems, and is especially problematic in organizations with tight change-control processes.
Problem 5 – No drive letters
There are many applications, especially desktop applications that you may wish to virtualize in XenApp that require a simple mapped drive to save data to. The smart sync folders created by the OneDrive sync client are not accessible for a lot of desktop applications regardless of whether they’re on a Citrix environment or regular desktop environment. They require a drive letter to access data.
Problem 6 – It’s Microsoft’s way or the highway
While the OneDrive cloud, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams services are all extremely powerful, the OneDrive client itself is quite limiting. It does not give IT admins very much control over the way they want to present storage to their users.
These are not trivial problems. They are also not “bugs” that are going to be fixed. They are permanent conceptual flaws in the FSLogix + OneDrive design.
The answer to your OneDrive & Citrix problems
The good news (finally) is that Cloud Drive Mapper has none of these problems. Cloud Drive Mapper works beautifully on Citrix VDI and VAI environments, as well as RDS, VMWare and Windows Virtual Desktop.
CDM performs better in pretty much every imaginable way in a Citrix environment compared to OneDrive client + FSLogix. But better still, because Cloud Drive Mapper doesn’t sync data, it’s local storage requirements are a fraction of what’s required compared to an FSLogix-based solution.
Cloud Drive Mapper isn’t free. But CDM will save your organization huge amounts of money overall compared to FSLogix + the stacks of network storage you’ll need to stand up to support it. Plus, Cloud Drive Mapper is simpler, and who doesn’t want a simple life?