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Citrix announced that it would deprecate its Smart Scale service on May 31, 2019, and replace it with a new service, Autoscale. As a result, IT pros should make plans for Smart Scale's end of life.
With the release of Autoscale, Citrix will limit the service to Citrix Cloud customers, which means that many customers running on-premises VDI will need to either move to Citrix Cloud or use an alternative tool to provide the same capabilities.
Benefits of Citrix Smart Scale
Smart Scale has been a part of Citrix Cloud's Smart Tools portfolio for the last three years, and IT teams have used the service itself across both regular Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environments, as well as Citrix Cloud Desktops. By using Smart Scale as an add-on service, IT pros have had better power control mechanisms for their traditional Citrix environments without needing to invest in Citrix Cloud.
Smart Scale was meant to be an enhancement to the built-in power management feature in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. Smart Scale allowed for more granular power control over desktops based on schedule and load. IT used the service in different cloud environments running in AWS or Microsoft Azure.
Most of the cost in a cloud environment comes from virtual machines, which are billed per second as they run. With Smart Scale, IT admins could reduce the cost of desktops and benefit from the pay-as-you-go financial model of cloud providers.
In many cases, end users only run desktops within business hours and, therefore, could safely turn the devices off or reduce usage to a minimum after hours to reduce costs. The service also handled scale-out management, so if there were more users logging in or if there was a boot storm in the morning, the service would automatically power on more desktops to handle the load.
How can IT plan for Citrix Smart Scale's end of life?
Many IT pros use Smart Scale for deployments in a public cloud to cut costs. With the new limitation in place, Citrix is advising non-Citrix Cloud customers to use its built-in power management capabilities to provide similar functionality.
The built-in option, however, doesn't provide the granular level of power management that Smart Scale did, so IT pros should explore other options. Public cloud customers can use built-in services such as Azure Automation or AWS Instance Scheduler to automate powering on and off virtual instances in a Citrix environment. Because that is essentially just turning virtual machines on and off, however, the service would also need integration with the Citrix environment to function properly.
Some IT pros are creating different scripts to replace Smart Scale, but that is still a work in progress.
Criticism of Citrix Smart Scale end of life
Citrix has been focusing heavily on Citrix Cloud during the last few years, but the company has still tried to maintain similar functionality for existing customers that don't run Citrix Cloud. Smart Scale's deprecation, however, presents challenges for on-premises customers.
With Autoscale, Citrix customers may have more incentive to adopt Citrix Cloud for cloud-native deployments, but many Citrix customers are already moving toward the public cloud to run their Citrix environments without investing in Citrix Cloud. It's possible that Citrix took this service away a bit too early.