Web Interface vs. StoreFront

By Hank Smith
Posted in Virtualization
On January 24, 2014

As many Citrix customers already know, Web Interface 5.4 is the last version that Citrix will be releasing. Going forward, Citrix will have updates only for StoreFront. There has been an increasing level of debate when architecting a Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop solution.

Web Interface has been around for approximately 10+ years, first released as NFuse, and as a means of accessing published applications both internally and externally. Citrix released Secure Gateway to encrypt the Citrix ICA traffic as an add-on to the NFuse/Web Interface solution. Over the years, Citrix has made various updates to Web Interface, but the framework has more or less stayed the same. Citrix also provides integration of Web Interface with the NetScaler solution.

StoreFront was released by Citrix approximately a year ago. There were many issues with the initial release and many companies didn’t jump on the bandwagon and start replacing their Web Interface servers with StoreFront. The current version, 2.1, is much more stable, although it still has various issues and isn’t as stable as Web Interface. However, this is the direction Citrix is going; in fact, many of the new features Citrix is releasing require StoreFront. For example, Web Interface is not supported with Citrix XenDesktop 7.

Many of Gotham's customers have elected to stay with Web Interface until they are forced to go with StoreFront. Some of the reasons are the following:

  • The customer is utilizing the Web Interface integration on the NetScaler solution and doesn’t want to implement Windows-based servers for Web Interface (note the NetScaler solution currently doesn’t support integrated StoreFront)
  • The customer has a customized Web Interface that would needed to be converted to StoreFront; an expense not forecasted
  • The customer integrates with another VPN solution that pass through the authentication to Web Interface; this functionality may not exist with StoreFront as of yet
  • The customer has an older Citrix XenApp farm (StoreFront only supports XenApp/XenDesktop 5.0 and above)

As you can see, these are just a handful of reasons customers are staying with Web Interface; however with more and more features requiring StoreFront, along with the EOL of Web Interface, the move to StoreFront will be inevitable.

The majority of this blog has been negative on StoreFront, but in fact there are many reasons to go with StoreFront. In the end, it comes down to the specific use case(s) and where StoreFront makes sense.

Please contact your Gotham account manager with any additional questions.

Hank Smith

Hank Smith

Hank is an expert in the design, development, and delivery of cost-effective, high-performance technology solutions. As manager of Gotham’s Virtualization practice, Hank builds motivated, productive teams for Gotham’s large-scale networking and infrastructure engagements, develops implementation standards and methodologies around virtualization technologies, and manages overall design and implementation of multiple infrastructure projects.