The rumors have been going on for years. The Citrix Secure Gateway is no longer going to be developed or supported. This rumor was prevalent four years ago when XenApp 4.5 was released and continues to be bounced around today. ‘No’, Citrix has not stopped developing the CSG and the rumors have never been substantiated. Citrix has actually been incrementally updating it with updated releases of XenApp and XenDesktop.
So why do I think is this rumor relevant again? Last week, Citrix released the Citrix Access Gateway VPX 5.0. Along with this release came a significant licensing change that cuts into the CSG’s value. The Access Gateway’s “Platform License” ($995 retail) includes unlimited connections to XenApp/XenDesktop through the Access Gateway. The “Universal” CALs (Access Gateway licenses) still exist, but now differentiate the VPN, Smart Access other traditional AG features.
So what does this mean? This means that organizations that only want the SSL proxy functionality of the Access Gateway can do it at it a significantly lower price point than previously. The price point is lowered because the (expensive) “Universal” licenses are no longer required for SSL XenApp/XenDesktop connections. If Citrix were to stop supporting or developing the CSG, there is now a viable option from a price point perspective to its existing CSG customers.
Now that we have that squared away, someone would ask the obvious “Why should I pay for the Access Gateway VPX with a platform license, if the CSG is still free? Free is still better.” – Fair question. The value is in the new functionality included with the 5.0 platform of the Access Gateway. The most obvious feature is the new High Availability feature on the 5.0 platform. AG now supports running in an active/passive configuration on all appliances running 5.0 with the platform license. This is something the CSG currently does not do and this reason alone is enough to consider moving to an AG 5.0 based appliance.
The other reason is to be forward thinking and understand that although the CSG serves a need today, it is obvious that Citrix is moving towards the AG platform. While this might mean more of an investment now, the expectation is that it will pay off with newer features and functionality that comes with the AG platform going forward.