Office 365 and Citrix SD-WAN

Office 365 and Citrix SD-WAN

As more and more business move from Microsoft Office 2016 to Office 365 they realize the benefits of the an Office 365 deployment, but they also realize some of the struggles and performance issues that end users can face.  This is even more so the case for remote branch office (ROBO) where users are often times their internet traffic must traverse the WAN back to the main office before going out the internet.  In the case of Office 365 this means that rather than accessing a Microsoft 365 front door that is closer the users are forced to experience issues with Teams audio quality and dropouts, screen sharing that doesn’t always work, and slow email searches.  But there is a way to streamline this process and improve the end user’s experience.

Microsoft knows that user experience is critical and therefore recommends redirecting Office 365 traffic to the closets PoP or front door and ensuring network reliability and low latency.  Directing Office 365 traffic across the WAN as well as having that Office 365 traffic go through proxies and packet-inspection devices is a recipe for poor performance.

Citrix SD-WAN offers a way to fix all of the above issues. Citrix SD-WAN installed at the remote or branch office utilizes the Microsoft REST API to identify classify Office 365 traffic and direct it directly to the closes Microsoft PoP or front door rather than sending all traffic collectively across the WAN.  Microsoft Office 365 traffic at the remote or branch office is sent out the local internet connection while all other traffic still flows to the main office via the MPLS connection.  

This prioritization and direction of Office 365 traffic helps ensure that the traffic is taking the closest route and maintains low latency, thereby ensuring that user experience is the best it can be.  The direct route reduces the jitter and poor audio conditions in Teams, provides smooth screen sharing, and increases overall performance of Office 365 processes.  In addition HDX optimization for Microsoft Teams can provide your remote or branch office users with a fully native, full featured Microsoft Team experience from within Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) even from those remote or branch offices.

For remote users who work from home, Citrix offers the Citrix SD-WAN 110 device that can be sent to employees to connect to their home internet connections to get the same benefits as larger business class SD-WAN appliances.  In addition to the Office 365 benefits of the at-home SD-WAN 110 device, users will see increase performance and reliability in access CVAD applications and desktops from home as well since SD-WAN can dive into the Citrix ICA protocol and optimize the traffic going back to the data center.

Features of SD-WAN for Office 365 include the following optimizations

  • Teams Realtime
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Optimization
  • Intelligent Path Selection for Office 365 traffic 

In addition to the SD-WAN 110 appliance for home, Citirix SD-WAN can be deployed at the data center or remote office / branch office situations as a physical appliance or virtual appliance (VPX).

More information about SD-WAN and Office 365 optimizations can be found in this Citrix eBook. You can also reach out to a Xenwerx engineer or your local Citrix Partner to learn more and setup a demo of Citrix SD-WAN to see just how much it can improve the user experience for your users at your remote and branch offices or in the case of remote workers, their home office.