Tips for Deploying Citrix Workspace on Chrome OS

Updated: August 13, 2018

One of the most popular enterprise applications deployed on Chrome OS is the Citrix Workspace (formerly Receiver) app. Citrix enables organizations to securely connect users to line-of-business applications hosted on-premise or in the cloud.

While the app is as easy as installing from the Chrome Web Store, it may help to provide some guidance on best-practices, so here’s an unofficial guide!

Chrome App vs. Android App

With the Play Store now available on Chrome devices, you may wonder which app you should choose. Today the answer is easy: Chrome app

The Chrome app is optimized for Chrome OS devices. While the Android app works on Chrome OS, it is not yet optimized. It is on the roadmap for Citrix, but for now use the app in the Chrome Web Store.

Citrix Workspace: User vs Public Session vs Single App Mode

For those that have worked with Chrome Enterprise previously, you’ll know that there are 3 modes you can deploy Chrome OS in. For each of these, the end-user interaction with Citrix Workspace may differ and fit your use-case.

Single App Kiosk

In Single App Kiosk (SAK) mode, a Chrome device will boot directly to an application, without ever presenting a login screen or Chrome OS interface to the user. If you deploy Citrix Workspace in SAK mode, the best way to think of it is as a pure thin client. The end user will only have access to Citrix, no Chrome desktop interface and no Chrome browser. The user never authenticates to Chrome OS.

Public Session Kiosk

Public Kiosk (PSK) aims to deliver a user-experience for shared workstations. PSK does not require a user to log-in to the Chrome OS device, and presents a desktop experience, including access to the Chrome browser. PSK works well for customers in verticals like healthcare and retail, where employees often roam between different workstations and authenticating to the devices is not important, as the apps used are doing the auth.

An important note on PSK mode is that it’s ephemeral. This means after each session hits a timeout or is closed, the session is wiped. Knowing this, it’s important to, at the very least, push down a configuration for the Citrix Storefront URL or the user will need to set this each time he/she starts their session. You can use a configuration JSON to do this, with examples down below.

User Mode

User mode on Chrome OS is similar to interacting with Windows or Mac, where a user signs in to the device with an identity. User mode is great when assigning the user a single device to work with. Settings will remain between reboots (unless ephemeral mode is activated) and policy and app data won’t have to re-download each time.

Example Citrix Workspace App Configurations

One of the nice features of the Chrome Enterprise management console is that you can use it to push JSON configurations to applications. So, for Citrix Workspace, we can push down configurations to auto-configure the app for users.

You can set these configurations under Device Management > Chrome management > App Management. Choose your app, then the mode in which you want to set a policy. The policy JSON can then be uploaded under Configure.

Set Storefront URL

Set Storefront URL & App Settings (launch in full screen, etc)

Customer Engineer @ Google on the Chrome Enterprise team. Previously a Cisco UC SE & IT Manager

Customer Engineer @ Google on the Chrome Enterprise team. Previously a Cisco UC SE & IT Manager