At my Desktop Virtualization 2011 event in Atlanta last week (which will be in Detroit this week and St. Louis next week), one of the questions I was asked was, "Which is better: XenDesktop or View?" I've historically answered that question with some form of, "It depends." Last week I talked about how View was easier to install while warning of the Pepsi challenge and how Citrix is fighting back with Kaviza. I talked about my experience from my "VDI Only" test earlier this year (I promise I'll publish those results soon), where I decided that both Citrix HDX and VMware PCoIP are "fine." (Sure there are situations where one is better than the other, but overall? Meh... They're both fine.)
But there's one area where Citrix clearly beats VMware: Client device support. Citrix has HDX clients for just about every device on the planet, including Windows, Mac, iOS (including iPad & iPhone), Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, WebOS, pure HTML5, Java, Unix, and Linux. In fact at Synergy last week, Citrix mentioned that there are more that one billion devices in the world that can run their client.
VMware, on the other hand, has a View PCoIP clients for Windows and the iPad. That's it. (Seriously, it's just the iPad.. not even the iPhone.) Sure, VMware can broker connections using the RDP protocol to remote VDI sessions, but those connections don't make use of their PCoIP protocol. And theMac client in the list below is RDP-only. It only exists to connect to the View Connection Server. If you want to use PCoIP and you're connecting from a Mac, you need to buy Fusion and then run Windows in a VM so you can the real PCoIP client.
(Of course there are many thin clients that support each as well, if that's your thing.)
VMware claims that they were working on a Mac client, but then they shifted priorities around to do the iPad client instead. That's too bad. For a company that made $357m profit on $2.8b in sales last year who's supposedly focused on the desktop, you'd think they could scrape together enough change to maybe release a Mac and an Android client?
But looking at that list.. dang! I think that if I'm in charge of a deployment, I love the fact that using XenDesktop means that I can deliver a desktop to just about anything. (It's like a late-night used car lot advertising that they'll take any trade-in. "Push it, pull it, drag it, tow it... we'll take it!") I don't have to worry about the client at all. But if I use View, I can support Windows and iPad. (Well, and Mac via RDP.) But other RDP clients, like for Android, Linux, etc., don't have the code to connect through View's broker, so they're worthless for View.
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