Application Virtualization Smackdown: Head-to-head with Citrix, Numecent, App-V, Spoon, and more

Are you looking for an independent overview of application virtualization solutions and curious about the different features and functions each application virtualization vendor is offering!?

Are you looking for an independent overview of application virtualization solutions and curious about the different features and functions each application virtualization vendor is offering!? This is the whitepaper you definitely must read!
In the current market there is an increasing demand for unbiased information about application virtualization solutions. This white paper is focused on solutions that are anticipated to have an important role in application virtualization deployments. An overview of available features of each solution has been created to allow an understanding and comparison of capabilities.

The goals of this whitepaper are to:

  • Provide an application and desktop delivery solutions overview
  • Explain the pros and cons of Application Virtualization
  • Highlight why Application virtualization and VDI are a perfect fit
  • Describe the different application virtualization vendors and solutions
  • Compare the features of the various application virtualization solutions 

User centric

Empowering the end-user by giving access to Windows, Web and Mobile applications so he can access data and information systems from both private and public datacenters regardless of the device or location is the ultimate strategic objective. The delivery of the classic (Windows) desktop interface can be divided in two segments:

  • the classic desktop and laptop, running Windows, Linux or Mac OS X;
  • the virtual desktop running in the datacenter or local on the classic workstation

In essence “desktop virtualization” is the de-coupling of the desktop, operating system and the applications from the underlying endpoint or device. This kind of virtualization can be subdivided into two types:

  • With the first type applications are executed remotely, server hosted, and presented at the endpoint via a Remote Display Protocol. 
  • With the second type applications are executed at the endpoint, client-side and presented locally.

In most enterprise infrastructures the majority of applications are either web-architected or  Windows-based. The ratio of Web vs. Windows applications depends on the vertical, customer, history, legacy, innovation and control of application development. Windows applications are either installed (manually, automatically or integrated in to the base-image) or virtualized (using application virtualization or virtual disk layering solutions).

Why Application virtualization?

In conversations with customers and during workshop sessions we regularly receive the question, “What is the difference between application deployment and delivery and why virtualization”.  With application deployment, the applications are installed on the execution platform. The execution platform could be a local desktop or laptop, a server hosted virtual desktop, a workstation blade or a remote desktop server session host. When speaking of application delivery in the context of application virtualization, the applications are no longer installed, but they are made almost instantly available and executed on the execution platform. The execution platform is not altered. Application virtualization enables fast application delivery in a central and local environment whereby mutual application conflicts are eliminated. This considerably reduces the amount of time for application packaging and delivery compared to the traditional deployment methods.
The primary reasons for implementing application virtualization are:

  • There is no need to “install” applications anymore
  • Elimination of application conflicts
  • Reduce regression testing time
  • Allow multiple versions of the same application to be run simultaneously on multiple versions of Windows Operating System, greatly reducing the number of server silos.
  • Allow non-multiuser versions to run simultaneously
  • There is no need for application load Managed groups, or so called ‘silos’ Allowing consolidation of remote desktop services session hosts
  • Applications are quickly and easy delivered
  • It is simple and easy to upgrade applications;
  • The rollback to prior application versions is simple;
  • It reduces packaging complexity;
  • It stabilizes windows user profiles;
  • Application virtualization is an essential part in ‘layering the cake ’ OS  / Applications / user configuration;
  • It’s a key component in the complete application and desktop delivery stack
  • Application virtualization creates dynamic user environments in a static server hosted VDI and SBC environment.
  • Improves end-user mobility – access personalized applications from any machine and a per-user application entitlement model.

Application virtualization strategy

The transition to a dynamic and optimized desktop is causing many IT organizations to reevaluate traditional IT operations, deployment, delivery, packaging, support, and management methods. Application virtualization is a key component in the optimized desktop. It’s important to have a Vision and Strategy around application and desktop delivery. Designing, building, managing and maintaining the application virtualization infrastructure using the right Technologies, corresponding vendors and products is an important step.
We see a lot organizations primarily focusing on products and vendors and lacking a clear and profound vision and strategy. This approach is fine for a point solutions but a proper vision and strategy is crucial for a vNext optimized desktop. How can the vision and strategy be successful? Success = Vision x Execution x Adoption!

In the whitepaper more than 35 strategic questions are available to help you to create a profound strategy.

Vendors and their virtualization solutions.

Cameyo, Citrix, Evalaze, InstallFree, Numecent, Novell, Microsoft, Roozz, Spoon, Symantec and VMWare solutions are descriped in the whitepaper. 

The detailed features of Cameyo, Citrix, Numecent, Microsoft (both App-V v4 and v5), Spoon, Symantec and VMWare are available in the feature compare matrix.

Which Application virtualization Solution is THE best?!

Without a better understanding of the requirements in general it is impossible to give an accurate and profound answer on THE question. The best approach to choose the right solution when you don't have requirement is to flip a coin.
Key areas for your Application virtualization strategy are:

  • What do you want to achieve?, lowering TCO?, business enabler, overall cost of ownership and cost reducer?
  • What are the use-cases? and does the use-case require Application virtualization?
  • Are you investigating a tactical (point) or strategic solution? What do you want to solve?
  • What is the strategy around Client Management, PC life Cycle Management, solution and how does Application virtualization fit?
  • Is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept one of the key Access Scenarios?
  • What is your application delivery model? Is delivery of applications focused on SaaS, Enterprise, SMB or the Consumer space?
  • Is a client or agentless Application virtualization solution required?
  • Do you need to integrate and/or isolate your applications from each other? Do you need both functionality and how do you manage the application integration?
  • What’s your overall Application and Desktop Delivery strategy model with solutions such as Laptop (Offline), Desktop (Online), VDI and SBC? How can Application virtualization enhance these solutions?
  • What’s your overall Enterprise Mobility strategy with App-ification, MDM/MAM, Secure Access, Data Access, Networking, Security and BYO. Enterprise Mobility is an architectural challenge. 
  • Does the Application virtualization solution offer shared-cache or cache-less functionality? What is the use-case?

Bottom Line: What’s your current Application and Desktop Delivery strategy?! 

You can download the complete and detailed whitepaper here.

If you like the content please share your thoughts via (social) media. When you have any comments, corrections, or suggestions for improvements of this document?! Please send e-mail to Ruben Spruijt ( or Twitter 

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