Citrix’s change to per-named user XenDesktop licensing: Are they really screwing everyone?

Citrix announced the details of XenDesktop 4 earlier this week, and so far no one is talking at all about new features. Why?

Citrix announced the details of XenDesktop 4 earlier this week, and so far no one is talking at all about new features. Why? Because Citrix also announced that licensing would change from the current “concurrent user” (CCU) basis to a “per named user” (PNU) basis.

In other words, if you have 200 users in your company who use XenDesktop at some point, you used to only have to buy enough licenses to cover the number of users who would be using XenDesktop at any single point in time. Moving forward you’ll have to buy a license for every user, regardless of how many people use the system simultaneously.

Citrix’s justification for this (via an email from them): XenDesktop 4 licensing is aligned with an enterprise-wide desktop usage model. Users need their desktops available 24x7, and XenDesktop 4 user-based licensing provides customers a simple user-based licensing model where customers can purchase a dedicated license for each user. As such, any other shared licensing model does not effectively meet the needs.

When I originally wrote about the XenDesktop 4 announcement the other day, I acknowledged that this model made sense. I felt that the concurrency-based approach was really a carry-over from XenApp, and that moving forward it did make sense to license XenDesktop on a per-user basis.

Ultimately I felt that the issue wouldn’t affect too many people (and in fact that’s what Citrix told the CTPs on the conference call we had where we were briefed on the changes).

But after reading the comments on my original blog post, and after reading the reactions of other CTPs on the CTP mailing list, and after receiving many (many!) emails from readers about their own situations, I think I’m going to reverse my position and say that the licensing change will screw a lot more customers than I originally thought.

Blinded by the XenApp-to-XenDesktop 2-for-1 trade up

Even in last week’s article I think I was focusing too much on the deal that Citrix is offering to existing XenApp customers where they can trade all of their existing XenApp licenses in a 2-for-1 deal for XenDesktop licenses. I didn’t really appreciate that this license change is a big deal for current XenDesktop customers too.

The problem is that while Citrix is making the assumption that XenDesktop is a desktop replacement (and therefore in use with a high-level of concurrency), the reality is that many (or even most?) current XenDesktop customers aren’t really there yet. The overwhelming majority of XenDesktop customers are legacy XenApp customers who have a long history of thinking about Citrix in a concurrent user way. You end up having a lot of scenarios where a customer has something like 200 XenDesktop licenses for 700 users. At roughly $250 per user, that customer would have to pony up an extra $125k for the 500 additional licenses they’ll need. (In other words, their total XenDesktop investment grows from $50k to $175k. And that's not even including the maintenance they have to pay on all these extra users!)

Will Citrix drive people away from desktop virtualization in general?

At the end of the day, there’s a risk that all of these people who are just dabbling in desktop virtualization will be turned-off by the concept all together.

While some people have suggested that Citrix will drive people towards the competition--because hey, there’s actual competition now!--Others suggest that Citrix will actually drive people away from desktop virtualization in general. The feeling is that a lot of today's XenDesktop customers aren’t really sold on the whole XenDesktop replacement concept, so they’re just trying it for certain use cases. But if their costs increase substantially they might just say “screw it” and skip desktop virtualization altogether for now.

One current customer wrote (via email), “The market and technology isn’t mature enough to support this change.” It reminds me of when Elaine on Seinfeld said, “It’s like trying to coax a little bird into your hand. You need to take gentle steps. You can’t do any BIG CRAZY MOVEMENTS or you’ll scare it away!”

That said, VMware View and Quest vWorkspace are both licensed on a concurrent user basis. Maybe current XenDesktop customers with a low concurrency ratio will take another look at these products? Then again, Citrix’s long-term vision of licensing for named users really is the future, so it’s most likely only a matter of time before the others move to a named user approach too. After all, how can VMware deal with the concept of concurrent users once view supports offline client hypervisors?

Right idea! Wrong price?

It's becoming clear that most people are aligning around the concept of per-named user licensing (except for a few specific verticals like Education that Citrix promises to address). “Per named-user is not the problem,” said one customer I talked to today. “What I don’t agree with is the pricing.” That same customer went on to list several examples of how other vendors charge much less for per named user licenses than they do for concurrent licenses. Citrix’s pricing is essentially the same from XenDesktop 3 to XenDesktop 4. XenDesktop Standard stays at $75. Enterprise drops from $295 to $225, and Platinum drops from $395 to $350.

There are several ways that Citrix could address this. Instead of dropping the price on XenDesktop 4, Citrix could instead offer current XenDesktop customers multiple per named user licenses for each concurrent user license they have. But this is not Citrix's plan, according to this email conversation that was forwarded to my by a current customer:

Customer’s Question: I currently have 155 "concurrent" XenDesktop 'Platinum' licenses.  What is the conversion rate to per user on those?

Citrix’s Answer: Conversion for XD licenses for current XD customers is 1:1.

Customer’s response: It is essentially a major price increase for the XenDesktop product regardless of improvements to the technology or added features. What would have cost $800k to $1m will now cost $3.5 to $5m to procure. No matter how they spin it, this dramatically changes the playing field”

At this point Citrix likes to point out that the new XenDesktop includes all XenApp features, so in actuality the price is a lot lower than it was previously. While that could be true (it depends on the level of concurrency a customer was getting before), the XenApp value-add only truly matters to customers who who are moving to XenDesktop across the board and who can move their XenApp licenses to XenDesktop.

But wait. What about the cost savings from no more XenApp?

Getting the full version of the XenApp suite built-in to your XenDesktop Enterprise or Platinum products is a big deal. (A really big deal!) At first glance you'd think that the fact that you don't have to pay for XenApp itself anymore should more than justify the increased XenDesktop costs. Unfortunately the only way you get the XenApp for free is by going to XenDesktop 4, which essentially means that you're going to convert your XenApp licenses from CCU to PNU. That change in-and-of itself could be a potential deal killer. (Again, it depends on the level of concurrency you're getting, even with the 2-for-1 XenApp-to-XenDesktop trade up.)

The killer is the maintenance (Subscription Advantage). The problem with the 2-for-1 is that even though you get double the licenses for your one-time fee, remember that now you’ve doubled the number of licenses you need to pay Subscription Advantage on. So the annual Subscription Advantage fees you were paying on 3,000 users just jumped to 6,000 users. Sure, you get more value in that you now have access to XenDesktop, but at the end of the day you have a more expensive annual cost.

This is really hard for people who think they will ultimately migrate to XenDesktop at some point in the future but who aren’t ready to fully commit today. The 2-for-1 trade up deal is only valid through June 30, 2010. So if you think you might use XenDesktop in the future, what do you do? Do you move to the named use approach now to get the 2-for-1 but pay more maintenance in the meantime, or do you wait a few years until you’re really ready and hopefully get a good deal then?

(You know I’ve always been bullish on Terminal Server and XenApp. Now with Citrix’s stated goal that XenApp will remain a standalone product, I wonder if this concurrency issue will be enough of a reason to drive people back in that direction? Or maybe Citrix will migrate XenApp to PNU too?)

Footnote: How exactly does Citrix define a “user” for XenDesktop 4

Part of the discussion about the new XenDesktop licensing over the past few days has been about how exactly Citrix defines a “user” for XenDesktop 4. Is it really “per named user,” or is it “per user?” (Or is there even a difference?”) Here’s the real story:

The XenDesktop EULA defines a licensed user as “an individual authorized by a customer to use any device(s) to access instances of the product through the assignment of a single unique user ID, regardless of whether or not the individual is using the product at any given time.”

Citrix goes on to clarify (via email): If multiple users are sharing the same user ID, they each require a XenDesktop 4 user license. If multiple users use the system at different times, as is the case with the concurrent desktop model, they will also each require a XenDesktop 4 license. If a user connects to their desktop(s) and/or apps with multiple devices (e.g. desktop PC, laptop, netbook, smartphone and/or thin client) they need just one XenDesktop 4 license.

Moving to a per-named user model creates a plethora of other complexities. For example, one asked whether the licenses can be moved from one named user to another? And if so, how often?

Again, Citrix’s response: Licenses can be moved between users in two different scenarios:

  1. If a user is absent for a protracted period of time, the customer has the right to reassign the absent licensed user’s license to another temporary user for the period of absence only.
  2. If a user leaves an organization, then the customer has the right to permanently reassign the departing user’s license to another user in their company. Citrix will provide a process for “retracting” licenses under these scenarios with the technical enforcement implementation. The license assignment period is 90 days. This is not configurable.

For what it’s worth, technical enforcement will not be built into XenDesktop 4. That’s something that will be part of a future release. This circumstantially suggests that this licensing change was sort of a last minute decision by Citrix.

So now what? Do we just swallow hard and take it? Do we move to another vendor? Do we pressure Citrix to offer a 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 CCU to named user exchange for current XenDesktop customers? Time will tell.

What will you do?

[UPDATE: Citrix has just launched a survey asking for your feedback about the licensing change in XenDesktop, specifically with questions about PER USER licensing versus PER DEVICE licensing. I highly encourage everyone to take the survey, regardless of your thoughts. Hopefully Citrix will share the results publicly. If not, we'll just make our own survey. ;)]

[MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: We've confirmed that Citrix will NOT be sharing the results of their survey publicly, so we've created our own identical copy whose results we will publish. Our survey is here.]

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I think there are some key questions to ask:

- Do you have more users or devices? The lower number is your most cost effective option, but Citrix does not offer a per-device option like MS. This would solve the problem for the guy who posted with 28:1 PVS issue.

- Per user makes sense if you are going all VDI and want to use XA and XD. It's actually a good move to enable people to use the product on any number of devices. MS screws the world on this today. VECD should be per-user.

- There is nothing wrong with XA in a CCU model. It works good enough for most use cases to serve desktops and apps, use that.

- Since XD sucks so badly with their broker and quality, even if you have per-user I would still today 100% go with XA, and make Desktop OS the exception. The product is just not there period.

I think what this shows yet again, is the XD team simply does not get it. A bunch of arrogant idiots  who know nothing about Desktops. Case and point, the PM guy embarrassed the company the other week on Citrix's own web cast. I could go on and on about how bad the XD product is which stems from hopeless leadership who have no clue, and think they know best when none of them have any experience with Desktops. It's a real shame that Citrix does not think to ask real world people what will happen. They have a lot of explaining to do. There is no way in hell that the masses will accept per-user right away. I am sure that there are sane people at Citrix who will wake up smell the BS of the XD team and help change the license so the masses can use the freaking product.

If I was at VMWare or Quest, I'd have a field day with this. Surprised VMware has not said a word......


@appdetective - I was thinking about the per device method earlier today, and I wonder if that wouldn't be a more appropriate method in some situations.  Unfortunately, it's not there, but it would be nice to see.


i just dont get it

so it would cost me about $250 for a XD license

and at least $250 for a TC plus MS VECD license  plus servers to run XD plus storage to smae my images all the other 3rd party crap i may need.

how the heck does doing VDI make any sense $$$ wise anyways.  

seems to me buying a PC and running my apps locally is cheaper and easier... besides MS office most of my apps are web based anyways..

BTW..Citrix lives of SA and these upgrade promos. They have been run licensing models for months calculating the potential for increased revenue moving to a per user will bring in .They are also well aware that this great 2 for 1 deal will mean much more revenue for Citrix in SA year 2,3,4 when they double your SA costs from the great 2 for 1 deal you thought you were getting..

They add very few new customers every year and they mostly survive off SA and the slick upgrade promos they push on you every 6 months. How many times over the last few years has your Citrix rep contacted you about the latest step up to X promo???


Hey that's a great point @appdetective that I really didn't put together for this article. Last week I wrote about the ability to use XenApp to roll your own VDI. ( So now since you can still do that CCU with the latest feature set, here's all the more reason to do so!


The problem with a concurrent-user or per-device model for desktop virtualization is that the mindset behind it is not as strategic as it could be.  The desire for a concurrency model assumes that Joe User is only going to need his desktop between a certain set of hours--and likely will only access it from a static, corporate-owned device.  Aside from the technical benefits, what strategic benefit have you provided to the organization or user through desktop virtualization in that scenario?  Do the "task workers" in a hospital really care if they are now accessing Epic and other apps on a locked-down virtual desktop instead of through XenApp on a thin client?  No.  They likely had little need to interact with the desktop before and probably will have little need to interact much with this virtual desktop, especially if it's a plain-vanilla shared desktop.  These employees will be working the same way, no more enabled or empowered than they were before.  

That scenario doesn't allow for the full potential of desktop virtualization.  A huge part of the technology's value is how it empowers the users and provides new opportunities for productivity.  It's about making corporate computing more personal and flexible.  Desktop virtualization frees the OS from a particular device and even from a particular location, such as corporate headquarters.  In turn, this frees users from particular devices and locations.  Furthermore, desktop virtualization separates the corporate workload from the personal one.  Even if the virtual desktop is tightly locked-down, users have the local desktop for their personal workload and can feel like they have a computing workspace that is their own.  

For certain scenarios, such as those involving workers with concrete shift times and specific, task-oriented computing needs, a XenApp-based solution might be fine.  It, too, is a great technology with myriad use cases, which will continue to be prevalent.  But the working dynamic for "knowledge workers" is changing.  The concept of a 9-to-5 started in a time before we had the communication technology we have now.  People had to be physically close to each other and reachable at a static, expected location.  But these days, the line between work and personal time is blurring.  The need for a fixed set of working hours is being questioned.  The ability for people to effectively work outside a corporate office is proven.  Sure, these changes are not all happening overnight.  But organizations that foresee them and embrace them eventually will have a competitive advantage over those that don't.  The XenDesktop 4 license trade-up promotion is there to help organizations get started down the path of realizing these competitive advantages.

Regarding XenApp for virtual desktop use, if you informed a group of doctors that they now will have a virtual desktop with everything they need that will be accessible at the hospital, at their private practice, at the medical school and at home through their own PCs, which OS do you think they would choose for that virtual desktop: Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008?  I'm going to bet on Windows 7.

The benefits and power of a desktop virtualization solution like XenDesktop 4 should be felt by the users--not just the IT staff behind data center walls.


I'm with Jeff.... but maybe a wholistic VDI argument !

The TCO of desktop virtualisation to make it effective and efficient should be fully laid out. (Maybe worthy of another article Brian)

1. XD license (inc XA)

2. A TS license (or whatever they call it now) for XA delivered apps, should you still see value in XA.


4. Data Centre CPU

5. Data Centre Memory

6. Hypervisor and/or Hypervisor mgmt

7. SAN storage

8. Some kind of backup/restore/snapshot solution

9. Connecting device (say low cost thin client)

10. Same/Similar desktop mgmt cost

11. Data Centre Floor Space inc Cooling/Rack/Power

12. Network acceleration devices/upgrades

13. Some kind of virtual montoring solution

14. Some kind of environment management type software (Read: AppSense EM)

The costs soon add up....... What problem are we trying to solve again? Ahhh, that's right, the cost of traditional desktops !!

So let's have a look at the costs we are removing through VDI !


@Brad - indeed - XD4 is incredibly powerful - but for an enterprise it can't be all about the user - there needs to be governance, there needs to be management and there needs to be a control of costs.

And that's not IT pushing that: enabling it maybe be - but not controlling it.

I think the initial "mindset" you described is not valid for many punters. Winframe's very foundings were from a remote access solution - XenApp/XenDesktop are regularly used for in and out of office solutions: an enabler for flexibility.

Moreover  that a user gives two hoots about their desktop OS. Users rarely care: what they want is access to their business applications - and minesweeper.  

All you say about desktop virtualisaiton is true - but a

a concurrency model doesn't bind that delivery it enables it.

*Named* tho' - that's a sizeable hassle.

Organisations don't want to manage who accesses what, when or where from: its time consuming and costly. They don't want to maintain user license lists,  don't want to recall licenses, don't want to have to keep tabs on who is in and who is out.

Is your SAN a named license model? SQL? IIS? There's a big drive to replace wired LANs with wireless because its cheaper not to think of users as fixed  points - but as roaming resources.  A named user model can be cost effective: but at the same time can massively change the budget requirements to deliver a service.

Orgs want to consider who many are working at any point, and size and deliver a reliable service to them. Monitor it - maybe add some more later for growth  - maybe even hope to refund (or at least not renew) when they don't need to. Strategically orgs want flexibility - but they that flexibility can't come at any price.


This first thing was coming up in my mind, it's all about money. Citrix needs more cash until end of this year like other vendors in this time.

The second thing was coming up in my mind was,

what will happend if Citrix decide to switch from concurrent user model to named user licensing for the milk cow XenApp too?

At the end of the day, for enterprise customer the model plays not the main rule. They talking only over the price.


A couple of points:

- Per user is not named user, so no need to maintain user lists. You can swap as you see fit and there is no license server enforcement. Hey you could cheat, but that is not right :-)

- Even if they did per-device, that's not going to help my friend Shawn Bass with his disaster recovery scenario. So that needs to be addressed as well.

- Regardless of license model XA is a very valid way to do this. Harry one of the few people who really get's it and I've met before (it was a while ago and I am sure he doesn't remember me) in his blog talks very well about considerations and os use cases and says it doesn't matter and he's right of course skillfully he avoided talking about licensing and I am sure he knew there would be s h i t storm after Citrix pulled the trigger.

- Anyway XA is cheaper period regardless of the license model, and I expect that to be the way most people go when they figure out the cost of pure VDI. Cheap VDI will not be possible for a while. This is the only reason people are even thinking about Parallels which I think will not be able to pull out a real solution despite Quest desperately hoping for it.

Bottom line, Citrix can respond with a license fix, but that does not change the simple fact that XenDesktop still sucks today, forces you to use a broker etc therefore making XenApp a far cheaper and stable choice. XenDesktop makes sense when you really need a desktop OS, which will cost you more in a data center period! So decide if you are cost driven or desktop OS driven. Personally I still believe Desktop OS is the way to go over time.


I think Citrix just effed themselves....As Brian mentioned, the real killer isn't the trade-up or the CCU vs. PNU license, its Subscription Advantage.  My recent Subscription Advantage renewal made me fall out of my chair for 385 CCU of XenApp and 60 CCU's of Xendesktop (3.0)

1 word.....vWorkspace - $99


I wrote about this several times on my blog. The whole thing is simple: if you want to go head-to-head against physical desktops, per device licensing is the way to do.

Also the whole concurrent user licensing is not really meant for desktop replacement solutions but for remote access products. Citrix wants to change XenDesktop image on the market, to be seen as a desktop replacement and not really remote access solution like XenApp has been seen for years. Agreed it will hurt tons of people, no doubt. But that is Citrix, right?


@AndyWood- strategic orgs want flexibility.

How about that, someone finally gets it!

Everyone needs to step back and stop thinking that this is a desktop for desktop replacement.  As Andy said, for many, it is an 'enabling' technology.

As far as I'm concerned XenApp is dead.  Read again DEAD.  Terminal Server has its limitations that cannot be fix no matter how much lipstick you put on that pig.  

I service almost 10k remote named users a month.  They want multimedia, ie recorded conferences, director all hands meetings, they want OCS with Audio and Video, which you cannot do on TS, because MS specifically disables it when installed on a TS server, I cannot support power users on TS, like developers (for which I have nearly 1500), who usually need elevated privileges in their dev environments, we still have application compatibility issues, fewer than back in NT4 days, but they still exist.  XenDesktop was a very clear choice to move to and provide a service to more users than I could with XA.  Since I can do EVERYTHING I want with XD, so XA is dead to me and given the above stated limitations for TS, I see it dying as an option for many others as well, particularly with MS entering the VDI market.

This argument has nothing to do with internal desktops, that is a by product of the service being delivered.  Once the external access environment is in place, then the discussion on internal desktops can take place as an 'oh btw, checkmate' with the desktop forces.  With 25k nodes internally, we have allot of assets that have not depreciated enough to be replaced.  This is a 2-4 year discussion in my opinion.

Not every enterprise can just hoist what we consider is best on their users, nor should Citrix with this licensing model, at least not at the price and SA they are suggesting.  I don't disagree with PNU licensing, I disagree with the price.

I heard today that they conducted extensive research and that this change/pricing was widely favored by their customer base.  I'd say that the fact that they are having to cut deals and conduct surveys tells me that they ought to get a refund or show that survey team the exit.

@AppDetective - According to the conference call with Sumit at Citrix, its 'per named user'  And based on my conversation today, I did not feel that any minds were being changed at Citrix, just marketing and sales tactics.  Btw, you really seem hell bent on that broker issue.

@Claudio - Per Device sucks too!  See above.


@Lee - "As far as I'm concerned XenApp is dead.  Read again DEAD."

I understand where you're coming from and as you are concerned XenApp is dead.

The marketing of XD4 is quite a bit around how it is not just a VDI access suite like many alternatives.

Citrix has rebranded many of it's currently offered features into what they call FlexCast to deliver the app/desktop via the desired technology, XenApp being 2 of the 5 choices, PvS being 1 of them, and the other 2 as current XD technologies. Also 1 future technology is from XenClient which will total 6.

XenApp exists as an option for more choices, killing it from the list would limit choice, and to be honest Citrix needs that and so do customers. Where you may not see value, there are legions of customers who do.

From where I am sitting XenApp will always have it's place and will never die.



Your right.  XenApp is DEAD is being a bit dramatic, I should be a journalist as that was meant to get everyone thinking.  The message is that XenDesktop is more functional and can do more than XA can.  Given the direction that the user demands are going in, its fair to say XA is fast becoming yesterdays technology, but will always remain part of our toolkits.  

This goes to show that there is no one size fits all as Citrix would like us to believe, it’s a diverse environment out there with many challenges to yet to be addressed.  One cannot say, well just stay with XA, XA does not address challenges we face today and those on the horizon tomorrow.


One further comment, the reason I say that XA does not address those requirements is the underlying Terminal Server component and the limitations it brings to the table.  The blame rests totally on TS.


For the SMB crowd, VDI is so new it's not on SMB's radar yet.  They've just begun to virtualize servers.

That said, this licensing change is a negative for SMBs considering VDI on XenDesktop: purchase Windows Vista/7 OS license, VECD, and XenDesktop....your talking over $500 per user/device.  And you have yearly recurring costs of $150 per user/device.  Oh, and you need to purchase a new thin client at $350 per user. Wait, I forgot the physical VDI servers at $150 per user ($6000/50 users).

Now you have some apps licensed per CCU, some per Device and now 'named' user.  Egads...stop the madness!

Exactly where are the cost savings in this VDI model?   Traditional XenApp may be the technical dinosaur here, but it sure was a heck of a lot cheaper to purchase and run.

I can't wait to speak with the Citrix resellers!  I'm sure they really happy about this one...


XenDeskDROP is it's new name and using the terms from the upcoming Citrix virtual event

Secret = VM hosted apps (publish a desktop from the Desktop OS) and you got around the CCU issue I think?

Lies = The new license will not cost you more if you are not 100% going for it.

VDI = Costs more than PC and XA with today's capabilities.

@Lee I'll debate you any day that 99% of apps work on XA and when you GET 1-1 XA is  possible you are almost there, solves your developer use case also. R2 and Win 7 are effectively the same thing, although I get the many reasons why people want a desktop OS. I don't understand what is so hard for people to understand about this. Multiuser is an option not a requirement.......

Also I checked again it's per user, not named user. No need to maintain a list, so you can still cheat :-)

What this is in my opinion is a total disconnect from reality for the XD team. I've seen it before. New guys come in with big swinging d...s and want to take over the world and management goes all ga ga with the new thing! I've been around Citrix for years, and these guys are new to Citrix, simply don't get it, minus a few exceptions who IMO are simply following orders. They ignore what's there already to boost their own career, even if they see it they don't care because they are arrogant and ignorant. I look at the XD team and that's exactly what's going on. They must have blown so much smoke up peoples behinds to pull this crap off. The truth about XD is it's S H I T for a number of reasons:

- Does not scale and sucks for reliability

- Forces you to use a broker and because of the above it's not worth it.

- They try to fool us with customer quotes like some school that has 12,000 users. Dig into it and you will find it's all about streamed PCs to the endpoint disguised  under the XD umbrella. In other words the broker does not scale, nor is it needed for many many use cases.

- They pull this BS of single image management. Who's able to pull that of at scale today? Show me a single example? This means that costs are HIGH.

- Until true layers are enabled the cost will be high unless it's very simple environments that are largely the same, which is not real world. If that's the case, XA is far far cheaper with multi user enabled.

Yes I saw Summits blog about further feedback, which is good. However WTF were they doing for the last 3 months. Clearly not talking to a sample set that represents the Citrix industry. Surely somebody needs to step back from all this Marketing and say WTF are we are trying to do? How can we screw up so bad that we did not know this was going to happen? Why do we believe anybody is going to use XD when it costs more given the single image vision is not possible for the majority of people today? Why did we allow a really good technology synergy announcement to be overshadowed? Why do we believe that people will just switch day one? Why not give people a way to get to per-user over time as they adopt VDI? Who the F did we actually talk to?  

Are we a technology or a marketing company? Clearly too much marketing, and this was a marketing and PM disaster playing right into the hands of  VMware etc. What I find most amazing is how little the analysts get it. Just look at the stock price today. You have analysts out there saying per-user is good (which I agree with) and totally missing the boat on the impact if you force that model day 1. Citrix listens to these people too much who don't practice. Talk to real people across the industry and your partners, before the fact who will teach you about impact to their business.

I am sure Citrix will do something given their request for information, but Jesus what a cluster F on licensing, when really this should have been a bombshell dropped on the industry to drive adoption. Thanks god XA with VM hosted apps to published a desktop OS is still here to get around the license issues, I think?


@Brad,  the dynamic "knowledge worker" scenario you describe:  CCU license works MUCH better for the scenario you described.

@AppDetective True that many more apps will run on XenApp but that doesn't mean they are supported on XenApp.  Not from technical stand point but from an operational view.  The ISV may not support their app on TS/RDS.  XP or Vista only.  Then there is the organization itself and how they are setup and what skill sets they have.  Then you have managers who still have a sour taste of XenApp from previous life. The list goes on.

You complain that XenDesktop uses a broker?  Um, well so does XenApp.



@AppDetective No it is per "named" user.  It won't be enforced in XD4 but eventually it will be.  Every user that touches a desktop has to have a separate license.  Also, you can't cheat by using generic accounts either.


@joe per user means as I understand it, names can be swapped in and out as you see fit as long as you decrement the original one. If not they should call it NAMED user not PER user, or was that just more marketing FUD. Anyway it's not CCU so a problem for many.

Support on XA is a also an overrated issue. If it runs and they don't want to support it, stop paying support for that product or change the product. Don't forget we are the customer and vendors WILL NOT dictate terms to us. You have VM Hosted apps as well for support so there is no support issue, although I agree with you that VM Hosted apps is still immature.

XA has a much better broker and I can build it in a way to minimize risk of that impacting my environment, using local disk, 1-1 for a high end user and 1-N for lower cost tiers.

Also there is a price to be paid for stupid management, just take a look at Citrix. Call your internal desktop solution View for all I care and brand it something else internally. The process should be the same regardless of the product if it's done right. The user knows nothing except they see a remote desktop shell. With R2 it looks just like Vista anyway, and even prior you know you can make it look just like XP etc.

So, can I do published desktop with VM hosted apps? I am on the road and just can't test. If so, CCU is solved right?


@appdetective  I agree with most of what you're saying..  We don't call our projects 'Citrix' for one... This eliminates the end-user concerns, but the guy writing the check.

I also agree that going forward, XenApp is going to make a comeback.  Now that the Win7 and R2 codebase is the same as well 64-bit being mature RDS is looking better.  App-V and 64-bit compatibility is around the corner.  Add VM-Hosted apps and what else do you need?  Well, for XD and XA to sync up HDX/ICA feature wise would be good.

Also, 1:1 XA desktops may not be cost effective for some organizations as you still have to account for an Server OS License and RDS Cal.  For some it's super cheap but not for others.

No, you can published desktops with VM-hosted apps.  Citrix purposely prevents this.


Thanks @Joe. I agree one HDX/ICA for XA/XD. Back to drinking!!!!



What's stopping us publishing the Desktop Shell and getting around the control? Just because Citriix does not provide the ability and I can't imagine that it is that hard to do. Time to play......


I just realized something... Citrix claims that the new licensing is "simpler," because you don't have to try to figure out concurrent users--that instead you just buy one license for each user. Ok, fair enough.

But then they didn't lower the cost at all!?! So really, how is this simpler? Because if you were a customer who was thinking, "Whoa is me! Trying to figure out concurrency is too complex! I give up!" You ALWAYS had the option of just saying "screw it" and buying a license for every user and not worrying about concurrency.

So really, the OLD way was flexible to be concurrency OR named user. And now the new way is named user only. So the flexibility went down.

I know this is a stretch.. but it's true because they didn't lower the price. All they did was TAKE AWAY an option. :(


@Brian. Yes but but now you get two products for the price of one, so it's cheaper than XA CCU standalone that is $600 for platinum.



I am not  sure your last post is logical.

I do not know anyone who does not take advantage of the concurrent license model to save costs.

Your logic about Citrix customers buying licenses for every user because it is simpler to figure out how many licenses they need is not valid from all the clients I have ever talked to. It does not make financial sense either.

Please don't drink the Citrix cool-aid.

Citrix has had 3 versions of XenDesktop within 10 months.They are still figuring all this out. It would be better to wait for others to implement this with Windows 7 roll outs. This is the best timing for XenDesktop knowing that 2010/2011 will be big years for windows 7 implementation.

Long Live XenApp Enterprise version.

It is all most people need.

Stop the insane bundling of products and let each product live or die on it's own merits. The bundling costs us all more along with a higher Subscription Advantage fee wether we use Password Manager or not.



Not true. I know many large firms that simply get a Enterprise Agreement with a Vendor to cover all their use cases. In this case if you have more devices than users like many Financial firms do, per user is cheaper. CCU makes sense for Remote Access, partial deployments etc, but if you are making a bet on Virtual Desktop then per user make a lot a of sense. That said I see CCU as valid for many many users who are not there yet. Per device would help, but still some CCU is very valid. This is gang bang mentality that people will just do it, like everybody must use a freaking broker. NO it takes time to get there, that's what Citrix does not get. Fire the XD team and put in people who get it, or customers will simply use another product or ignore VDI and just keep Citrix as a marginal edge case company which is exactly what they don't want. This is the gift to VMWare that will keep on giving.


One of the reasons for doing this was to make it easier for me to sell XA/XD. Consolidating XA/XD licenses makes the customer not having to choose between XA/XD Citrix said.

Well... since XA still will be available in CCU mode it does not makes sense to me. The customer will have to choose anyway.

IMHO the discussion will still be on what is the driving need, for example:

Is the driving need app delivery or is is the driving force to deliver desktops/win7/reduce TCO

So... its not so easy as claimed... One License XD4=customers does not have to choose since XA in CCU will be available too.

Correct me if im wrong!



From what I have gathered, up to this point, while Citrix has bundled XenApp functionality in with XenDesktop they have kept XenApp as a stand-alone option under the CCU licensing model.

Am I correct?


Can you check or repost the link to "your" version of the survey?  The link appears broken.  Here's the short answer to how the change would affect us:

"We are XenApp customers.  The XenDesktop solution is a technology we are exploring to use to augement the XenApp experience.  The CCU licensing model fits our 24x7x365 business operations model, and any shift away would cause us to re-evaluate the value of XenDesktop or XenApp."