VMware announces RDSH & full app publishing support! Claims easy XenApp 6.5-to-Horizon 6 migration!

Well, it looks like we were all right about April 9, 2014 being big day! What we got wrong was the reason.

Well, it looks like we were all right about April 9, 2014 being big day! What we got wrong was the reason. Who knew that today would go down as the day VMware announced that they're attacking Citrix head on in the XenApp space by adding RDSH session support and published apps to VMware Horizon, all accessible via PCoIP? Amazing! VMware plans to sell this as "Horizon 6."

In what's perhaps the most sensational part of the announcement, you can actually install Horizon 6 on an existing Citrix XenApp server and it will happily run right alongside XenApp! (How ironic is it that it might actually be easier to migrate XenApp 6.5 to Horizon 6 than XenApp 6.5 to XenApp 7.5?) All of this new RDSH support for Horizon was built in-house by VMware, and they did it all with public APIs. They didn't have to invent anything new in terms of accessing Windows and RDSH.

The final awesome thing about Horizon 6 is the client software for published apps. VMware leveraged their six years of "Unity" experience from VMware Workstation and Fusion as the baseline for how the seamless windows published app experience works on the clients.

"What's the big deal?" you might wonder, "How hard is it to make a re-sizable application window?"

Anyone who's used Citrix Receiver for Mac or the Microsoft RemoteApp client for Mac knows that the challenge isn't about the app windows themselves—it's about all the little stuff. VMware's Horizon 6 published apps client just works, and remote published apps feel exactly as they should. On the Mac client that I used, VMware's client blows away Microsoft's RemoteApp and Citrix Receiver. For example, when you go to Expose, each Horizon published app is in its own section with multiple windows stacked per-app, just like they're supposed to be. You can minimize single windows to the Dock. CMD+Q only closes the current published app and CMD+W only closes the current window. You can CMD+TAB through the entire mix of local and remote apps as you'd expect, and you can even CMD+tilde through a remote app's open windows. The double-click of the Fn key for voice dictation works with remote apps too. You'll also be able to use the Horizon 6 clients to "double hop" from a remote published desktop to a second seamless windows application running on a different server.

The Horizon 6 remote apps client is truly a no compromise experience and something that Citrix hasn't gotten right yet even after 17 years of Mac clients.

From the management standpoint, VMware focused on operations, visibility, and automation for Horizon 6. vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPs) for View is now integrated with the standard vCOPs which gives you full visibility of everything from your users' desktops all the way into your datacenter. You can use it to set up your own NOC, do health monitoring, create dashboards, etc. You can even do full user experience monitoring including in-guest metrics.

If you've upgraded from vSphere to vCloud then you can also use vCloud Automation Manager which lets you automate common tasks like resetting desktops, refreshing clones, etc. You can setup workflows for end user self service.

On the storage front, vSAN is now integrated along with all the various groups and policies. It's all very desktop-centric when used with Horizon.

Finally, in another blow to Citrix, VMware enhanced Horizon 6 so that it supports multiple datacenters and multiple clouds. They call this a "Cloud Pod" architecture, and the protocol that the various pods use to communicate with each other was designed for the WAN. (Recall that this is one of the big features that Citrix XenApp lost as they moved from XenApp 6.5 to 7.5.

Horizon 6 Pricing & Licensing

VMware expects that Horizon 6 will be available this quarter with three pricing bundles.:

First, for customers who just want VDI (and not RDSH or remote apps), there will be Horizon View Standard. This will be $250 per CCU.

Next is Horizon Advanced. (Note that it is not Horizon "View" Advanced, rather, it is simply "Horizon Advanced.") This adds RDSH and remote app support, as well as the other elements of the Horizon Workspace Suite (single sign on to web and SaaS apps and Mirage). Horizon Advanced also also adds vSAN support, and it costs $250 per named user or $400 per CCU.

Finally there's Horizon Enterprise which adds the plug-ins for vCenter Ops Management and vCO. It costs $300 per named user or $500 per CCU.

An interesting note is that VMware is also expanding the terms of the vCenter for Desktops license. vSphere for Desktops is an alternate way to license vSphere if you're just using it to host desktops. Rather than paying the multi-thousand dollar processor licenses for each vSphere server, you can simply pay $50 per user for each VM you use as a desktop session. In the past this license only accounted for VDI users, but now VMware has expanded the definition to also include Windows Server licenses as long as the servers are used to host desktop sessions. In other words, VMware's charging you 50 bucks per user for vSphere and you can use any combination of RDSH sessions and VDI sessions to make it work for you.

What Horizon 6 means for Citrix

I have literally been waiting over 15 years for their to be a viable competitor to Citrix, and now it's finally here. Wow.

So now I'd like to take a look at Citrix's reality, which will look something like this:

  • Citrix is looking for a new CEO
  • All of Citrix's customers are pissed about XenApp 7.5
  • There now exists a viable alternative product
  • That alternative product is from a company that the customers already do business with and love

Who knows what the next few months will bring in terms new product announcements from both companies as VMware tries to pull ahead and Citrix tries to convince people not to migrate away. From an outsider's perspective, this is an exciting time for our industry.

The only unknown question is really whether VMware will stop trashing Terminal Services in their documentation?

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All pissed ? All love ? strong statements...

Anyway, I will wait and get deeper look into as, as simple it looks, reality check in enterprise with all the minor features that are required before to make my idea.

The only good point for me ? It will force Citrix to move in this space that were quite for the last years..


**HP employee disclosure.. blah blah blah**

I've done a lot of XenDesktop/Horzion View bakeoffs for my customers over the last couple of years.  Any time it is VDI vs VDI, I end up winning based on the quality of the product and my own efforts.  But I always end up on the losing side when the customer brings XenApp into the mix.

Today that changes.  I won't win all of them.  I'm pretty sure there are plenty of good reasons that XenApp will win out on my pursuits.  However now I have a fighting chance.   A lot of the time, that is all I need.

@Kata, competition is always a wonderful thing.  Without Citrix, VMware would have never pushed their EUC product line this hard.  We would have never seen them make such sweeping improvements over the last couple of years.  I may specialize in VMware products but I want Citrix to remain strong in this space.  It can only be good for everyone.

Case in point.  Citrix XenDesktop supports HP's Moonshot Hosted Desktops.  I think we have a pretty nifty solution there.  I would love to see VMware support this with a combination of Horizon View and Mirage.    


The approach that VMware is taking (work along side Citrix XenApp) is a wonderful compatibility trojan horse that allows businesses a compelling reason to migrate over time while minimizing risk.

VMware has also "inflated" their list prices enough to discount where it matters: Large Enterprises.

I am not worried about Brian's Citrix reality check; competition is good for everyone. We need to see RedHat get into this space as well (perhaps Allesandro is reading this thread).

It is Silly to expect things to remain constant.


Applause!!!!  At first glance I thought the licensing model will not work for me. I am a huge fan of concurrent user licensing model vice name user licensing model.  Brian, do you know if you still need regular Microsoft TS license on top of Horizon Advance you mentioned?


Yes, you still need to buy RDS CALs from Microsoft for the RDSH option, or VDA/SA for the VDI option.

Also, I just had a funny image of Citrix updating their XenApp tech support documentation. Now instead of step 1, "Is it plugged in?", step 1 will be "Is VMware Horizon installed? If yes, remove it."


This is certainly an interesting update. In the last 2 years VMWare has drastically improved it's EUC position from "Meh" to "Cooool".

The fact here is that VMWare had to embrace application delivery if it wanted to seriously win in the mobility space - delivering entire desktops is a total pile of cr4p in that use case - so we all knew this is what they needed to do.

Now this has been announced, and it has been some time coming, I hope it's going to fly well. Would be great to be able to offer real alternatives to multiple use cases with VMWare in the same way as Citrix - will look forward to it.

In the meantime I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall in the marketing dept. Working out how they transform all the negative FUD they've been throwing out about a solution  into something they are now promoting in a "yeah, sure, we've always loved RDSH...totally - server based sessions rock... etc etc" kind of way...

BTW - looking at the trajectory, is it only a matter of time before VMWARE buy F5....?


"The Horizon 6 remote apps client is truly a no compromise experience and something that Citrix hasn't gotten right yet even after 17 years of Mac clients."

This made me LOL so much I got coffee up my nose.  To imply Citrix has spent ANY time in those 17 years working on their Mac client is laughable.   It is by far the worse Citrix client (maybe sans the Java client).   The iOS and Android clients are FAR superior to the Mac client and it's not like those are even useful clients for daily work.   Citrix has completely dropped the ball on the Mac client for a LONG time now.



Citrix has a few problems:

1)  no momentum. They need to innovate and not depend on legacy products. Very little innovation has come out of citrix in the last few years. On the other hand, VMWARE is moving fast and outpacing Citrix in every department.

2) no cloud story. Typical innovator's dilemma. They feel cloud will eat away the revenue of existing products. Internal teams don't have the DNA to build cloud products.

3) no leadership. Mark is leaving and the top talent in the company is not forward looking.  CFO's can't run technology companies. They can manage excel sheets.

VMware made a great bet on Desktone and AirWatch and now with published apps they are walking the talk.

Let's see what Citrix can hype up at Synergy.


Any idea as to how upgrades from Horizon View 5 to 6 are going to work? Is it included in your support contract?



From here:


All customers with a valid VMware SnS contract are eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade to Horizon View Standard Edition. If you do not have a current SnS contract and want to reinstate your contract, contact VMware Support or visit:



The one thing that i think we need to remember is while we are all working on "migrating" the back end infrastructure, and while all these new delivery methods are starting to get "proper cool" - we cannot forget that to deliver "user experience" the user persona, user settings, context aware (delivery type) policies, data, etc all need to flow across and be omni-available.

I have called it "user state" before, and i will say it again - without the ability to apply state at each session - you dont have user experience on par with the delivery tech.

Be mindful of the FRONT END while you are migrating the BACK END




I wouldn't get to excited yet about this.  I would recommending comparing feature by feature of Xenapp 6.5 to Horizon 6.  If you don't have things like Session Linger, Session pre-launch, print driver management, complex applicaiton publishing, session policies, simple SSL gateway like CSG, having something like WebInterface that can be customized (basically all of the stuff they took out of Xenapp and then called it Xenapp 7), then you don't have a competitor to XenApp 6.5 which is the best Xenapp ever.  We had been waiting 10 years for Xenapp to get where it is today and have no plans to run to Xenapp 7.x until they put back the things they took away.


You know what is funny... Everyone is talking about how great this is, but no one is talking about the fact VMWare is essentially complimenting Citrix for their strategy... bearing in mind they hired the 'B team' (Bob Schultz and Sumit Dhawan) who essentially brought fourth what they thing is the 'playbook'.  VMWare continues to pilfer Citrix assets (because CA is so loose on the their non-compete) and sadly Citrix takes it on the chin!

While I agree with a lot that is said, do you think it coincidence Brian is SO enthusiastic about this and on the other side of the coin, he can be enthusiastic Citrix. Seems fishy to the point, one would think Brian is paid to twist is opinion in any direction.  

End of day, VMWare is validating Citrix's strategy:

- Citrix acquires Zenprise, VMWare acquires Airwatch

- Citrix talks about DaaS, VMWare acquires Desktone (which would have failed if that did not happen)

- Citrix acquires Ardence (remember that) and VMWare finally realizes it is something, and acquires Wanava

There are more correlations, but I think my point is clear...

End of day, VMWare is validating Citrix's long time strategy.

What I do agree with is the sentiment that Citrix is losing steam...  

Interesting read: http://goo.gl/Cfh9bY

There was an interesting quote:

“Templeton is highly regarded in the Citrix channel, and one partner described his departure as a major blow for the vendor. "With Mark leaving, I think there is a lack of competent leadership internally," the partner told CRN, speaking on condition of anonymity.”  

The comment was made above: "no leadership. Mark is leaving and the top talent in the company is not forward looking.  CFO's can't run technology companies. They can manage excel sheets."

THAT is the problem.

Citrix makes great products.

Citrix has great 'Indians'.

Citrix has great technology.

Maybe it is time for the Citrix 'chiefs' to start listening to their 'Indians' and their most valuable asset... THE CUSTOMER!

The fact is... CEOs will come and go (VMWare knows that) and Mark leaving is probably a good thing for Citrix.

Citrix IMO has gotten too inward focused, letting uniformed 'chiefs' make all the decisions.  Hiring from outside can be good, but keeping legacy will erode the good that could come from that and maybe it is time to slash some of the legacy thinkers and start listening to the 'Indians'.

So the summary in my view point is... sure this is a "blow" to Citrix to some degree, but it also validates a lot of their thinking over the last few years.  It anything... maybe it will motivate Citrix and create awesome competition.  


I hope this leads to a price war - like the gas stations across the street from each other.


@rentvent - so far it looks like a war of who can charge the highest price


@The Dude. What? Brian on a corporate's payroll? Writing one sided articles?? Wash your mouth!


Does this change the agenda for BriForum?


Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  Watching the session today, Ben was amazed he could launch an app from his Mac, almost like he saw fire for the first time.  Yea i agree the Mac client is neat, not ground breaking, but neat.  VMWare sure like to have high prices though for a product that is trying to grab market share.  Not so sure xenapp farms are gonna be dumped in the mass for this though.  Time will tell, but I don't think Citrix has much to worry about for years to come


Yes Citrix just got b-slapped. But seriously people, it's just published apps. What is all the doom and gloom about.


It appears that the desire of Vmware is clear: bringing back the pile of gold on which Citrix is seated, I mean the maintenance of large private accounts.

As Brian said, Vmware does not innovate. The functions and pricing shown this is directly addressed to this kind of market. Each large account taken from the competitor, and there will be, will be a substantial loss of revenue for Citrix.

It's quite interesting, Citrix will be caught between the competition from the top with Vmware and the bottom with smaller size competitors who take more market share in accounts until 1 to 2000 users (Ericom, Quest, Systancia) in some countries by focusing on service as great as Citrix and VMware may issue the same way.

The risk for both is a small challengers creating a break on innovation. This wil do more noise just because Vmware just require Citrix customers to listen to the competition ....


@Gezmonder: Really... How do you think TechTarget keeps them employed!?!?

Brian Madden writes great articles that are factual, to the point and raise valid issues... THAT I will agree with!

@nickcasa: I agree 110%



VMware Horizon 6 uses Teradici's PC-over-IP protocol, which is the protocol they've used for Horizon View for the past several years. PCoIP is different than RDP, and it's more on-par with ICA/HDX. (Yeah, it's a religious war. Some like HDX, some like PCoIP, but the battle between protocols for Citrix and VMware is pretty even. It's not HDX versus RDP.)



Citrix should go back to the easier and more Farm expandable rich IMA.

Go back to AppCenter and Web Interface.

Keep XA as a separate technology from XD.

This is the only way to keep ALL your XA customers.


AppDetective for CEO of Citrix.

That is all.



What do you think of the intensivied relationship between Google and Citrix ? In there combined offer to promote Chromebook as solution in XP migration.


How do you see this move ?


@The Dude - Sarcasm yo?


OK - PCoIP performs pretty well, and in some circumstances, out performs HDX/ICA.  That is actually something to celebrate.

What are your opinions on VMware being able to integrate tightly to their solution if they don't own the protocol though?  Has anybody clicked on HDX Policies on their XenApp AppCenter or Studio consoles?  When VMware can do all of that, then we can say they are on par with ICA.  Performance is only one aspect of the criteria, granular control and the ability to guarantee the different types of experiences is the name of the game.  


It's not like Citrix is the only game in town with regards to RDSH/TS.  Why isn't vWorkspace getting mentioned anymore?  Is it less relevant now that a 60 billion dollar hardware and software powerhouse owns it?  

VMware has been trying to play catch-up since they lost the acquisition of Provision Networks to Quest.  What happened to the Propero code anyway?

My money is on Dell.  Complete and integrated Application Monitoring suite, check.  Complete Identity and Access Management suite, check.   Complete Enterprise Mobility suite, check.  Complete back-end infrastructure and client device story, check.  Oh, you want it all managed and hosted?  Guess what?

I think VMware offering RDSH is about as relevant as a phone company announcing reduced rates on domestic long-distance.

A day late and a dollar short in my opinion.


@Gezmonder: No.  I really like EVERYTHING Brian and team produces.  Some is on their own, some is collaborated (you can tell) and some is pure money in the pocket of TechTarget (my guess is Brian gets screwed).

The point here is VMWare makes a bold announcement (good for them) on a feature that is technically 1.0 and call it "competition".  OK... I agree that it is awesome competition but the fact remains, there has always been competition:

- Microsoft

- Quest Software vWorkspace (now Dell)

- Systancia AppliDis Fusion

- Ericom Software WebConnect

You have a lot of smaller folks...

Ericom has managed to survive but one would argue they could never compete.  I am honestly perplexed how they are still standing alone and NOT acquired?!

@Lance: If you really think Dell can compete... they would need to invest.  Dell has failed over and over at the software game.  Dell is horrible at OEM, VAR and anything software oriented.  Frankly they just plain suck at it! May they need to hire Tim Tebow.

End of day... VMWare has the assets to compete, but will the product perform... to be seen!


Regarding the focus of VMware as "finally being competition" versus Dell, Microsoft, ProPalms, 2X, etc... yeah, I get that those products have been around forever, but I don't think I have ever seen, in 17+ years, a single case of a large Citrix customer ripping out XenApp to replace it with one of the smaller companies. But I think with VMware, that could be a possibility. Also I don't think Citrix has ever viewed those smaller companies as real competition—certainly not enough for them to raise their game when it came to XenApp quality and features. But again, I think VMware will cause / inspire Citrix to step up, which again is a wonderful thing.

As for the question about Google & Citrix intensifying their relationship around Chromebooks and XP and Windows apps... meh. It seems like that's just a press release thing. (And VMware had a similar marketing announcement with Google on this too.) For both of those it's kind of like, "Yeah, you can use Citrix/VMware to deliver Windows apps into Chrome." Ok fine. But what is the relationship really?


Technology aside, the changes to come will be based on economic interest. For new customers, the field is green for picking from the new options Brian lays out. For the massive install base of Citrix XenApp that purchased perpetual licenses, the cost of switching will throttle conversion rates (so will updating any investment in admin skill sets hired to run things). A Horizon Advanced incentive that equals the cost of Citrix XenApp Subscription Renewals would make the switching cost simpler to consider. Leveraging VMware’s bundling of vSphere as a discounting tool will certainly come up as the territory encroachment occurs. As mentioned by others, the customer benefits from competition. The software licensing expense(s) is still the largest cost of the virtualized desktop deployment.


RDS sucks and this is a step backwards.