Why doesn't VMware include "real" RDSH support in Horizon View?

One of the things that's always bugged me about VMware is that their Horizon View product is VDI-only. Contrast that to Citrix XenDesktop which allows customers to use VDI, RDSH, desktop streaming, and the client hypervisor all in one product.

One of the things that's always bugged me about VMware is that their Horizon View product is VDI-only. Contrast that to Citrix XenDesktop which allows customers to use VDI, RDSH, desktop streaming, and the client hypervisor all in one product. (Well, maybe I should say "all in one license.")

I understand that in order to get all those options from Citrix, you have to buy the "Platinum" edition of XenDesktop, and recently now VMware Horizon View also gives you View Local Mode, and you can buy the Horizon Suite to add Mirage for physical desktop management, but regardless VMware has never embraced "real" RDSH support. Sure, even today's View can connect users to RDSH sessions, but that's RDP only and doesn't include many of the other View enhancements like ThinPrint-based printing, single sign on, etc.

Gabe has touched a bit on this in the past (here and here), but we've never really had the full-on conversation about VMware & RDSH. So let's do that today. Why do you think VMware is ignoring RDSH?

Even the most recent version of View (Version 5.3—read my full analysis here), which added support to use Windows Server OSes at the VDI desktop OS, does not support Session Host. The Windows Server guest support in View 5.3 is used for "single user Server VMs"—a technique aimed at getting around Microsoft's restrictive licensing and SPLA options for Windows desktop OSes. It doesn't add traditional RDSH session support like Citrix XenApp.

It's interesting that Teradici themselves have added PCoIP support for RDSH "session-per-user," but that's via a product called Teradici "Arch" that you have to buy from them—not VMware. I asked Teradici why VMware didn't just bundle that technology into View, and they said, "You'd have to ask VMware."

So at this point the code exists. Teradici Arch has the option to plug-in to VMware's Horizon View connection broker. So why wouldn't VMware bundle that in? Why not even create an add-on option for 50 bucks a user or something to make it official?

Could it be because...

  • VMware doesn't want to break their worldview that VMs-per-user are better than session-per-user?
  • VMware believes the incremental density gains in session-per-user versus VM-per-user are not worth the headache of support?
  • VMware believes that the "real" way to solve this is to make VM-per-user as cost effective as session-per-user, so why bother?
  • VMware believes that session-per-user is old school, so why take a step back?
  • VMware doesn't want to pay Teradici's licensing fee?
  • Something else?

What do you think? Any ideas about why VMware is ignoring session-per-user? And do you think it will ever change?

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

IMO VMware View's biggest deficiency isn't the lack of RDSH support (though I agree it's a significant deficiency as well). I think View's biggest deficiency is the lack of application publishing. In the past VMware indicated that they intend to provide app publishing on top of VDI VMs, i.e. AppBlast, but they have failed to deliver this.

The lack of app publishing is very significant especially on mobile devices. Being forced to use a remoted Windows desktop on iOS or Android to get to your apps, is very poor UX IMO. In this regard Project AppShift is a band-aid rather than an actual cure (albeit a cool band-aid.)


I think it's complexity (or perceived complexity). With XenDesktop I can choose to implement an RDSH-based only model or purely virtual desktops, simple enough.

If I mix the two, I've now got two ways of delivering desktops to users and I need to consider the impact this has on the support organisation and start juggling Microsoft licensing (handling RDS, Windows with SA and VDA licensing)

As long as View delivers a single virtual desktop model, they can claim View is less complex than XenDesktop.


I agree with @Aaron, it's a complexity call...

We provide two published desktops, VDI and RDSh presented to the users as, "My Desktop" and "My Desktop Lite"... We have a run once on login app letting them know the pro's and con's of each (if they have access to both).

We have well over 1000 windows apps ranging from, base image apps, install on demand, app-v and Application Jukebox. Publishing these is not only a management overhead but it does not provide a very good user exp. - The desktop OS is still the best gateway for windows applications - not a web portal!

We have offered seamless apps in the past for various use cases... Users ended up just using a full remote desktop.

Back to the original article...

I think it's something VMware might offer still (RDSh)... I'm pretty positive (speaking to various people within) it's still an internal discussion that's not going away. - I hope they do anyway.


PREDICTION: They will do it, it's the obvious thing to do to add a check mark. I'd assume it's all about bandwidth, busy doing things that won't work like Vodoo Mirage stuff.

Plus let's face it, all the RDS fanboys will get excited and that's the mindshare they want to go after to weaken Citrix.

Also helps meet need for many more use cases. So respectfully disagree with Daniel Bolton as that's a single customer but valid view. Dan Shappire comment more on the money for me.


I'm open to presented applications and love the concept... It's certainly something I would revisit here at some point but as you say it's a single customer view - who is governed by 30,000 users from all walks of life and has to live and breathe the reality - unlike Mr Shappire ;).

It's all about use cases after all - I have pushed published apps when designing solutions for others (my Uni doesn't pay well :-/).

I hope VMware do address app publishing but real RDSh support is a more urgent addition IMO and as @appdetective says, would get the RDS fanboys titillated and offer a real alternative to Citrix (oh and vWorkspace).


</ ironic mode on> What about Dev Capabilities ? </b ironic mode off>

Desktops do not have the same release cycle than Servers (and I do not even mention client).

It took months to VMWare to officially support Windows 7 and Windows 8 as VDI workload... Don't even mentionned Windows 8.1... What do you want them to add more problem.

I simply don't think they are serious about EUC (not talking about product or technology, but more as corporate strategy).


I totally agree that there are use-cases in which published desktops are preferable to published apps. But there are also many, many use-cases in which published apps are the way to go, such as mobile devices which I mentioned. Citrix can do both; DELL vWorkspace can do both; Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect can do both. VMware View can only do desktops.

Disclosure: I work for Ericom

While I have no special insight into the VMware EUC Unit, I highly doubt they will ever do RDSH. Simply put, if they were going to do it, they would have done it already. And with the performance gap between desktops on VDI and desktops on RDSH shrinking, their motivation for doing it goes down. Also, adding proper RDSH support, even if only for published desktops, into a product designed only for VDI, isn't an easy thing to do.

Oh, and it's Dan Shappir, not Mr Shappire


I blame @Appdetective... I couldn't be bothered to scroll up to see how to spell your name ;)


I agree with Dan on both fronts. Maybe that should be another article.. why does VMware make you connect to a whole desktop just to run a single app?

And your second point about if VMware was going to do it, they'd have done it already.. Excellent point too that I didn't consider but that makes a lot of sense. Especially since, as you say, the perceived value goes down every year.


I think VMware is slightly more interested in EUC than what is perceived here but unfortunately their actions speak louder than words spoken at past VMworld keynotes. As some of you mention, the window of opportunity has probably passed and now if it aint software defined, it's not on the roadmap.  VMware has bit off a pretty big mouthful of VSAN and NSX. Those two will be center stage until the declaration of success or failure.


I agree with @appdetective.I wouldn't be surprised if we will see in near future VMware RDSH support and application publishing (app blast).


@Brian incorrect assumption IMO about value of apps going down vs. desktop sessions. Which is going to less relevant over time. I'd argue desktop has more ground to loose.


Teradici stopped development of Arch! I agree with Petri, VMware will most likely support RDSH.