You know where Citrix XenDesktop beats VMware View today? It's the clients.

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?"

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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in, fact, if I agree with most of your point of view, I will add just one thing in favor of Citrix :


- Application publishing : still one key differentiator (the old XenApp/MetaFrame stuff) for the virtual user world... When it come to display something on a PDA, each pixel count and it is really (from my personnal life experience) good to switch to application only instead of full desktop...


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As a fanboy... I would of said... Quest vWorkspace in my reply! However I agree XenDesktop from a client support side of things is very impressive. vWorkspace often gets overlooked for it's client support, Windows (pretty much all versions), OS X, Linux, iPad, Android (excellent client) and java as a fall back! Only thing missing for me in that armoury is HTML5. - Which I'm sure will come at some stage.


To add/reply to @Kata Tank....vWorkspace also does app publishing from both RDS and VDI sessions.


In fact Quest and Citrix beat VMware View in pretty much every aspect of their feature set!


To reply to @Brain....


This is not a pop at you but... "Last week I talked about how View was easier to install" - So many vendors, etc always use that line like its a selling point! Pisses me off every time... Is it a good thing? bonus point maybe but hardly a key differentiator... How many organizations keep having to install their infrastructure on a regular basis? Just to add vWorkspace is pretty easy too but it wouldn't bother me if it was a beast to install as long as it ran fine once it was up and running, scaled well, etc etc. Nothing wrong with complexity every so often!


Actually a small - medium sized XenDesktop rig is pretty simple to install if you ask me! - not that you did :)


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And one of the reasons View has poor device support?


Maybe when VMWare's COO Tod Neilsen is quoted saying: “Help me manage users and then the devices will take care of themselves.”


www.brianmadden.com/.../help-me-manage-users-and-then-the-devices-will-take-care-of-themselves-what-does-vmware-mean-when-they-say-this.aspx


clearly they are having an identity crisis over there... they don't even have a user management solution either...


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I don't know -- I think PCoIP's WAN issues are pretty significant, so I'm surprised to hear you say that it's all about clients. But let's just say you're right. Even then, you're only right in the context of VDI. I think Provisioning Services (streaming VHD's) is one of the (if not THE) Cinderella features of XenDesktop. VMware has nothing like it and it's probably one of the most frequently used, but unspoken of aspects of XenDesktop because people only think of it as an alternative to MCS/Quick Deploy. Streaming VHD's to legacy PC's instead of turning them into thin clients is a BFD and a huge advantage over View that has won us a lot of business.


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Quest's OS X client is RDP only as well.  Not only that, but the actual client (not the App Portal) is X11-based, so it isn't a native Mac app like the Citrix Receiver.


When we evaluated vWorkspace we liked a lot about the product, but a large (and growing) percentage of our student and faculty users have Macs, so the lack of a robust native client was one of the reasons we had to take vWorkspace off our list.  


I exchanged emails with someone on the product team for the Mac connector and he said making a native client wasn't on their roadmap, which I took to mean it wasn't happening anytime soon.


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Hi Mike Stanley. The Mac vWorkspace client actually has quite an aggressive roadmap and we will be adding lots more EOP features in the near future as well as working towards a "native" cliennt.


We will be looking for beta testers!


Jon


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We also have a list of the client devices that Quest vWorkspace supports today. This list is growing all the time: communities.quest.com/.../vworkspace-connectors-what-platforms-do-we-support


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Is there any analysis out there that does not contain any BS, sales and marketing stuff comparing real world scenario between vWorkspace, View and XenDesktop.  For me the winner is vWorkspace with View automatically not seen as a competitor as they don’t support RDS.  We are a Citrix and Quest shop but Citrix support is so strong bla bla bla.  Need something that does not compare feature for feature but a list of things where Quest stands out making it from a customer perspective easy to choose between the two products.  So far price is the same, actually Citrix is cheaper regardless of what Quest says.  Citrix in our region have the upper hand in all areas such as marketing, local offices, engineers, country manager etc.  Very tough to sell an “unknown” product.  Reminds me of the days when we used to be a CA partner and stood behind their Arcserve backup product.  First you had to sell CA as a company and then 1 of their 2000 products.  Customers ask why not just Symantec etc.  vWorkspace reminds of those times.  A damn good product just a pity that no one knows about it.  Brian and everyone else apart from the Quest guys are always one about View and XenDesktop, not fair I say on this forum at least.  Give credit where it is due.


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Louis


I think you will find that Chris Wolf compared View XenDesktop and vWorkspace at vmWorld 2010.  You could start there.


Regards


Simon


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Thanks Simon, do you perhaps have a link to the particular article?


Also, does it compare XenDesktop 5 with VWorkspace 7.2?


Regards,


Louis.


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That's a good point Simon. Chris did a comparison, and it was much appreciated, but not 100% accurate. My blog on the comparison is here communities.quest.com/.../commentary-on-gartner-analysis-of-vworkspace-at-vmworld-2010 and a follow-up after we added many of the promised features is here communities.quest.com/.../vworkspace-72-enterprise-ready


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@Jon Rolls


Glad to hear it.  We were really impressed by some of the functionality of vWorkspace, especially from a system administrator perspective.  Glad to hear you're moving aggressively on the Mac front now.  I plan on keeping up with all the products in this space, so I'd be happy to help beta test.


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Brian,


Good points about the gaps in coverage between Vmware and Citrix on the endpoint. Virtual Bridges, and by extension, IBM, offer a good range of coverage and it is getting better - SPICE for Mac, iPad and Andriod are in the works and we already have our own clients for iPad and iPhone and Mac with RDP.


While I understand that this thread is about the client /access coverage - with a side dish of application virtualization, I think it is important to focus on more relevant factors to broader adoption such as capex, complexity and user scenario coverage. If the capex case is not there, what good is having the potential to run on billions of devices. With all due respect to @danielbolton, complexity is an issue that contributes to a lack of broader adoption - and plugging the gap with an unintegrated, non-scalable Kaviza acquisition does not address this. Being able to seamlessly scale from a single server to thousands of servers, with a single console to manage it all, and not needing to plug the gaps with profile management software and others add-ons, is what the market is looking for.


The most glaring issue with Citrix for me is their multiple personality disorder with the hypervisor... some features - like intellicache - are only on Xenserver. Memory optimization is only on Hyper-V. The market base adopting them is ESX. The client-side hypervisor is yet another variant.


This not only leads to complexity, but also incompatibility and lack of integration of the features that are needed to drive down cost and complexity while meeting the needs of the myriad user scenarios organizations are faced with in the bigger picture of desktop virtualization - cost-effective VDI, scalable from low end to high end, that offers integrated off-line experience as well as the support for business continuity and native user experience at the branch level.


VDI Gen1 can put all the lipstick on the pig it wants, but until the fundamental issues that you, and Gartner, and Chris Wolf, and others in this forum have been pointing out are addressed in a Gen2 solution, VDI from VMware AND Citrix, is going to continue to disappoint the broader market.


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@Virtual Bridges...


"Complexity is an issue that contributes to a lack of broader adoption" - I would say lack of skill set in IT or bad choice in partners contributes to lack of broader adoption... But I will say that PERCEIVED complexity might add to the lack of broader adoption (No I'm not Bipolar). Especially when you start looking at all the different layers in the mix. To me the initial setup of the infrastructure doesn't need to be simple but scaling it up post install does!


Up front License costs and all the associated hidden costs will always be the main culprit.


"not needing to plug the gaps with profile management software and others add-ons, is what the market is looking for" I've not had much exposure to your solution as it's handled by someone else here but are you referring to your solution that uses a secondary "user disk" approach for data? If so... That doesn't help with a blended desktop delivery model if I need, VDI, RDS, distributed VDI (type 1 & 2) and legacy physical deployments... RES, AppSense, etc offer the most value here.


Quest give a good "average" profile management and application integration story out of the box that at least allows you to use it in broader use cases than just hosted desktops (RDS, etc). In a complex environment at scale with a multiple desktop delivery model you still need RES, etc at this point in time IMO.


We have your product here in addition to vWorkspace to handle linux desktops and I agree it's not complex but I wouldn't call it GEN 2 maybe gen 1.2b :)


No solution I've seen is good enough or to rephrase, has the ability to call it's self GEN2 IMO - From I've seen at BriForum with the Mokafive partnership, vWorkspace could be the first :) and I'm not just talking about type2 and baremetal... but then I'm biased.


As it stands now (and back to the point), XenDesktop has the broadest client support to date with Quest JUST behind. VMware have no excuses here just crap management and desktop vision!


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"native user experience at the branch level" I don't care what vendor marketing bull$|t you or any other vendor try to pimp up any protocol... No solution TO DATE can achieve this from hosted desktops/sessions...


You can get near (ish) native and that's about it at this time. But for most workers I guess near is good enough.


I would go as far as to say f**k the branch you can't even have native experience on the LAN yet


Solutions like Spice and RemoteFX are great (LAN) but its still just glitter on a turd!


Native = NATIVE which includes Aero, OpenGL and DirectX magic.


But don't get me wrong those are the cards we have been dealt and we do well to play with them but I'm just waiting for the royal flush equivalent protocol..


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I'd like to point out that in addition to the Windows and iPad clients we have had a Linux Client running PCoIP since late 2009, integrated into 46 View 4.5/4.6 certified clients. Also, we have been very successful with Teradici zero clients - there are 16 models in our HCL from multiple vendors. Zero/Thin clients are a critical part of the VDI story and we're really pleased to be leading the efforts here.


Here's the link to the HCL: partnerweb.vmware.com/.../search.php


487 total product certifications


179 products certified with View 4.5/4.6


251 PCoIP-enabled product certifications


16 PCoIP zero clients certified with View 4.5/4.6, from 10ZiG, Amulet Hotkey, Cisco Systems, DELL, Elsa Japan, EVGA, Leadtek, LG Electronics, Samsung, Wyse


46 Linux-based products certified with View 4.5/4.6, from 10ZiG, Astec, Becrypt, DELL, DevonIT, Centerm, HP, I-O Corporation, IGEL, Termtek, Thinware, VXL Instruments, Wyse


14 Repurposed PC solutions certified with View 4.0/4.5/4.6, from 2X, Becrypt, DevonIT, IGEL, Liscon, Thinware, UniCon, Wyse. (The Wyse PC Extender is not on our HCL, but Wyse itself advertises compatibility)


We've also made significant investments in client development and we're  addressing clients for many different platforms.  In fact at BriForum UK Kevin Goodman was showing off an early build of our Android tablet client. There is a video of this on your website at www.brianmadden.com/.../vmware-demo-lab-video-from-briforum-2011-london.aspx


We're confident that client support is going to be a non-issue moving forward.  We'll be opening builds up to early public access as soon as they are ready - stay tuned for more information.


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Phil this isin't the place for your Marketecture.


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LOL - I don't think responding with the facts around our clients and giving an indication of how we're addressing Brian's comments qualifies as "marketecture".  In any case, I run Product Management for View and I'm not in Marketing :-)


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Phil. are you the same person who used to work for Citrix for 10+ years and spent a long time telling customers how much better Citrix was then VMWARE?


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@danielbolton - we thank you for the use of our product.


One thing that I would like to clarify: With the Cloud Branch feature of VERDE, which is effectively a headless caching proxy that resides in the remote location, yet has a zero management footprint (managed from central infrastructure), we are able to deliver a "LAN-equivalent" user experience to WAN/remote users. SPICE is as close as it gets to native - I agree that saying "native" implies a very high bar as it encompasses a broad range of scenarios and expectations - but for general users, we find that running the remote locations off of Cloud Branch, but having them managed centrally, goes a long way to not only delivering the optimal VDI user experience for remote users (i.e. branch) while also providing an unparalleled degree of business continuity over a data center-delivered, protocol-over-the-WAN approach.


We stand by our claims to be a Gen2 Solution based on the capex, functional and user coverage lead that we have over the competition. Perhaps you are waiting for our Gen3 solution ;-)


Jim


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Actually, Ericom has released a solution that can extend VMware View to additional platforms.  The beta version of Ericom AccessNow HTML5 Client for VMware View allows you to access your VMware View virtual desktops from any HTML5-compatible web browser (Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, etc.).  It does not require any additional plug-ins, add-ons or installation of any kind on the end user device.  The client runs on Windows, Linux, Mac and Chrome OS netbooks, desktops, laptops and thin clients.


All you need to try the beta is:


- An HTML5-compatible browser


- Link to a web page


- Computer name of the VMware View server


- Hit “Connect” and the virtual desktop will appear within the browser – not in a separate window


For more information about this solution, and to download the beta, go to:


www.ericom.com/html5_client_vmware_view.asp


For a video:


www.ericom.com/HTML5_Client_VMware_View_Demo.asp


Adam


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This is definitely a HUGE differentiator for Citrix.  They really do take this more seriously.  It's obvious that the "competitors" see it as an after-thought.  This is evident to see when the project manager says that "client support is going to be a non-issue moving forward".  I hate to break the news to you, but it will always be the issue.  Make this a number one priority, and you can consider yourself in the game.  It's no longer interesting to see where this is going with vmware, when they only care about looking at desktop virtualization from the Datacenter perspective.


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AG4IT: this sounds all good and everything but is it an RDP connection?


if so then its a waste of time


snooze


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I think Phil meant that client support won't be a competitive issue for VMware, not that the client doesn't matter. Seeing that list of clients from VMware clearly shows that they are investing in the client side of desktop virtualisation.


Talking of clients, its interesting that a protocol like PCoIP and servier side rendering is less client dependent than something like HDX. Its also interesting to see the Microsoft strategy focused on server-side rendering too. This makes sense as a client side rendering protocol requires various codec support on the client and most likely a lot more development effort.


An example of this can be seen in the View iPad Client, where playing various content doesn't rely on the iPad's codec support. Citrix user experience on the iPad is impacted (i.e. not "accelerated" with HDX) because the iPad doesn't support content such as Flash.


Anyway, the question people should be asking isn't what's the difference today, it's what's the vision and roadmap for these products or companies. Moving to a cloud desktop/virtual desktop/cloud app approach is a strategic shift in how you deliver apps and data to users, not a tactical point solution.


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Clients today in the business looks for a more optimal server they can use. Though software follows, still hardware is the initial thing they decide.
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