If you're going to do VDI, go with XenDesktop
October 08, 2015

If you're going to do VDI, go with XenDesktop

Jay Oliphant | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Provisioning Server
  • Storefront

Overall Satisfaction with XenDesktop

We leveraged XenDesktop internally for our cloud hosted product, which allowed SMBs to leverage our hosted infrastructure and use their applications. I also helped other enterprise businesses implement XenDesktop in their environment. As a consultant it was used across an entire organization as well as per department. The business problems it addresses is accessing data and applications from any device across a geographically diverse organization.
  • XenDesktop gives speedy access to a full Windows desktop using its own ICA protocol. This is far and away better; a better experience than remote desktop which can "draw" slowly over low bandwidth connections.
  • XenDesktop can leverage local resources like dual monitors, and printers to provide a rich multimedia experience and make the user feel like they are using a local desktop.
  • XenDesktop eliminates data residing on local devices, which can help in the event of an endpoint being stolen or damaged. The user can be assigned a new laptop/desktop, download the Citrix client, and immediately re-connect to all their applications and data.
  • XenDesktop can benefit from application virtualization suites like Microsoft App-V, however this functionality isn't built into XenDesktop. Some products are close like personal vDIsk, but the ability to manage a single image and stream users' application to that image would lessen maintenance.
  • XenDesktop used to offer a free 10 user version (Express) in XenDesktop 5.X however this is no longer available in 7.6 and is sorely missed to help ease customers into XenDesktop. Most all of the Express installs that I performed in 5.X became licensed and paying customers after 10 seats.
  • Remote access requires Netscaler which can be tricky to setup. This would mostly be a request to make NetScaler setup more seamless, intuitive, and wizard driven.
  • XenDesktop allows remote access to data from any device, allowing users to even BYOD, even allowing users to work from home and telecommute. Saving costs on office space.
  • XenDesktop helps a company attain a higher level of security as data does not reside on the device, and you have more control over the users' access to your environment.
  • XenDesktop is pricy from a licensing standpoint. It requires a special Windows VDI license as well as some decent infrastructure to run it. If your environment has room to grow, you should be fine with XenDesktop. If you are already strapped for resources, prepare to make a substantial investment.
  • VMWare View
VMWare View is more complicated to implement and uses linked clones. I haven't used VMWare View in awhile though and this may have changed. At the time I tested it, the performance was consistently better (especially when remote) with XenDesktop. Additionally, XenDesktop had features like personal vDisk that gave it an advantage from a user standpoint. If you have applications that require GPU acceleration, Citrix's offering is more mature in this area than VMWare View as well.
If the user base is all 'task workers' sometimes XenApp can be leveraged instead of XenDesktop. However this doesn't allow the level of individual customization that XenDesktop allows. XenDesktop is a 1 to 1 ratio of VM to user (unless you have shift workers that can share the same desktop) whereas XenApp is akin to a terminal server environment that is multiple users to a single VM. While this doesn't allow for as much customization and personalization as XenDesktop does, your user density can be far greater.