There is a bit of a misconception in the industry on what is needed for a Virtual Desktop (VDI) or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. Companies typically inquire about Citrix XenDesktop which is definitely one of the most flexible and customizable solutions out there, but XenApp may work just as well in many cases at a fraction of the price. As part of our No Jerks Allowed company philosophy, we want organizations to be informed of all options available out there prior to making a decision. Here’s a quick overview of each solution and it’s advantages/limitations (download PDF)
Citrix XenApp for Applications (SaaS)
Pros: Most cost-effective way to stream applications, users can keep local desktop, reduces software licensing costs, no local software installs!
Cons: Is not compatible with custom or some legacy applications, shared resources may impact performance
Ideal for: Salespeople, on-the-go employees, students, accountants, developers building apps for a SaaS model
XenApp can stream one or multiple applications in the cloud and can deliver them to an end user on any device. All a user has to do is click on the Citrix Receiver icon and all available applications will be presented in one window. This is a common solution that is effective for most environments, with a few exceptions.
See how Citrix XenApp can be applied to IT infrastructure in education.
Limitations: Will not work with applications that cannot recognize different users from the same server (usually custom applications, or older applications), application settings are not saved between sessions
Citrix XenApp for a Hosted Shared Desktop (DaaS)
Pros: Users get a standardized desktop,
Cons: Desktop customization is limited, shared resources may impact performance
Ideal for: App developers,Customer service agents, general office workers
Similar to streaming applications, XenApp can also be used to deliver a desktop by streaming the same server desktop to multiple users. Application access can still vary from user to user, desktop wallpapers can be customized and application settings can be saved in-between sessions. This setup helps minimize security concerns as desktops are locked down and users can only do pre-defined tasks. XenApp desktops can be launched within minutes with a set configuration. We typically estimate 50-75 users per server with common applications,
The concept is similar to setting up a desktop at home with each family member having his or her individual logins to the same computer. Multiple application instances can be open across different user desktops (if compatible).
Limitations: Will not work with applications that cannot recognize different users from the same server (usually custom applications, or older applications), users are not able to download new programs or change environment settings, not compatible with Windows 7 or Windows 8
Citrix XenDesktop for Hosted Virtual Desktop (VDI & DaaS)
Pros: fully customizable, fully dedicated resources, centrally managed, secure
Cons: Complex, more costly, resource intensive
Ideal for: C-level employees, game-developers, video editors, IT admins
XenDesktop is much more flexible than XenApp. It provides a fully dedicated desktop operating system running across individual VMs providing a complete VDI solution. Users have the ability to fully customize their desktop, access all their applications and not have to share computing resources with other users. The IT team is able to create an initial OS image with the standard applications and users can in turn customize it to their needs. If there are ever any issues with the user’s desktop, a new one can be spun up by the IT team in no time.
Limitations: May be cost prohibitive
For more information please feel free to contact us online or by phone (1-800-781-7820)
Additional Resources from Citrix