Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp vs Parallels Remote Application ServerCitrix XenDesktop: To build a complete virtualization and application delivery solution that has the same functionality as Parallels Remote Application Server, administrators have to use several different Citrix products since Citrix does not provide a complete solution similar to Parallels Remote Application Server. In this competitive analysis we will compare Parallels Remote Application Server with:

  • Citrix XenDesktop: A VDI management / broker solution from Citrix (similar to VDI in a Box or VMware Horizon View, XenDesktop is only a VDI management system and still requires a hypervisor server (specifically Citrix Server) to function).
  • Citrix XenApp: An application delivery solution from Citrix.

Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp Planning, Installation & Setup

Planning, installing and configuring a Citrix Xen products solution is a very complex task. Hence businesses typically hire third party consultants who specialize in Citrix solutions to set up a virtualization and application delivery solution. There are several disadvantages when setting up a Citrix Xen products solution, such as:

  • Businesses have to choose which edition of each product suites their needs (Citrix have an extensive and complicated licensing program).
  • Businesses incur additional costs hiring consultants to help them plan and setup the Citrix Xen Products environment.
  • Different components / software packages such as XenDesktop and XenApp have to be installed on different machines, therefore more hardware is required. This also means that the project will also be more expensive.
  • Each component has to be installed and configured separately, requiring more time.
  • In case users are required to access published apps or desktops over the internet, additional components are required, such as the Citrix Access Gateway.
  • Some of the components also have a number of prerequisites. For example XenApp require an MS SQL database to store the configuration.

Parallels Remote Application Server

  • A default Parallels Remote Application Server installation only takes a couple of minutes to complete (standard MSI package).
  • All components needed to publish applications and desktops over the internet etc (i.e. Parallels SecureGateway) are installed by default, therefore all functionality is available in an out of the box configuration within minutes.
  • All Parallels Remote Application Server components run (and are installed) on a single server. Various components can be added or migrated to additional servers to support larger scale networks.
  • Parallels Remote Application Server does not have any specific requirements.
  • Parallels Remote Application Server is very easy to configure and manage; Administrators do not need to be specialized.

Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp High Availability, Scalability & Manageability

High Availability

Multiple servers, gateways and other components can be added to a farm in both products to cater for bigger demands. Therefore both products have several high availability features.


An implementation of Citrix Xen products can have multiple farms, known as Sites in a Parallels Remote Application Server environment. Therefore both products can scale up very well.

Load Balancing

Both Citrix Xen products and Parallels Remote Application Server support load balancing of incoming connection requests. Below is a list of key points that explains why Parallels Remote Application Server Load Balancing is better than that of Citrix Xen products:

  • Load balancing is available and enabled in a default Parallels Remote Application Server installation.
  • Administrators can choose from 2 different types of load balancing technologies when using Parallels Remote Application Server.
  • Configuration of load balancing in Parallels Remote Application Server is minimal; simplified for administrators.
  • To load balance connections using Citrix Xen products administrators have to install and configure additional components and hardware, such as the Citrix NetScaler appliance.
  • To configure load balancing using Citrix Xen products administrators have to follow complicated and lengthy processes, for example assign load evaluators to specific servers, configure group policies etc


Citrix XenDesktop: SearchVirtualDesktop

Citrix XenDesktop: Wikiedia

Citrix XenDesktop: VirtualizationAdmin

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