Citrix and VDI: What is the Difference Between Them?

Citrix and VDI: Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) is an application delivery solution that allows access to Windows-based applications to any device compatible with Citrix Receiver.

VDI stands for virtual desktop infrastructure. A VDI desktop is a desktop running on a server in the datacenter that a user can access from virtually any device. To use VDI with Citrix, you need to purchase Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop). Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) and VMware Horizon are two well-known solutions to implement and deploy a virtual desktop infrastructure.  

What Are the Different Types of VDI? 

citrix and vdiWhile there is a standard definition of VDI, there are various methodologies to deliver virtual desktops, classified into three main categories: 

What Are the Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) Limitations for VDI? 

Deploying and maintaining VDI with Citrix is complicated due to different licenses offering different features. For example, to support desktop-based VDI and server-based VDI, organizations need to upgrade from Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop). In essence, even in its Platinum Edition, Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) does not support a full VDI. 

How to Deploy VDI with Citrix 

To deploy VDI with Citrix, organizations must consider what kind of VDI they need for their infrastructures (desktop, server, or session-based). They also need to be aware that publishing applications require either Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) Enterprise/Platinum version.

Citrix’s VDI solution Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) works in small environments as well as large ones, but it’s geared toward the medium and large enterprise. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) is available in three versions.

1. Virtual Desktops Standard

This version provides only the basic Citrix virtualization technology, restricting the delivery options to VDI for both pooled and dedicated services on Windows 7 and Windows 10. However, the app lacks basic security configurations, including FIPS compliance, Common Criteria certification, SmartAccess, Intelligent session recording, and provisions for SSL VPN.

In terms of productivity, the Virtual Desktop Standard does not provide optimized Skype and Microsoft Teams for business. Also, the app doesn’t allow for Citrix casting (transitioning applications and desktops from a mobile device to any display connected device in a Citrix Ready hub) and Workspace Environment Management.

2. Virtual Apps & Desktops Advanced

This version offers more virtualization features including, server-based hosted apps, server-based virtual desktops, VDI (for both pooled and dedicated services), Remote PC Access, and VM hosted applications.

The main benefit of this version is the inclusion of extra features to boost employee’s productivity, such as optimized Skype and Microsoft Teams for business that are not available in Virtual Desktop Standard. However, it still lacks Citrix casting and Citrix SD-WAN for WAN optimization that could boost efficiency in an organization.

In terms of security, Virtual Apps &Desktop Advanced lacks standard security configurations including FIPS compliance, Common Criteria certification, SmartAccess, Intelligent session recording, and provisions for SSL VPN just like its Virtual Desktops Standard counterpart.

3. Virtual Apps & Desktops Premium

This version includes all VDI features, plus an enhanced version of Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) called XenApp Platinum. It also includes a couple of additional features such as seamless local applications, self-service password reset, and a UX network analysis.

 

Note: To deploy a fully-featured application and desktop delivery infrastructure with Citrix, you also need to purchase Citrix add-ons (NetScaler). 

Parallels RAS Is Your Citrix Alternative.  

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) provides a cost-effective Citrix alternative that’s easy to deploy and maintain. It delivers applications and desktops from RDS and VDI without feature limitations. In addition, a free, full-featured, 30-day trial is available for a variety of deployments: on-premises, trial-in-a-box, and in the cloud (public, private, or hybrid). Download your trial today.

Learn more about why Parallels RAS is an excellent choice for your business. 

References:

Whitehat Virtual | http://www.whitehatvirtual.com/
Citrix Systems | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrix_Systems 
Citrix Products Evolve, but Name Changes Obscure Unification | https://redmondmag.com/articles/2014/04/01/citrix-products-evolve.aspx 
Comparing Citrix options: XenDesktop vs. VDI-in-a-Box | http://searchvirtualdesktop.techtarget.com/feature/Comparing
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) Flex Management Architecture! | http://www.basvankaam.com/
Citrix Alternative | https://www.parallels.com/citrix-alternative/

Parallels | https://www.parallels.com/vdi/

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