Citrix Azure: Compare Parallels RAS vs. Citrix XenApp Essentials

Back in 2016, Microsoft announced the end of life of Microsoft Azure RemoteApp, and Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials® was suggested as an alternative solution. In a nutshell, Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials (previously XenApp “Express”) relies on Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) technology to provide virtual applications and desktops using the easy-to-consume vision of Microsoft Azure. However, compared to Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essential (Citrix Azure), Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS)  offers several advantages—and it’s a better alternative already today. 

Parallels RAS vs. Citrix Azure Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essential  

Parallels RASParallels RAS is a simplified, less expensive, and more flexible solution than Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials. It’s easy to configure and install in Azure within minutes, while the Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials solution needs various components administered in Azure and in the Citrix Cloud Portal; deployment takes hours or days to complete.

Parallels RAS is an all-in-one solution for applications, desktops, and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) publishing, while Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials requires different Citrix cloud-based deployment licenses for different functionality. Citrix cloud-based deployment options are Azure Marketplace Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials, Azure Marketplace Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) Essentials, traditional Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) deployed separately in the cloud, Citrix Cloud Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Service, and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) Service.

Citrix Azure: Four Good Reasons to Choose Parallels RAS Over Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials 

Citrix Azure Price

Parallels RAS 

Parallels RAS is offered by subscription, or as a service provider licensing agreement (SPLA) for independent software vendors (ISVs) and various Internet service providers (xSPs).

The subscription list price per concurrent user per year is $99.99, or $8.33 per user per month.

In addition, RD CAL (per user/ device) of $17 per user per month is also required if a customer does not already have RD CALs in place which can be re-used where applicable.

Comparing RAS license with Citrix license (only without remote access/RDCAL) Parallels RAS is over 30% more cost-effective then Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Essentials (even when no Citrix add-ons are considered).

Azure Monetary Commitment or Azure Credits can be used for the Parallels RAS deployment on Azure.

Prices mentioned above are MSRP

Microsoft Prices: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/d/windows-server-2016-remote-desktop-services/dg7gmgf0ds1h/0007

 

Citrix Azure XenApp Essentials 

$12 per user per month for XenApp Essentials service, including Citrix NetScaler®

Gateway service for access, and limited to 1 GB data transfer per user per month. Users added today will be charged at a pro-rated rate, depending on the day of the month, for the remainder of the current month. This amount will be charged immediately.

For remote access, customers can opt to use their existing RD CAL (user/device) purchased with a value of $17 per user per month (Clients can contact a Microsoft representative to use their own RDS CAL. )  or acquire an additional license of $6.25 per user per month for Microsoft Remote Access fee to use XenApp Essentials Service without purchasing a separate RDS CAL for this workload.

Users added today will be charged at a pro-rated rate, depending on the day of the month, for the remainder of the current month. This amount will be charged immediately.

Tip: Consider full cost (both from Citrix and Azure compute), technical expertise, and work effort to deploy Citrix XenApp Essentials.

Microsoft prices: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/d/windows-server-2016-remote-desktop-services/dg7gmgf0ds1h/0007

Citrix prices: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/03/20/xenapp-essentials-is-nearly-here-but-how-much-will-it-cost/

Citrix Azure Trials  

Parallels RAS 

Access to trials is granted instantly, providing any customer a 30-day trial period for 50 concurrent users, with access to all features and functions. View the trial experience for Azure Marketplace. 

 

Citrix Azure XenApp Essentials 

In general, Citrix does not provide free trials for any of the Essentials services. Customers have to buy the minimum quantity from Azure Marketplace (25 users), which comes to $456.25 (without including Azure compute costs).

Citrix only allows trials of XenApp Essentials as an exception and on a limited basis. Citrix will evaluate each request and reach out to customers as the trial is available to them. 

 

Citrix Azure Licensing 

Parallels RAS 

All features provided with an all-in-one license. This eliminates the complexity of evaluating which license best suits your business needs and provides enterprise features to any company, no matter the size, out of the box. 

 

Citrix Azure XenApp Essentials 

Citrix provides different licenses for different functionality. Citrix cloud-based deployment options are Azure Marketplace XenApp Essentials, Azure Marketplace Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) Essentials, traditional XenApp or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) deployed separately in the cloud, Citrix Cloud XenApp Service, and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop (formerly Citrix XenDesktop) Service.

Citrix XenApp Essentials does not provide access to publish desktops (from TS/RDSH), VDI, or remote PCs. Separate (platinum) licenses and products are required.

To deploy XenApp Essentials, customers need an Azure subscription and a Citrix Cloud account. Customers would need to license the XenApp Service connector on Azure along with the Azure consumption itself, which increases the cost shown above.

Parallels RAS Components 

Parallels RAS 

Provides an all-in-one solution; enterprise features such as load balancing, high availability, reporting, and more are all included and managed centrally. 

 

Citrix Azure XenApp Essentials 

Not an all-in-one solution. It has multiple and complex components: Citrix StoreFront, Citrix Cloud, Citrix NetScaler Gateway Service, XenApp Service connector, Citrix Profile Management, and Citrix Receiver. All the components mentioned are available with Citrix XenApp Essentials; however, configuration with Azure and provisioning of different services is more complex and takes much longer than with Parallels RAS.

Customers must have a Citrix Cloud account to configure Citrix XenApp Essentials Service.

Citrix Cloud is used for provisioning as well as for ongoing management and monitoring of Windows applications hosted on Azure.

The Azure portal can only be used to purchase additional seats and data transfer add-ons. 

 

Try Parallels RAS on Microsoft Azure with a free 30-day trial. 

References 

Citrix Azure: The Latest Market Share Data Confirms EveryoneUsesCitrix 

Citrix Azure: Citrix XenApp Essentials 

Citrix Azure: Parallels Challenges Citrix with Remote Application and Desktop Delivery Platform 

Citrix Azure: Parallels RAS Provides High-Quality Replacement for Citrix to Rawls College of Business

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