Citrix Licensing: Confusing Doesn’t Even Describe It! | Parallels Insights

Citrix Licensing. One of the most difficult things about choosing Citrix for a virtual application and desktop project is having to sift through the complexities of various product licenses to find the right fit for your organization. Unless you manage to untangle the complex web of product lines, editions, and license models, you could end up investing in an infrastructure that’s either atrociously deficient or an overkill.  

Product Lines, Editions, and License Models 

A Citrix-based virtual application and desktop solution consist of several components. Aside from Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly XenApp) or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop)—the main products for this kind of infrastructureyou will also need to purchase add-ons like Citrix ADC, Citrix Gateway, and Citrix SD-WAN before you can build a truly operational infrastructure. 

Each of those products has multiple editions (e.g. Standard, Advanced, or Premium) and license models (e.g. User/Device or Concurrent), with each edition coming with its own set of features. Because you will only be licensed to use the features of your chosen editionand because the price difference between editions can be substantial—it’s important to go over those features thoroughly before deciding which edition to purchase.  

For example, let’s say you initially want the ability to deploy virtual applications. You need to review the various features of the Citrix Virtual Apps Standard, Advanced, and Premium editions. But what if later on, you realize you actually need to deploy VDI virtual desktops as well? You will then have to look further because not even the Premium edition of Virtual Apps supports VDI. You need Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops for that. You need to review the Standard, Advanced, and Premium editions of this product line as well because they too consist of different features. And then there’s the issue of pricing. 

Citrix Cloud licensing is complicated

Citrix products have been lauded for their functionalities, but equally popular is the lack of ease when it comes to Citrix Cloud licensing. There are several cloud service offerings of Citrix, and the licensing issues associated with them are largely still thought to be inflexible and complicated.

Citrix is transitioning slowly from a perpetual licensing model to a subscription-based model, making it challenging for the company to make its licensing model easy to track. Citrix licensing has the following parts:

  1. Product ID: The Id of the product.
  2. License model: The kind of models like User/Device or Concurrent.
  3. Edition: The edition of the product. Can be Advanced, VDI (Virtual Desktops Standard), Enterprise, Platinum, etc.

The available features differ depending on the edition that is chosen. Additionally, the following licensing models are available:

The licensing agreement includes the following:

With all these details, customers are surely set to be confused about Citrix licensing. Additionally, Citrix is releasing the Workspace App Suite, but it is of no use to people who are still using on-premises solutions, as the features are limited for such users.

Citrix Cloud licensing is complicated, and the feature/price gap between different editions is too big to be true. Citrix also does not allow users to pay for what you use, making licensing inflexible. For example, hundreds of customers buy the platinum version simply to use a singular feature. Citrix also lacks the ability to mix and match licenses and make licensing suitable for users with specific needs.

Citrix Cloud licensing is in fact too expensive, and customers do not want to purchase or upgrade to a product or service simply to use the latest cloud features.

Citrix Licensing Comes with a Hefty Price Tag

To start, a single license of Citrix Virtual Apps can cost over $600. Depending on the size of your workforce, your total costs could run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it’s important to be thorough in picking the right license.  

Furthermore, if you purchase any of these product licenses, you are also required to purchase Customer Success Services (CSS) for a minimum of one year. CSS is basically Citrix technical support. 

Due to the complexities of Citrix licensing and the need for additional components, most companies who invest in this particular virtual application and desktop delivery solution have to hire more than one IT admin.  

An Alternative to Citrix Complications

You can save up to 60% if you use Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS)which also has a much simpler licensing structure. All features of Parallels RAS are included in a single edition, with no add-ons. Because of its uncomplicated licensing and infrastructure, Parallels RAS usually requires only one admin.

Trying out Parallels RAS is easy as well. Just grab a free 30-day trial and experience simple virtual application and desktop delivery. 


Brian Madden | Citrix Cloud licensing is complicated, just like on-premises licensing 

Lakeside | Choosing Between Concurrent and User/Device Citrix Licensing 

Basvankaam | Citrix licensing (and Microsoft) demystified? I need your help! 

Umbee | Citrix XenApp vs XenDesktop: Key Differences 

TechTarget | Citrix XenApp