How Does Citrix Work?
It's Complicated…

On the other hand, Parallels RAS is easy to deploy, configure and maintain.

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Citrix – A Virtualization Solution

Like VMware and Parallels, Citrix offers virtualization solutions that enable remote working. Citrix software publishes virtualized Windows applications, desktops and resources to remote users. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops works with Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS), utilizing their High Definition Experience (HDX) protocol for data transferring. Windows applications and desktops are made available to non-Windows operating system (OS) devices.

Before choosing Citrix, it’s crucial to know how Citrix software works.
Try out an easier and cost-effective solution, Parallels RAS

Citrix Virtual Apps – A Virtual Application Delivery Tool

Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly XenApp) isolates applications from the underlying OS to provide access to remote users from any device. It streams applications from a centralized location into an isolated environment where they are executed on target devices.

When using session virtualization from Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH), the hosting servers publish applications and desktops. While the server receives mouse clicks, keyboard strokes and any user input, it delivers screen updates to the end-user device. All the processing takes place on the server, leveraging available resources.

With application streaming, the application configuration, settings and files are copied to the client device and data is synced with the server.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops as a VDI Solution

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop) delivers virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) desktops to any device, utilizing Citrix HDX technology to deliver a graphical experience to end-user systems. It’s possible to choose between session virtualization (RDSH), application streaming and VDI deployments.

Why Are Citrix Implementations Challenging?

There are multiple components, products, editions and costs involved in a Citrix virtualization infrastructure setup.

Component / Edition Description
Citrix Receiver Client software that provides access to Virtual Apps/Virtual Desktops resources from any device
Citrix ADC (formerly Citrix NetScaler) Provides load balancing, performs server offloading and improves application performance
Citrix StoreFront Authenticates users to sites that host resources and provides access to applications and desktops
Citrix Studio Management console that lets you monitor and manage the entire infrastructure
Citrix Director Web-based IT support tool
Citrix Editions Each edition comes with different pricing structures
  • Citrix Secure Browser
  • Virtual Apps Standard
  • Virtual Apps Advanced
  • Virtual Apps Premium
  • Virtual Desktops Standard (formerly XenDesktop VDI)
  • Virtual Apps and Desktops Advanced (formerly XenDesktop Enterprise)
  • Virtual Apps and Desktops Premium (formerly XenDesktop Platinum)

Adding to this confusion are the frequent name changes to Citrix products. Moreover, Citrix products are expensive. Not only should you understand how Citrix software works, but you should also check the licensing structure.

Parallels RAS – A Straightforward Alternative

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is an ideal alternative to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. Parallels RAS offers:

  • Centralized management through a single pane of glass
  • An all-inclusive license
  • Streamlined deployment and management
  • Automation tools and guided wizards for fast installations
  • Out-of-the-box features such as server load balancing, printing redirection and RDSH provisioning

Once Parallels RAS is set up, publishing applications and desktops is effortless—and they’re available on any device, anytime, from anywhere.

From the Parallels RAS Console, you can monitor and manage your IT infrastructure with ease, and you don’t have to deal with multiple products and components.

View our comparison chart

Parallels RAS vs. Citrix – Key Takeaways

The all-in-one licensing model of Parallels RAS is only a fraction of the cost compared to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. It requires fewer resources and no third-party add-ons, eliminating the need for extra hardware. In addition to PowerShell and REST API, Parallels RAS provides auto-provisioning of RDSH and VDI hosts to improve automation and scalability.

Parallels RAS saves up to 60% compared to Citrix while simplifying the management and operational tasks of your IT infrastructure.

Parallels RAS Offers a Free Citrix XenApp Migration Tool

Parallels RAS makes the migration process easier with a free migration tool that automates XenApp use-case scenarios. The migration tool extracts settings from Citrix XenApp 6.x and imports them directly into the Parallels RAS Console.

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