Monday, February 1, 2010

XenDesktop and VMware View Versions

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Citrix makes XenDesktop available in four editions, Express, XenDesktop VDI Edition, XenDesktop Enterprise and XenDesktop Platinum. As XenServer has no cost associated, the hypervisor can be deployed with any version. VMware View 4 comes in two editions; Enterprise and Premier. As we often talk to customers about the specific technical details in each platform, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at pricing and where the vendors have drawn a line between versions of their software.

Just a note of caution about this blog; I am going to use list prices in Canadian dollars to make some observations. Please keep in mind that rather than the actual price, the information is more useful when you consider relative price (i.e. the vendor has priced their version above the price of the competition). The list price of course is subject to the exchange rate and also to other competitive factors in the marketplace.

Citrix bundles XenApp with the Enterprise and Platinum editions of XenDesktop. VDI Edition and Enterprise XenDesktop share the same features with the exception of XenApp which is not included in the VDI edition but is included in Enterprise.

The features shared in both VDI Edition and Enterprise are:

  1. StorageLink
    1. Is the technology that allows XenServer or Hyper-V to communicate directly with storage appliances
  2. Provisioning Services
    1. Is the image management technology originally acquired from Ardence
  3. Profile Management
    1. Is the profile management utility acquired from Sepago
  4. Workflow Studio
    1. Is the process automation tool
  5. EasyCall
    1. Is a telephone connection broker
  6. XenDesktop Connection License
  7. Merchandizing Server
    1. Is the new client deployment appliance from Citrix
  8. Access Gateway Standard
    1. Is the ssl gateway’s standard connection license

In the Platinum Edition of XenDesktop Citrix bundles licenses from other product lines. Although this does provide additional value to the customer, the caveat is that the required backend appliance is not provided. In the past this made the bundling valuable to customers who had implemented, were planning to implement or as a hedge against future deployments of other Citrix solutions. What has made this bundling more attractive is the release of virtual appliances by Citrix in some product lines. The bundling in Platinum includes

  1. EdgeSight
    1. The end node monitoring solution originally acquired from Reflectent
  2. Branch Repeater
    1. Is the WAN acceleration appliance originally acquired from Orbital Data
  3. Access Gateway Universal License
    1. Is the ssl gateway’s universal connection license

VMware View

VMware View is available for purchase in two editions; Enterprise and Premier. Both editions share the core components necessary for building a VMware VDI environment. These components include:

        • vSphere
        • vCenter
        • VMware View Manager
                • Is the 4rth generation product developed from the acquisition of Propero
        • The PCoIP Display Protocol

The Premier edition includes the linked clone technology, Composer, the application virtualization technology acquired from Thinstall, ThinApp and the offline virtual desktop feature (Currently listed as experimental under VMware View 4)

The Price Comparison for both platforms from least to highest cost item is as follows (Note: Prices are provided for comparison only)

XenDesktop Express$0.00
Citrix XenDesktop VDI Edition$110.00
VMware View Enterprise$160.00
Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise$230.00
VMware View Premier Edition$260.00
Citrix XenDesktop Platinum Edition $370.00

One of the important considerations when costing out the solution is what the license requirement is. As in a server based computing environment, licensing by user, device or concurrency can make a dramatic difference to the bottom line. VMware vSphere 4.0 is licensed by concurrent user connection. It is enforced through the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) and not restricted by session at the connection broker. Citrix XenDesktop 4.0 offers licensing by user, device or concurrent connection.