What made you chose VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop?

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By now every virtualization.info reader knows that VMware and Citrix are completely focused on competing in the VDI space rather than on “simple” server consolidation.
For now most of the discussion is mostly around their connection brokers (and their remote desktop protocols), but in a matter of months it will be extended to their application virtualizations solutions and their upcoming client hypervisors.

Now, a question: What is one of the most viewed threads on the VMware VMTN forums dedicated to the connection broker View?

Answer: A thread titled “What made you chose VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop”, which was started at the end of April and so far collected almost 3,000 views.

The thread is full of interesting comments. Of course it’s impossible to say if all of them come from real customers. For sure many come from well-known VMware users.
Also, not every comment, even the genuine ones, reports correct information. Nonetheless the sum of them contributes to clarify the customers sentiment about both products, and most of all about VDI as a technology.

Some of the things they said so far are well worth a mention here and should be considered along with the architectural reference blueprints that both VMware and Citrix released so far (our emphasis):

…I have found View very easy to install, configure and manage, from bare metal to delivery of 4 nodes less than a day. you have two consoles, vCenter and View Administrator.

Now compare this to XD the same 4 node deployment was over a week of shoehorning etc, bear in mind this is on Tier one hardware. Also to get similar functionality you will be presented with I think 6 different management consoles. you also have the added benefit of Offline Desktops (albeit experimental) with view that is not available with XD.

True ICA is a better remote protocol that RDP, but form my opinion the pain points are too great for the product…

…Finally as for price, again, I can only tell you what we’ve gotten back and XD has come in more expensive than View and that includes purchasing Splitview as well.

There is a learning curve for most who enter the Citrix world. There is a bit more complexity in the configuration as some has stated, but we are reaping the benefits…

Basically the biggest reason is that most companies are a VMware shop. So it makes sense to only have to call one vendor for end to end support.

Also cost. View costs less per desktop compared to XenDesktop i.e licensing, more VM’s per physical host, linked clones for storage savings etc. TCO is very important because desktop costs are already very low.

Stability. View has less components and VMware historically does great QA on the products that they release. Microsoft and Citrix, not so well.

Big reason, VMware views linked clone technology. SAN storage is not cheap, PC hard drives are. You need to be able to sell this to senior management. When you tell them the hard drive storage is going to be 4 times as much they will laugh at you…

…To be honest, we chose VMware for the cost. Presently we are having a few issues that have made us reconsider our choice.

One issue you need to closely look at is in regards to using remote virtual desktops, if that is your intended use, and the interaction with the OS of the clients who will be connecting in. Page 18 of the View Manager Administration guide is a must see if you want to use remote clients through the view portal. Information I wish I had during our evaluation…

…One of my vendors was giving me a lot of pressure to validate XD for my environment. I am PoCing View 3.1 right now. I’m not looking at XD for the following reasons:

1) I’m a VMware shop 1 throat to strangle.

2) Just because XD works with ESX backends now doesn’t mean they will in the future

…To be honest, the only advantage that Citrix has right now is their ICA display protocol. This is the only reason that Citrix is even being evaluated at most companies…

(please note anyway that all the comments above refer to View 3.x and XenDesktop 3.x and not the upcoming XenDesktop 4)

Citrix felt the need to address some of the points emphasized above, and published an article that covers the installation and management complexity, the RAM consumption, and the price.
This one is worth a read too.