Now that both Citrix and VMware have a publicly available hybrid cloud offering, let's take a look at how they compare.
Rob Beekmans for example compares the two offerings. Citrix CWC is cloud based management solution that offer you the possibility to deploy your desktops in the cloud or on-premises. Management of the backend infrastructure like the controllers, license servers and so forth is handled by Citrix. VMware Air Hybrid mode is a cloud based management solution where your desktops and applications will run on-premises. If we look at both offerings there is not that much difference between both vendors for the basic solution the nifty differences are in the details. also with VMware you will get updates automatically and you will follow with updating your agents.
VMware Air Hybrid mode features
- VMware Appvolumes to layer application and work with less golden images
- VMware ThinApp to virtualize the applications that make your hair turn gray
- VMware UEM to manage the user environment and offer them a workspace based on the context and make sure they don’t start applications they are not suppose to.
- VMware vRealize Operations monitoring to monitor the operational status of the environment
- VMware Just-In-Time desktops to deploy desktops in a pool at the time users request them
- Blast Extreme a HTML5 protocol with a feature parity with PCoIP
- Smart policies to manage the environment policies based on the user context working together with UEM
Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) features
If look at what Citrix is offering we get to the picture shown below. I worked with Citrix Workspace Cloud a bit, right after it was released and just now. It’s a nice interface to browse around in and feels easy to handle. so what are they offering:
<some features were in tech preview but as VMware is not live yet, I’m going for the features that will be there in the near future>
- Citrix Provisioning services to deploy a streamed image
- Citrix Machine creation services to deploy a managed image
- Citrix Appdisk to layer applications
- Citrix Xenmobile to manage devices
- Citrix share file to securely share and manage documents centrally with 1GB of space that comes with it expandable to 100GB
- Citrix Secure browser to access SAAS and web applications with zero configuration for the end user.
There's also a lot to be said about pricing. Gabe Knuth has done his homework on it: It is interesting that when you compare the differences in the prices of doing it yourself or letting someone else handle it, the numbers can be quite large. A 500-person company would spend $5,000/month buying XenDesktop Enterprise, and $11,250 by using CWC, and neither of those prices includes a desktop! Sure, to do it on-premises you have to buy hardware and keep it up to date, but that doesn’t cost anywhere near $6,000/month. VMware’s pricing ($9,000/mo) is much more conducive to getting companies to say “Meh…let’s just let them handle it.”
I think we’ll see some more price adjustments over the next year as Citrix and VMware compete. Both platforms will likely inch closer to each other in terms of capabilities as time goes by, and as that happens price will become a key differentiator. Until then VMware is in the driver’s seat with the lowest price, not to mention the addition of UEM and AppVolumes, and will probably remain that way until Citrix feels its customers won’t get angry at another price drop. While all that plays out, you have a decision to make: How much is it worth to you to have VMware or Citrix take the virtual desktop management infrastructure off your plate?