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VMware Claims Citrix Isn't Telling Whole XenDesktop Story

VMware took issue with a story The Station filed earlier this eWEEK, claiming that Citrix isn't telling the whole truth about its new XenDesktop.

In other words, VMware claims Citrix isn't being forthright in positioning the new desktop to the media and the general public, because there are other items that must be bought and deployed -- such as servers -- before it can go to work.

"Citrix is claiming features/capabilities in XenDeskop family products that are in the separate XenApp (Presentation Server) family products," Jerry Chen, Senior Director of Enterprise Desktop, wrote to eWEEK via email.

"Frank Anderson, the Citrix marketing representative quoted in the article, is either misquoted or providing incorrect information. The quote implies application streaming is a capability of XenDesktop family products, it is not. That feature is in XenApp (the renamed Presentation Server) family products.

"XenDesktop product marketing manager Frank Anderson told eWEEK: The Windows operating system and all applications are streamed from separate servers to the remote locations; hundreds--even thousands--of desktops can be deployed this way, Anderson said."

The "new PC at each log on" approach from Citrix is flawed and expensive, Chen also claimed.

"The centerpiece of the XenDesktop story that Citrix has been describing is the ability to assemble a user's 'unique personal desktop from new, pristine components each time they log on.' While this scenario sounds attractive, there is a lot that is omitted.

"Many organizations cannot deploy or will not want this scenario. They will want or need to have a conventional desktop computing experience where user changes, application installs, even small things like Web browser bookmarks, etc. are saved in a conventional way. This approach does have a place in areas such as information kiosks, some call center applications, etc.," Chen wrote.

"The actual cost to deploy XenDesktop with capabilities to assemble a user's 'unique personal desktop' as discussed in the article is much higher than the $75 price for XenDesktop Standard edition. A customer has to purchase XenDesktop Enterprise ($175) or Platinum ($275) edition in order to obtain Provisioning Server capabilities, and in addition purchase XenApp Enterprise ($450) or Platinum edition ($600) for application streaming and virtualization capabilities.

"Customers will also need to purchase additional server hardware and Windows server licenses to deploy the Provisioning Server and the XenApp servers, in addition to the servers that host the XenDesktop virtual machines. Multiples of these servers with be required for availability, and scalability.

"XenDesktop only provides storage cost savings in limited situations," Chen wrote.

"Citrix appears to want to give the impression that end users can create a personalized desktop where they can install applications and make changes and have these changes persist but still deliver the advertised storage savings. This is not the case," Chen wrote.

"In order to take advantage of the Citrix Provisioning Server (bundled in XenDesktop) storage saving organizations must use a "Standard Image" vDisk, users cannot have persistent desktops and cannot install applications without them being lost after reboot.

"If customers want conventional behavior from their virtual desktops, where changes are made and saved to the Windows desktop environment, the Citrix claims of wonderful disk storage savings go away. Technically Citrix refers to this as a 'Private Image' vDisk, and each virtual machine gets its own Private Image vDisk," Chen wrote.

Okay, VMware, you've had your say. You've made your point; your case now rests.

Citrix, do you want to respond to this? You know where to reach me.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...