Recently we’ve seen a report circulating that our friends at VMware sent out. It’s a report that they contracted the Tolly Group to write. The document attempts to provide a comparison of VMware View 3 with Citrix XenDestkop 2.1. Ironically, this document is being released just after we’ve launched XenDesktop 3, making the report immediately obsolete.

There’s a prominent sidebar that in the report that states that Citrix declined to participate in the testing – this is true, and I was the one that actually made that call and discussed it with Tolly Group. To their credit, Tolly Group did call us prior to beginning the testing and informed us of the project and shared the statement of work prepared for VMware. We asked some questions and provided some feedback about the testing methodology. I had serious concerns that the proposed tests did not reflect true customer use cases. For example, the user experience testing was only for a few productivity applications in a LAN environment – that was all that was planned, and it didn’t seem to realistic based on what we’ve seen in real customer environments. Tolly took note of our concerns and asked VMware as the sponsor of the paper whether they would alter their approach.  Later we learned that VMware (not surprisingly) had rejected our suggestions and was not open to changing the proposed tests. At that point, it was clear that it made no sense to participate because:

a)      The test would not be based on our current product at the time of publication

b)      The proposed testing environment did not reflect real world customer requirements 

c)       Critical elements of a virtual desktop solution were not going to be included in the test, things like application management, service level assurance, diversity in client endpoints, WANs, etc.

We’ve been having great success with XenDesktop, and we’re winning consistently in competitive situations. And we’ve been winning based on precisely the types of scenarios and solution capabilities that were excluded from this testing.

Despite these fundamental issues with the report, people will still ask questions about the claims within it. So here’s some brief responses to the 5 highlighted claims in the report.

Claim 1 – Complex Installation – This claim would hold some merit if the two products were comparable in terms of overall functionality. A spreadsheet is easier to install than an enterprise CRM or ERP solution – but that doesn’t make it better suited for the job at hand.

Claim 2 – Simple Image Management – VMware claims that XenDesktop requires dedicated images in order to support persistent desktops, and that it needs third-party products to manage the user’s personal environment. Both these points are invalid with XenDesktop 3. The report doesn’t mention that VMware recommends or requires third party add-ons to achieve similar functionality that is built-in to XenDesktop.

Claim 3 – Manual Configuration of Active Directory & DHCP – Again this is not a valid claim for XenDesktop 3. Manual configuration of Active Directory is not required.

Claim 4 – Management of ALL VDI functions through a single, Web-based GUI – Xbox 360 game controllers have a lot of buttons. The Atari 2600 controller had one button.

Claim 5 – Equivalent end-user experience on LAN as Citrix for Microsoft Office applications – How about when the users start to use other apps, move to other networks, and access desktops from other client devices? Check out www.citrix.com/xendesktop3 and  www.citrix.com/hdx for information on our approach to user experience experience – be sure to check out the videos.

We fully understand that The Tolly Group’s role is to validate the results of a testing methodology designed by the sponsor. We’ve commissioned several similar reports ourselves, and made every effort to make them as valuable to customers as possible.

To wrap this up: We didn’t participate in this study because we knew it would be outdated at the time of publication. We also felt that the testing environment did not provide an accurate representation of customer requirements. Finally we didn’t participate as the scope of the project only evaluated a subset of the functionality needed for a complete solution.