Two weeks ago, we introduced XenDesktop 4, an exciting new product line that I personally believe will make virtual desktops a mainstream reality for the first time ever.

The initial response to XenDesktop 4 has been overwhelmingly positive. Over the past two weeks, I’ve had countless conversations with customers, prospects and partners. In the course of these discussions, three themes in particular seem to have struck a real chord:

  • Customers of all sizes like the fact that XenDesktop 4 with FlexCast goes well beyond VDI-only products, giving them the flexibility to deliver any type of virtual desktop to any user – from one, centralized solution.
  • Including XenApp as a built-in feature makes virtual desktops far more cost effective and gives customers one seamless solution for desktop and application delivery.
  • Many customers have commented on the long list of enhancements to our HDX™ technology and can’t get wait to get their hands on it to try out, plus test the 90% bandwidth savings in comparison to other solutions.

Amidst all the positive responses, however, it also became clear that we missed a few important things on the licensing and packaging front in our initial announcement. Feedback from numerous surveys and 1:1 conversations found that some customers needed additional flexibility to license virtual desktops based on devices, rather than users. Other customers new to desktop virtualization told us they needed a simple “VDI-only” solution with more flexible licensing to make the transition easier as they ramp up. Finally, we heard from a number of K-12 and university customers who needed a simpler, more cost-effective program customized for the unique needs of the eductional market.

So what do we think about these suggestions? The short answer is “we agree”. Your feedback has been invaluable in helping us make sure XenDesktop 4 enables the broadest set of virtual destkop scenarios possible. As a result, we’ve decided to make three important new enhancements to XenDesktop 4:

  1. NEW device-based licensing option.
  2. NEW VDI Edition available in both user/device and CCU licensing
  3. NEW Campus-wide Licensing Program for customers in the education industry


Flexible licensing based on user or device

Customers in some industries have scenarios where multiple users share the same device. These situations include retail kiosks, warehouses, branch banks, labs, and the like. To help with these situations, we’ve decided to enhance XenDesktop 4 licensing to offer more flexibility by adding a new device license option – available at the exact same price as the user-based license. This means that users can access their XenDesktop from an unlimited number of devices with the user-based license option, and devices powered by XenDesktop can be used by an unlimited number of users with the device-based license option. As a result, your XenDesktop 4 product license can now be assigned to either a user or a device. Please also note that our user licensing doesn’t require you to manage a bunch of named users or specific device lists. We’ve tried to make it as simple, easy and flexible as possible.

A killer “VDI-only” solution for people getting started with virtual desktops available in user, device or CCU licensing

While most customers were overwhelmingly positive about the power of FlexCast to deliver any type of virtual desktop to any type of user or device, we found many customers were still just testing the waters with VM-based “virtual desktop infrastructure” projects, commonly referred to as VDI. These customers wanted a flexible, VDI-only solution they that could trial in a wide variety of VDI use-cases. Because many were just getting started, they also needed flexible licensing that made it easy to ramp up as they got more familiar with the technology.

In response, we’re creating the new XenDesktop 4, VDI Edition available for $95 per user/device, or $195 per concurrent user (CCU). XenDesktop 4, VDI Edition gives customers the ability to deliver best-in-class VDI-based desktops with a true HDX experience, and scale them up with our built-in provisioning services, profile management, and StorageLink™ technology. As with all the XenDesktop editions, the new VDI edition lets customers use any hypervisor, including XenServer or Hyper-V (both of which ship with all XenDesktop editions) as well as VMware ESX or vSphere. I’m confident customers who compare the alternatives will conclude that XenDesktop 4, VDI Edition is hands down the best VDI product on the market, at a far better price than any other competing solution.

Desktop Virtualization in Education is ready to go Campus-Wide

K-12 and university customers told us that they love XenDesktop 4 and want to use its desktop and app virtualization capabilities across a broad diversity of students, faculty, labs, and administrative facilities. They also want the flexibility to deliver either the full Windows desktop, or just some applications to a wide variety of use cases, including enabling access from smart phones, etc.

To address this customer requirement, we’re adding the Citrix Campus-wide Licensing Program. This program, available starting November 16th, will offer extremely compelling prices to accredited educational institutions in K-12 and university campuses who adopt XenDesktop 4 for campus-wide use.

Putting it all together

Citrix XenDesktop™ 4, VDI Edition - Best-in-class VDI-only solution available at $95 per user or device, or $195 per CCU
Citrix XenDesktop™ 4, Enterprise Edition - Enterprise-class desktop virtualization solution available at $225 per user or device
Citrix XenDesktop™ 4, Platinum Edition - Best-value comprehensive desktop virtualization solution available at $350 per user or device

Remember, the user-based licenses are available not for per named users but the users as they login to their virtual desktops. You do not have to manage the user lists yourself.

Thanks for making XenDesktop 4 even better

Thanks to all of you who provided all the great feedback over the past couple of weeks. Your input was invaluable in helping us understand the additional use cases we missed the first time around. In short, your input helped make XenDesktop 4 even better, and for that, we are grateful.

As we approach the General Availability date for XenDesktop 4, I’m more excited than ever about the impact this product is going to have on customers of all sizes, across every industry sector. The best part of my job is watching the reaction of customers when they see XenDesktop in action. Even more fun is talking to end users who have discovered the power and flexibility of virtual desktops and would never go back to a traditional installed desktop. That’s the power of desktop virtualization. And, XenDesktop 4 makes it real for even a broader set of use cases now!