Welcome back to the “He Said She Said” series, hopefully you get some great information from this series of blog entries.

Previous sections

Part 1 – /blogs/2011/12/28/he-said-she-said-intro-to-lee-–-part-1/

Part 2 of the series directs our attention to the common approach that “Citrix utilizes multiple management consoles and this is very confusing to the common IT admin staff to maintain and administer.”

This can be said to be true if you look at the entire solution that can be put in place:

  • XenCenter – Manage your XenServer environment, this is an independent console downloaded from an XenServer.
  • Desktop Studio – This is the XenDesktop management solution, including desktop pool creation, user/group assignment, pool management, policy management and so on. (MMC)
  • XenApp App Center – The most common tool to Citrix admins, the Application Virtualization management tool. (MMC)
  • Provisioning Services Management Console – This tool allows us to provision desktops and servers but is NOT required for XenDesktop.  That is another misconception. (MMC)
  • Web Interface Console – This is how we can manage our Web Interface components.  (MMC)
  • Desktop Director – This is the robust Helpdesk solution that is included in our XenDesktop solution. (HTML)

Wow that does seem like a lot management options, but hey lets really look in to how Citrix has built their management console technology.  Citrix understands that like with the desktop, not every user will require the same desktop delivery mechanism – not every admin or support person will require the same management tools.  Instead of building a proprietary management solution, Citrix has leveraged a great technology built by Microsoft (and all admins have access too), the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) technology.  As most administrators know already this is a great thing because you can customize how you administer not only your Microsoft infrastructure but also incorporate other solutions like your Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp tools in to a single pane.  So now you only have to open a single application to manage your entire infrastructure.

Bottom-line, Citrix utilizes the Microsoft MMC technology that allows you to consider Citrix consoles as Add-In/Plug-Ins to any saved MMC, create a new saved MMC or use the default installed MMC consoles from Citrix.

I cannot go with out discussing VMware View.  They state that they have a single console when managing their solution components, this is not true as they utilize multiple consoles for different components for their solution:

  • vCenter – Manage your VMware vSphere environment (Proprietary)
  • View Admin Console – This is a combined component, it is the actual connection broker and the administrative management console.  This is based on Adobe Flex technology and requires Flash on any management machine.
  • ThinApp clean machine – There really is no true management console for ThinApp, it utilizes vCenter Management console for a virtual machine.  So you can say that this lacks because there are no true VMware provided methods to granularly manage the virtual applications.

When working with my last company (a federal system integrator) we would never consider selling VMware View without third party enhancement applications, because these gave us the ability to give what I call the three components of VDI; Desktop Virtualization, Application Virtualization and User Virtualization.  By introducing management for user profiles , ThinApp application distribution and security, personal vDisk (application layering) types of technology and so on.  Based on what technologies we sold or recommended at the time, we would need to include these additional management consoles in to the management suite, and these normally do not integrate in to VMware proprietary management console technology.

So in summary….Citrix XenDesktop as a whole is a more powerful solution that utilizes integrated MMC snap-ins for Administration. VMware View, although appears more simple from the exterior, lacks as a total solution…

Again comments and feedback are welcomed.