Have you ever wondered how other organizations like yours are choosing to deliver apps to their virtual desktops?  As a Citrix Consultant, I am constantly asked to provide this type of “reality check”.

I often rely on the design benchmarks within the Desktop Transformation Accelerator to help answer these types of questions.  With over 8,500 projects registered in over 110 countries, the Accelerator is quite possibly the most extensive real-world desktop transformation project database in the world.

So let’s take a look at what the Accelerator tells us about how organizations are actually delivering apps:

Chart: Application delivery combinations, by % of projects


Source: Desktop Transformation Accelerator design benchmarks

The most widely used application delivery approach is to install some on the  virtual desktop (locally) AND some Hosted-Installed (on XenApp)

I can think of two good reasons why this combination is so popular.

1)   One group of organizations  decides not to use XenDesktop for all users, but just for a demanding user group (i.e. developers or CAD engineers).  In this scenario the common office applications are provided as published applications (using the existing XenApp environment), while the user specific apps –such as Visual Studio or Catia- are installed directly on the virtual desktop. Besides a centralized maintenance of the office applications this also frees up a fair amount of CPU/Memory resources on the virtual desktops. Especially in CAD scenarios every MB in RAM counts.

2)   The other group of organizations decide differently, and grant all users a virtual desktop. In that scenario the common office apps are typically installed right into the virtual desktop image. XenApp will then provide access to “special” applications which are either user or department specific and cannot be integrated into the base image (compatibility / flexibility), require a high speed back end connection (i.e. desktops are located within another data center) or need to be updated frequently. By doing so it is possible to use a single virtual desktop image for a large variety of user groups. Furthermore, it is possible to minimize the maintenance cycles on the image.

12% of organizations install some apps on the virtual desktop (locally) AND stream the rest to the client

This scenario has similarities to the one above, but the reasons for choosing it are likely different. In many cases it is chosen by organizations who have standardized on virtual desktops but do not have any XenApp experience or whose applications are not compatible with XenApp (i.e. access to local hardware required). So all base applications are installed into the virtual desktop image and user/role specific applications are streamed to the clients by means of streaming packages. This combination provides the same benefits as the above scenario but provides a benefit on the application testing side. Since application streaming isolates the individual streamed apps integration testing becomes almost obsolete. Regression testing is required only in cases where integration between apps is required (inter-isolation communication).

Do you see any other insights in the chart above?

How are you delivering apps to your virtual desktops?  Leave a comment!

To accelerate your decision-making process, create a project in the Desktop Transformation Accelerator and benefit from the input of your peers.