In my previous blog, I talked about how recent VMware sponsored reports are spreading misconceptions about XenApp.

VMware has sponsored another report from Principled Technology that offers misleading information about the cost of XenDesktop versus Horizon View.  The document comes to this number by inappropriately comparing the Horizon View pricing, which provides mostly VDI functionality, to the XenDesktop Enterprise Edition, which addresses a much wider range of use cases by offering multiple application and desktop delivery models (session based desktops (RDS), virtual Windows applications, VDI, local VDI via XenClient and secure remote access to desktops via Remote PC functionality).

This is the equivalent of comparing a single hammer to a complete tool box consisting of a drill, hammer, pliers, screw drivers and much more. Of course, if you only have a hammer, every problem would look like a nail.  A single hammer would be cheaper but look what you are getting and what you can build with all the tools.

For this report to be a fair comparison, VMware and Principled should have compared Horizon View VDI to XenDesktop VDI.

XenDesktop VDI offers more value at lower cost to View VDI license including 3 years subscription advantage with support:

This table calculates the cost of XenDesktop VDI for both concurrent and user/device SKU including, 3 years SA with support, Microsoft MDOP and vSphere for a desktop license

In the report VMware Horizon View is priced at $415 CCU including 3 years of SA and support.

For the concurrent license type, XenDesktop VDI with Microsoft MDOP is cheaper compared to VMware View VDI and offers higher density for additional infrastructure cost savings with better response time (check out LoginVSI response time XenDesktop response time stays below 4000 ms threshold)!

I have included Microsoft MDOP licenses with XenDeskop VDI because MDOP offers greater value to customers by adding App-V, UE-V and Med-V functionality for easier Windows XP to Windows 7 application migration.  MDOP also offers advanced group policy management, bit locker administration and diagnostics and a recovery toolkit for managing desktops and other, simple IT operations.

If we take assumptions made by the VMware sponsored report (Number of users = number of connections, see page 40 of the report) then XenDesktop VDI (licensed per user/device) comes out to be 42% less expensive as compared to VMware Horizon View VDI!  Horizon View doesn’t offer a user/device SKU, limiting customer choice and use cases. All my calculations are, so far, based on the assumptions that customers are deploying the VDI environment on vSphere and paying the vSphere $65 per-desktop fee but you can lower the license cost further by choosing to go with Hyper-V or XenServer, which are available for free, especially for VDI workloads

Even at a lower price, XenDesktop VDI plus MDOP offer more value; just take a look at table below.

Even if we want to do the same comparison with higher-featured Citrix XenDesktop editions, the comparisons still come out in Citrix’s favor (while maintaining the report’s assumption  – Number of users =number of connections)

Bottom line – XenDesktop enterprise edition (user/device) comes out to be ~2.5% less expensive to VMware Horizon View priced at $415 CCU including 3 years of SA and support

Ok, now here is the kicker, in order to manage and monitor these desktops VMware recommends vCenter Operations Manager for Horizon View which is priced at $75 per CCU.  This makes the total Horizon VDI solution cost much higher than what is stated in the report.  Regardless of what SKU you buy, XenDesktop with Desktop Director includes the monitoring capabilities at no additional cost

Customers should note that they will need Windows client SA and VDA licenses in addition to View or XenDesktop licenses.  There is no additional VDA license required if you are using Windows based end points covered under SA.

Of course, the VMware sponsored report only compares XenDesktop Enterprise edition CCU to VMware View CCU because that’s the only SKU they offer.  XenDesktop offers SKUs for all use cases and you can cherry pick the one that’s  right for you. Unlike VMware EUC licensing for Horizon View, we do not assume “one size fits all”.

Looking at sponsored documents which do cost comparisons can mislead you and create some bias. I recommend going beyond comparing only the licensing costs of two products. Customers should research the value provided by the products and, most importantly, consider whether each solves your business needs today and allows you to grow and solve for more use cases in the future.


MS license – (MDOP)

Citrix license – Get customized quote for your need from one of the Citrix partner for XenDesktop pricing.