In Part 1 of my blog, I provided hard evidence and facts regarding scalability of XenApp vs VMware Horizon View.

In this part-2 of the blog, I will present a more balanced approach at comparing total licensing cost for VMware Horizon View solution vs XenApp while taking a real-world approach. We all know that some of the drivers for using virtual desktop and apps are BYO, workforce mobility and freedom to work on any device, anytime, anywhere.  Microsoft has introduced VDA license, which enables these use cases for windows client OS. In order to calculate total VDI solution licensing cost for XenDesktop VDI or View VDI customers will need to add Windows client upgrade and SA price plus VDA license cost for Windows devices not under SA and non-Windows based devices.

Here is the real VMware Horizon View license cost if calculated accurately and following Microsoft’s licensing guide.

Total cost = Horizon View license cost + Windows client with upgrade and SA license + VDA license cost

Source:  Windows 8 upgrade plus SA,   Windows VDA license, VMware Horizon View

VMware Horizon View VDI all license cost would be $1066 per user and not $415 as claimed by the paper

The obviously biased VMware sponsored report skipped over the windows licensing and VDA licensing cost.

Now let’s calculate XenApp (concurrent user) licensing cost.  Session based desktop and apps (RDS) do not require VDA licenses but require Microsoft Client Access license (RDS CAL).  RDS CAL licenses can be licensed by user and can be used on multiple Windows and non-Windows devices.

Source:  Windows licensing (

Total cost per user =   ($171,851.00/174) = $ 865.57.

XenApp 6.5 or XenDesktop 7 (app edition) concurrent user licensing pricing is ~19% less than VMware Horizon View VDI concurrent user license solution.

XenDesktop 7 introduced integrated delivery of virtual Windows apps via a new app edition SKU.  The XenDesktop app edition SKU can be licensed either by per user/device or concurrent license type.  Customers get more flexibility and choice via different SKU types.  Let’s see what happens when we take assumptions made by the VMware sponsored report (Number of users =number of connections) and do our calculation.

Total cost per user =  (Total cost/number of users) = $511.57

XenApp 6.5 or XenDesktop 7 (App Edition) user/device licensing pricing is ~52% less than VMware Horizon View VDI concurrent user license

Here is a table with quick summary comparing total license cost for Horizon View vs XenDesktop 7 (app edition)

Bottom line: XenApp 6.5 and XenDeskop 7 app edition are more scalable, cost-effective and offer more value to customers than Horizon View VDI.   In addition to the license cost savings, the total solution cost for Desktop 7 (App edition) and XenApp 6.5 would be much lower by due to storage and infrastructure cost saving.  There is no need for the same number of IOPS or capacity as VDI solution.

In previous blogs, I compared XenDesktop VDI license cost to Horizon View VDI cost, both the analysis show that XenDesktop 7 VDI edition and XenDesktop 7 app edition offer greater value, higher density and lower cost than VMware Horizon View VDI.   Customers can get best of both worlds by upgrading and paying more to enterprise or platinum license and solve challenges for all  their users.

Competition is good for customers and even vendors since it pushes them to innovate.  I invite VMware EUC team who published these white papers for debate on this blog to refute my claims.  I would like community members to also cross check my calculations and comment on the blog.



–       VMware report claimed 174 VDI users on a single server. Even though XenApp can get more users on the same server, I did all my calculation taking equal density for parity. (see my previous blog)

–        All pricing calculations assumed Microsoft open value licensing for simplicity for VDI and RDS.

–        Citrix XenApp and XenDeskop license cost can be found by calling one of the Citrix partner

–        All calculations are done using “Retail” price

–       In case of VMware View VDI calculation the calculation are done assuming only 1 VDA per device/user but you may need additional VDA licenses.