In most enterprise organizations it is becoming normal that members of a team are distributed nationally or even globally. The reasons for that are manifold and include the well-known trend to telecommuting/remote working, the need to co-locate workers with suppliers or customers as well as new forms of crowd sourcing.
Microsoft’s Skype for Business is one of the widely used solutions, which enable real-time collaboration and unified communication.
Citrix has worked in close partnership with Microsoft, to tightly integrate XenApp / XenDesktop with Skype for Business. This ensures great user experience, when Skype is used as part of a published desktop or as a stand-alone published application as well as when users are connecting from a non-Windows based endpoint (e.g. MacBook or Dell Wyse Thin Client
In contrast, other vendors (VMware in this case) have not integrated their VDI/HSD solutions with Skype for Business, which result in a less than optimal end user experience. This causes significant differences in the user <- -> user interaction, which we have tried to highlight in the video below.
In case you wonder why you just see the Skype chat window (with a tiny error message at the bottom) with VMware Horizon App, but not the launch of the Space Shuttle, this is because Horizon does not support microphones and webcams on RDS servers. This means the text chat is essentially all you can use and you’ll face the aforementioned error message in case you try starting a UC session.
The low quality video on Horizon VDI (Desktop) is caused by the fact that the webcam video feed needs to be transferred to the virtual desktop, then rendered there as a video and then send back across the wire. This causes high CPU on network load on the VDI system.
In contrast, with Citrix the audio and video stream is send directly from one endpoint to the other, without touching the data center. Therefore, the CPU and network consumption is significantly lower and the user experience better (equal to a native Skype installation).
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PS: Thanks to Dan Feller (@djfeller) for his help creating the video.