VDI shoot-out: Citrix XenDesktop vs. VMware View

Citrix XenDesktop 5.5 and VMware View 5 vie for the most flexible, scalable, and complete virtual desktop infrastructure

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Likewise, I connected to my View virtual desktops from laptops and desktops on the LAN and remotely over the Internet. Display response and audio quality were excellent with no noticeable degradation, even over untamed Internet links. Just as with Citrix HDX, YouTube playback via PCoIP was flawless. Regardless of the underlying technologies (see sidebar, "VDI shoot-out: HDX vs. PCoIP") both HDX and PCoIP provided a great end-user experience. There is always a difference between "being there" and being remote, but my experience with HDX and PCoIP was close enough to native to satisfy any user.

There are only slight differences in the number and types of endpoint devices that Citrix and VMware support. Both provide agents for Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. Only Citrix supports Mac OS X, Solaris, HP-UX, DOS, and Symbian, and only Citrix provides a Java-based client. Both XenDesktop and View work with most popular thin clients and so-called zero clients.

XenDesktop and View are so similar in structure, deployment, capabilities, and scalability that choosing a clear winner was difficult. XenDesktop gets the nod for broader hypervisor and client support, a more flexible desktop delivery system (FlexCast), and the more extensive feature set built into HDX. This isn't to say that View is an inferior product. View is best suited for IT shops already invested in vSphere and other VMware technologies. For those shops running Citrix or Microsoft hypervisors, XenDesktop will slide right in and work fine with whatever IT already has in place. Regardless of the situation, both XenDesktop and View define what VDI is supposed to be. For full details, read the individual reviews: 

VDI shoot-out: Citrix XenDesktop 5.5
VDI shoot-out: VMware View 5

Editor's note: This article was revised December 20, 2011 to correct an error. We had stated that VMware View supports desktop streaming, but it does not.

Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View at a glance

 Citrix XenDesktop 5.5VMware View 5
Server platformWindows Server 2008 for core XenDesktop services; Active Directory; Citrix XenServer, VMware vSphere, or Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisorWindows Server 2008 for core View services; Active Directory; VMware vSphere hypervisor
Client supportWindows, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Solaris, HP-UX, OS/2, DOS, Symbian, thin clients, Web browser, JavaWindows, Linux, iOS, Android, thin clients
Connection protocolHDX, RDPPCoIP, RDP
Editions and pricingXenDesktop VDI Edition, $95 per user or device; Enterprise Edition, $225 per user or device; Platinum Edition, $350 per user or deviceView Enterprise, $150 per concurrent connection; View Premier, $250 per concurrent connection

This article, "VDI shoot-out: Citrix XenDesktop vs. VMware View," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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