Citrix bows to user pressure on XenDesktop licensing

To appease customers, XenDesktop 4 will now come with per-device as well as per-user licensing options

Citrix Systems has added more licensing options and editions to its upcoming desktop virtualization platform XenDesktop 4, including the option to pay by the number of devices used, it said on Tuesday.

The company originally planned to license XenDesktop 4 based only on the number of named users, but that was not well received by customers, it said.

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It "became clear that we missed a few important things on the licensing and packaging front in our initial announcement", Citrix vice president for XenDesktop Sumit Dhawan wrote in a post on the Citrix blog.

To appease users, Citrix is adding the following three changes to XenDesktop 4: a device-based licensing option, a campus-wide licensing program, and a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) Edition, which can be licensed per named user, the number of concurrent users or the number of devices, according to Dhawan.

With the device-based licensing option, companies pay for the number of devices that are used to access XenDesktop, and those can be used by an unlimited number of users. The cost per device is the same as the price per user in the existing licensing model, which lets each named user access XenDesktop from an unlimited number of devices.

The campus-wide licensing program will offer XenDesktop 4 at a "compelling" price for universities and schools that adopt it campus-wide, Dhawan wrote without elaborating on the cost.

The new VDI Edition has been added for companies that just want the option of running desktops on a virtual machine on a server, which excludes the possibility of running the client without network access. It lets customers use XenServer, Microsoft's Hyper-V, VMware's ESX or vSphere as the underlying hypervisor.

The VDI Edition will cost $95 per user or device, or $195 per concurrent user, Dhawan wrote. The flagship Platinum Edition costs US$350 per user or device, and the Enterprise Edition costs $225 per user or device.

The upgrade to version 4 of XenDesktop is about much more than licensing. Citrix has integrated the ability to do application virtualization, using XenApp, into the platform. The company has also improved its HDX technology, including enhancements for handling Flash multimedia, voice-over-IP and 3D graphics.

XenDesktop 4 will be generally available on Nov. 16.

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