By Lee Collison, Solutions Architect

My answer to the Virtualization Review article, “They Said It (About Citrix, That is)” specifically addresses the differences between XenDesktop and VMware View. In my opinion, VDI is VDI as long as you have a well thought-out design and implementation plan. What makes one better than the other is how one views the feature sets and manageability of the product. I have deployed VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop and Quest vWorkspace and I personally choose View as my number one over all solution in terms of simplicity and management.

Now on to my rebuttal and answer to statements made by Simon Bramfitt that I find very concerning. For one Mr. Bramfitt makes a bold statement about how Citrix XenDesktop is by far the leader in the VDI arena and offers more “out of the box” solutions, such as WAN optimization. These two statements are very hard for me to swallow since I do see more VMware View being used in the marketplace than I do XenDesktop. Most organizations I talk to feel that Citrix gives out their licenses so that an organization can at least test drive the solution, but do not offer them any hands on guidance for a successful deployment for POC. This is bad for Citrix and bad for VDI in general, as organizations have a bad experience and then automatically see traditional desktop as the best option for their computing needs and really miss out on how VDI can simplify their end user experience and support tasks.

As for WAN Optimization, Citrix’s HDX protocol is better when dealing with high latency links but does not offer the video enhancements that PCoIP offers. Citrix also offers NetScaler but this is an add-on optional product that can be matched or beaten by other third party applications/appliances to enhance WAN Optimization for View.

So as you can see we can all make blanket statements when no actual hard numbers sit behind the subjects. It comes down to a few things when dealing with VDI and successful deployments of POC and Production environments:

  • Proper planning for the design and implementation of the project: this includes the well thought out questions regarding who should be involved in the testing phase, which applications need to be tested, should remote sites be tested.
  • Is the proper network infrastructure in place Gigabit, CAT 5e or better
  • Is the AD designed properly, such as OU, GPO’s, Domain and Forest Levels
  • Is the Server and storage hardware configuration correct
  • Does the team deploying VDI have experience, do they know the “gotchas” and can they avoid the same mistakes as others

As you can see deploying VDI successfully is not as simple as opening a wizard and clicking next, next and next. You must look at many areas to make sure you pick the right product and design that will enable you to deploy a successful environment that will have end users looking at you as their hero.

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