XenDesktop Review

We've found it to be extremely versatile and efficient, but the studio is very slow.


What is most valuable?

The central administration and deployment of desktops and apps. XenDesktop gives a full desktop experience i.e. the user gets a Windows machine with a C drive and loaded with a set of applications such as mail, productivity suites and access to files.

How has it helped my organization?

We have 12 offices around the island, and users able to connect to the same desktop and access their apps and files from any of these locations. Road warriors get access to the insurance apps on their mobile devices of any OS.

What needs improvement?

The studio is very slow.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it since May 2010, alongside XenApp and XenServer.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

From an administrative point of view, it is easy to deploy and maintain.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the beginning yes, especially if you are running a large number of desktops.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered, and we run 600 virtual desktops.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

8/10.

Technical Support:

10/10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No, but we did try VMWare View as well as part of a lengthy POC. Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp came out on top.

How was the initial setup?

It was a straightforward wizard-based setup.

What about the implementation team?

We used a mix of a vendor and an in-house one. The vendor was excellent, and they advised on the right architecture for performance and scalability, so I would give them a 10/10.

What was our ROI?

It's reduced the PC maintenance and upgrade costs by two or three times.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Carefully make the distinction between XenApp and XenDesktop. XenApp uses a mix of Microsoft RDS and Citrix to provision the service so this increases the licensing cost, as well as the amount of administration behind it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

  • VMWare View
  • Kaviza Desktop (later bought by Citrix)

You should also have a look at Atlantis Computing as well. XenDesktop is deployed along Atlantis ILIO, which is phenomenal.

What other advice do I have?

The infrastructure for both XenApp and XenDesktop must be carefully designed.

Carefully select the components for the architecture. Running virtual desktops or apps require careful planning and sizing. We found SSD disk to be extremely appropriate.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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