From Apples to Apples: Are You Switching from Citrix to VMware?

Author: Sopheap Min

Publish on: Apr 19, 2016 6:00:00 AM

XenDesktop to Horizon. Do you really want more of the same?

At least once a week, I encounter a Citrix customer who’s planning to switch to VMware Horizon. And each week, I pause and find a diplomatic way to say that, while Horizon is a great product, there are significant consequences that should be taken into account before anyone takes the plunge. Consider the long deployment cycle, the high level of complexity and cost, the long-term vendor lock in…. The list is long. I should know since I worked with many VMware customers who made the move from Citrix to VMware.

So, why are folks switching from Citrix to VMware? Well...

1. Amitabh wrote about the reasons companies are creating an exit-Citrix strategy. 

2. Most folks think VMware is the only other game in town. Despite seeing that VMware also poses challenges, VMware makes the consideration list. 

Taking the long view, when you switch from Citrix to VMware, you’re not solving many problems, just creating new ones. Is there another way forward?  Of course, working at Workspot I’ve learned that, yes, there is a better way. VDI 2.0 is a game changer. Not only is it faster to deploy, it's simpler to manage resulting in lower TCO,  and it doesn't lock IT into a single vendor or technology for the next 3-5+ years.

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Top 5 questions to ask before switching to VMware

1. Are you ready to spend 6+ months deploying VMware?

Workspot’s VDI 2.0 can be deployed in 60 minutes. The typical Horizon implementation takes 6-9 months. In that same amount of time you can deploy Workspot 6,480 times.

Transforming the complex into the simple is difficult. It took us two years to build the architecture behind our simplified VDI. The result? Workspot can spin up a VDI session and start a deployment in minutes. Using Workspot Control—a cloud-based control plane—you can skip installation in your data center altogether,

Translation? You don’t need to install View Servers, View Agents or SQL Server. You don’t have to configure domains and trust relationships, View Composer Servers, PCoIP Secure Gateways, or add a database and database users for View Events. All of this is detailed in VMware Horizon View’s 115-page Configuration Guide. With this many moving components, documentation is your best friend. 

2. Do you really want to commit to VMware long-term?

Do you think leaving Citrix is hard? When you sign up with VMware, you’re stuck.

For most people, Citrix is a workload running on top of the infrastructure.  VMware is the infrastructure, which is harder to forklift. Adding VDI, and other bits like MDM, VSAN, NSX, means that VMware creates an even broader footprint in your datacenter, making the cost of switching to something else too high. This means that when a better technology comes on the market you can’t take advantage of it because you can’t afford to rip out your entire environment. For many businesses, IT is the X-factor for growth in rapidly changing market conditions. So getting locked-in can be a real concern for an agile IT department.

Workspot is an Any-Any-Any solution. What does this mean? Well, you can use any hypervisor (vSphere, Acropolis, or Hyper-V), any hyper-converged server (Atlantis Computing, HPE, Cisco, Nutanix, etc.), any VPN (Cisco, F5 etc.), and any provisioning tool. VDI 2.0 even delivers applications from XenApp and RDS, simultaneously, where complete independence isn’t possible.

In other words, Workspot can provision VDI VMs on vSphere and Acropolis and deliver applications from XenApp and RDS at the same time to the same user in the same workspace. With Workspot, IT maintains the flexibility to find the right mix of technology and can always deploy best-of-breed.

3. Do you want to hire a psychic to avoid the pain of scaling up infrastructure?

With VMware Horizon, you must determine how much new and excess capacity you will need to add for servers, storage, databases, and networking ahead of time. Basically, you better know how much you’ll need far into the future if you want to ensure your capacity needs are met in 5+ years time. Because the process to scale up more infrastructure is time consuming. You can avoid the pain of scaling if you already know your future business requirements before you start a new deployment. But try convincing your CFO that you need a bigger budget from day 1. 

With Workspot you don’t need to do any of this. VDI 2.0 runs on a 100% cloud-based multi-tenant architecture. When you want to configure policies, provision users, and provision applications and data, just use Workspot Control. All configuration and performance data is stored in the cloud. The operational components of VDI 2.0 are in the cloud and can auto-scale.

4. Do you want to buy more equipment?

Today, most CIOs are looking to move resources away from proprietary systems while leveraging existing investments. Moving to VMware, you’ll need to move from one niche to another. For example, you’ll be trading-in PVS / MCS for VMware Composer to manage VDI desktops. This also means you’ll need to allocate more of your time and budget to training VDI specialists.

Why not leverage tools you already have? Chances are you already own and use System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)—75% of the world’s PCs are managed by it. SCCM is a perfectly good way to efficiently manage virtual desktops. Why? Basically the SCCM client manages the Windows operating system (OS) running on a virtual desktop the same way it manages the OS running on a physical desktop.

With VDI 2.0, you deploy the SCCM client to the virtual desktops using any of the deployment methods, such as the SCCM client push. SCCM client can also be included in the master image used to provision new virtual desktops. Reusing existing infrastructure, like SCCM and SSL VPN, simplifies your IT environment and operations thus reducing costs for IT.

5. Do you like waiting 5 minutes to logon?

I could go on and on here about protocols (HDX vs PCoIP vs RDP). But that’s not the problem with performance for 99% of the use cases. The problem is the connection setup. In the VDI 1.0 world—such as VMware’s—user sessions take some 14 individual steps to connect. Add any latency, jitter, or packet loss, and those 14 steps…well your barista can make you a cup of coffee faster.

Workspot took a different approach. You just need one passcode to access all Windows, Web, and SaaS apps. Connections are fast and reliable. And the built-in Workplace enables direct access to web applications—without any remoting. There is no better or more responsive user experience. And you can also easily access corporate document repositories, such as SharePoint and Network File Shares, from inside Workspot and even safely use files offline. All from managed and un-managed PCs, iPhones, Android phone, iPads, Macs, and thin clients--the devices the most users want to use.

Take a test drive

If you’re thinking that Citrix is done and VMware is the future, I suggest you take another look. The cloud is the future of IT—and the future of VDI. Don’t believe me? Take a test drive. That’s the beauty of cloud deployment—it’ll be 60 minutes of your time.  You've got time to try us in production, while you're waiting on the POC equipment from VMware. 

Want more details? We discused this all in length with Rana (our CPO), Ruben (CTO of Atlantis) and Mark Browker - noted EUC analyst at ESG.

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