In early October Citrix announced XenDesktop 4 as their new flagship product to enable VDI. The latest release gave a far greater flexibility of use and introduced new innovation. Yet, even the marketing machine’s introduction of the term FlexCast couldn’t stop the falter when many organisations saw that, as well as new functionality, the licensing model had changed to Named User. For many, this made XenDesktop as a VDI solution far more expensive – which we reviewed here on The Virtualization Practice – XenDesktop 4 Too Expensive
Citrix has reviewed feedback such as this and announced three important new enhancements to XenDesktop 4:
1. New device-based licensing option.
2. New VDI Edition available in both user/device and Concurrent User licensing.
3. New Campus-wide Licensing Program for customers in the education industry.
1. Device-based licensing has been introduced so that organisations have a choice on the license type that best suits their deployment. For example, medical’s stations, schools’ computer labs, shift workers terminals etc. Now, not only can Named Users access a XenDesktop from unlimited devices, but Devices powered by XenDesktop can be used by unlimited users. Now, in a single license, customers can assign an Enterprise or Platinum XenDesktop to EITHER a user OR a device. Other VDI solutions offer typically only the device model – allowing both a named and user based feature does allow greater flexibility.
2. Concurrent user licensing LicenseGate prompted Citrix to carry out research that showed that customers were really only interested in VDI-style desktops that can scale and deliver an excellent user experience and compliment an existing XenApp installation. As a result, Citrix replaced what was announced as the “Standard edition” with a new “XenDesktop VDI Edition”. This edition includes profile management, provisioning services, and StorageLink technology to make it a robust VDI solution. This was a feature that many expected from XenApp’s VMHosted Application component i.e. allowing access to a ‘desktop’ application for those particular users who needed a desktop, rather than a server OS – perhaps simply as a XenApp add-on for non-Remote Desktop Services/Terminal Services-compatible applications. This new license allows this functionality.
3. Citrix Campus-wide Licensing Program will be targeted at the Education market (full details are to be announced November 16, 2009). Available to accredited educational institutions, this program allows them to license XenDesktop based upon the total student and faculty population to allow delivery of desktops or applications to a wide variety of devices – such as student’s own devices or smartphones. Its suggested that this program is modelled after on the Microsoft Campus Agreement program and will provide a complement to that.
Currently, the prices for each edition are as follows:
- XenDesktop, VDI Edition: $195 per CCU or $95 per user or device
- XenDesktop, Enterprise: $225 per user or device (includes XenApp Enterprise for each user / device)
- XenDesktop, Platinum: $350 per user or device (includes XenApp Platinum for each user / device)
- XenApp, Advanced: $350 per CCU
- XenApp, Enterprise: $450 per CCU
- XenApp, Platinum: $600 per CCU
To take the example from our previous article, if your organisation has 500 devices and 2000 users :
XenDesktop 3.5 : 500 x $225 $112,500
XenDesktop 4.0 Named User: 2000 x $225 $450,000
XenDesktop 4.0 Device: 500 x $225 $112,500
XenDestop 4.0 VDI Edition: 500 x $95 $47,500
XenApp 500 x $450 $225,000
Obviously, there are more options here, and the above model may not be applicable to all organisations. But, improtantly, more options means more flexibility and greater choice. There’s a potential for a significant saving with the VDI option especially for user who are already using XenApp (who are eligible to trade their licenses 2 for 1) if their back-end infrastructure can support the number of concurrent desktops in the same way that XenApp can.
With the new licensing announcements XenDesktop’s features can now come to the fore, and this will indeed make comparisons against Citrix’s VDI rivals far less black and white.