The application and desktop virtualization war between Citrix and VMware continues to escalate. Yesterday, Citrix released the VMware Migration Tool, which enables a fast and easy transition from VMware View 6.1 to XenDesktop 7.6. This tool works to migrate not only to on-premises XenDesktop environments, but also to Citrix Workspace Cloud.
Last year, when VMware released View 6.0 and its new application virtualization functionality, it included the capability to install View on XenApp 6.5 servers and seamlessly transition to View. Although View’s feature set was not parallel to the Citrix product’s, non-technical reasons may have made it appealing for some.
At that time, some Citrix customers were annoyed because the application virtualization functionality of version 7.x was not fully on par with that of XenApp 6.5. Also, for a number of other business reasons, there was general tepidness in how Citrix was viewed. If an enterprise was less than happy with Citrix, VMware made it quite compelling and simple to make a transition.
For longtime View administrators who are dissatisfied or perhaps made the migration to View over the past year and are experiencing remorse, it is now possible to easily transition from a View infrastructure to XenDesktop/XenApp.
According to Carl Webster, an independent consultant and one of the developers, the new VMware Migration Tool “will create the Machine Catalogs, import in the Virtual Machines, create the Delivery Groups, add the imported machines into the Delivery Groups, and if there are any applications in View, add the Applications.” Much like VMware’s initial transition mechanism, wherein View could coexist on XenApp 6.5 servers, the VMware-to-Citrix tool was thoroughly tested with both the View agent and the XenDesktop VDA installed on the same virtual machine. As a result, those who want to compare and perform a technical analysis of XenDesktop alongside View can do so easily.
Regarding policies as part of the transition, the PCoIP hardware acceleration policy understandably is unnecessary, due to the inherent capabilities of ICA/HDX. However, a script must be run in order to invoke multimedia redirection and USB access. Of course, additional policy customizations should be considered, because the apples and oranges principle applies to the finer details of each environment.
I am not quite sure how many View administrators are using application virtualization, because that functionality has only existed for a year, but one additional step is required for migration to XenApp: the RDS hosts need to be imported within Studio.
From a technical marketing standpoint, this new tool is a major thumbs-up for Citrix. However, VMware continues to chip away at Citrix’s customer base primarily from a business and bundling standpoint, and the capability to easily migrate from VMware View to Citrix XenDesktop may cause View administrators to rethink go-forward plans where there is technical dissatisfaction. Further, it may cause VMware to go on the defensive in cases where the richer feature set of XenDesktop is required to address business and technical requirements.
There’s no denying that VMware owns the hypervisor market right now, and Citrix owns the application and desktop virtualization market. For those who purchased View because of hypervisor bundling or other business reasons, the technical capabilities of Citrix XenDesktop are now just a few clicks away.