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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Citrix XenDesktop vs. VMware VDI in Technical; Hi everyone, I'm looking at either Citrix or VMware for a largish VDI installation in a secondary school. Does anyone ...
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    Citrix XenDesktop vs. VMware VDI

    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking at either Citrix or VMware for a largish VDI installation in a secondary school. Does anyone have any preferences between the two? Had any nightmares or good experiences with either?

    Thanks!

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    Just about to roll out a View based solution. Had conducted trials of View, Citrix and Quest. Of the trials I found that View ticked more of the boxes, was very straightforward to set up and configure, and gives good performance of streamed video and flash. Found Citrix difficult to configure and flash performance very poor. Quest was in the middle.

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    Our preference is Xen, using VMware ESXi as the hypervisor broker. Mostly on the basis that the HDX protocol rocks, is massively quick and Citrix really know this market. View is a good and very viable alternative, but is edged out performance wise. There are some educational discounts with both if you go through the right channels and it depends on the size of rollout and what clients you are going to be using. Most of the time, 90%, when we do an engagement looking at Virtual Desktops, we end up recommending a hybrid model between VDI and Terminal Services on 2008R2 as most schools don't need the overhead of virtual desktops which tend to consume vastly more resources - so advice would be to consider hybrid as apposed to pure VDI solution, but you will probably know what's right for you - if its virtual all the way then Xen on VMware is a very good shout.

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    Consider a VDI company

    Have you considered some of the other options out there? We're a school of about 700 users and have been migrating to district-wide VDI. We can currently support up to 550 concurrent sessions with our 4 server cluster. We chose Virtual Bridges and their Gen2 VDI solution, VERDE. It was extremely easy to setup and easy to manage/maintain. The solution provides a single management interface for connected, disconnected, and remote branch use cases. It runs on our base Ubuntu servers, so keeping it up to date has been simple. The client connection uses SPICE, RDP, or NX, depending on your need. SPICE is pretty awesome.

    Dalian Neusoft Institute of Information is moving forward with Virtual Bridges to manage 30,000+ virtual desktops.

    We were the case study for K-12 institutions and I've been thoroughly impressed with both the product and the company. There's a Teacher's Pet program running until the end of the month that gives K-12 organizations 50 free licenses where you just cover the cost of annual maintenance, plus a 50% discount on additional licenses for a set amount of time. Let me know if you'd like additional information. Cheers!

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    Here's a video from Citrix Synergy that showcases using the SPICE client to connect (over a poor conference network connection) to a virtual desktop running at their home office - Citrix Synergy 2011: Video demo from Virtual Bridges - Videos - BrianMadden.com

    Here's the link to their Teacher's Pet program - We Can Help » Virtual Bridges VDI, VDI Gen2, Virtual Desktops, VDI, VERDE VDI

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    Take a look at Kaviza VDI as well - just bought out by Citrix and well aimed at schools, we've got 20 clients here at the moment and setup is a dream as theres no need for SANs (just internal storage in the servers).
    Everything runs over Citrix HDX and as already said its a very smooth protocol with even flash video working out very well indeed.

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    Thanks for your help everyone, it's certainly given me something to consider. I've heard from a few colleagues that Citrix Xendesktop couldn't really cope with media rich applications like vmware view. Has anyone seen this? Does anyone know of any schools who have had troubles with Citrix VDI so I can contact hem for a chat about it?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JulianFoster View Post
    Thanks for your help everyone, it's certainly given me something to consider. I've heard from a few colleagues that Citrix Xendesktop couldn't really cope with media rich applications like vmware view. Has anyone seen this? Does anyone know of any schools who have had troubles with Citrix VDI so I can contact hem for a chat about it?

    Thanks!
    Interesting as I've heard the exact opposite! Citrix's HDX tech is basically the best there is at the moment. We use Citrix XenApp, which uses a fair bit of the same technology as XenDesktop and we have several suites using flash videos etc... via it without issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JulianFoster View Post
    Thanks for your help everyone, it's certainly given me something to consider. I've heard from a few colleagues that Citrix Xendesktop couldn't really cope with media rich applications like vmware view. Has anyone seen this? Does anyone know of any schools who have had troubles with Citrix VDI so I can contact hem for a chat about it?

    Thanks!
    Yes, we found during our trials that Citrix wasn't able to cope with the demands we placed on it when trying to view streamed video or Flash content. Using exactly the same equipment we trialled VMware View and found the streamed video and Flash performace to be better. However, I will readily admit I am not a Citrix expert, and so there may have been further configuration that may have improved the response, but View just did it straight out of the box.

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    It depends what you need.

    Assessment is the key to a successful deployment of any VDI solution.

    Both have good and bad points and with VMware View5 due out very shortly the comparison is going to be even harder. The necessity to get proper metrics on your environment can not be stressed enough. Before you even consider a POC invest in a good assessment tool. Understand fully how your desktops are being used and pick the right mix of candidates for a POC if the metrics prove that VDI is a viable option. Then engage a partner who has a good record of delivering both platforms (check with the colleges they've deployed to) and then and only then will you be able to judge your requirements and see which if View or Xen meets those and go ahead with a POC to decide if it does.

    Good Luck.

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    I done a little XEN Client lab at last school, managed to get the desktops booting off the network, streamed and server based apps working on clients etc. it is a bit of a hass to setup but managed to test all avenues except the auto creation of VM's by watching online tutorials. You could set up a test lab easy and cheap enough and maybe get a few more experienced staff to test in say a staff area but would recommend getting someone in to do the final big deployment to give the best end user experience and not get a sour taste in your mouth and to stop you losing too much hair.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by riffleman View Post
    Yes, we found during our trials that Citrix wasn't able to cope with the demands we placed on it when trying to view streamed video or Flash content. Using exactly the same equipment we trialled VMware View and found the streamed video and Flash performace to be better. However, I will readily admit I am not a Citrix expert, and so there may have been further configuration that may have improved the response, but View just did it straight out of the box.
    Hi Guys, assuming that only using MS Office and no multimedia features, does Citrix VDI solution cost cheaper for VDI deployment lesser than 400 users ?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertwt View Post
    Hi Guys, assuming that only using MS Office and no multimedia features, does Citrix VDI solution cost cheaper for VDI deployment lesser than 400 users ?
    For Office only, I'd say don't bother with VDI at all. I'd say stick to simple RDS. Can't answer your price difference question though.

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    OK, so what about the overall implementation maintenance over the long term ?
    I'm considering between Vmware View and Citrix Xen Desktop but not sure which path should I follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by albertwt View Post
    OK, so what about the overall implementation maintenance over the long term ?
    I'm considering between Vmware View and Citrix Xen Desktop but not sure which path should I follow.
    Costs? Do you have; switches, servers, storage and network available for the DC side of things? What are you planning for the desktop clients, old kit or new clients? In short if you have all the infrastructure in place and this will not need upgrading for say at least four years then look at VDI in a box for basic desktops and cheap licensing.
    The variables are considerable and you need to consider refresh cycles, maintenance, management time, power, etc to get the real OPEX and ROI figures.

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