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Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs. VMware Horizon

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops lead the industry in desktop and app virtualization, delivering the only complete solution mobilizing Windows® apps and desktops for any use case. VMware Horizon’s inadequate solution and lowest common denominator approach to computing impairs the user experience, causes headaches for IT, and fails to meet key business requirements by delivering only basic capabilities to customers.

User experience and productivity

If employees can’t easily access the apps and data they need, it can create many problems—not only will productivity and satisfaction suffer, but users will likely find a workaround to get things done. Citrix has always focused on providing a great user experience and offers unparalleled capabilities.

  • Automatically meet end-user needs: Unlike with VMware Horizon, Cirix Workspace app automatically discovers the corporate Citrix infrastructure and selects the best network path to corporate resources — even if the user keeps moving between internal and external networks. Citrix Workspace app will also make sure Windows on the virtual desktop is being switched between tablet and desktop mode as needed.
  • Best performance: Our industry-leading Citrix HDX technology is the most powerful and adaptive protocol. Citrix HDX offers the best user experience and best image quality over any network, on any device, while Horizon protocol still lags behind in overall virtual experience capabilities.
  • Easy collaboration: Unlike VMware Horizon, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops provides the industry-leading support for unified communication (UC) solutions, such as Microsoft Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber or Avaya One-X, used by more than 500,000 active users per day. Other vendors cannot support these solutions at all, or struggle to find a single large-scale reference customer.
  • Working with local devices and applications: Only Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops provide users with the ability to use local apps from within a virtual desktop. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops also enables users accessing almost every locally-attached peripheral device in an optimized way, no matter the endpoint platform or connection. 
Feature Citrix VMware
Consumer-grade simplicity
Windows Continuum experience on any device  
Simple and consistent user experience on any device Limited
Rich support for ChromeOS – based devices Limited
Automated client config and selection of best connection path  
Web-based self-service password reset  
Best performance over any network, with any workload & with any device
Industry-leading remoting protocol (HDX) Limited in performance and image quality
Support for graphics acceleration with GPUs provided by Intel, AMD and NVIDIA Limited
Citrix Ready workspace hub (HDX ready Pi) & Desktop Lock  
Collaborate with ease
Industry-leading support for Unified Communication solutions, such as Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber or Avaya One-X Limited
Working with local apps / Support for more use-cases
Seamless access to local apps  
Industry leading support for Linux-based apps Limited
Robust driverless printing solution Limited
Integration with Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing  

Dare to Compare: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs. Horizon

See how Citrix provides the best user experience by watching our side-by-side comparison videos.

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Context-aware security

Security is central to businesses today. Whether it is ensuring that customer data and IP is kept safe or needing to meet relevant regulations or comply with specific legal constraints, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops can meet even the most stringent security requirements.

  • Contextual access policies: Only Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops provides the ability to understand the context of the user and apply policies and hide applications accordingly. This allows IT to be proactive when restricting user access by determining key characteristics of the user device or location.
  • Malware detection and remediation: Citrix, in partnership with Bitdefender, provides an industry-first approach to detecting and remediating malware. Citrix and Bitdefender detect attack patterns—this means that application behavior is analyzed to find anomalies and, if necessary, stop processes for a full analysis.
  • Auditing and IP protection: Unlike VMware Horizon, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops enables admins to automatically record user sessions, allowing complete visibility into past activities. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops also prevents the loss of intellectual property by providing the ability to watermark a user session.
  • Advanced analytics: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops integrate seamlessly into Citrix Workspace, which provides a unique workspace-centric user behavior analytics (UBA)and uses advanced machine learning to translate user activities into a personal risk score in real time.
Feature Citrix VMware
Integration into Secure Digital Perimeter for
next-gen user and IP protection
(No equivalent)
Single enterprise-ready access point for all Citrix services Limited
Integrated enterprise grade SSL VPN solution  
Fine-grained context-aware policy controls Limited
SmartAccess and SmartControl for scenario-based access restrictions for virtual applications and client resources  
Content-aware, granular controls for clipboard mapping Limited
Real-Time Attack Detection and Remediation (in combination with XenServer 7 and Bitdefender HVI)  
Support for Hyper-V based advanced Windows security capabilities, such as device guard or credential guard  
In-session watermarking  
Session Recording for compliance and advanced troubleshooting  

Unified management and choice

Unified management and choice are imperative for IT, especially in a virtual app and desktop context. Without it, organizations run the risk of simply moving desktop and app management challenges from the branch office into the datacenter when adopting VDI. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is designed with management efficiency in mind and offers a variety of unique management capabilities.

  • Unified management: Only Citrix provides a unified management experience for on-premises, cloud and hybrid virtual app and desktop environments. While our competition struggles with hybrid scenarios, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops allow you to start in the cloud and add on-premises resources later or start local and expand to the cloud whenever needed.
  • Broad platform support: Citrix allows you to choose your infrastructure or platform, unlike many of our competitors who lock you in to proprietary infrastructure. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is platform agnostic, which means you can choose the most cost effective and appropriate infrastructure for your business.
  • Efficient application and image management: Managing large fleets of virtual desktops or numerous virtual applications can be challenging without the right management tools. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops offers industry-leading application and image management solutions, which enable agile management processes and ensure high operational efficiency.
  • Integration and automation: Unlike other vendors, who demand the use of proprietary packaging and management tools, Citrix integrates deeply with the existing industry standard tools and processes, which ensures a high operational efficiency.
Feature Citrix VMware
Unified Management
Broad platform support (cloud & on-prem)  
Integration with Microsoft System Center & OMS + Director integration with Nutanix for full stack monitoring  
Multi-site management  
Efficient Day-to-day management
Industry-leading application & image management
(PVS, MCS, App Layering)
Limited
Simplified application management, by means of application layering Limited
  Application Compatibility High Medium
True Single Image Management  
Citrix Virtual Apps Session Hot-Add  
Cloud Ready  
Application Start & Login Times Low High
Infrastructure Requirements Low High
Built-in end-user support console for efficient incident handling Limited
Ability to automate every admin task and built-in PoSH help Limited
Session Probing, for proactive monitoring of application availability    
Support for Live Patching and vGPU Live Migration with Citrix Hypervisor    
Citrix Smart Tools for predictive analytics and VM power management    
Extensive partner eco system (Citrix Ready)   Limited
Flexible infrastructure upgrades and LTSR   Limited
Best Performance
Innovative RAM, CPU, and I/O optimization  
Citrix Hypervisor – PVS & MCS Accelerator, for substantially lower IOPS footprint of virtual apps & desktops  

Additional resources

We performed a concept test with Citrix, VMware, and Quest. After the tests, we realized that Citrix offered us the most well-suited technology.
Henry Longa Alegría
IT Services Manager
Peruvian University of Applied Sciences

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