Comparison of VMware View 5.2 VS Citrix XenDesktop 5.6

14 May

Recently I attended the VMware Partner Exchange 2013 and there was a session called “Technical Battleground – View VS XenDesktop”. In this post I will try and cover the differences that VMware showcased during their session and I am going to add an additional column for my comments and thoughts on this comparison.

The following table shows the feature comparison between View and XenDesktop:

VMware View 5.2

XenDesktop 5.6 (XD)

My Comments

Uses only VMware Hypervisor. Use the power of vSphere 5.1 with capabilities such as Fault tolerance, VMotion and Site Recovery Manager

No tight integration with Hypervisor and flexible with XenServer, vSphere and Hyper-V

I seriously feel it’s better to have multiple hypervisor support. That way you have the choice to: stick with the current hypervisor the company runs and manages;   use lower cost alternative hypervisors; or use a hybrid hypervisor model

Content based Read Cache (CBRC) feature available on vSphere using RAM cache

IntelliCache feature available on XenServer using Local Storage caching

This feature is only available for pooled desktop delivery method. CBRC and IntelliCache have their own share of pros and cons.  However, CBRC will be faster because it’s based out of RAM. This feature is very vSphere specific

View Composer Array Integration – Offloading the creation of linked clones to the storage array

Not Available (**Can be made available using vSphere + XD 5.6 but not sure if Citrix will support it)

This feature is more related to storage array functioning with the hypervisor. VMware (vSphere) and a few other storage vendors (EMC and NetApp) have coded specific drivers to offload the creation of linked clones process from the hypervisor level to storage array. Very limited vendors  and new arrays would have such capabilities

Sparse Virtual Disk – space reclaiming (deleted files) on the virtual machines

Not Available (**Can be made available at the storage array level provided any OEM supports and has tested features with XD )

Using this feature you can surely save some expensive storage space by deleting unwanted old files.

vShield security & hypervisor offload


Offloading Antivirus architecture capabilities is available with all leading hypervisors today such as Hyper-V, XenServer and vSphere. Vendors such as MacAfee Move and TrendMicro Deep Security provide hypervisor level security

Single console to manage the entire View environment using View Management Manage

Multiple consoles such as Desktop Studio, Provisioning Services,

Current versions of XD 5.6 for sure has many consoles to manage. But Citrix has overcome the problem in the next version (Excalibur) where there is a single console to manage desktop and application delivery

Cheaper View licensing cost


Yes the list price for View is cheaper than the XenDesktop license for all variants such as enterprise and platinum etc. However, one has to evaluate various use cases before making the choice of the products

E.g. The Citrix Provisioning services can reduce the storage cost by 30% VS Machine Creation Services  

VMware Compared a 10,000 desktop reference architecture published on the Citrix website and claimed they are:

          42% less Storage than XD

          19% few servers than XD


No detail was given as to which Citrix XD architecture they were comparing View to.

Virtual 3D Graphics over WAN and LAN

Similar capabilities of 3D GPU sharing using OpenGL available with XenDesktop

VMware said there was no 3D GPU sharing/virtualization within XD. However it is available within XD

A website that gives detailed information about VMware’s competition

Citrix Flexcast & Project Accelerator websites where you can get more information

VMware is the only vendor which has public information on competition on their website compared against Citrix, Dell etc. A detailed comparison of VDI products is carried out by ProjectVRC in their VDI Smackdown


In this study, VMware compared View 5.2 (which is only 2 month old) with XenDesktop 5.6 (which is 1.2+ years old).  In most of the cases, the highlighted feature is not part of View itself, but a VMware vSphere hypervisor capability instead. Almost 80% of the vSphere hypervisor features can be extended to XD, but it will become a very expensive solution.

How this study will change in the months to come: Citrix has announced the Excalibur version which is in technical preview since Citrix Synergy 2012 and will include both XenApp, XenDesktop, Provisioning Services and Profile Management capabilities and will be served as a single product just like the Horizon suite from VMware.

I hope this provides a good insight on View and XenDesktop features side by side. If you found this blog post useful. Do leave your comments below

Aresh Sarkari

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Windows Live Tags: Horizon Suite,Hyper-V,Citrix XenDesktop,VMware View,VMware,Citrix,XenServer,CBRC,IntelliCache,MacAfee,TrendMicro,Excalibur,ProjectVRC,XenApp,vSphere

2 Responses to “Comparison of VMware View 5.2 VS Citrix XenDesktop 5.6”

  1. Whity July 26, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Its a nice post comparing the features. But according to you which one is the best?

  2. Aresh Sarkari's Blog September 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    As a complete product I would recommend Citrix XenDesktop with XenApp.. But for the ease of installation and configuration I would say VMware View. The answer to this question is it really depends what uses cases you are trying to solve.

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