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Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Citrix offers XenApp and XenDesktop as virtualization solution for small and large organizations. Depending on organization virtualization needs one of these solutions could be chosen. In this article we will review both solutions and describe pros and cons for each of them.

XenApp

Citrix XenApp is a shared hosting solution when one shared virtual server is being used by multiple clients. If you have an application installed on XenApp shared server than anyone within your organization can access it on any device using XenApp software. XenApp uses application publishing. An application installed on XenApp server will be accessible to all users who use it.

The difference between XenApp and XenDesktop is that XenDesktop delivers a separate virtual machine to each user which in case of XenApp virtual machine is shared. XenDesktop has a separate set of resources assigned to it which means that each user receives more resources and flexibility than users who use XenApp.

XenDesktop

As noted above XenDesktop allows multiple users to access separate virtual machine instances on a server. It allows running desktops on a centralized server located in data center allowing organizations to reduce costs on IT services and hardware. Both XenDesktop and XenApp utilize similar technologies with XenDesktop allowing to launch an individual virtual machine for every user. In XenDesktop user has greater flexibility in configuring virtual machine and can have access to more hardware resources.

Use cases

XenApp is used in smaller organization to share an application to several users. XenApp doesn’t require significant investment in server hardware since many users share one virtual machine and all hardware resources are utilized by it. If needed several servers could be spun up with XenApp making sure that there are enough resources for more users. In brief XenApp provides a great solution for deployment of business application within an organization at lower cost.

XenDesktop is usually deployed in larger organization where there are multiple user roles and multiple applications which needs to work differently for different groups of users. In this case virtual machines are configured per user group needs and can utilize significantly more resources than in case of XenApp deployment. Larger organization with significant investments in server hardware and software can get significant performance and productivity boost by utilizing XenDesktop software.