Microsoft Server 2012 RDS vs Citrix XenApp

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Microsoft’s Server 2012 R2 offers comparable features to Citrix XenApp for remote desktops, but they are not equal. The information below outlines the differences between Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Citrix’s XenApp:

1. Microsoft concentrates on delivering RDP to Windows devices, so it isn’t suitable for enterprise clients with networks including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry or HTML5 devices. By contrast, XenApps is compatible with all OS and includes a mobility pack to facilitate improved interaction between remote applications and mobile devices.

2. XenApps maintains Citrix’s ability to deliver applications to the end point and integrate with the look and feel of the device. This includes intelligent recognition and rendering of tablet optimised desktops, and mobile device specific features for an Android or iOS devices.

3. The Universal Print Server provides better print management in a remote environment.

4. Despite its high cost relative to other competing solutions, XenApps is supported in 2008R2 so you won’t have to move your enterprise OS to take advantage of XenApps.

5. Citrix XenApps is a market leading product which has been around long enough for administrators and engineers to build up a significant body of experience. Although based on a mature, widely deployed technology, Windows 2012 is a new solution so administrators don’t have the same level of experience supporting and fixing problems.

6. Citrix provides more control over the UX. Each RDS release has exposed new options for customizing users’ interaction with applications and desktops; however, the granularity of those options can be insufficient for complex use cases. For example, only Citrix allow you to manage bandwidth used within the protocol — such as individual virtual channels — and the amount of bandwidth used on a per-user basis; advanced environment management and delegation of control; granular load balancing; and Citrix’s added features for multimedia and graphical apps.

7. Microsoft and Citrix have both invested heavily in network protocols that connect users to applications and desktops. Today’s RDP and ICA/HDX protocols now offer a richer experience over lower-bandwidth and higher-latency connections than in the past. However, these two protocols aren’t equal. For example, if you need OpenGL, you’ll want to use ICA/HDX as Microsoft RDP/RemoteFX only supports OpenGL up to version 1.1.

8. Citrix provides IT service automation. Remote application servers are unlike most servers in the datacenter in that regular users are given direct access. For this reason, remote application servers require extra administrative attention if they’re to successfully deliver desktops and applications. Such attention warrants automation, particularly as size and complexity increases. Citrix XenApp Platinum edition further adds Provisioning Services, and in both Enterprise and Platinum are options for power and capacity management, automated health monitoring, load testing, as well as options to improve the UX through Session Prelaunch, Session Linger and Fast Reconnect (allow applications to be accessed with a more `locally installed’ feel).

For more information and a free consult, please contact Henson Group at http://www.thehensongroup.com/Pages/Default.aspx or 800-980-1130.

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