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Rejoice! Citrix modifies its XenDesktop license plans

Citrix keeps per named user mode pricing but adds a VDI Edition of XenDesktop, partly in reaction to numerous complaints about its announced licensing plans.

Last week, I wrote about Citrix's plans to change its XenDesktop licensing from "per concurrent user" to "per named user." It seemed that just about everyone was upset about this. (The main point of contention was that since the new user licenses were about the same price as the old concurrent licenses, licensing costs would dramatically increase for many customers.)

We ended up writing three articles about the licensing change on, and those articles garnered over 100 comments and a whopping 20,000 page views! Other blogs had similar responses to their articles about the licensing change.

So needless to say, readers had a lot to say.

Fortunately, Citrix heard the complaints and listened to the community. A few days ago, Sumit Dhawan, Citrix's vice president of XenDesktop, announced several modifications to the way the company would license its upcoming XenDesktop 4 product.

First, the new "per named user" mode is not changing. And in addition to that, Citrix will also allow XenDesktop 4 to be licensed "per device." The cool thing is that there's only a single license, and then you as a customer can decide whether to assign that license to a user or a device. (This is unlike some other products, like Terminal Server, where you have to choose to buy either a user license or a device license.) This new license will be available for both the Enterprise and the Platinum editions of XenDesktop 4.

Second, Citrix announced a new VDI Edition of XenDesktop. This virtual desktop infrastructure edition will be for customers who want to use XenDesktop only to provide server-hosted desktops that are accessed via a remote display protocol. In other words, it won't have the desktop streaming capabilities or any support for the future XenClient client hypervisor. The idea behind the VDI edition is that it will mostly be used by customers who want to extend their XenApp environments to also include some XenDesktop capabilities.

But what's the best part about the new VDI Edition of XenDesktop?

In addition to the per-user or per-device licenses that are available with the Enterprise and Platinum editions, the VDI edition will also be available in a concurrent user license mode -- just like XenApp is today! This will allow customers to smoothly dabble with XenDesktop while preserving the mode of licensing that they're most familiar with.

Overall, these changes are really positive, and comments from the community indicate that most people are happy with them. Sure, there are plenty of people who wish that Citrix wouldn't have changed the model at all and that all editions of XenDesktop would continue to support concurrent user licenses. But this new approach is probably more flexible in the long run, and Citrix seems to have come up with a great solution for the time being.

Brian Madden, Independent Industry Analyst and Blogger
Brian Madden is known throughout the world as an opinionated, supertechnical, fiercely independent desktop virtualization expert. He has written several books and over 1,000 articles about desktop and application virtualization. Madden's blog,, receives millions of visitors per year and is a leading source for conversation, debate and discourse about the application and desktop virtualization industry. He is also the creator of BriForum, the premier independent application delivery technical conference.

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