This content is part of the Essential Guide: Citrix Synergy 2014 conference coverage

Virtual desktops, apps converge in Citrix Workspace Suite

Citrix combined XenDesktop, XenApp and mobility tools into one platform at a price that gives VMware Horizon a run for its money.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- IT pros have a new way to centralize and deliver desktops, apps and data to mobile users from Citrix, and it comes at a price that may entice those considering VMware Horizon 6.

The new Citrix Workspace Suite combines XenDesktop, XenApp, mobile apps, ShareFile and other Citrix tools. It delivers them together via any cloud service customers choose, on or off-premises.

The "business-ready" Workspace Suite -- not to be confused with Amazon Workspaces Desktop as a Service -- is essentially an enterprise app management platform that IT can use to host all of their services, and it gives workers self-service access to the content.

By comparison *VMware Horizon 6 does not support native mobile apps and data sharing/content management, but does offer integrated management and delivery of Windows and cloud-based apps to mobile devices. Once Horizon 6 becomes generally available, mobile app management and data sharing/content management will come through AirWatch integration.

These all-in-one desktop and mobile platforms are a logical next step for IT pros in their end user computing strategy, and they're a way to simplify licensing.

One IT architect with an oil company based in Houston who pays for XenApp and XenMobile separately said he will evaluate the Workspace Suite because it aligns with his long-term virtualization and mobility vision.

"If we keep doing things the traditional way, we will always be chasing our users," said the IT architect, who requested anonymity. "We want to break up our desktop environment, do more virtualization to be more agile and deliver [IT] to our users faster."  

Supplying the file sharing apps and desktop services that end users need in a flexible way is critical, he said, because if IT doesn't provide a way to work on the devices users' choose, workers will do it on their own.

While the Workspace Suite makes sense for his organization, there is hesitation to sign up for a bundle of services from one vendor before testing other options on the market.

An IT consultant and Citrix engineer also with the Houston-based oil company noted that buying the Workspace Suite means locking in to additional Citrix products such as XenDesktop, instead of VMware View.

Citrix Workspace prices

Citrix has not previously attempted to compete on price; it hinged its business on product performance and reputation. But the Citrix Workspace Suite is priced at $450/user for a perpetual license. The subscription option for on-premises Citrix Workspace costs $204 per user per year, with multi-year discounts.

By comparison, VMware Horizon 6 Advanced with Remote Desktop Session Host, remote application and virtual SAN support, plus elements of the Horizon Workspace Suite will be priced at $250 per named user or $400 per concurrent user per year. Horizon Enterprise, with hybrid cloud automation and management capabilities costs $300 per named user or $500 per concurrent user per year.

Citrix also launched a "rescue deal" for VMware customers: Horizon or VMware View users who trade their licenses in for Citrix Workspace Suite licenses get 50% off.  Organizations can also receive 25% off Citrix Workspace Suite licenses when they migrate from their BlackBerry devices.

Existing Citrix enterprise customers can also exchange all of their XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile or ShareFile Enterprise licenses for Citrix Workspace Suite by December 31 at a 70% discount.

The Workspace Suite is available now through Citrix's cloud partners, and IT shops will be able to build their own custom cloud desktops through the Citrix Workspace Services platform, due in Tech Preview later this year.

*This article originally stated that VMware's Horizon platform integrates mobile apps, virtual desktops and data. It was corrected. The Horizon Suite will be replaced by Horizon 6.

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