The industry may be abuzz about VDI, but Microsoft RDS deployments still comprise the majority of hosted Windows session connections. Teradici Remote Desktop Services Host (RDSH) capitalizes on this “legacy” market by delivering PCoIP capabilities to Microsoft Windows Server RDS environments. The Teradici solution provides a useful bridge for combining RDSH and VMware View virtual desktops.
The Teradici RDSH Market Opportunity
The PCoIP protocol’s close association with VMware View makes it is easy to forget that the manufacturer is a separate company, Teradici. The protocol is not exclusive to View, but Teradici RDSH enables PCoIP support for RDS sessions only through VMware View Manager.
The new Teradici product, slated to ship in December of this year, will enable organizations to seamlessly integrate their legacy Terminal Services desktops as part of their VMware View environments. It will also allow direct access to RDP sessions via PCoIP-based zero clients.
Gauging the market share of VMware View vs. Citrix XenDesktop is rather nebulous, but leading analysts such as IDC in its Worldwide Desktop Virtualization 2011 Vendor Analysis indicate that the two industry leaders have fairly equivalent VDI sales. This contention is supported by data from Wyse and HP – which together command about 75% of the thin-client market.
Wyse and HP report that 15% of their thin-client devices are connected to VMware View (PCoIP) and 15% to XenDesktop (ICA/HDX), leaving close to 70% connected to either native Terminal Services or to Citrix XenApp (some also connect to RDP based VMware View). Extrapolating across all client connections indicates a large target market for Teradici's new product.
Implications for Citrix XenApp
Although the Teradici RDSH press release makes no mention of Citrix XenApp, the solution should appeal to a segment of the XenApp user base.
Citrix XenApp is a mature technology offering advantages over VDI such as denser scalability and application publishing. But XenApp is an extension of Terminal Services which lacks VDI capabilities such as accommodating the “long tail of apps” common in most organizations. RDSH also has, as Brian
Madden recently wrote in a comment on my blog post, The VDI Delusion illusion, certain idiosyncrasies.
Unsurprisingly, many organizations intend to migrate their XenApp deployments to virtual desktops. Cost, timing, culture or even software vendor restrictions often require running both environments in parallel for some time. In healthcare, for example, Epic is only supported on XenApp at this point.
XenDesktop is an appealing VDI option for organizations running XenApp which can be brokered and managed using its HDX/ICA protocol. But VMware View can be an attractive alternative – particularly for organizations running vSphere in the data center. They may want to leverage the same IT skills and tools (such as VMware vCOPs) from the servers to the desktops.
VMware published a paper earlier this year titled, Enhancing a Citrix XenApp Implementation with VMware View and ThinApp, which states, “VMware View readily incorporates XenApp into its infrastructure.” The gaping disadvantage, remedied by Teradici RDSH, has been the necessity of running two separate protocols.
Citrix XenApp Integrated with VMware View and ThinApp
Teradici RDSH Use Cases
VMware View, or at least the intention to deploy it, is a prerequisite for Teradici RDSH. Organizations can purchase the lowest cost View Enterprise add-on version license of $90 per seat (list), and the Microsoft virtual desktop licensing components such as VDA are not required. Naturally, RDS CALs still must be purchased just as with XenApp. Teradici has not yet announced pricing for its product.
Terminal Services: Organizations running Terminal Services without XenApp often either have simple requirements or are… let’s say “frugal”. But if they utilize VMware View, they are excellent candidates for Teradici RDSH which brings PCoIP performance, consistency and security to their Microsoft RDS sessions.
VMware View: VMware View customers may utilize Teradici RDSH to run certain applications or desktops on RDSH. This reduces cost and achieves greater scale – at least in the short term. The relentless increases in VM density enabled by Moore’s Law will render scalability a non-issue in the long run.
Expiring XenApp: Teradici RDSH presents an interesting option when XenApp, particularly older versions lacking some of today’s features, is considered a temporary solution on the way to virtual desktops. Teradici RDSH brokers and manages the XenApp desktops with VMware View, enabling the latest PCoIP capabilities.
VMware Horizon Application Manager: Horizon brokers desktops, RDS apps, XenApp, and SaaS apps. It will broker RDSH RDP desktops as View does today, but not RDSH PCoIP desktops. Teradici RDSH and Horizon Application Manager are consequently very complimentary for enterprises with both RDS and View desktop pools.
XenApp & PCoIP Zero-Clients: Rather than pay extra monies to Teradici and VMware to achieve PCoIP integration, organizations without plans for VDI migration and with up-to-date XenApp deployments will likely be content to run them in parallel with View. The exception could be those firms wanting to standardize on versatile PCoIP-based zero clients such as LG and Samsung zero client monitors. The ability to run PCoIP-supported XenApp desktops on these terminals may warrant the added cost of the Teradici solution.
Cisco, a Teradici partner, makes zero clients that include call flow optimization – unifying virtual desktops with voice and video. But native support for PCoIP, HDX and ICA removes the incentive to purchase Teradici RDSH unless organizations are running only Terminal Services and not XenApp.
Tipping the Connection Broker Scale
Teradici RDSH may not be positioned as a competitive solution to Citrix XenApp, but some firms will inevitably consider it as an alternative. And organizations already running XenApp may be influenced as well. By eliminating the requirement to broker XenApp with HDX/ICA, Teradici RDSH may, in certain environments, shift the connection broker migration decision from XenDesktop to View.
Thomas Gamull of Presidio contributed to this article.