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Guide To VDI: Evaluating Top Vendors: Page 3 of 6


Citrix provides two options for customers seeking VDI: VDI-in-a-Box and XenDesktop.

Citrix VDI-in-a-Box is targeted at SMBs considering VDI. It's an all-in-one software solution in which a grid of off-the-shelf servers is created, running on a hypervisor of choice. VDI-in-a-Box employs direct-attach storage instead of shared storage. This solution offers low capital expense at less than $500 per virtual desktop for software and licensing.

Citrix XenDesktop is geared at enterprise customers. XenDesktop packages OS, applications, and user profiles centrally in a data center and assembled as virtual desktops for users. The installation, configuration, and maintenance can become advanced for IT staff.

Note that Citrix XenDesktop is now also available on AWS. By hosting the VDI solution in the cloud, it effectively provides a DaaS option. To ease the deployment, Citrix also provides AWS CloudFormation templates for automated installation and configuration of XenDesktop in AWS.

Key differentiators
Citrix provides a unique capability extension to XenDesktop, called Personal vDisk. This feature is supported via XenDesktop or VDI-in-a-Box. In traditional VDI, IT often has to make a choice between centralized management and meeting the needs of demanding users. Pooled desktops are a benefit to IT central management, but limit the customization capabilities and persistent storage requested by power users. On the other hand, dedicated VDI desktops can make power users happy, but at the cost of increased IT management and scale.

Citrix offers a hybrid option in Personal vDisk. This feature provides features of pooled desktops and dedicated VDI desktops. Deployment still comes from a common image, however the profile customization can be extended. Users can now install apps onto a personal vDisk that maintains persistence.