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Citrix Synergy 2010: Burton Group’s Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View Assessments

by Chris Wolf  |  May 19, 2010  |  2 Comments

Last week’s Citrix Synergy conference, Citrix’s largest ever, offered quite a bit of innovation and news. I’d like to start with Burton Group news, and will follow up with posts on client virtualization and cloud.

Last Wednesday at Synergy we unveiled the Burton Group Server-hosted virtual desktop evaluation criteria and presented product scorecards for Citrix XenDesktop 4.0 and VMware View 4.0.1. Our evaluation criteria is frequently used by clients as a starting point for their RFPs; it identifies over 100 features, including 52 that we consider required for enterprise-scale deployments. We also detail preferred (important, but not always essential), and optional (use-case driven) features as part of the criteria. After Simon Bramfitt and I assessed XenDesktop 4.0 and View 4.0.1, we reached a similar conclusion – neither product is ready for the demands of the large enterprise. A comparison scorecard of each product is shown below.


Both products do not deliver what we consider to be essential features. For example, neither product offers role based access controls (RBACs) to support the delegated administration models our clients expect. Offering only “User” and “Administrator” roles, for example, does not constitute delegated administration. In addition neither product offers complete administrative change logging, meaning that it is not possible to maintain an audit trail for all administrative actions. Now this doesn’t mean that organizations should not deploy either product. It just means that they need to set proper expectations. Both are well suited for department-level deployments or for small businesses. In addition, both Citrix and VMware have promised that their current required feature shortcomings will be addressed through product updates by the end of the year. Server-hosted desktops are key to the strategic next generation desktop initiatives among many of our clients. Several are piloting or implementing solutions this year to both build institutional knowledge and to satisfy specific use cases, such as supporting external contractors.

We received a lot of positive feedback about the criteria from conference attendees and will be publishing additional product scorecards in the coming months. Burton Group research clients can download the full criteria set here, and the complete VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop assessments (25+ pages each) will be published in the next few weeks. If you were at Synergy and have feedback on the criteria, please share it as a comment to this post.

Category: client-virtualization  

Tags: citrix  citrixsynergy  

Chris Wolf
Research VP
6 years at Gartner
19 years IT industry

Chris Wolf is a Research Vice President for the Gartner for Technical Professionals research team. He covers server and client virtualization and private cloud computing. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Citrix Synergy 2010: Burton Group’s Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View Assessments

  1. Sean Clark says:

    Where does Quest vWorkspace come into the mix? I understand that they have very granular delegated administration capabilities.

  2. Chris Wolf says:

    Good question, Sean. We are currently evaluating Quest vWorkspace and Microsoft VDI and will have those results published in the next couple of months. It takes us about six weeks to conduct a thorough platform review, and we have prioritized research based on the interests of our clients. We are also looking to evaluate the solutions from Symantec, Leostream, and Virtual Bridges. If there are others that you see as important, please let us know.

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