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Citrix vs RDS


Glen Bicking1709152637

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I need a little help here to try defend Citrix against a customers possible decision to go to RDS instead.  I want to be objective but I'm also somewhat bias toward Citrix.  Ultimately I just want what will be best for the client.

 

Cost is the main reason they are considering moving to RDS.

 

They are currently running XA6.0.  I know, but they've been holding off doing the upgrade due to budgetary reasons.  This is a retail store with 16 locations and approximately 250 users.  All servers are physically located in their corporate office.  They do currently have SA for XenDesktop Enterprise.  I need to pitch a pros and cons argument to them so I'd like some expert opinions.

 

So far I'll be listing the benefits on Citrix to be: 

 

Better management

Profile manager benefits over RDS,

Provisioning server.  They don't currently use PVS but are licensed for it and have 6 servers so I think PVS would be a good play.   

More efficient network utilization via ICA or RDP.

Better support over MS.

Know application compatibility and expertise.   (I've never set up RDS)

 

You get the idea.  If anyone has any other fodder to provide for me argument to stay with Citrix, I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Marius Sandbu did a nice write up on exactly this a couple of years back https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/so-why-choose-citrix-over-microsoft-rds/

 

Lots has changed since then, protocols are better, features sets are bigger, capability is pretty awesome from a Citrix Standpoint. Same can be said for RDS though, its gotten better with its protocols and management - UPD is an awesome feature of RDS (FSlogix is better with Citrix)

 

RDS is a very valid option - I have enjoyed working with it in the 2016 stack and am intrigued by RDMi, but at the moment, if i want to guarantee an outcome - Citrix is the go to

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10 hours ago, Glen Bicking1709152637 said:

I need a little help here to try defend Citrix against a customers possible decision to go to RDS instead.  I want to be objective but I'm also somewhat bias toward Citrix.  Ultimately I just want what will be best for the client.

 

Cost is the main reason they are considering moving to RDS.

 

They are currently running XA6.0.  I know, but they've been holding off doing the upgrade due to budgetary reasons.  This is a retail store with 16 locations and approximately 250 users.  All servers are physically located in their corporate office.  They do currently have SA for XenDesktop Enterprise.  I need to pitch a pros and cons argument to them so I'd like some expert opinions.

 

So far I'll be listing the benefits on Citrix to be: 

 

Better management

Profile manager benefits over RDS,

Provisioning server.  They don't currently use PVS but are licensed for it and have 6 servers so I think PVS would be a good play.   

More efficient network utilization via ICA or RDP.

Better support over MS.

Know application compatibility and expertise.   (I've never set up RDS)

 

You get the idea.  If anyone has any other fodder to provide for me argument to stay with Citrix, I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

I have done a few XenApp vs. RDS comparisons over the years, pretty much extending back to when Microsoft rebraded terminal server in 2008 R2.

I cannot deny, like you, that I am somewhat biased towards Citrix, however I do see some uses for RDS and RDS has come a long way since 2008 R2.

I want to challenge/comfirm/add to your list of benefits:

 

  • Better Management
    • Without a doubt. RDS doesn't have anything else, than Server Manager and Windows Performance Monitor when it comes to user/server/process management
    • RDS does not support delegation of control, you either have access or you don't
  • Profile Management
    • RDS 2012/2012R2/2016 and the coming 2019 support User Profile Disk (UPD). UPD is a disk based profile which is by a far more resilient, faster and more effektive way of delivering a profile today. Citrix Profile Management is NOT disk based and still relies the older ways on copying a profile back and forth during logoff and logon.
  • Provisioning Services AND Machine Creation Services
    • Eventhough I prefer PVS, MCS should also be considerred, as it is usually not as complex as PVS.
    • RDS 2012/2012R2/2016/2019 has a central image management system, but ONLY for VDI, not Session Hosts. RDS VDI is only supported on Hyper-V.
  • More efficient network utilization via ICA or RDP
    • Totally agree.
    • Citrix' changes in HDX especially the EDT feature gives them the best and most effective transport protocol, hands down.
  • Better support over MS
    • Also agree
    • At least here in Denmark, there aren't as many consultants who are experts on RDS as there are on Citrix technologies. That may be something to consider when looking at RDS.
  • Know application compatibility and expertise
    • Well this is a bit tricky, mostly because of the application compatibility issues I see is due to the operating system, not RDS or Citrix products. From my point of view, if you have application compatiblity issues with RDS you would probably also have the issues in Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop. With that said, I know that when using publised applications in RDS, they are called RemoteApps, there have been some issues when using specific Remote Desktop Client versions, however the same can be told with Citrix Receiver/Workspace App

In your case of the retail stores I bet that the network connection bandwidth to these stores a not very high, at least that's what I usually see here in Denmark. This usually means communicating with some ind of back-end database, can be an issue, as some of theses applications are bandwidth hungry. Also depending in the equipment and amount of devices used out in the stores, you may be in need of some kind of networking device, which is capable of doing some kind of traffic shaping, here Citrix will be able to help you out leveraging the Citrix SD-WAN technologies, which give you the possibility of doing some very tight control of your network traffic to and from your store sites.

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I've had to implement RDS 2012 R2 and 2016 for published apps and VDI.   RDS published apps are pretty solid.  VDI (true VDI Win7/Win10 not server hosted) in my opinion is more complex and prone to issues and I would steer away from it if possible.

 

Management/Troubleshooting tools are not robust like Citrix.  Server Manager and the Event Logs - no Director like product in box.    When implementing VDI admins complained about too many different mgmt. consoles depending on what you were trying to do.     When publishing an app you have to use Powershell to change the icon - no GUI interface.

 

Granular Administration - there is none.  You have to be a full administrator.

 

Profile Disks - sound great but many issues with these getting locked and user getting a temp profile.    Have to use Sidder and Open Files mgmt. console to unlock.

 

VDI - connection broker issues - users not able to log on.  Spent many hours on the phone with Microsoft and no resolution.

 

Policies -combination of powershell on the back end and GPOs.  No where near the granularity of Citrix.

 

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