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Workspot (RDP / Remote FX) vs HDX comparison question


Andrew Gresbach1709152664

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We use Xendesktop 7.15 in our environment for quite some time now and working well outside of the usual issues and challenges.  75% of our users are in one building right now utilizing linux based thin clients and we also have a larger group that telecommutes from their own homes (and small subset of contract developers over seas right now).  Some big initiatives the company has is video conferencing (currently via Skype but eventually w/Teams whenever that gets optimization for Linux).  We also currently use OKTA for multifactor accross our devices

 

 Management is asking to evaluate alternate options to ensure that we are using the correct approach to VDI due to some stability issues that we've had.   One that they keep bringing up is Workspot which i know uses Microsofts RDP/ Remote fx technology.  I personally believe we are setup w/ the right solution but i need to do my research to see if there are any immediate show stoppers w/ solutions like Workspot specifically (or Remote fx in general) and hoping everyone can help me.   Below are some of my initial findings so hoping someone can validate if they are correct or not and any other help would be appreciated! thank you very much

 

Remotefx limitations:

-Poor performance on low bandwidth WAN connections (we have some field users that have pretty slow ISP connections so big concern there if this is true)

-USB webcam redirection (Lan only);  like mentioned above, video conferencing is a big push right now so I believe this would mean anyone telecommuting from their home would not be able to do this corrrect?

-Windows /Mac client only (no linux or HTML5 support);  95% of our clients are linux based currently

-Workspot being a cloud design would involve whatever profile management / image management that they provide (not sure what that entails yet);  they talk about being able to use your on prem resources but I still think it would involve uploading images to their cloud servers which i would think would be pretty time consuming (correct me if i'm wrong there)

-Workspots cloud design w/ local USB scanner possible issue; we have a mail center that scans large amounts of documents every day so i would think even if it can redirect that local scanner there could possibly be performance hits up to a cloud based desktop

 

thats what i've come up with so far but any other feedback anyone might have would be awesome

 

thank you!

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thank you for the help!  that was a big point that I made as well.  On this same topic what would be your take on Citrix vs Microsofts new Virtual Desktop Service?

 

The big kicker that I cant figure a good alternative is to app layerings user layer w/ our mcs pooled desktops.  user layer has some definitely downsides (whole desktop crashes if the connection to the smb share blips) but can't find any alternative that captures data outside of just the profile in a mcs setup

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WvD is another Workspot in the respect that it is all 100% Azure and you need to have certain licensing to use it.  Check out the article below.  Again, comparing WvD to your onprem XD setup is apples and oranges.  WvD is more about entitlements than brokering.  If you want users to have that feel of a persistent desktop but with the non-persistent upside you gain with 1 gold image, than AppLayering is what you want.  Couple that with FSLogix and you'll be golden.  As for the SMB going down, you can setup DFSR to handle that with single namespace and multiple servers.  If you're that concerned about the uptime, then I would do DFSR for your fslogix profile share as well.  VMWare has their appvolumes product but it's a fuster-cluck as many people complain on their forums, at least app layering is a very mature product that actually works.  User layering is very cool as it allows users to install an app, say iTunes, and have it work in your mcs catalog b/c it just attaches the vmdk at login instantly.  

 

PS - Re-reading your post you mentioned usb scanners and no one does USB better than Citrix and they have the skype / msteams all worked out too.  VMWare is still trying to catch up to their usb support 8 or 9 years later.  Everyone says they can do usb until you dig into the details.  I think Workspot is a good product if you just want to spin up desktops and apps extremely quickly and swipe your credit card, however you can do this with Citrix cloud on Azure, AWS or GCP as well, but it does require a bit more technical knowledge.  I see workspot as something you can have your secretary manage.  That easy button also comes with a hefty price.

 

https://www.brianmadden.com/opinion/Windows-Virtual-Desktop-is-generally-available

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thanks again !  yup that was my thinking on the new Microsoft solution as well but wanted to get some other peoples take on it to make sure i was on the right path

 

USB passthrough abilities is a big argument that i make too (for the reasons you explained).  And i agree with the app layering part....we've been using that going back as far as when it was Unidesk 1.6 so that technology has been great .   We currently are using Nutanix Files (general share only right now since we can't use their distributed share because of app layerings requirement to have a single "users" folder at the root so that kills any hope of the distribution at that level w/ Files).    You mention DFSR......in that active/active setup if one of them drops would it still not cause a user layer issue/crash given how temper-mental it can be if that connection blips (since its essentially the c: drive)?

 

I'm curious what you meant by using FSlogix along w/ user layer too ......what would be the benefit of using their containers if you're using full user layer already?

 

thanks again for your help!

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dfsr is active/active, just a windows feature so it's free on server platforms, kinda equivalent to your nutanix files.  you'd have to test an outage by turning off the vnic in the o/s honestly, but that is exactly what it is made for, very easy to get it up and running, a few youtube's out there on it.  

 

in regards to user layers, from what i remember about unidesk (app layering), it is not a profile solution, but captures anything the user installs outside of the gold image and sticks it on a vmdk or perhaps a vhdx, cant remember the details, and then remounts it.  so say you have a user who needs notepad++ but you don't want it in the gold image, they would just install it and the install / app is captured in their user layer and then remounted at login for them as a second disk or whatever.  

 

fslogix just takes c:\users\jsmith and sticks it in a vhdx for mounting at logon, that's it.  nothing to do with apps installed after the fact

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it sounds like the dfsr wouldn't really help in the full user layer scenario since it doesnt support the transfer of that connection lock (once it drops , the desktop crashes so cannot hand off that connection)

 

and yup you are correct that ANYTHING that changes in the session with user layer mounts goes into the user layer.  fslogix works somewhat similar in the fact that its a vhd/vhdx container that mounts at logon but instead of capturing EVERYTHING, it only captures the users profile and HKCU hive.  I actually looked at switching from User layer to that (since in the event of a network/storage blip the session would continue and just hiccup a little ) . however we have some applications that store their data in the program files install dir  or program data which fslogix cannot handle so that killed that idea for us.  I really liked the idea of that though

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