XenDesktop Essentials

Iron Contributor

Hi there IT pros,


I run a professional services company with 70 employees. I am a finance guy, not an IT guy so I am looking for your feedback. We work quite a bit with Office 365 and some of MS ERPs (now Dynamics 365) so I like the MS plattform and I am fairly familiar with most of the services in O365.


For years I have been waiting for MS to release Desktops as a Service and I guess that's what XenDesktop Essentials is.


Howerver, I wonder if it is really for my type of business. You need to have some sort of enterprise windows server license (we have business today) and it just feels like MS is targeting larger companies with this thing (meaning it is expensive). 


Without you guys having the slightest clue regarding my current setup or needs... do you think the XenDesktop Essentials is packaged and priced mostly for large enterprises or could it also suit a smaller company such as ours?


Thank you for your help and input. It is much appreciated.


2 Replies

Short answer, no I don't think it's suitable and you would be better served looking elsewhere, though it really depends on what you are trying to achieve. I think even for some larger companies they would be on the fence on what value this may provide overall.


Longer answer - Azure RemoteApp was the closest Microsoft got to a DaaS type service I believe but it has since been discontinued and closes in August.  Here is Microsoft's list of alternatives that may be of interest as a place to start.  I'd add Amazon WorkSpaces to the list as a candidate as well.


Citrix XenApp Essentials is the natural step up from Azure RemoteApp (Citrix and Microsoft have a long-standing partnership).   Citrix XenApp Essentials is now available from the Azure Marketplace and is billed as the easiest and fastest way to securely deliver Windows apps from Microsoft Azure to any device.  


The FAQ says it's 25 user minimum, which anyone can buy (MS Enterprise Agreements not required) and if you don't have RDS licences already, you add $6.25 per user per month.   It's not that simple though, there are Azure consumption costs for starters plus possible data transfer costs and the setup looks far from simple.  An Azure account with an enterprise agreement plus an Azure subscription is required.

 XenApp Essentials Costs.png


This article goes into it a bit more detail - Citrix makes you an offer you can’t refuse: Virtualization for $12/user/month.


XenDesktop Essentials vs XenApp.jpg


Now looking at XenDesktop Essentials that's something else, with more specific requirements:


"XenDesktop Essentials Service is designed exclusively for Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business (CBB) virtual desktops hosted on Microsoft Azure. Now available in the Azure Marketplace, XenDesktop Essentials will enable IT organizations who have Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5 Per User or Windows VDA Per User License, the option to use Azure HUB Client Preview image from Azure gallery to deliver a high-performance Windows 10 Enterprise CBB virtual desktop experience from Azure by leveraging the provisioning, management and secure, remote access experience that only XenDesktop technology can deliver.


This article has more details - Citrix XenDesktop Essentials – all facts listed!

Wow, great response :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:!! I agree with your assessment. We have basically been trying to find Amazon Workspaces but for Azure but MS is dead set on not providing that. Would like to stay on Azure because I prefer MS but time will tell.