Terminal Server/XenApp vs VDI

There is a lot of hype these days around VDI and it seems like every week there is some new VDI related product or company being announced. With all of these options available how is company ever to decide on which VDI solution to go with?

In my opinion you should first decide on whether or not you want to go with Terminal Services/XenApp or VDI. Both technologies offer the same advantages and feature sets but Terminal Services/XenApp has a much cheaper per user cost and is a proven solution that has been around for 12 years. VDI is cool, hip and is in all of the industry news but it is very young and still evolving.

In my opinion VDI is for special use cases and for applications that will not run in Terminal Services.

Brian Madden did a great session on this at VMworld Europe 2009.

Any company currently looking at VDI should watch this session and first decide if Terminal Services would work for them. If so you can save a lot of money in infrastructure costs by using Terminal Services/XenApp.



4 thoughts on “Terminal Server/XenApp vs VDI

  1. Good post – I know it’s a question I get a lot. One point that I discovered a short time ago was that it’s not always an either/or. From my discussions with Citrix, many of their customers that implement VDI tend to also use TS to publish business-class apps that give better performance on a TS, but still allow the users to have their desktop via VDI.
    I just ran across this whitepaper by Citrix’s lead architect on VDI, Daniel Feller – great stuff. I believe his webinars on the same topic can still be viewed through links on the Citrix blog site.

    Click to access Virtual%20Desktop%20or%20Virtual%20Applications.pdf

  2. Good article Jeremy. Can you please alse include the cost based comparision between Terminal Services/XenApp and VDI? Many thanks.

  3. Jeremy makes good points about the advantages of Terminal Server over VDI. However, VDI also has advantages over Terminal Server. That’s why most organizations could be best served by adopting a hybrid approach, with an optimal mix of Terminal Server (for task-oriented users), Desktop Virtualization (for power users), and Blade PCs (stock traders, graphic designers, etc.) which delivers the most benefit and platform flexibility to the organization.

    Ericom Software’s PowerTerm WebConnect facilitates this hybrid approach by managing access to Terminal Server, VDI and Blade PCs, all with one management tool, one product.

    Download a free white paper about this hybrid approach at:


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