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Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs Microsoft Remote Desktop Services comparison

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Buyer's Guide
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
607,127 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"In terms of scalability, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops have a lot of technologies baked in there that allow an organization to scale up or down, as required. Further, leveraging Azure for scalability has added value to our organization. For example, pre-COVID-19, we had very few resources in Azure. We had some Virtual Desktops and no application servers. When COVID-19 came along, we knew people were going to be home. We knew that we had to ramp up very quickly. We fully leveraged MCS to be able to scale. Being able to take a single image and build 400,000 Virtual Desktops, all within minutes, was second to none in terms of any other technology out there that we could have used. The scalability to be able to do that in Azure, where we really don't have to worry about storage and compute power because Microsoft does that for us, was fantastic. It was almost like giving our environments steroids. It has been amazing in terms of that scalability. Now, as people start coming back to the office, we can just as quickly scale down so the compute and resource costs in Azure aren't so great anymore.""Relative to other solutions, Citrix has fewer conditions and fewer parameters. Citrix also provides some flexibility because it can be used on any device.""We've been able to scale the environment quite nicely by using the Citrix Remote PC. I can't say enough about that. And because that relies on utilizing your existing hardware resources, and making those available as a part of your Citrix farm — with a second level of authentication and security pieces around it — we added some 4,000 workstations without an additional overhead or cost.""Citrix Virtual Apps is the most valuable feature. Many customers use this feature to publish only applications, and not the full desktop. They can publish the internal resource or allow the end-user to reach a site or an application without having the full desktop. That's why they love this feature. It helps them save on resources.""The only thing that is really important for me is being able to connect from wherever I am. It is important for me because sometimes I am in places where there are not enough safe conditions to be able to work safely, in terms of security and confidentiality of my data. Being able to access internal resources from a secure platform allows me to work without fearing that my data has been stolen.""The user experience when using the solution's technology remotely is definitely superior to our VPN and/or Windows Remote Desktop. It's a much better user experience for those folks.""First of all, the manageability of the applications for publishing is valuable. Second, it is about being able to run the applications on all main platforms. Third, its licensing is valuable. You can either switch to the cloud and keep on-prem. You can work with this hybrid scenario.""The most valuable feature of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is the security and it is easy to work with."

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"The solution has very smooth connectivity and is very user friendly.""We have scaled the solution and find this easy to do.""Good screen draw feature and ability to use two monitors.""The technical support is good.""Everything is really good and it works well.""It's simple and easy to use.""The installation is straightforward.""The performance is one of the main features of this solution."

More Microsoft Remote Desktop Services Pros →

Cons
"There is room for improvement because it has a lot of dependency on Active Directory and other things. If they could come up with something similar and native, a complete solution portfolio would help.""In the bank, a major part of all our applications is Microsoft App-V. If App-V is at end of life, then we need a new technology to replace it. As of today, I haven't seen in Citrix Studio that there is a new technology embedded directly in it to replace App-V.""Licensing service installation and configuration was the biggest challenge for all Citrix solutions, but now they have fixed a lot of issues.""The user profiles could use some improvement.""If Citrix can develop something which can have more reach towards the backend infrastructure, other components of the Citrix environment, that would be ideal.""Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are not easy to set up. However, I have the experience and I can do it easily. It could be easier to set up.""Templating the deployment process could use improvement. When you start, there are a large number of details that are quite client-specific, although they do share common themes. To get somebody up and running in a day is very difficult to do. They should streamline by use case.""I think improvement around the Analytics piece is super important. There has been a lot of maturity over the last year in that area, though a lot more needs to be done. Also, a lot more of the value of those Analytics needs to be sold to end users. Citrix is working on a lot of things that are ahead of the curve and a lot of organizations aren't quite there yet with implementing those technologies and capabilities."

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"Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is only available for the professional version of the Windows operating system. This restricts a lot of users. The feature should be available for all versions.""We've had issues with security breaches.""We'd like, in the future, if it would work with Linux or Unix-based operating systems or even Mac.""The user interface needs improvement.""I would like to be able to access the remote desktop using a web-based interface, rather than having to use the client.""Remote Desktop Services doesn't scale well.""Lacks a notification feature when internet is down.""In a future release, they could improve by providing more advanced technology and better buffering for if the connection is degraded or lost."

More Microsoft Remote Desktop Services Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The Citrix licensing scheme is really straightforward and simple. It doesn't have hidden costs. You get what you pay for. It is easy to understand what is on the product, so it's simple to get a clear idea of how much it costs. Licensing is not an issue."
  • "Based not only on the cost of Citrix, but additional costs like firewalls, IPS, and other solutions, the total cost of switching users from using normal laptops with VPNs to connection via Citrix were so huge that the CEO of our company decided to postpone the deployment process."
  • "The licensing, in general, is expensive. A lot of customers battle to pay the amount. It's very difficult to ensure that your solution provides the business value that the customer is after."
  • "The cost of the Citrix software reflects what I would expect a product of that nature, in that market, to be. Understanding the licensing is quite a bit more complicated, because one of the things about Citrix is that you can buy licensing at different levels... Yet I still like the idea because it means that if all you need is a basic load balancing solution, then you don't need to buy an advanced or premium license."
  • "Citrix is a mid-range cost solution compared to some others out there."
  • "In terms of pricing with the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, I think it has gotten better over the years. Citrix has found more dynamic ways to be able to revive licensing models that fit many different scenarios that organizations have. We have been able to evolve our own licensing over the years to accommodate our situations between concurrent versus user device licenses. Now, when we move into the Citrix Workspace realm, we definitely have some awesome options there."
  • "If you look at cost, then you must look at the number of users that you are covering. If you are only using it for some users, then it is very expensive. However, if you have a massive amount of users, then it begins to be interesting to use Citrix. Because once you are managing thousands of servers with one guy, your maintenance costs decrease per user."
  • "Where Citrix really needs to improve is in their support and in the way that they manage their licenses. Everything else comes second because if I'm not in a position where I can get proper support or manage my own licenses in an easy way, then it is pointless. Today, I am at a point where I may not be able to use Citrix anymore because they want to take away some of the licenses that I bought, pretending they are not valid anymore. That is frankly unacceptable. If they don't solve this, everything comes second because I cannot use my product."
  • More Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Although not an expensive product, pricing is always something that can be improved."
  • "It's not an expensive solution."
  • "It's not an expensive product."
  • "Its licensing is on a yearly basis. We're on the educational or academic license, and our terms are good. We're very happy with the pricing."
  • "The pricing could always be improved."
  • "The solution is overly expensive."
  • "The solution comes free with Microsoft Windows."
  • "The price of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is reasonable."
  • More Microsoft Remote Desktop Services Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:The most valuable feature is the watermark because most of the time our employees connect from a remote location. In case they photograph the DDA or some data, the watermark will show which user did… more »
    Top Answer:The pricing is a little bit high, but it's good value for the product's stability and efficiency. You need to choose the right licensing, whether it is the Advanced or Premium Edition.
    Top Answer:They need to adapt more quickly to the latest additions to the Microsoft operating system. If Windows 10 comes out with a new version, there are compatibility issues and it takes them a lot of time to… more »
    Top Answer:The price of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is reasonable.
    Top Answer:We've had issues with security breaches. The main problem is that if we are using this with the individual computer and using a remote desktop, there are some loopholes there. When I implemented this… more »
    Ranking
    1st
    out of 34 in Remote Access
    Views
    19,661
    Comparisons
    13,915
    Reviews
    21
    Average Words per Review
    1,574
    Rating
    8.3
    3rd
    out of 34 in Remote Access
    Views
    19,929
    Comparisons
    17,000
    Reviews
    19
    Average Words per Review
    286
    Rating
    8.1
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    XenDesktop, XenApp (Citrix Virtual Apps)
    Remote Desktop Services, MS Remote Desktop Services
    Learn More
    Overview

    Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a suite of virtualization solutions that provides users with secure access to any device while keeping IT control of virtual machines, applications, and security.

    Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops enable admins to deliver secure virtual apps and desktops to any device without disrupting the user experience. Admins can control applications, security policies, and users via hybrid and on premises.

    The suite’s flexibility allows you to deploy applications in different resource locations. The platform integrates with Windows Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud. It also integrates with on-premises hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV, VMWare vSphere, and Citrix Hypervisor.

    Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Key Features

    • Hybrid, multi-cloud capabilities: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops works in hybrid environments, delivering apps and desktops on premises to the cloud.

    • Comprehensive security: Security protocols and access controls are implemented across all devices connected to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, regardless of location. It allows you to protect unmanaged endpoints and set granular controls.

    • Enhanced user experience: Delivers security and control while allowing end users to seamlessly access the resources and applications they need. With a communications optimization tool, the user experience remains constant even when the bandwidth is low.

    • Actionable analytics: Provides reporting and analytics and automated policy controls to assess the performance and security of the network. You can prevent security issues and enhance app performance with automated policy controls.

    Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Benefits

    Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops offers several benefits for organizations that want to modernize their IT.

    • Reduces infrastructure costs: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops enables you to optimize your infrastructure without investing in a new architecture. According to Citrix, implementing Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops can reduce your hardware capital expenditure by 56 percent a year.
    • Improves employee efficiency: Employees can securely access all applications, data, and resources they need to complete their tasks without risking security or having reliability problems. It provides users with immediate access to the tools and information they need to work.
    • Streamline software updates and rollups: Unlike on-premises deployments, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops doesn’t require updating software and OS on each machine.
    • Improves IT efficiency: DaaS reduces IT management costs because the platform is set in a central location and rolled out to network devices. It simplifies delivering relevant applications and desktops to new employees.
    • Enforces security: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops reduces the risks stemming from distributed workforces and endpoint devices. Providing control ensures that the data is secure and accessible to users across devices and environments and continuously updates security patches.

    Components managed by Citrix

    • Delivery controllers
    • Databases
    • Licensing
    • Monitor interface
    • Management interfaces
    • Cloud Connectors

    Components managed by the Customer

    • Citrix Gateway: a single secure point of access via the corporate firewall
    • Active Directory for authentication and authorization
    • Identity and access management
    • Virtual delivery agents
    • Hypervisors

    Capabilities

    • Delivers Windows and Linux apps
    • Multi-session Windows and Linux desktop
    • Single session Windows client on desktops
    • Single session Linux desktops
    • Non-domain joined
    • Remote PC access

      Reviews from Real Users

    • Jeff V., CEO at Lucid Tech Services, says, "Security is a shining point of the Citrix Workspace. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a very robust solution when security is a concern. Furthermore, the content collaboration data-hosting that Citrix integrates with Virtual Apps and Desktops is among the best there is."

      "We can provide tons of applications with different settings, behaviors, and operating systems. It is the same way for the user. Then, we are totally transparent for the user to use a lot of totally different applications, which is the most important part of Citrix today," comments Etienne D., a user at a financial services firm.

      Rod M., Technical Team Lead at an energy/utilities company, says, "In terms of scalability, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops have a lot of technologies baked in there that allow an organization to scale up or down, as required.

    Remote Desktop Services is a server role in Windows Server that provides technologies that enable users to access session-based desktops, virtual machine-based desktops, or applications in the data center from both within a corporate network and from the Internet. Remote Desktop Services enables a rich-fidelity desktop or application experience, and helps to securely connect remote users from managed or unmanaged devices.
    Offer
    Learn more about Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
    Learn more about Microsoft Remote Desktop Services
    Sample Customers
    Exelon, Aeronamic, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Alameda County Medical Center, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Aloysius Stichting, Amarchand Mangaldas, AmBev, Amnet Technology Solutions, Arval
    Bank Alfalah Ltd.
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company18%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    Energy/Utilities Company11%
    Insurance Company11%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company26%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    Government6%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm18%
    Healthcare Company9%
    Manufacturing Company9%
    Energy/Utilities Company9%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government9%
    Manufacturing Company5%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise21%
    Large Enterprise54%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise63%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise39%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise56%
    Buyer's Guide
    Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services
    May 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
    607,127 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is ranked 1st in Remote Access with 23 reviews while Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is ranked 3rd in Remote Access with 21 reviews. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is rated 8.4, while Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops writes "Allows the end user device flexibility when remotely accessing my organization's resources". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services writes "Easy to set up and reliable, but needs an additional control panel". Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is most compared with VMware Horizon View, Citrix Workspace, TeamViewer, Microsoft App-V and Amazon WorkSpaces, whereas Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is most compared with TeamViewer, VMware Horizon View, Parallels Access, VMware Horizon 7 and Citrix Workspace. See our Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops vs. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services report.

    See our list of best Remote Access vendors and best Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) vendors.

    We monitor all Remote Access reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.