VMware Horizon

Enhancing a Citrix XenApp Implementation with VMware View and ThinApp

By Tina de Benedictis, Technical Marketing Manager, Enterprise Desktop, VMware End-User Computing

You can enhance your Citrix XenApp implementation by presenting VMware ThinApp virtual applications to users on VMware View virtual desktops.



Figure 1: The Combined Solution of View, XenApp, and ThinApp 

How does VMware ThinApp enhance XenApp?

Presenting ThinApp virtual applications through Citrix XenApp provides the following benefits over standard XenApp application presentation:

  • Requires only a single application instance: With ThinApp in a XenApp implementation, you need only one copy of the virtualized application stored on a ThinApp file share. With other applications presented with XenApp, you must install the same application on each of the XenApp Servers in your server farm, and each of these native installations must be individually maintained.
  • Application conflict is eliminated: To avoid application conflicts, Citrix isolates applications from each other via XenApp silos, which requires additional hardware. ThinApp isolates applications with software, not hardware. ThinApp virtual applications are isolated from each other and therefore can be placed on the same XenApp Server.
  • Recovery is simpler: If a XenApp Server fails, you have to reinstall the XenApp server. However, if you have stored your virtual applications separately on a ThinApp file share, you have only the baseline XenApp server to reinstall, and you do not have to reinstall the applications.
  • Updates are simpler and faster with ThinApp: With a standard Citrix XenApp setup, you must update each natively installed application on each XenApp Server, and you need to take each server offline to update the applications. If you use ThinApp to virtualize applications, you update only the single application on the file share, and ThinApp applications can be updated automatically while in use.
  • ThinApp can virtualize IE6, and the migration to Windows 7 is eased: ThinApp allows you to virtualize Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), and you can package IE6 along with a legacy application that depends upon IE6 or an older version of Java. Users can run virtual IE6 alongside a later version of native IE on the same desktop. The migration to Windows 7 or to later Windows versions becomes easier if you have the option of carrying forward any IE6-dependent legacy applications.

For full details on these points, see Integrating VMware View and VMware ThinApp with Citrix XenApp.

How does VMware View enhance XenApp?

A VMware View virtual desktop infrastructure enhances Citrix XenApp in various ways:

  • Users have their own desktops, with their own operating system and applications: XenApp provides users with a shared operating system and shared applications, and users can conflict with each other. VMware View provides users with their own desktop environments, with their own operating system instance and their own applications. Users do not conflict with each other.
  • The underlying infrastructure is familiar: If you have used VMware vSphere to virtualize your XenApp Servers, you can use your vSphere expertise to run View virtual desktops on the familiar infrastructure.

If you are adding a virtual desktop solution to your XenApp environment, VMware View is a better and more cost effective choice than Citrix XenDesktop because:

  • View directly leverages the power of vSphere
  • View is easier to deploy and manage than XenDesktop
  • View is one-half the cost of XenDesktop

For a comparison of VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop, see Desktop Virtualization with VMware View 5 Compared to Citrix XenDesktop 5.5.

How do you integrate View and ThinApp with XenApp?

Placing one copy of a ThinApp virtualized application on a file share is much simpler than installing multiple copies of XenApp applications on multiple servers in server farms. If you stream packages from the ThinApp file share to the XenApp Server via a LAN, and then present applications from the XenApp Server over the WAN or Internet to end users, you can take advantage of the combined ThinApp-XenApp solution.


Figure 2: ThinApp Virtual Applications Streamed to a XenApp Server, Then Remotely Displayed to Endpoints

VMware View virtual desktops give your users isolated use of the operating system and applications, just as with a physical desktop. Placing shortcuts on View desktops to XenApp-presented ThinApp virtual applications gives users the best of all three solutions.


Figure 3: XenApp Applications, Including a ThinApp Package, on a View Virtual Desktop 

For further information on combining VMware View virtual desktops and ThinApp virtual applications with XenApp application presentation, see:

Integrating VMware View and VMware ThinApp with Citrix XenApp