I’m excited to announce today the general availability of our Hosted Server VDI technology that enables Service Providers to deliver dedicated Cloud VDI desktops in a multi-tenant fashion leveraging shared hardware and storage and ability to use Microsoft SPLA licenses. This technology is only available for Service Providers who have been waiting for a way to get some of the benefits available with VDI, but have not had a cost-effective Microsoft SPLA-compliant option. If you are an enterprise customer deploying VDI, you already have tons of options with XenDesktop VDI and VDI-in-a-Box.
So how is this different from Desktop VDI?
The main difference being the underlying OS is Windows Server 2008 R2 instead of Windows 7. And by applying the Desktop Experience Pack, you can make the Server OS look and feel just like a Windows 7 OS. By giving a dedicated desktop to the user, you provide better application compatibility, improve peripheral and USB device compatibility and are able to support power users.
Is this just giving a single XenApp server to a user?
The answer is No. Server VDI is built on XenDesktop FMA architecture and we essentially added Windows Server 2008 R2 to the list of VDAs (Virtual Desktop Agent) we are supporting for Service Providers.
What licenses do you need?
On the Citrix side, this feature is part of the XenApp/XenDesktop CSP Premium SKU (Platinum level functionality). On the Microsoft side, you can use the normal SPLA options for Windows Server, and an RDS-SAL for each user. Make no mistake – it’s still going to be more expensive in terms of licenses and infrastructure than a hosted shared desktop. But for advanced customer use cases where they need a private VM environment for a user, this is the most cost-effective and practical option. Keep in mind that you can always combine the various desktop models in your service offering – they are not mutually exclusive. For more details on proper licensing, be sure to contact your Microsoft representative.