There are three dominating technology suppliers for Remote Workspace Solutions.
All three Remote workspace solutions have evolved over the last ten years. Citric and VMware have morphed into providing what Microsoft began ten years ago— Remote Application Technology Providers. Microsoft still offers both full desktop presentation and Remote Apps, while Citrix and VMWare are pushing the Remote App approach. They preach that it is better to get presented with what you actually use rather than a full desktop of apps on a traditional desktop.
In my opinion, all three Remote Workplace Solutions are credible. The decision on which to use depends on what your internal clients need and the cost of proving those needs to your clients. It might be worth noting that none of these solutions are cheap, but they are cheaper on a Hosting Provider than on an internal set of servers. In addition, Hosting Providers are operating out of Data Centers, which provides a much better internet connection than you will get from your local ISP. So, which do I choose?
I always ask myself, “which has the best business case? To answer that, we must delve into the total costs of running a Remote Working Solution. Things to consider are setup costs, licensing costs, maintenance costs, people costs, and downtime costs. Many great cost savings practices come out of a Remote Workplace Solution, but it only takes the loss of the internet connection to bring things to a grinding halt. Additionally, it only takes a poor internet connection to drive the workforce crazy. So, you have to calculate the cost of the internet connection to your hosting provider. If downtime is considered to not be an alternative then you must think about having two ISP’s.
Let’s get down to who is going to win my business. From a presentation point of view, all three vendors use a web-based GUI (Graphical User Interface) to deploy their Remote Workplace Solution. All deploy their apps to the user based on the needs of the user. An engineer in the company probably doesn’t need QuickBooks, and the accountant doesn’t need MatLab. So, when the folks are setting up the desktop deployment, the users only get the apps that are relevant to their job function. Just as if they were using the client/server-based system in their office.
All three vendors make the process of adding and removing users to the system simple. All three vendors have good tools for managing security and permissions. All three vendors use Microsoft technology to deploy the applications because nearly all the application vendors develop their applications to run on Microsoft. We will get to the importance of this point in a moment.
So, what about tools that are required to manage and maintain these systems. All three vendors provide tools, however, Citrix and VMWare provide a better-integrated toolset than Microsoft. Microsoft has nice packaged “Sysinternals,” but it is not integrated into the deliverable in a seamless way that the other two vendors provide, which adds a small cost that has to be calculated into the business case.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, if you are running most of the common off-the-shelf apps, you are going to need Microsoft. Then the question would be, “is the Remote App features more costly from Microsoft than VMWare or Citrix?” All three users have costs associated with the desktop (remote app) presentation. When these technologies first became available, we did a thorough evaluation of each vendor. At the time, Citrix was the most mature. However, when you add the licensing fees for the desktop presentation, Microsoft was more cost-effective. In addition, with all technology, there are always days when it just doesn’t work. Figuring out whether it would be a VMWare or Citrix issue was something we didn’t want to fight. Having Microsoft gives you the added flexibility to log in to your virtual desktop via RDP.
To learn more about how Remote Working Solutions can help your business, click here.