VMware's Horizon 6 launches, targets Citrix

VMware launches Horizon 6, its flagship virtual desktop application, and adds app virtualization. The end result: VMware's approach looks very similar to what Citrix does.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

VMware launched its Horizon 6 virtual desktop software, added app management into the mix and plans to directly challenge — if not emulate — rival Citrix.

Horizon 6 consolidates a few VMware applications. Notably Horizon Suite becomes Horizon Enterprise. VMware View becomes Horizon View. Last month, VMware launched desktop as a service with key partners such as Google and rolled out plans to offer workspaces across multiple devices.

Also: VMware upbeat about 2014 prospects | VMware buys AirWatch for $1.54 billion, acquires mobility strategy | New Cisco 'Desktop as a Service' cloud arrives | VMware acquires desktop-as-a-service firm Desktone | Google taps VMware to bring Windows access to Chromebooks

Sumit Dhawan, general manager of desktop products for end-user computing at VMware, acknowledged that the company will be compared to Citrix in some corners. He argued that Horizon 6 takes on some of the functions of Xen App and Xen Desktop and handles things that neither application does. The difference with Horizon 6 is that, due to virtualized storage area networking technology, the cost of a virtual desktop is on par with a physical PC.

Citrix quickly defended XenApp as a desktop-as-a-service leader and jabbed at VMware.

In a blog post, Citrix's Rakesh Narasimhan, head of the company's app and desktop virtualization business, said:

As an industry leader, it’s inevitable that someone will come along and challenge you – and that’s what VMware has attempted today with the introduction of an app publishing feature as part of Horizon.

Even in this highly competitive environment, I’m very confident in the strength and longevity of our leadership position. My confidence relies on the bedrock of our customers and our partners and NOT on press release messaging or “checkbox” functionality.

vdi costs horizon 6

"Desktop and applications need to be done from a service-centric point of view. We deconstructed the desktop," said Dhawan, who used to work for Citrix. "The cost of a virtual desktop with storage optimization is roughly the same as the cost of a PC."


Among the key points about Horizon 6:

  • App virtualization and virtual desktops are in a single product;
  • Integrated virtual storage area networks;
  • Management and automation from the data center;
  • Hybrid delivery options;
  • The technology is built on VMware View code;
  • And the software will be available in the second quarter.

Should VMware manage to cram down storage costs — one of the biggest reasons to avoid virtual desktop delivery — then the buying decision becomes more about agility and workspaces on all screens.

As for the virtual workspaces, VMware is aiming to allow customers to be productive from everywhere and extend to all devices. Horizon 6 will have features that sandbox personal and work images and include popular applications from Microsoft and even Citrix. "There will be one workspace and one login with the exact same experience on every device," said Dhawan.

The virtual desktop unit is sold separately from VMware's recently acquired AirWatch tools, but the two sides currently integrate and ultimately are likely to blend together.

Here's a look at the Horizon pricing:

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