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With more employees working remotely, companies are dealing with new challenges on how IT can best deliver services. To provide remote teams all the apps and business data they need, organizations are turning to desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions like Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. With DaaS in the cloud or VDI on-premises, companies are able to reduce downtime and increase data security, while giving end-users a consistent experience and simplifying IT management.
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Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a solution that empowers remote teams to work wherever they are. At the same time, it gives IT teams greater control and security, as access to corporate data now comes from a variety of devices and locations. Virtualization is a dependable technology, with a variety of innovations offered by many vendors. Aside from capabilities, businesses can also check for support, ease of use, and specific features that may be important for their use cases.
Compatible with various server hardware, OSs, mobile devices, and network configurations
Easy to install, simple to configure, and with fewer components
Flexible and affordable pricing
Compliant with world-recognized security standards and regulations
Quick to scale up and down
Can integrate with third-party solutions and services
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops provides companies many benefits such as flexible deployment options, scalable provisioning from 10 to 1000 users, and uniform experience regardless of computer platform or device. But there are other Citrix alternatives that can provide similar desktop and app virtualization solutions for a variety of use cases as well. Here is a list of the top Citrix cloud competitors to choose from in no particular order.
Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) is a feature included in Windows 10 Enterprise. It has server- and client-side components that users need to download, install, and activate to access Win32 applications as virtual applications. The virtual applications reside on centrally managed Windows servers, and are published and delivered to users in real time as needed. The applications become available to end-user computers without IT personnel having to locally install the applications on those computers. App-V isolates applications deployed through it from each other, eliminating application conflicts.
Workspot is a 100% cloud-native desktop SaaS solution. It is a cost-effective alternative to on-premises VDI solutions, which require substantial investment in hardware and IT expertise, as well as taking months to build and implement. Workspot can have organizations up and running within weeks or days with their enterprise cloud desktops running across Azure or Google Cloud. Persistent, non-persistent, and any other configurations are ready to deploy in minutes. The software’s SaaS platform simplifies end-user computing , delivering fully customized cloud desktops without users having to worry about infrastructure, maintenance, or upgrades.
Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) is an application and desktop delivery solution that is among the leading Citrix systems competitors. It provides a streamlined working solution with secured access to virtual desktops and applications. Employees can switch between devices and locations, which is ideal for remote working. Parallels RAS reinforces security by centralizing and managing data services. Features include granular permission policies, SSL and FIPS encryption, as well as multifactor and smart card authentication. Central management for multi-cloud deployments and support for Windows Virtual Desktop gives IT teams increased flexibility and agility.
Evolve IP Work Anywhere virtual desktop solutions and services integrates DaaS/VDI with identity management. This helps protect devices — company-provided or BYOD — using single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA). Its hosted applications give enterprise employees secure access to Windows apps on any device. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, it also provides US-based support and advanced capabilities for integrating Teams with Cisco Voice, as well as email and data migration services. Evolve IP’s DaaS solution is third-party audited and complies with HIPAA/HITRUST, PCI, and SOC2 standards.
NComputing is a provider of client virtualization solutions, including hardware and software. vSpace Pro Enterprise Edition is a server-based computing platform that allows a business to give employees access to Windows desktops. Applications are on a single OS instance, and all data storage and computing tasks occur on the server. Each user gets their workspace, and all workspaces have the same applications. NComputing vSpace Pro uses a proprietary UXP protocol that allows IT admins to manage user sessions and devices centrally, with the option to deploy the virtualization on-premise or in the cloud.
Oracle VirtualBox is a free and open source software (FOSS) for computers running on Intel and AMD processors. It is a feature-rich, high-performance virtualization product for home as well as enterprise use. VirtualBox supports a large number of host and guest operating systems. The host OS and guest OS can communicate with each other through mechanisms such as a clipboard or a virtualized network. Because it’s a FOSS, IT teams will have to work more in designing and implementing the system to give users a consistent experience and ensure data security.
VMware Horizon offers secure and efficient delivery of virtual desktops and applications that IT can manage from a data center on-premise, in a public cloud, or on hybrid infrastructure. As one of the leading Citrix competitors, it has a cloud-based console with SaaS management services that let admins deploy, manage, monitor, and scale desktops and apps. VMware Horizon includes intrinsic security and integration to Carbon Black using a zero-trust model. Employees can connect and be productive with a consistent, personalized desktop environment from any location or device.
Ericom Software offers Connect, a cloud-based service that is easy to set up, manage, and use. Browser-based access requires no client installation on desktops and mobile devices. Ericom Connect is more of a secure remote application with desktop access as-a-service. Unlike virtualization with client-side software components, this client-less solution allows IT teams to remotely deploy the software. A web-based, centralized management console allows IT to onboard users and publish apps and desktops based on configuration and administration policies set for different users and groups. The solution integrates with VPNs and supports MFA, role-based administration, and SSO.
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What Is Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops?
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a comprehensive solution that Citrix and its industry partners (like AWS, Cisco, Google Cloud, HPE, IBM, and Microsoft) provide to customers. It allows organizations to deploy virtual instances of apps and desktops to their employees. No matter what device or location employees choose to work on, they access the same apps and data consistently under the same company-approved work settings.
It also provides IT a centralized way of managing workstation configuration, access permissions, and app deployments. IT engineers can quickly set up access to a Citrix remote desktop with all the allowed apps for new hires without having to physically configure individual computers or devices.
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Advantages of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
Citrix has more than three decades in the technology space, and was among the pioneers involved in complex cloud environments. Today, Citrix brings innovative thinking and a new generation of technologies in intelligent and unified digital workspaces. DaaS and VDI solutions from Citrix provide end-users a great experience and IT teams more security and options.
Virtual Apps and Desktops offers companies the option to deploy the solution as a cloud service, on-premises within the customer’s data centers, or in a hybrid setup. Customers can choose their preferred cloud provider — like AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure — and still get the same secure experience. Other advantages include flexibility, scalability, business continuity/disaster recovery, and cost savings from capital expenses.
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Drawbacks of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
Citrix supports both persistent and non-persistent virtual desktops. Persistent virtual desktops allow some degree of personalization and customization that IT admins can manage through profiles. Some users like to have an easier way to configure and manage profiles — as some Citrix competitors would allow them. To do this in Citrix at present requires a high level of technical skills. Users would also like to have additional automation, monitoring, and workflow features, which are currently limited to the highest and priciest license level.
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Ready to Try a Citrix Alternative for Your Virtualization Needs?
Digital transformation, a changing office setup, and unanticipated situations are pushing companies to seek out new and better business tools. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, along with our list of the top Citrix alternatives, give organizations a choice of innovative solutions to ensure business continuity and data security with remote teams.
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Jose Santos is a long-time contributing writer for project-management.com. He is a subject matter expert in the field of project management and has many years of experience writing about project management software and tools. He has written hundreds of articles for the project management industry, including numerous software reviews, book reviews, training site reviews, and more.