Xenapp vs Xendesktop

Xenapp vs Xendesktop

Now that we get to have constant access to hardware and software, virtualization has been like a massive change in the game for many enterprises. Other businesses have dropped their initial strategies and started looking for a better virtualization software. Currently, in the market, XenDesktop vs XenApp are two of the most popular and well-liked virtualization tools offered by Citrix, a well known software.

However, considering a hint of similarity in the name, it often confuses people. Despite the fact that they are both virtualization products, they are completely different in use. While XenApp is a software solution for Windows application virtualization, Citrix XenDesktop is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) service that provides complete desktop virtualization.

In other words, XenApp used to virtualize specific Windows apps, but XenDesktop used to virtualize your complete desktop.

What is Citrix?

It known to be a US-based cloud computing and virtualization company that is famous for producing software that provides security access to applications and content. Citrix provides server applications and desktop virtualization. Moreover, it also provides other services like software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, and networking products for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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What is Citrix XenDesktop? What Are its Features?

Citrix XenDesktop is a virtual desktop solution that lets you create and manage virtual desktops. You can install it on a centralized data center and allocate resources accordingly to provision virtual desktops for your entire organization. It supports both private and public data servers.

XenDesktop comes with unique built-in features like Delivery Control, StoreFront Portal, Citrix Studio, and Citrix License Server for running and managing virtual desktops. By using the Citrix Director, the Delivery control stores all the desktop configurations. It’s a connection broker compatible with various hypervisors like VMWare vSphere.

Real-time virtual desktop deployment, the StoreFront Portal displays applications and desktops which provide Provisioning services. In short, XenDesktop is a powerful tool that can help you create and manage virtual desktops for your organization.

Pros of Citrix XenDesktop

  • Independent Device: You can access your virtual Desktop anywhere, anytime.
  • User Experience: It is quite similar to local or native desktops.
  • A modern workplace: With all the new multiple modern technologies, it makes your work easy.
  • Security: Since it can comply with a different regulatory compliance, it is an extremely secure server.
  • Customizable: It can optimized as per your usage.
  • Scalability: You can scale your resources up or down as per your convenience.

Cons of Citrix XenDesktop

  • Complex set-up: It may present certain difficulties at the time of setting up.
  • Requires High Security Configuration: To balance your security concerns, you must disable features that come as a threat to you.

What is Citrix Xenapp?

Application virtualization software XenApp also referred to as Citrix Virtual Apps. It makes it easier for users to access applications that hosted on centralized data servers remotely.

Any device with proper authentication and an internet connection can access the hosted application. It offers a top-notch remote application experience by utilizing Citrix HDX technology.

Suggested Reading: Citrix HDX: Everything you need to know

It also works with OS upgrades and PC migrations without the need for application customization.

Pros of Citrix Xenapp?

  • Increased Deployment: It offers faster delivery for different application processes.
  • Efficient Performance: For an unparalleled end-user experience, an independent Management Architecture is provided.
  • Average Setup Process: It provides you with a smooth initial setup followed by an easy technical training.

Cons of Citrix Xenapp?

  • Licensing cost: It happens to have a higher licensing cost.
  • Limited compatibility: There may specific compatibility issues included.

Top 5 Differences Between Citrix XenDesktop & Citrix XenApp

Desktop VirtualizationApplication Virtualization
Independent of Any Application functionalityConcerned with Particular Application
Autonomy Desktop ConfigurationBased on Server Based Computing
Higher Resource UtilizationModerate Resource Utilization
Fully customizableMinimal Customizable
Pricing is based as per DeploymentNot much Expensive


Virtualization technology plays a big role when it comes to both the servers. In XenDesktop, this server is only concerned with Desktop Virtualization. With XenDesktop, you can create and manage your virtual desktops from a centralized data server.

XenApp is a virtual application software. It allows you to add, edit specific data. So even though XenApp lets you manage your virtual desktop, you need an additional XenApp in order to access the Virtualized applications remotely.


The way that XenDesktop and XenApp deployed is different. Server Based Computing (SBC) is the foundation of XenApp. A single server in SBC can accommodate several user sessions. A single platform must hared by all users. They are unable to apply unique customizations or settings, though.

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A user has a full desktop configuration with XenDesktop depending on their VDI type. They operate in an exclusive environment that cut off from other users.

Utilization of Resources

When comparing both the virtual servers, XenApp provides higher efficiency as opposed to XenDesktop. It uses SBC which is quite similar to RDS. Without any help of considerable resources, you can host a large number of resources.

Every user has their own environment in XenDesktop. This is one of the reasons for massive resource allocation. You will have to manage your resources according to your own environment.


Both XenApp and XenDesktop serve various organizational functions. For people or businesses looking for an isolated desktop environment, XenDesktop is a good option. They have complete control over how their virtual desktop customized. It works well for jobs that require a lot of resources, including software developers and graphic artists.

Access to XenApp restricted to certain applications. It is ideal for companies who need remote access to any kind of software. It might used by an accountant, for instance, to host accounting software and information.

Capital Expenditure

Capital requirements vary when it comes to both XenDesktop and XenApp. There has to be an immense financial expenditure for a virtual desktop. It is very important to wisely use your computational resources for deploying individual virtual desktops. This will eventually bring a rise in your Capex.

But let’s say you use a reputable service provider to host your virtual desktops. As they offer a managed VDI in which security, servers, and procurement are concerned, there will be a considerable decrease in costs in such a situation. Simply pay for it based on the resources used.

All you need to do in XenApp is host an application. Up to 200 users can easily accommodated on one server using a single OS platform. As a result, it is ultimately less expensive than XenDesktop.

Conclusion: Which Solution Should You Choose?

Both Xenapp vs Xendesktop have their own specific pros and cons. According to your industry, you should do in-depth research and choose what you want. There is no answer to which virtual server you should choose. However, it all depends on your business requirements and needs.

Generally, Large enterprises should go for XenDesktop and small and medium sized businesses should go for XenApp. This way you’ll be able to make your server smooth and efficient when it comes to working.


Q. What is XenDesktop?

Ans. XenDesktop is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). It allows the users to remotely access or even operate on Microsoft Windows Desktop.

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