Three Reasons Why Application Streaming Died

On 3 June 2013 by Pete Petersen

No Application Streaming

In a recent pseudo-announcement, Citrix has indicated that it has stopped development of its Application Streaming product, and that it will be missing from any future products–already missing from Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

Interesting move.

Honestly, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. For years, Citrix internal folks themselves have been directing implementers to App-V rather than their own App Streaming product.

I suppose Citrix App Streaming existed the same reason Wordpad does, only in reverse. Usually it’s Microsoft that gives the Wordpad feature set, and other vendors provide the functionality to actually have something useful. This time, Citrix has provided the Wordpad version while Microsoft bought SoftGrid, now App-V, which has the industry-class functionality.

Trouble is: App-V has a learning curve, and some apps are not easy to virtualize. And there is no migration path from Citrix App Streaming to App-V. Organizations will need to completely re-tool theire app virtualization approaches. As an example of what organizations have ahead of them, Microsoft’s own Office is one of the biggest pains to virtualize. There is an actual client shim install, in addition to the App-V client, in order to stream Office. Very complex to do. And flies in the face of doing application virtualization in the first place: keeping a pure desktop and avoiding app-specific installs on the client.

Ruben Spruijt produced a nice smackdown article about the various application virtualization technologies that also includes a good explanation of what the technology is all about. In addition, here on VDIenterprise, App-V has been called the Secret Powerhouse. There are some links in that post that are worth following.

The reasons?

  1. The functionality is already there.
    Citrix is used to being the “added functionality” vendor, adding to functionality that Microsoft provides. In this case, there is nothing for Citrix to add. In fact, Citrix has produced and inferior product, which is not where it is comfortable being.
  2. Limited user base.
    So Citrix Application Streaming has received mixed response over the years, and has had very limited implementation. That being the case, Citrix realizes that App Streaming is not needed as a core business product. Its customers are just not demanding it.
  3. A complete re-write is needed to keep going.
    Citrix simply doesn’t want to make the huge investment in a product that is both inferior and that customers are not migrating to. The price at this stage is just too great.

In the end, customers who want application virtualization still have choices, but for world-class application virtualization on a Citrix-based implementation, App-V is clearly the direciton to go.