Dell Decision point: Horizon 7 vs vWorkspace

On 14 November 2017 by Pete Petersen

Horizon 7

It may seem a year late to write this post, but a sort of closure needs to be made.

In several past posts, it was stated that Dell’s purchase Quest Software was a good thing. The primary focus of these comments was the acquisition of vWorkspace, a competitor to Citrix’s XenDesktop/XenApp and VMware’s Horizon. Frustration was expressed about Dell’s lack of action around vWorkspace marketing and development. In conversations with Dell and Quest, the answer was clear and at the time, made sense: We have strong and profitable partnerships with Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware. It was initially frustrating to watch the demise of vWorkspace, but in the end, Dell’s decision to mothball the offering makes sense. Let’s explore this a little.

In-house Competitors

First and probably the most obvious reason is that Dell also purchased EMC, who had previously purchased VMware, which has a great popular Virtual Desktop and Application broker called Horizon (fka View). So two head-to-head competitors under the same roof. One of them would have to go.

Built-in Competitive Pricing

Second, the pricing structure for Horizon has been designed to benefit existing VMware (eg: vSphere) customers. Dell’s packaging of the vSphere and Horizon together and the special pricing available to loyal clients makes a compelling alternative to Citrix or other options, including vWorkspace.

Marketshare

Third, the market-share for VMware Horizon as a popular and strong brand that has proved itself in organizations of all sizes rivaled that of Citrix and competes more thoroughly than vWorkspace does. In addition, vWorkspace’s market share was extremely small (low single digits as of early 2016), and the dropping of it would have a minor impact on in the VDI space.

Development

The development of VMware Horizon has been strong for a long time. The cadence of releases and security updates is well-established, and with the acquisitions by EMC and Dell, this has remained largely unaffected or improved. The strong Horizon development team already in place has allowed the product to continue to grow and evolve as customer needs grow and evolve as well. An example of this is VMware’s announcement of Horizon Cloud, a way to cloud-host virtual desktops and applications.

Competition

In the end, Dell had to decide where to focus. With Citrix’s fierce competition with XenApp/XenDesktop, and with Horizon’s popularity, the choice was clear. vWorkspace 8.6.3 has full support as of 2/15/2017. The Limited Support and Support Discontinued dates are not yet posted on the Product Life Cycle page.

In conclusion, Brian Madden last year had written a nice history write-up as a eulogy for vWorkspace. It is worth a look.