Citrix acquiring Unidesk kicks out Citrix AppDisk and fixes Citrix PVS image management

What a year this  has been, seems that every amazing company has been acquired by some of the big ones in End User Computing. The last in this list is Unidesk that fell into the claws of Citrix. With their Norksale acquisition and now the Unidesk acquisition they got a lot of awesome tools in hand to make a very interesting solution. So what is Unidesk offering and what will the effect be on Citrix?

Want to read the official announcement from Unidesk here – link – and the one from Citrix here – link

Funny thing is that Citrix acquired RingCube for this also in 2011, here is the blog from Unidesk about it – link -. So next up is Unidesk.


For who doesn’t know Unidesk, here is a link to the User Environment Comparison white paper for more details about what they are offering. I updated this white paper with the help of IT friends earlier this year, the Unidesk part is still pretty relevant. Find the UEM article here – link – There is a link to the document in the article.

Unidesk is a layering solution for every part, it can layer all the aspects of the system, the operating system, drivers and applications. With their solution you can make sure you update one Windows layer or one application layer and mix and match them together to create an image you can use to deploy a virtual environment.


The simplest way to explain, there is more but this is the basics, is the drawing above. At the left you see all the layers from operating system to drivers to applications. There could be a dozen more of these layers with different operating system ones (windows 10 + windows 7 +++). In the Unidesk console you mix and match the layers you created to one set you are planning to use for a new virtual desktop environment. The drawing shows a Microsoft Hyper-v environment but that is just an example.


So the layers you picked are sort of put together and will eventually create an image. This image you present to e.g. Citrix, Microsoft, VMware for their solution to deploy to a virtual environment. So with Citrix that would be a PVS image that is streamed and with VMware it would be a linked clone being composed to a VDI desktop environment. That’s the basics, smart image management through layering of virtually everything.

Unidesk can do more, like elastic layering which is basically connect an appstack to a user working on a XenApp server without giving all others users also access to that specific application. If you want to know more about Unidesk look at their site, there are a ton of video’s explaining everything.

Why does this benefit Citrix?

Citrix has had an issue with Citrix PVS image management for years, they created an update proces but that was only useful for simple Anti virus updates or Microsoft updates but not really for application changes in the image. Unidesk would really bring a benefit here, you could create application layers per application already in advance and when you want to update the image you mix and match and add a new layer to the image and your done. No real installation or updating inside the image anymore.. control, consistency.


Citrix tried to create an App Volumes variant with the AppDisk but AppDisk had issues, it was delivery group dependent. it never took off and their acquisition of Ringcube was kind of a failure. Now with Unidesk AppDisk is for sure going away, I don’t see any use for it anymore. All functionality is also available with Unidesk.

Where does this leave the others?

With Unidesk of the market, VMware has their hands free to sell App Volumes to VMware customers. The competition has shrunk suddenly. For customer running Citrix environments it will be interesting to see where Citrix is positioning this. From what we hear at this moment it seems that all current support contract customers have free access to the software as it is. It is not clear at this moment if certain features will be added to Platinum only. So far for Citrix support contract customers seems to be on the right side of the line.

The interesting calculation will be to mix and match products and licenses to see how you get the best value for your bucks. depending on what you are looking for and what tools you have in place Unidesk might be the best solution but in some environments it is just over done.

What is next?

Interested to see how they will integrate this in the solution, I hope they will finally do some work on the PVS consoles and add this and Unidesk to the main console in Studio. I’m sure that at Summit more of this will be shown and we will learn more… let’s wait and see.

Citrix will not ship Unidesk itself right now but will work to integrate it in the next release of their software… as said before, interesting times ahead.

What is even more interesting is what VMware will do with AppVolumes as it is now also stuck in some licensing, if Citrix is offering layering in all licenses VMware can’t stay behind. Times are a changing and we’re are living it.

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