Application Publishing Solutions for MSPs

Last Updated:
February 27, 2024

Application Publishing Solutions for MSPs


If you’re a Managed Service Provider (MSP) looking for a solution to publish Windows® applications so you can deliver them to customers as SaaS, you probably realize by now that your list of available options is shrinking.

Although intended for and priced for use by larger organizations who want to deliver desktops to end users, Citrix® application publishing and VDI solutions and VMware Horizon® are used by many MSPs to deliver Windows applications to their users. However, given the recent acquisitions of each company, and the indications that Citrix and VMware®  are being “reborn” as strictly enterprise technology solution providers, those MSPs are being forced to rethink their vendor choice for application publishing.

Additionally, MSPs using application publishing solutions rather than VDI that want to increase their margins and reduce workload may be evaluating alternatives to their current technology choice.

First, what is application publishing, and how is it different than VDI?

What is Application Publishing?

Application publishing is the process of making an application available to remote users. Published applications are virtual software programs that look and act like local applications but are actually running on a server. IT can set up published application access on the user’s device so that the user accesses and launches a published application the same way that they would a local application. In many cases, the user can’t tell the difference between a published application and an application installed on the end user’s device.

Both Microsoft® Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) and Virtual Desktop Interface(VDI) technologies can publish applications, but published applications are more common with RDSH.

How is Application Publishing Different than VDI?

While both solutions run on a server that’s accessed by users, there are some fundamental differences. VDI delivers desktops containing a dedicated desktop computing environment and applications that work in that environment; application publishing makes one or more stand-alone applications available with no desktop environment. Users can run published applications on pretty much any device, including mobile devices, while VDI is primarily utilized by PC users. And, since published applications run like a local application, users need less training to utilize published applications versus a virtual desktop.

Application publishing requires less bandwidth than VDI, so published applications run better, especially in low-bandwidth situations, making them easier for remote users to utilize, no matter where they are working from. Application publishing requires fewer computing resources to run, making it a far more economical choice for application delivery. Additionally, application publishing is far easier and cheaper to implement and manage than VDI.

For users that need access to applications, not a full desktop session, application publishing is less costly and easier to buy, implement, and manage than VDI.

Application Publishing Solutions Overview

Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

Remote Desktop Services is a component of Windows that allows a user to initiate and control an interactive session on a remote computer or virtual machine over a network connection. RDS lets MSPs deliver individual virtualized applications for end users, and enable those users with the ability to run their applications from the cloud. RDS is Microsoft's implementation of thin client architecture, where Windows software, and the entire desktop of the computer running RDS, are made accessible to any remote client machine that supports Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP),a network protocol that allows users to remotely connect to a server to access Windows applications. Organizations that use RDS to publish Windows applications are subject to Windows Server® licensing costs, including per-user access licensing, which can significantly escalate the cost of applications publishing using RDS.

VMware Horizon Apps

Horizon Apps offers published applications and session-based desktops without VDI. Horizon Apps leverages Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) servers to deliver RDS-published applications or desktops, and VM-hosted apps on Horizon 7.9 or later to deliver published applications. Data, applications, and desktops are centrally managed and secured; users access their published applications and desktops from a single digital workspace. Because Horizon Apps uses RDS and RDP to publish applications, MSPs using this solution will need to pay per-user access licensing in addition to Windows and Horizon licensing costs.


An application publishing solution providing multi-user access to Windows applications from any location, device, and operating system. GO-Global is the only Windows application publishing solution that does not leverage RDS technology. Instead, GO-Global fully replaces the Microsoft functionality including multi-session kernel, Remote Desktop clients, display driver, protocol, internet gateway and management tools. GO-Global offers a simple end-user experience that is easy to manage.

How is GO-Global Different than Other Application Publishing Solutions?

Unlike other application publishing solutions, GO-Global does not utilize RDS or RDP to publish Windows applications, enabling MSPs to achieve higher margins and avoid risk.

Compared to other application publishing solutions utilizing RDS and RDP, GO-Global is:

  • Easy to Install—installs in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Easy to configure—implementations are all configured from one console.
  • Easy to manage—Manage applications, users, sessions, processes, licenses, load balancing, session definitions, authentication, passwords, encryption, branding, printing, and more from the same console used for your initial GO-Global implementation. Most actions can be completed in a few clicks.
  • Easy to run on any cloud—while GO-Global delivers all the infrastructure components (like load balancing and security) needed to run on a private cloud, it doesn’t require you to use that functionality in a public cloud. Instead, GO-Global will leverage your cloud service’s existing infrastructure and security and scalability features to reduce your implementations complexity and cost.
  • Easy license management—GO-Global’s Cloud Licensing service does most of the work needed to activate, change, add, and move licenses, and provides a 72-hour grace period should you experience a network outage.
  • Uses a proprietary communications protocol—RapidX Protocol (RXP) is adaptive, uses multiple layers of compression, and is optimized to ensure the lowest possible bandwidth utilization. Because RXP is closed source, it offers additional defense against attackers.  
  • Enables Single Sign-on for Windows applications—GO-Globalis the only remote application access technology that supports OpenID® Connect (OIDC), which enables organizations to use OIDC identity providers like Okta® and Microsoft® Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) for single sign-on into GO-Global Windows hosts.  

To reduce licensing costs, simplify application publishing, and leverage the resources already available in your cloud infrastructure, consider GO-Global.

It’s easy to give GO-Global a try using the free 30-day trial—and it’s ridiculously easy to move your trial to production and retain the configuration built during your trial period.  Just click here to download the free trial and get started.

Want a demo? Click here.