VMware Horizon Alternatives

Last Updated:
February 7, 2024

VMware Horizon Alternatives

On December 23rd, 2023, Broadcom® announced that effective February 4th, 2024, VMware® partner programs and incentives will cease to exist. The exception to this cancellation is VMware’s End-User Computing (EUC) division, which Broadcom plans to divest.

For VMware partners selling VMware Horizon®-based solutions, these moves by Broadcom have stirred up considerable fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Will the organization that ultimately buys VMware’s EUC division retain the current partner programs and incentives—and existing partners?

And what about the Citrix® partners who, driven by Citrix changes to product and pricing strategy after its merger with TIBCO®, signed on with VMware to resell Horizon as a backup for Citrix technology?

What are the technology alternatives for partners whose businesses have relied on VMware Horizon to provide value to their customers?

VMware Horizon Defined

VMware Horizon creates a virtual image of an end user desktop environment and presents that image to the user. To the user, the desktop looks as though it’s running on the local machine while the desktop is actually running on a physical or virtual server in a private or public cloud. Desktop virtualization is generally referred to as VDI (Virtual Desktop Interface).

Due to Horizon’s complexity and cost, using it to deliver a one or two applications is overkill. Horizon’s “sweet spot” is delivering desktops, i.e., a suite of productivity applications running on an OS (most commonly Windows®) included with the desktop. Horizon can be run on a private cloud in the organization’s data center or it can be delivered as a service.

Implementation Types

As noted above, VMware Horizon can be managed by an organization’s IT department or it can be delivered as a service by a third party. From a partner engagement perspective, Horizon implementations fit into one of two categories:

  • The Horizon environment is configured and built by a partner to the customer’s specifications; once the environment is built out, it’s turned over to the customer to maintain and support either in an on-premises data center or private cloud. In some cases, the partner will provide support for the implementation.
  • The partner/MSP delivers Horizon desktops as a service to its customers; in this use case, the customer will select from a “menu” of pre-configured end user desktops offered by the partner. These are generally referred to as managed services.

Horizon Alternatives

NOTE: All of the companies with solutions listed below can be sold via the channel. Each description below defines whether the solution delivers desktops only, applications only, or both.

Amazon Workspaces: a fully managed desktop virtualization service for Windows, Linux, and Ubuntu® that allows workers to access resources from any supported device using a browser or native client applications. For companies using Windows desktops on Amazon Workspaces, Microsoft licensing is included in the subscription; customers can also bring their own Windows 10 licenses if they meet Microsoft’s licensing requirements. Workspaces is available only on Amazon Web Services (AWS®).

Microsoft® RDS: Remote Desktop Services, is one of the components of Windows that allow a user to initiate and control an interactive session on a remote computer or virtual machine over a network connection. 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 Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Note that RDP is an open-source communications protocol where security weaknesses have been found and exploited. RDS can be deployed from any public or private cloud or on-premises.

Azure® Virtual Desktop: a cloud-based service from Microsoft that virtualizes Windows operating systems and delivers virtualized Windows desktops and applications from Azure to end users. According to Microsoft, it is aimed at enterprise customers. Priced by user type; MSP and ISV customers are considered ‘external workers’, for which Microsoft charges a per-user monthly cost based on the user’s workload (i.e. vCPUs used in a session) and computing requirements.

Parallels® RAS: a VDI product delivering centrally hosted Windows desktops and apps to end users that is essentially a front-end console for more easily managing RDS implementations. RAS can be installed on premises, in a private cloud, or on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop, and AWS.

Amazon AppStream 2.0: a fully managed service which can be configured for application streaming or for delivery of virtual desktops with selective persistence. AppStream lets IT convert desktop applications to SaaS without reconfiguring. Like Workspaces, AppStream 2.0 is available on AWS only.

Microsoft App-V: provides application virtualization and application streaming capabilities to allow IT to run applications remotely and stream them to end users. Beginning with Windows 10, App-V is included in Windows 10 for Enterprise (version 1607). App-V sandboxes the execution environment for each app so that different versions of the same software can run concurrently, and mutually exclusive applications can safely co-exist on the same user system. App-V runs on Windows and thus requires customers to purchase RDS-CALs in addition to Windows licenses. Note that App-V will not run non-Windows platforms like iOS®, Android, MacOS, and Chrome OS.

GO-Global®: an application publishing solution providing multi-user access to Windows applications from any location, device, and operating system. GO-Global is an end-user focused solution where the goal is to deliver applications as quickly and seamlessly as possible to the end-user. Unlike the remote access products described above that leverage RDS, GO-Global fully replaces the Microsoft functionality including multi-session kernel, Remote Desktop clients, display driver, protocol, internet gateway and management tools, eliminating extra licensing costs.

If you’re an MSP, VMware Horizon reseller, or Citrix reseller looking for an alternative to VMware Horizon or Citrix to make Windows applications available to users located anywhere, consider GO-Global.

With GO-Global application publishing, Windows applications run on a server, which can be installed in any public, private, or hybrid cloud.

Applications published using GO-Global require far less IT implementation and management effort than Horizon or Citrix and scale more economically. And, GO-Global leverages any cloud services’ existing infrastructure and security and scalability features to deliver advanced functionality with less complexity, lower cost, and more sustainability.

For multiple app delivery, GO-Global allows IT admins to deliver a group of applications in a single window on a user’s desktop, simulating a virtual desktop without the complexity associated with VDI.

Despite its low cost, GO-Global delivers enterprise-level scalability but is easy to install, configure, and use, and provides a great user experience, including fast logins and minimal latency, even over low-bandwidth connections.

We’ve been building, enhancing, and supporting GO-Global for over 20 years—and we’re not going anywhere.

EUC System Integrators/Value Added Resellers and Managed Service Providers that join GO-Global’s Premier Partner Program receive generous partner discounts, marketing resources, product training and support, and partner program support directly from the GO-Global team.

Learn more about the Partner Program here.

Request a demo here.

Download a free 30-day trial here.