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Citrix kicks off XenSource era by going bandwagon mad

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Citrix will try to impress customers with a healthy dose of the new and old at its iForum conference taking place this week in Las Vegas. Predictably, the new bits stem from Citrix's plans with the freshly acquired XenSource software, while most of the "old" bits concern additions to the venerable Presentation Server.

The first reveal of Citrix's XenSource agenda may well receive the most attention this week. The Presentation Server tweaks, however, provide some of the most immediate and intriguing benefits to customers.

On the XenSource front, Citrix has rebranded Xen Enterprise 4.0 as Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition. Since Citrix has just completed its acquisition of XenSource a couple months after the release of Xen Enterprise 4.0, there's not much going on here besides rebadging. Customers can pick up the XenSource code for their server slicing tasks, receiving fairly similar tools to what they'll see from market leader VMware.

Citrix will also continue the practice of offering a free, single-server version of the software under the Citrix XenServer Express Edition brand.

But it's not all marketing maneuvers with Citrix and its fresh code. The company will ship something dubbed Citrix XenDesktop in the first half of next year. With XenDesktop, we find Citrix melding XenServer with its own Desktop Server and Provisioning Server products. Customers will see a software bundle that allows for server-based delivery of desktop operating systems.

"Citrix XenDesktop will combine a powerful WAN-optimized desktop delivery controller (based on Citrix Desktop Server with native ICA protocol support), a full virtual infrastructure for hosting any number of virtual desktops in the datacenter (based on Citrix XenServer) and dynamic provisioning to stream desktop images on-demand from network storage (based on Citrix Provisioning Server)," Citrix said.

Citrix declined to reveal pricing for the desktop bundle at this time, but it's threatening to try out pricing models which may give VMware trouble.

"We will price this aggressively," Citrix Chief Strategy Officer Wes Wasson told us.

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