Feeds

Citrix delivers Swiss Army Knife desktop virtualization

Everything rides on 2010

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

There are a lot ways to serve applications to end users working from PCs and other devices, and Citrix Systems thinks it has come up with the right combination of options: mix everything together and let companies and end users decide.

With XenDesktop 4, announced Monday, Citrix is adding 70 new features to its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) server, which allows a server hypervisor - not just XenServer, but also Hyper-V from Microsoft or ESX Server from VMware - to serve up virtual Windows or Linux PC slices over the corporate network.

With VDI, so long as you have a network link, you have a PC, which is great but also limiting for mobile users who often want to work even when they don't have a network. Ditto for feeding server-based applications to end users over the network, which has been done using Presentation Server (now called XenApp) for years.

This places a lot of load on the central servers and the networks linking in to run the applications back in the data center, but that is the price you pay to have centralized control of applications and data.

But with the mix of XenDesktop and XenApp, and the integration of the future Project Independence XenClient bare metal hypervisor for PCs that Citrix and Intel are cooking up for vPro-compatible PCs, Citrix now says it will be able to deliver local PC images in virtual machines as well as remote ones through VDI and also allow applications to be streamed down from central servers and run either remotely or locally, depending on how customers want it.

The term that Citrix wants us to use for this is "flexcasting," and it runs the gamut. It includes the local VM-based desktops with operating systems and applications that can be run offline (in XenClient, due for delivery sometime in the first half of 2010), as well as virtual applications installed on desktops and local applications streamed down to desktops, which in all cases use the local computing power, graphics cards, web cams, and peripherals of the local device.

On the server side, the Citrix XenDesktop software stack will support hosted blade PC desktops - with a one-to-one ratio - hosted PCs on shared servers - VDI through what used to be called XenDesktop - and hosted shared desktops - using XenApp.

The stack also includes the VM-hosted applications, a feature that debuted in mid-September with XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2. This allows a single legacy Windows application to be wrapped up in a virtual machine and streamed down to PC users without having to make any code changes - as XenApp often requires. This hosted VM approach, which mixes XenApp and XenDesktop features, was a precursor to the merged XenDesktop and XenApp announced today.

Charging change

By the way, the merger of the XenDesktop and XenApp functionality with the new XenDesktop 4 has one other important change: the way it is priced. XenDesktop 4 is priced based on named users, but the standalone XenDesktop and XenApp are both priced based on concurrent users.

This may not seem like a big deal, but at many companies, there are many different work shifts and the number of named users far exceeds the number of concurrent users. Ditto for service providers, who often stream applications using XenApp. And for this reason, the company will continue to sell XenApp as a standalone product according to the vice president of Citrix's XenDesktop product group Sumit Dhawan.

Dhawan says that Citrix thinks that 2010 is going to be the year when companies really start thinking about virtualization, VDI, and application streaming, and this goes from being a pilot project to becoming a production desktop environment. Citrix certainly needs this to be true, since it shelled out $500m two years ago to acquire XenSource, the company behind the open source Xen hypervisor.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.