Citrix to bring desktop virtualisation to the mainstream

6 Oct 2009

Software maker Citrix is planning to make virtual desktops a reality for hundreds of millions of corporate employees. The company has unveiled its XenDesktop 4 platform with new FlexCast delivery technology.

Unlike first-generation solutions, XenDesktop 4 with its new FlexCast delivery technology is the first product in the industry to support every major desktop virtualisation model in a single, integrated solution.

This enables improved return on investment, simplified management and extends the benefits of virtualisation to every employee in the enterprise. XenDesktop 4 further simplifies desktop computing by integrating all the capabilities of Citrix XenApp, enabling customers to deliver on-demand applications to physical or virtual desktops.

To ensure every user gets a high-definition experience at all times, XenDesktop 4 includes enhancements to its HDX technology.

It also builds on the company’s 20-year partnership with Microsoft, simplifying the management of virtual desktops through Microsoft System Centre, and adding multiple enhancements that further extend the value of Microsoft Windows and Windows Server platforms. In total, XenDesktop 4 adds more than 70 new features, significantly enhancing its performance, security and readiness for large, enterprise-wide deployments.

“2010 will be a watershed year for desktop virtualisation, ushering in a new era that will revolutionise the way we work, live and play,” said Mark Templeton, president and CEO, Citrix Systems.

“Twenty-five years ago, the personal computer turned the world upside down, radically improving individual productivity and communications. That world is about to change again. People today need to work in entirely new ways, powered by the connectivity of the internet, an explosion of new devices, and the limitless promise of the web.

“And they need to do it without being confined to ordinary desktops that are locked to an office, a device, or a network. Desktop virtualisation has the power to make all this possible. That revolution begins here, today. And it starts with the new XenDesktop,” said Templeton.

By delivering desktops as an on-demand service to any device, XenDesktop 4 dramatically simplifies the world of desktop computing. Delivering to new employees goes from days to minutes. New branches can be opened in a fraction of the time. And employee moves, adds and changes become quick and easy.

Combining secure central management with full device independence also allows companies to implement cost-saving “BYOC” (bring-your-own-computer) programs that give employees the freedom to purchase any laptop of their choice in lieu of standard-issue PCs owned and managed by IT.

Benefits for end users are equally profound. With XenDesktop 4, users are no longer tethered to a specific device. They simply use whatever PC, Mac, thin client, laptop or netbook is most convenient, and get instant, secure access to their full Windows desktop and everything on it.

“With Citrix’s XenDesktop 4, virtual desktops will soon become the norm for every enterprise user. Its flexibility means it can be delivered to any user – whether they are office-based workers who need personalised desktops, high-end users who demand high-definition capabilities, or mobile workers,” Niall Gilmore, country manager for Citrix Ireland, explained.

“XenDesktop 4 can be set up at a minimal cost as it leverages existing IT infrastructures, making it the simplest option for businesses new to desktop virtualisation,” he added.

XenDesktop 4 also includes the ability to stream desktops to each user’s device to run locally, while still managing the OS, apps and data centrally. This leverages existing PC resources and keeps data-centre overhead to a minimum.

“Citrix XenDesktop 4 represents an important milestone for the industry and an ideal complement to Microsoft’s user-centric computing vision,” said Bob Muglia, president, Server and Tools Business, Microsoft Corp.

“Microsoft is working closely with Citrix to ensure users have on-demand access to the information they need, when they need it, regardless of what device they’re using – and to provide users with as seamless an experience as possible as they roam between devices,” Muglia said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Citrix’s XenDesktop 4 platform is designed to simplify desktop computing by delivering desktops as an on-demand service to any device.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years