Bandwidth Requirements for XenDesktop 4

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 May 17th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Great resource for determining bandwidth requirements for XenDesktop
The following graph provides a summary of the Average Bandwidth consumed for native Citrix XenDesktop and the performance benefits gained when Citrix Branch Repeater is integrated into the Citrix XenDesktop solution. All the numbers shown below are for the respective workflows over a WAN connection of 1.5 Mbps, 80ms latency and 1% packet loss (with the exception of the HD video which required a 10Mbps connection based on the high data rate of the video).

For complete article

Source: Citrix

Wyse Xenith™ – The zero client built for Citrix

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 May 17th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Meet Wyse Xenith

Zero delays, Zero management, Zero security issues – Citrix HDX.

Outfit your cloud with the fastest, easiest to manage, and most secure Citrix client we’ve ever built – and that’s saying something.

From the company that invented the category and built more zero clients than anyone.

Yes, anyone.


Zero Delays


Go from 0 to productivity faster than a Ferrari.

Wyse Xenith is ready to work in six seconds because its dynamically delivered firmware is smaller than a single digital photograph. Its efficient design is three times faster than competing devices and sports gigabit LAN and wireless-n, so it’s ready for serious tasks whether you’re wired in or not. With an industry first media decoder in hardware, Wyse Xenith will be able to deliver HD video without taxing your server, network or patience.


Zero Management


That’s right, no management. It’s a zero configuration client.

Most thin clients require you to add software, tweak settings, or configure them in some way before you can use them. Not Wyse Xenith. Just take it out of the box and connect it to your network – your Citrix XenDesktop server configures it to your preferences.

Wyse Xenith is completely configurable, yet no management software is needed. So unlike some clients, when a hot new feature is released, you won’t need to buy new ones to get it.


Zero Security Issues


It’s one less thing to worry about.

Wyse Xenith is the only dynamically configurable zero client that is virus and malware immune.

Yes, immune.

There are no Windows or Linux APIs for viruses to latch on to, so even network and memory-borne viruses can’t attack. Unlike other HDX compatible clients, Wyse Xenith needs absolutely no local firewall or anti-virus protection.


Zero Energy Use (Almost)


Save $70 a year in energy versus a PC*

Wyse Xenith draws less than 7 watts of power – in full operation.

That’s less than every PC on the planet. And no multimedia rich client on the market today uses less energy.

When you hug a tree – it might hug back.


Zero Compromise User Experience


Wyse Xenith is built for Citrix environments.

XenApp, XenDesktop, it’s what Wyse Xenith lives for.
It’s quite simply the best Citrix HDX client this side of Win32.
With HDX support that goes beyond any non-windows device on the market today.

The desktop just got a lot easier.


Processor: VIA 1GHz
Chipset: VIA VX855
Memory: 128MB Flash / 512MB RAM DDR2
I/O peripheral support: One DVI-I port, DVI to VGA (DB-15) adapter included
Dual-video Support with optional DVI-I to DVI-D plus VGA-monitor splitter cable (sold separately)
Four USB 2.0 ports (2 on front, 2 on back)
Two PS/2 ports
One Mic In
One Line Out
Enhanced PS/2 Keyboard with Windows Keys (104 keys)
PS/2 Optical mouse included
Networking: 10/100/1000 Base-T Gigabit Ethernet
Internal 802.11 b/g/n (optional) eliminates theft of external wireless adapters
Display: VESA monitor support with Display Data Control (DDC) for automatic setting of resolution and refresh rate
Dual monitor supported
Single: 1920×1200@60Hz, Color depth: 8, 15, 16, 24 or 32bpp,
Two independent full resolution frame buffers
Dual: 1920×1200@60Hz, Color Depth: 8, 15, 16, 24 or 32bpp
Audio: Output: 1/8-inch mini jack, full 16 bit stereo, 48KHz sample rate
Input: 1/8-inch mini jack, 8 bit stereo microphone
Physical characteristics: Height: 1.38 inches (34mm)
Width: 6.94 inches (177mm)
Depth: 4.75 inches (121mm)
Shipping Weight: 6 lbs. (2.7kg)
Mountings: Horizontal feet (optional vertical stand)
Optional VESA mounting bracket
Device Security: Built-in Kensington security slot (cable sold separately)
Power: Worldwide auto-sensing 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz. Energy Star V.5.0 compliant power supply
Average power usage with device connected to 1 keyboard with 1 PS/2 mouse and 1 monitor: Under 7 Watts
Temperature Range: Horizontal and Vertical positions: 50° to 104° F (10° to 40° C)
Humidity: 20% to 80% condensing
10% to 95% non-condensing
Safety Certifications: German EKI-ITB 2000, ISO 9241-3/-8
cULus 60950, TÜV-GS, EN 60950
FCC Class B, CE, VCCI, C-Tick
WEEE, RoHS Compliant
Warranty: Three-year hardware warranty

Local Virtual Machine-based Desktops – Powered by XenClient

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 May 11th, 2010|Uncategorized|

The consumerization of IT is having a profound impact on enterprise IT in general and desktop management in particular. An increase in demand for mobility and the features of consumer-oriented devices, has led to the introduction of Bring Your Own Computer programs to offer users the flexibility to choose their own laptop. The benefits for users are clear – BYOC programs enable users to select computers that meet both their personal and professional requirements. For IT, BYOC frees them to work on strategic business and IT initiatives as opposed to PC asset management and break-fix.

So what’s the problem? Historically, concerns about security and the applicability of traditional desktop configuration management tools have slowed the adoption of BYOC initiatives. Enter XenClient – a revolutionary new Xen-based client hypervisor that will enable IT to deliver each employee’s corporate desktop into a secure, centrally-managed virtual machine that runs directly on that user’s laptop, making these problems a thing of the past. When available, XenClient will be the industry’s only client hypervisor to offer “100% isolation” to ensure that all corporate applications and data are completely isolated from personal data, increasing security and simplifying regulatory compliance.

When utilized in conjunction with XenDesktop, the new XenClient offering will transform the way corporate desktops are delivered and managed, giving IT the benefits of centralized management and security while also providing users with the performance, personalization and flexibility they demand. In the future, XenDesktop may also offer the Traditional desktop management challenges such as hardware upgrades, employee moves and lost or stolen laptops will become less significant because IT will now be able to centrally terminate the corporate desktop on any device and quickly deliver it on a new laptop. Best of all, because the desktop and applications execute locally, users are free to work online or offline with the rich performance and experience of a traditional laptop.

Citrix Receiver for Windows & Mac

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 April 5th, 2010|Uncategorized|

On-demand applications from any Windows & Mac device

Citrix Receiver for Windows and Mac is a lightweight software client that runs on laptops, desktops, Macs and netbooks – turning any device into a powerful business tool to access virtual applications and desktops. With Receiver installed on a device, IT can rapidly deliver virtual applications and desktops people need to do their jobs. Receiver for Windows and Mac, along with its innovative console, Merchandising Server, enables faster roll-out of virtual applications and desktops, simplified client management and update, and a single unified user experience for everything Citrix.

Flexible Client Software Configuration
Built with a browser-like ‘plug-in’ architecture, Receiver for Windows & Mac enables flexible client software configuration ideal for every user in your organization.  IT administrators can select from plug-in functions for hosted applications, secure VPN access, communications services and self-service applications with Citrix Dazzle.  Receiver also supports 3rd party plug-ins to further simplify client software management.

Safe, Secure, High Definition Experience
Receiver includes built-in HDX technologies to bring a high definition user experience for virtual applications including document-oriented, data-intensive, graphics-rich and multimedia applications – on any network connection.  Receiver supports high performance, standards-based encryption security for all data from the datacenter, over the network to users anywhere.

Zero-Touch, Silent Updates
Receiver allows the use of enterprise computing services without the need to understand or worry about the underlying complexities. Installs are a simple point and click, and once Receiver is installed, it’s pretty much ‘lights out’, with zero-touch, silent updates from there forward.

Auto-Updating with Targeted Deliveries
Receiver is completely under centralized administrative control to allow the entire Receiver setup, including plug-ins, to be kept up-to-date, with scheduled automatic download to users based upon user preferences for update checks, or IT-controlled mandatory updating.  Receiver enables IT to deliver client software updates to users using a rules-based system based on group credentials, IP addresses, machine names, login IDs, or operating systems. This provides the flexibility to ensure plug-ins are delivered to only appropriate, authorized users.

Receiver for Windows & Mac is free and is available immediately for any Windows or Mac-based device, including PCs, Laptops, Macs and Netbooks. Receiver is also available for smartphones and iPad.

Microsoft’s – Remote Desktop Services

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 April 5th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is an emerging architectural model where a Windows client operating system runs in server-based virtual machines (VMs) in the data center and interacts with the user’s client device such as a PC or a thin client. Similar to session virtualization (formerly known as Terminal Services), VDI provides IT with the ability to centralize a user’s desktop; instead of a server session, however, a full client environment is virtualized within a server-based hypervisor. With VDI, the user can get a rich and individualized desktop experience with full administrative control over desktop and applications. However, this architecture, while flexible, requires significantly more server hardware resources than the traditional session virtualization approach.

Key benefits of VDI are:

  • Better enablement of flexible work scenarios, such as work from home and hot-desking
  • Increased data security and compliance
  • Easy and efficient management of the desktop OS and applications

VDI Standard Suite and VDI Premium Suite

Microsoft provides two suite offerings to purchase and deploy VDI: Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Standard Suite (“VDI Standard Suite”) and Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Premium Suite (“VDI Premium Suite”). These two suites make it simple for customers to purchase the comprehensive Microsoft VDI infrastructure and management software, while providing excellent value amongst competing VDI offerings.

The Microsoft VDI Standard Suite is a complete VDI offering which offers the following features:

Desktop Delivery:

  • Basic connection broker to deliver personalized and pooled virtual machine-based desktops in low-complexity environments
  • Web-based remote access and full-fidelity end user experience

Application Delivery:

  • Separation of application layer from image with app streaming
  • Reduces app-to-app conflicts and need for regression testing
  • Easy application life cycle management via policies

Virtualization Platform:

  • Reliable, micro-kernelized hypervisor with small footprint
  • Supports live migration


  • Integrated, end-to-end management
  • Dynamic provisioning of apps to physical, virtual and session-based desktops
  • Rapid VM provisioning with cloned VHD’s
  • Support for failover clustering and storage migration
  • Patching, updating and monitoring of physical VDI host

For customers that want additional functionality, the Microsoft VDI Premium Suite is a comprehensive desktop centralization offering: It includes all the features of the VDI Standard Suite, but it also leverages the full capabilities of Windows Server Remote Desktop Services to provide greater flexibility for desktop and application delivery. Specifically, it offers the following desktop and application delivery features and benefits on top of the VDI Standard Suite:

Desktop Delivery:

  • Single brokering, discovery and publishing infrastructure for VDI and session-based desktops and applications
  • Higher user density with session-based desktops than with virtual desktops

Application Delivery:

  • Separation of hosted applications from the image
  • Isolation of incompatible applications and consolidation of Remote Desktop Session Host server silos

In order to enable the above mentioned features, the Microsoft VDI Suites incorporate a package of specific use rights of the following Microsoft infrastructure and management products; please contact your Microsoft licensing specialist for details:

  • Remote Desktop Services Client Access License (RDS CAL)
  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) including App-V
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) Client Management License
  • System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Standard Server Management License
  • System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Standard Server Management License

Both the VDI Standard Suite and the VDI Premium Suite are licensed per client device that accesses the VDI environment, and thereby allow for flexibility of server infrastructure design and growth. The subscription based license will ensure that customers always have access to the latest versions of software. The VDI Standard Suite and the VDI Premium Suite are designed to complement the per device subscription model of VDA, further simplifying the buying experience for Microsoft VDI customers

VDI is best suited for contract and offshore workers and for users who need access to their work environment from home, including from a non-company owned PC. For complex deployments which require enterprise-level VDI capabilities, Microsoft is partnering with third party vendors such as Citrix Systems to provide a complete and scalable end-to-end solution to customersMS RMD Chart

 MS RMD Diagram

Remote Desktop Services’ RemoteApp virtualizes a processing environment and isolates the processing from the graphics and I/O, making it possible to run an application in one location but have it be controlled in another.

Remote Desktop Services makes it possible to remotely run an application in one location but have it be controlled and managed in another. Microsoft has evolved this concept considerably in Windows Server 2008 R2, and renamed Terminal Services to Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to better reflect these new features and capabilities. The goal of RDS is to provide both users and administrators with both the features and the flexibility necessary to build the most robust access experience in any deployment scenario.

To expand the Remote Desktop Services feature set, Microsoft has been investing in the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, also known as VDI, in collaboration with our partners, which include Citrix, Unisys, HP, Quest, Ericom and several others. VDI is a centralized desktop delivery architecture, which allows customers to centralize the storage, execution and management of a Windows desktop in the data center. It enables Windows and other desktop environments to run and be managed in virtual machines on a centralized server. RDD and VDI addresses all these challenges with the following features:

For both virtual and session-based desktops, the quality of user experience is more important than ever before. Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services improves the end user experience significantly for VDI and session virtualization (fka Terminal Services) through new Remote Desktop Protocol capabilities. These new capabilities, enabled with Windows Server 2008 R2 in combination with Windows 7, provide for a richer user experience and improve end user productivity. Microsoft RemoteFX, a new set of remote user experience capabilities being developed by Microsoft for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, will enable a full-fidelity, local-like desktop environment for virtual and session-based desktops and applications. RemoteFX will complement the enhancements made to RDP in Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services and will extend the benefits of a rich remote desktop or application to a wide array of client devices, from the most powerful PC to low-cost thin clients and other access devices.
  • Extends Remote Desktop Services to provide tools to enable VDI
  • Provides simplified publishing of, and access to, remote desktops and applications
  • Improved integration with Windows 7 user interface
  • Multimedia Redirection
  • True multiple monitor support
  • Audio Input & Recording
  • Aero Glass support
  • Improved audio/video synchronization
  • Language Bar Redirection
  • Task Scheduler

 New RemoteApp & Desktop Connection (RAD) feeds provide a set of resources, such as RemoteApp programs and Remote Desktops. These feeds are presented to Windows 7 users via the new RemoteApp & Desktop Connection control panel, and resources are tightly integrated into both the Start menu and the system tray. The improved RemoteApp and Desktop Connections features in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 provide the following improvements:

Improved RemoteApp and Desktop Management


While RAD improves the end-user experience, RAD also reduces the desktop and application management effort by providing a dedicated management interface that lets IT managers assign remote resources to users quickly and dynamically. Windows Server 2008 R2 includes the following RAD management capabilities to help reduce administrative effort:

  • RemoteApp & Desktop Connections control panel applet
  • Single administrative infrastructure
  • Designed for computers that are domain members and standalone computers
  • Always up to date
  • Single sign-on experience within a workspace
  • RemoteApp & Desktop Web Access

Improved RemoteApp and Desktop Deployment


Administrators faced with larger RAD deployment scenarios will also find additional management features in Windows Server 2008 R2’s Remote Desktop Services aimed at improving the management experience for all existing scenarios previously addressed by Remote Desktop Services as well as the new scenarios available via RAD. These improved management features include:

  • PowerShell Provider
  • Profile Improvements
  • Microsoft Installer (MSI) compatibility
  • Remote Desktop Gateway

 Source: Microsoft

Citrix – HDX Ready Thin Clients

2017-07-27T00:01:12+00:00 January 18th, 2010|Uncategorized|

The most frequent question IT managers ask Citrix regarding Thin Clients is: “Which devices do you recommend with XenDesktop and XenApp?”  Citrix established the Citrix Ready framework to answer this question.  Citrix Ready is a verification program for partners to demonstrate interoperability between their products and Citrix products. The Thin Client category of Citrix Ready allows partners the option to test their devices to achieve basic Citrix Ready status or the more stringent HDX Ready status. These options are designed to address market needs based on end user segments and useHDX_right_131x100r experience requirements.

What is an HDX Ready Thin Client?
The HDX Ready designation is reserved for thin client devices that have been verified to work with all of the XenDesktop and XenApp HDX features.  HDX refers to High Definition User eXperience – a term coined by Citrix to describe capabilities in XenDesktop that optimize the user experience when accessing hosted virtual desktops and applications. The HDX Ready category assists IT managers to easily identify thin client devices that deliver the best possible high definition user experience with XenDesktop and XenApp.  

What is a Citrix Ready Thin Client?
There is a trade-off between a thin client’s cost and its capabilities. Not all users require the functionality of all of HDX features of XenDesktop or XenApp.  Devices that are not deemed HDX Ready may still be useful for certain user types and use cases, generally at a lower price point than HDX Ready devices.  The Citrix Ready thin client designation exists for those devices that support connectivity to XenDesktop or XenApp but only a subset of HDX functionality.  Information regarding HDX feature coverage by a particular thin client device is available on the Citrix Ready website.

Feature Thin Clients HDX Ready
Thin Clients
HDX Broadcast
Out of the box Integration  
HDX Plug-n-Play:USB 2.0  
HDX Plug-n-Play:printing  
HDX Plug-n-Play:True Multi Monitor Support  
HDX Plug-n-Play:Smartcard Support  
HDX Plug-n-Play:Isochronous USB 2.0 (Webcam)  
HDX RealTime:VOIP on LAN  
HDX RealTime:Client Audio Recording  
HDX MediaStream:CD Quality Audio on LAN (Server Rendered)  
HDX MediaStream: 480×360 Quality Windows, Flash, QuickTime & Silverlight video on LAN (Server-Rendered)  
HDX MediaStream: 480×360 Quality Windows, Flash, QuickTime & Silverlight video on LAN (Client-Rendered)  
HDX MediaStream: 1280*720 Quality Windows, Flash, QuickTime & Silverlight video on LAN (Client-Rendered) – Optional

Citrix Dazzle 1.1 – Empowering Users

2017-07-27T00:01:12+00:00 January 18th, 2010|Uncategorized|


 Citrix Dazzle — the first self-service “storefront” for enterprise applications gives corporate employees 24×7 self-service access to the applications they need to work. Dazzle offers a rich, intuitive user experience that requires no training. If you’ve used DirecTV or Apple iTunes, you already know how to use Dazzle. Dazzle makes self-service IT a reality for the first time ever, giving users simple access to apps and IT services, and bringing the economics of the web to enterprise IT.

Empowering Users with an Enterprise App Store
It’s easy to choose exactly what you need, when you need it – apps, your desktop, or any IT delivered service. Simply browse or search for the app or IT service you need. Subscribe or unsubscribe with one click. Organizing selected apps into user-defined “playlists” is easy and intuitive. Users decide the folders that appear in their Start menu (or, in the future OSX Dock). Simply click to create, then drag and drop any app or IT service.

Self-Service Storefront for XenApp
For the more than 200,000 enterprise customers already using Citrix Delivery Center products like XenApp and XenDesktop, Dazzle effectively acts as a storefront to their existing delivery infrastructure. IT is in control, instantly and easily advertising the existing offline and online Windows applications and Web applications with XenApp’s “app publishing” interface. Adding, updating and removing apps and IT services takes minutes – not days, weeks or months.

Zero-touch install and configuration
Dazzle is fully integrated with Citrix Receiver, so getting users started is easy. IT just loads the Receiver plug-in for Dazzle into Merchandising Server, schedules it for delivery, and it’s silently pushed to every PC or Mac that has Receiver installed. When users launch Dazzle, the store will be fully stocked with all the apps IT has to offer. It’s that easy.


One-click live help
Users get one click to talk to a service agent that can remotely assist them with any enterprise IT service question allowing IT to provide a “first call resolution” service at low cost that keeps users productive and satisfied. GoToAssist – the industry’s gold standard for remote support – can be fully integrated with third party trouble ticketing systems such as Remedy.

Source: Citrix

Forbes – The Death of the PC??

2017-07-27T00:01:12+00:00 December 18th, 2009|Uncategorized|


Great article about the dramatic swift from the traditional corporate PC to a “Virtual Workspace”………..

Throughout the computer industry companies of all sizes, from garage startups to Microsoft, are bracing for the possibility that their future will be in the hands of people like Sean Whetstone.

The head of computer operations for Reed Specialist Recruitment, an employment service with operations on three continents, Whetstone recently upgraded his company’s 6,000 desktop computers. Chief information officers order new Dells or HPs all the time. But the computers Whetstone brought in for his employees aren’t the traditional metal boxes that sit next to desks or under monitors. They are “virtual” computers. Each employee has a keyboard and a screen, but the processors making the calculations and deciding what color goes in each pixel are far away, inside a big computer at Reed’s main data center in London

In the science fiction staple of virtual reality, people live not in the real world but as ciphers inside a computer somewhere. That’s analogous to what happens with the virtual desktops at Reed. To the user, Microsoft Windows looks just as it does coming from a PC. But the electronic desktop doesn’t exactly reside on the desk. (more…)

Citrix Offers Trade-up to XenDesktop 4 Program

2017-07-27T00:01:12+00:00 October 12th, 2009|Uncategorized|

A unique opportunity for customers to add desktop virtualization to their proven XenApp implementation and save up to 80%.

The Trade-up to XenDesktop 4 Program gives XenApp customers a simple and cost-effective path to the most complete desktop virtualization solution— XenDesktop 4. With XenDesktop 4, customers can do everything they do today with XenApp and deliver high-definition virtual desktops to every user across the enterprise.

Customers who trade-up all their licenses at once can receive two XenDesktop 4 user licenses for every one XenApp license they trade-up. This 2-for-1 offer gives customers an 80% savings compared to buying new desktop virtualization licenses. The Program enables customers to leverage their existing investments to add desktop virtualization now, for an unbeatable price. 

Program options:

  • Trade-up 100% of your active XenApp licenses:  
    • Get 2 XenDesktop 4 licenses for each XenApp license
    • Save up to 80%
  • Trade-up a sub-set of your active XenApp licenses:
    • Get 1 XenDesktop 4 license for each XenApp license
    • Save up to 70%
  • Trade-up any XenApp license without Subscription Advantage:
    • Get 1 XenDesktop 4 license for each XenApp license
    • Save up to 50%

Leverage existing investments

  • Trade-up XenApp licenses to get XenDesktop 4 at a fraction of the cost
  • Use XenApp skills and best practices to simplify desktop virtualization adoption
  • Leverage existing hypervisor, storage and Microsoft infrastructures  

Add desktop virtualization

  • Continue to use XenApp functionality as you always have
  • Add the most comprehensive set of virtual desktop technologies
  • Deliver virtual applications and desktops as on-demand services to any user

 Save on XenDesktop 4

  • Trade-up all active XenApp licenses at once, get 2X the XenDesktop 4 licenses
  • Trade-up your XenApp licenses, save between 50%-80% on XenDesktop 4
  • Trade-up includes 12 months of Subscription Advantage on XenDesktop 4

 Act now. This program is only valid until June 30, 2010! 

Citrix XenDesktop 4 – The Virtual desktop revolution is here…..for everyone

XenDesktop 4 includes the key features fundamental to extending the benefits of virtual desktops to every user in your organization.

Any device, anytime, anywhere

Today’s digital workforce demands the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time using any device they’d like. Leveraging Citrix Receiver as a universal client, XenDesktop 4 users can access their virtual desktops and corporate applications from any PC, Mac, thin client or smartphone.

HDX™ user experience

XenDesktop 4 delivers an HDX™ user experience on any device, over any network, with better reliability and higher availability than a traditional PC. With Citrix HDX™ technology, users get an experience that rivals a local PC, even when using multimedia, real-time collaboration, USB peripherals, and 3D graphics. XenDesktop 4 offers the best Flash multimedia performance while using 90% less bandwidth compared to alternative solutions.

Citrix FlexCast™ delivery technology

Different types of workers across the enterprise need different types of desktops. XenDesktop 4 can meet all these requirements in a single solution with our unique Citrix FlexCast™ delivery technology. With FlexCast™, IT can deliver every type of virtual desktop – each specifically tailored to meet the performance, security and flexibility requirements of each individual user.

On-demand apps by XenApp™

To reduce desktop management costs, XenDesktop 4 offers the full range of Citrix application virtualization technologies with on-demand apps by XenApp™. With application virtualization, IT can control data access, manage fewer desktop im-ages, eliminate system conflicts, and reduce application regression testing.

Open architecture

XenDesktop 4 works with your existing hypervisor, storage and Microsoft infrastructures, enabling you to leverage your current investments – while providing the flexibility to add or change to alternatives in the future. Whether you use XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESX or vSphere, XenDesktop supports them all and simplifies management of networked storage using StorageLink™ technology.

Desktop Virtualization: Will Free Upgrades Give Citrix the Edge?

2017-07-27T00:01:13+00:00 September 17th, 2009|Uncategorized|

The set of virtual desktop system enhancements Citrix Systems announced this week is unusual not for its timing or technical acumen, but for focusing on the experience of actual end users. Analysts say that IT knows the user experience with desktop virtualization is absolutely critical to success.

“We did a study that came out just before VMworld

[in August] that showed the quality of the user experience is the top criterion enterprises use to evaluate virtual desktop infrastructures,” says Andi Mann, head of systems and storage-management research at Enterprise Management Associates.

“The end user experience is critical, and there are some really clever things in what Citrix is doing address that — multiple ways to deploy desktop services and to improve performance enough to fundamentally improve what the users are actually doing,” Mann says.

Asked to rate the most important factor in choosing a desktop virtualization system, out of 10 options, 75 percent of companies chose “Ease of use for end-users.”

Citrix’s New Improvements for End Users

The improvements—in load-balancing at the server, support for graphics and peripherals at the client, and an additional way to virtualize a desktop application—come free for customers with existing enterprise license or automatic-upgrade contracts.

The most notable new feature in XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2, which is free to customers with enterprise licenses and upgrade-by-subscription plans, is VM Hosted Apps. The feature allows Citrix customers to run desktop applications on a separate virtual machine that runs on a physical host running XenServer.

Most desktop applications running under XenApps run in parallel on a Windows or Xen server. XenApps clients connect by logging in to the server and using software already running on it.

With Dynamic Application Delivery, a single application or a specific user’s whole suite of applications run on a VM without having to share resources, and without having any difficulty identifying the hardware or operating system on which they run, according to Alicia Rey, product marketing manager for XenApp.

“That’s actually a big deal because there are a small percentage of applications, maybe only five to ten percent, that you wouldn’t even think to run on XenApps,” says Ben Kohn, senior systems architect for Independent Bank, an Ionia, Mich.-based bank with 1,200 employees, 90 percent of whom are connected via Citrix virtual desktops, accessing software running mostly on VMware servers.

“Adobe Acrobat, for example, installs a service that checks on the hardware you’re running it on so you don’t move it around to different machines,” Kohn says. “You couldn’t put it on Citrix server or do app streaming with it, but you could install it on a VM and deliver it that way and still use exactly the same infrastructure you would for any other app.”

A second feature, HDX MediaStream for Flash, is designed to make graphics-intensive applications run faster by using, where possible, the memory, CPU cycles and graphics card on the end-user’s computer in addition to those on the server, Rey says. Currently XenApps only presents an image of what’s going on at the server—which Kohn calls the “equivalent of a really long video cable.”

Adding a layer of intelligence to the client software to enable it to check for and use local graphics resources takes some load off the server and, more importantly, makes the application appear to the end user to be running faster, Mann says.

Rey says traditional Terminal Services-based Citrix connections are still more secure and cost-effective, but that VM-based VDI gives users the chance to also virtualize resource-intensive applications, or legacy software that doesn’t run well in a communal environment.

Mixed Vendor Environments The Norm

That is the second big hit of this round of improvements, Mann says. There are few consistent trends in desktop virtualization except that widespread acceptance of it is at least three years later than user surveys predicted and that organizations that have implemented it have done so in many ways.

“Enterprises tend to deploy between four or five different endpoint virtualization technologies on average, and almost a quarter deploy more than six different technologies simultaneously,” Mann says. “End-user companies are adopting multiple technologies, so vendors interested in that market have to provide integration between them.”

The two leading approaches (with a penetration of 70 percent each) are to run applications on a server and let users access them through a Web browser, and the more traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, in which users access full desktop functions on a server using Terminal Services or accessing a VM on a shared server, Mann’s study shows.

Despite the variety of implementations, 100 percent of the companies EMA surveyed reported some positive outcome from virtualized desktops. Almost 75 percent reported measureable cost reductions and more than half reported functional benefits such as improving staff mobility or flexibility, security, or business continuity plans.

One Bank’s Desktop Virtualization Strategy for Success

The XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2 also includes power and capacity management features that are designed to allow IT to create rules describing when and how to add or delete virtual machines to keep the servers running efficiently. A capacity planning feature is designed to let IT managers not only estimate capacity demands for certain situations, but also run simulations of each setup through tests to see if capacity plans will break.

“Right now if we have a spike in demand for a particular app, our provisioning services will spin up more VMs to account for it and that would only take about 15 or 20 minutes. But it’s 15 or 20 minutes after everybody [end users] have started to feel the pain,” Kohn says. “That’s a gap that we really appreciate they’re trying to fill, to adjust capacity automatically.”

Independent Bank has been hurt less than most other banks by the 12-month economic downturn, but it has been tightening its belt and only spending money on technology where it can significantly improve efficiency and stability, according to Peter Graves, the company CIO.

This year that’s included spending “a couple of million, all told,” on a new storage area network, disaster-recovery strategy, DR site and appliances that could have the bank back online in hours rather than days, and upgrades to its 10-year-old Citrix network.

“It takes so many of our resources to maintain our network that we would like to be able to divert some of those resources to other things by making the infrastructure more efficient,” Graves says.

MediaStream for Flash could significantly pare back the $400,000 or so the bank spends to refresh desktop hardware every year. Rather than replace old PCs that act as thin clients, the feature may allow the bank to leave those machines in place and make use of memory and CPU capacity that have been wasted until now, Graves says.

The Competition with VMware, Microsoft

Features like that—as well as XenApps’ continuing superiority over VMware’s desktop virtualization technology in a feature called context switching that is used heavily by servers supporting VDI, but less so by those running server-based applications—will probably keep Citrix ahead of its competitors both in the market and at Independent Bank, Kohn says.

“We tested them head to head and Citrix, which is optimized for context switching, had something like a 25 percent advantage over VMware,” Kohn says. “ESX performs so well on the server side, though, that we’re pretty entrenched there. There are a lot of features in disaster recovery and management and business continuity planning that Citrix is still catching up on.”

That may be clear for Kohn and Graves, but most of the rest of the market will be roiled by efforts by Microsoft, VMware, Citrix and a steadily growing number of competitors hoping desktop virtualization is finally ready to become a market-dominating reality, Mann says.

“VMware is doing some great things under the covers and with partnerships and other areas, but they don’t have the variety of delivery mechanisms that Citrix has, or the focus on enhancing the endpoint, which is a real advantage,” Mann says. “Things like the policy based load balancing, some very large, mature customers of Citrix will love; mostly, I suspect, that’s not as important as having more ways to deliver apps to the user and deliver a better user experience.”

Source: – Kevin Fogarty

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