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Citrix Centralizes Windows VM Management on Macs

Citrix continues to present enterprises options for dealing with new challenges and scenarios that they are having to deal with on a daily basis. And while we are reminded every day of the increasingly retracting PC sales, Apple's notebook seems to be disassociating itself from this trend as Mac sales seem to be going up. Hence, consumerization. Enterprises today are finding themselves having to deal with Mac BYO, and while there are many different ways of addressing Windows resources on Macs, they generally all require online access.

At Synergy 2013 in Los Angeles, Citrix unveiled a new product called DesktopPlayer for Mac, a type-2 hypervisor that enables Windows virtual machines to run on the Mac. The difference between type-1 hypervisors and type-2 hypervisors is that the first is installed under the operating system while the latter is installed as an application on the operating system

But what is so special about DesktopPlayer? We have had this type of technology for a while now with VMware Fusion, Parallels and others. The one differentiator is that DesktopPlayer is an enterprise-class tool which allows IT admins to centrally manage VMs that are running on DesktopPlayer. Citrix expanded the management of its type-1 client hypervisor XenClient to DesktopPlayer by leveraging the management server Synchronizer, which addresses the questions of provisioning, updating, management and patching of VMs.

I know many of you are probably asking if DesktopPlayer can be deployed without the management server. Technically, yes. Another question that I have been asked is, can DesktopPlayer be deployed on Windows host machines instead of Macs? Aat this point, the answer is no, but if I was a betting man I would say that it will evolve to cover that scenario as well, simply because it can. DesktopPlayer has some other attractive enterprise security features like encryption, lockout and remote wipe.

DesktopPlayer is in line with Citrix's strategy to deliver different solutions for the many ways users work while weaving it together under a single platform. What I hope to see in future versions is the ability for Synchronizer to sync with a VDI instance in the datacenter. So that if I want to connect to a VDI instance while away from my Mac device, I can and that should be part of weaving the platform and products together.

So how do you get DesktopPlayer? Well if you have XenDesktop enterprise or platinum editions, then you automatically get access to DesktopPlayer. If you have XenClient Enterprise then you also get DesktopPlayer automatically.

Do you find DesktopPlayer a useful technology that you can leverage in your enterprise today? I am very interested in specific use cases and in your feedback in the comments section.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 06/12/2013 at 1:25 PM


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