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Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 Debuts

XenDesktop is a big and potent package that features hosted shared desktops, VDI desktops, streamed desktops, client virtualization, and application delivery all on one XenDesktop Platinum SKU for $350 per user or device. It's hard to overestimate the competitive and financial importance of this product, which brings in a huge percentage of Citrix's revenue, so the latest version, XenDesktop 5.6, certainly bears a brief examination. Highlights include integrated personalization from the 2011 Ringcube acquisition, and integration with the upcoming release of Microsoft System Center 2012. Another highlight: There is no price hike with v5.6.

RingCube's vDesk software -- which is now fully integrated into Citrix Desktop Studio, Desktop Director and Citrix Provisioning Services -- caters to the quest for optimized user experiences and enhanced personalization performance by slashing desktop virtualization implementation costs. It does this by enabling IT to supply a range of users with flexible, personalized, and persistent virtual desktops while benefiting from cost-effective, pooled, virtual desktops. Citrix Personal vDisk 5.5 stores a single copy of Windows centrally, and combines it with a personal vDisk for each employee's personal apps, data and settings.

The Microsoft System Center 2012-ready capability integrates XenDesktop and System Center, which is not only technically valuable but also important on a corporate level because it shines a light on the ongoing Citrix-Microsoft relationship, which primarily resides under the covers. System Center 2012 has been the beneficiary of much hype because SCOM 2012 comes with enhanced cross-platform monitoring as well as deep network monitoring. This version also brings high availability and application monitoring along with vastly improved dashboards and Java Server monitoring.

In an inevitable bow to the wireless device revolution, XenDesktop On-demand apps, a.k.a. XenApp, has been enhanced to dynamically transform an app's user interface to take advantage of native user interface features of smartphones, tablets and other devices via Citrix Receiver, which is client software that enables users to remotely access desktops and apps. As Citrix puts it, "Now, your existing Windows applications can adapt to the way users interact with applications on smaller devices."

Citrix has recently been celebrating its CloudGateway product, which comes in Enterprise and Express editions. Version 5.6 features the Express version, which is only slightly less fully featured, but this "next-generation storefront technology" fits the consumerization model by aggregating and centrally delivering virtual apps and desktops that provide users with an "intuitive, single-point-of-access and self service to all their business apps on any device, anywhere." It also provides a seamless upgrade to CloudGateway Enterprise, extending the unified app store beyond Windows apps and desktops to web, SaaS and mobile apps and data.

Finally, v5.6 is topped off with an enhanced XenClient 2.1, which now features Windows Dynamic Layering, a single, base image management technology that provides an easier, more reliable way of managing updates on XenClient devices, and includes new multi-lingual support in German, French, Spanish, Japanese and Simplified Chinese languages.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 03/13/2012 at 12:48 PM


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