BERLIN, 6 OCTOBER 2010 - By making the new version of XenDesktop easier to manage, Citrix Systems is hoping to convince more companies to virtualize their desktops, the company said on Wednesday at its Synergy user conference.
Today, the interest in desktop virtualization -- in which, for example, the client OS runs on a server and is delivered virtually to the user -- is growing fast. Citrix has benefitted from this trend, according to Citrix's CEO Mark Templeton. The arrival of Windows 7 helped boost the interest for desktop virtualization, and today, over half of the Fortune 100 companies have the platform in production, Templeton said during his keynote.
One of the drawbacks with the current version of XenDesktop is that it can be complex to manage, but with XenDesktop 5 Citrix is hoping to change that. Desktop Studio and Desktop Director is going to make it happen, helping IT departments create and manage desktop images, according to Citrix. Users should be up and running in 10 minutes, thanks to wizards that guide the user through the configuration process, Templeton promised.
To further lower the bar for starting to use virtualized desktops, Citrix will next year start the Success Accelerator Program, designed to allow new users to take advantage of what existing users have learned. The idea is that enterprises shouldn't have to "invent the wheel" over and over again, according to Templeton.
XenDesktop 5 isn't just about making life easier for the IT department. When an enterprise makes the move to virtualized desktops it's important to have users onboard, and to ease that process Citrix has added a new, better-looking user interface.
To access virtual desktops and applications, the Citrix Receiver client is used. At Synergy, Citrix announced that the client can be used to access Web-based applications with single sign-on. Citrix's self-service portal Dazzle has also been integrated.
Receiver can be used on a variety of PCs, Macs, laptops, smartphones and tablets. That allows the IT department to say yes to users that want to access the enterprise using their own device, Templeton said.
The technology that makes Citrix's desktop virtualization work is HDX (High-Definition User Experience), which has been improved in version 5 of XenDesktop, as well. Users can expect better video, audio and printing performance. HDX has also become better at dealing with changing network conditions, with the ability to adapt, for example, to a bandwidth decline.
XenDesktop also includes XenApp, which is used to deliver applications virtually to the desktop.
XenDesktop 5 will be generally available in Q4 2010. Pricing starts at US$95 per user or device for the VDI-only edition, for enterprises that just want the option of running desktops on a virtual machine on a server. Citrix's more comprehensive desktop and application virtualization is available in the Enterprise or Platinum editions, priced from $225 and $350 per user, respectively.
Citrix will add video conferencing to GoToMeeting
Citrix Systems will add video to its web conferencing service GoToMeeting via a new feature called HD Faces, the company said on Wednesday at its Synergy user conference in Berlin, Germany.
Video conferencing has had a hard time making the leap from a few special conferencing rooms to enterprise users' desktops, in part because it can be to complex to use, according to Citrix.
However, with HD Faces Citrix hopes to change that: there is nothing to configure so if users have a PC with a webcam it should "just work," according to Chief Marketing Officer Wes Wasson.
HD Faces will become a standard feature of GoToMeeting, and come at no extra charge. Today, GoToMeeting costs from US$49 per month.
A final version of GoToMeeting with HD Faces will start shipping in the first quarter.
Citrix is also expanding the reach of GoToMeeting and the other members of the GoTo family by announcing German and French versions of the services, which will be available in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria.
Besides GoToMeeting, the family includes GoToWebinar for presentations to larger audiences, and GoToTraining, for interactive training sessions. GoToWebinar costs from $99 per month and GoToTraining $149 per month. Both services include GoToMeeting functions. Together, the GoTo services were used by more than 100 million people last year, according to Citrix.
Citrix gives a sneak peek at upcoming iPad client
Citrix Systems is preparing a new version of its Receiver client for Apple iPads running iOS 4.2, the company said on Wednesday at its Synergy user conference.
The upcoming client, which will come with a virtual mouse, was demoed at the end of CEO Mark Templeton's keynote. Receiver is Citrix's client for running Windows desktops and applications virtually on a whole host of devices, including the iPad. The first iteration of the client for the iPad has been available since April.
The touch-controlled mouse is there to make the user experience more Windows-like, according to Citrix.
Citrix also demonstrated how it is able to take advantage of the ability to do multitasking, by starting an application and then doing something else and going back to the desktop and continue to work.
By attaching the iPad to a projector and an external keyboard Citrix was able to turn the tablet into a full fledged enterprise desktop. The iPad itself doubles as a big touch-enabled mouse in this configuration.
Citrix has made it easier to add new applications while on the iPad, as well.
The iOS 4.2 update is scheduled to become available in November, according to Apple.
Citrix is clearly a big fan of the iPad and how it expands the way its products can be used, but the company's strategy is to make Receiver available on as many products as possible. On Tuesday, Citrix announced that it is working with Samsung on a version of the Receiver for Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
Citrix also offers an iPad application for its online GoToMeeting conferencing service. On Wednesday, Citrix announced video support for the desktop version. Whether a future version of the iPad application will be able to handle video has yet to be decided, according to Citrix.
The company is also working on a GoToMeeting application for the iPhone, according to Templeton, who didn't elaborate on when it would arrive.
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