All posts by Andrew Wood

Andrew is a Director of Gilwood CS Ltd, based in the North East of England, which specialises in delivering and optimising server and application virtualisation solutions. With 12 years of experience in developing architectures that deliver server based computing implementations from small-medium size business to global enterprise solutions, his role involves examining emerging technology trends, vendor strategies, development and integration issues, and management best practices.

Citrix Synergy Barcelona 2011: A review – If you tolerate this, your children will be next

Remember when you used to buy the magazines, buy the components, then use the components and the instructions in the magazines to build your own personal computer? Then install your own operating system. Then learn a programming language. Then write your own applications to run on your own computer? Then fix your computer because it blew up? Then bandage your hand because you soldered a component to your finger? Those days are likely gone but, back in October Intel reported strong PC and notebook sales, HP isn’t dropping its PC line. Your children may not tolerate building their own devices, but the PC will be a business device for at least the next to five to ten years.

What this also means is that for software companies focused on delivering applications and data to users, their solutions cannot be solely focused on virtualisation and the cloud: cannot be focused purely on thin and mobile. At  the same time, IT departments need to be more business aware, because the business is increasingly IT aware.

At the Synergy Barcelona 2011 event last week Citrix positioned themselves to deliver on just that. Some impressive cloud announcements gave a long term strategy view. There were a number of additional previews to highlight Citrix’s commitment to appeal to The Business, and not just be about IT departmental solutions. Citrix flaunted their ever growing portfolio of services to enable organisations to have a strategy for end devices that is about delivering access to data not just in a virtualised desktop, but in a manner appropriate to device and its location. Let’s take a ramble through some of them.

Continue reading Citrix Synergy Barcelona 2011: A review – If you tolerate this, your children will be next

VMware’s Rapid Desktop Program: Pivot3 vSTAC VDI appliance delivers early

The agility and scalability of virtual desktops enable use cases that are not possible with a  physical desktop environment. However, introducing a virtual desktop infrastructure is complex. Time-scales can be long, resource requirements high.

In an effort to relieve the discomfort for customers and partners VMware have introduced a Rapid Desktop Program. This program looks to validate View Proof of Concept appliances to ensure that they meet criteria for performance and reliability. By removing the complexity of the “I”, an organisation can focus better on the assessment of virtual desktops and in turn deliver faster .

Pivotv3  are the first to  release an appliance that has been validated by the Rapid Desktop Program. How does Pivot3’svSTAC VDI allow you to overcome common issues with VDI projects? Is this likely to improve take-up of VDI? And, this is an  appliance, such devices are normally associated with big enterprise solutions – is this only a big enterprise solution?

XenClient 2.0: An Enterprise Ready off-line XenDesktop…or not?

In the realm of popular beat combos, it is one thing for a band to explode from nowhere with a classic début album. Following it up is a far greater challenge. In musical terms – this is known as the “difficult second album syndrome”.

Citrix have released XenClient v2.0, their second generation bare-metal client hypervisor. XenClient allows centrally managed virtual desktops to run directly on corporate laptops, even when they are disconnected from the network. This version is intended to add ease-of-use and scalability features, and introduce a wider hardware compatibility list. In addition Citrix also launched the new XenClient XT, a standalone product designed to give advanced levels of security, isolation and performance for organisations with very specific and unique client computing requirements.

If Citrix were a popular beat combo (in the client side hypervisor charts) an issue would be that their first album struggled to set that chart alight. If it’s hard to release a second album when your first was monumentally brilliant, it is an exciting challenge when only your mother and aunt bought the first one. The first XenClient release was acknowledged, by Citrix, as being “unfit for enterprise deployment”.  A severely limited Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), poor management and lack of user layering combined with no integration with XenDesktop and formalised vendor tie-ins failed to drive it up the charts.

So what is new in XenClient v2? How does it fit into a desktop delivery service? Is XenClient simply off-line XenDesktop? But more importantly – is XenClient now at least, enterprise ready? Continue reading XenClient 2.0: An Enterprise Ready off-line XenDesktop…or not?

Consumerization of IT: AppSense and Centrix Software alliance recognise its more than just “how can my CFO justify their iPad”?

You know you’re not going to have a good day when your father, rather than offering you the chance to rule the galaxy by his side, announces your demise. In 1981 Mark Dean was part of the IBM team that delivered the Personal Computer (PC): yet Mr Dean has looked at his stricken progeny, clinging afraid and alone above an abyss and said – “do you know what, I’d prefer a tablet”.

In the past 30 years the PC has been a device that has been adopted by both the consumer and corporate markets. Back in the day, applications were supplied from a centralised cloud service, billed on usage: users accessed that service via a thin client. “Personalisation”, indeed “getting processing time” was complex. A young upstart company called Apple introduced the Apple II. It may have started as a consumer device, but the PC was rapidly adopted as a corporate IT tool to drive agility and productivity. In this galaxy, not so long ago, IT literate users railed against expensive and rigid mainframes and demanded… a PC. They got it. Arguably, corporate IT departments have spent thirty years trying to rest back some semblance of control and help the businesses accommodate the high costs of unmanaged and chaotic environments.

AppSense, a leading provider of user virtualization technology, and Centrix Software, provider of unified end-user computing solutions, have announced a strategic partnership to provide organizations with a comprehensive, user-centric transformation program. Do you need a user-centric transformation program? How could this alliance help your business manage IT beyond the ‘single-PC-for-every-user’ era? If they can help you, are they your only hope? Will it justify your CFO’s iPad?

Continue reading Consumerization of IT: AppSense and Centrix Software alliance recognise its more than just “how can my CFO justify their iPad”?

XenApp 6.5: Does Citrix’s Latest Release Leave other Vendors up an Iron Cove without a Paddle?

As the dust settles on VMware’s VMWorld End User Computing group’s re-invigoration, it is entertaining to wax lyrical on how users will be wedded with their data in the glorious shining summer of a post-PC era. But, we still stand in the cold, blustery autumnal now of mixed desktop environments and legacy applications. Organisations will rely on applications requiring a Microsoft OS for a good few years yet. However, we’ve already begun the transition from a truly distributed environment from individualised, personal computers. The delivery of applications (and desktops) regardless of device type has been available to organisations since the 1990s with Citrix being one of the first to deliver the next generation of applications and desktops to the previous generation of devices and operating environments.

XenApp 6.5 is Citrix’s latest offering of their renowned Presentation Virtualisation (PV) service. Citrix are not alone in updating their feature set. Earlier in 2011 Microsoft introduced SP1 for 2008 enhancing the OS for the core Remote Desktop Services’ (RDS) session virtualization service, Ericom released PowerTerm WebConnect 5.7.1, ProPalms updated TSE to 6.5 and Quest announced vWorkspace 7.2 MR1. Continue reading XenApp 6.5: Does Citrix’s Latest Release Leave other Vendors up an Iron Cove without a Paddle?

Citrix VDI-in-a-Box vs XenDesktop – does size matter?

Just in time for the major desktop virtualisation event known as VMworld, Citrix have announced the release of XenDesktop 5.5 as part of their desktop virtualisation trifecta. This latest release is truly an advanced and feature rich VDI solution, but it is not the only VDI offering Citrix has. Continue reading Citrix VDI-in-a-Box vs XenDesktop – does size matter?

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