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?
Virtual Computer are to optimize their NxTop client virtualization and management solution to operate with select models of Lenovo laptops and desktops PC platforms. For their part, Lenovo will allow customers to have Virtual Computer’s NxTop client loaded onto their custom images, direct from the factory. This announcement was an interesting for organisations considering changing their PC management model to use a client hypervisor. It not only promotes confidence in client hypervisors supporting a wider range of devices, it also demonstrates that device vendors themselves are willing to embrace client hypervisors as a deployment technology.
A couple of weeks ago, you could be forgiven for not ever having even heard of webOS, but now after HP CEO Leo Apotheker confirmed that starting in 2012, every HP PC will include the ability to run webOS in addition to Windows, if you profess to having any understanding of mobile platforms you have to profess to have at least some understanding of what webOS is and why it is important.
One announcement that is unlikely to be made at VMworld in 2010 is the release of VMware’s Client Hypervisor. While VMware may have got accustomed to dominating the world of server virtualization, its attempts to become the de-facto virtualization vendor on the desktop haven’t gone quite as well. Despite it being nearly two years since announcing its “vClient initiative“, VMware has yet to announce a delivery date for the proposed client side hypervisor component. Citrix, on the other hand, is proudly touting XenClient. Other vendors, such as VirtualComputer are actively promoting their products.
Its likely Citrix will have beaten VMware to delivering a Client Hypervisor. While XenClient is currently a Release Candidate version, Citrix announced that the v1.0 will be released with XenDesktop 4 Feature Pack 2 in September 2010.
Is the lack of Client Hypervisor (CHv) a problem for VMware in delivering a complete desktop solution to customers? Indeed, is the CHv technology viable for business use now? And when (and if) it is a viable technology, where should a CHv be considered in your desktop strategy? What could a Client Hypervisor be used for?
Virtual Computer recently announced the availability of their NxTop product for free for up to five users. NxTop combines centralized virtual desktop management with a “bare-metal” client-hypervisor to make managing many desktops as easy as managing one. But, you may ask, what can a client side hypervisor do for me?
It’s likely you’re one of the 46,000 who have, apparently, downloaded Citrix’s XenClient. Maybe you took one look at the depressingly short hardware compatibility list and thought “it’s not going to work for us”: or maybe, like me, you ignored pretty much all the documentation when you downloaded it and only referenced that list when the XenClient failed to install on the third device. In which case its likely you’re asking ‘it sounds an interesting concept, but I don’t have the hardware to support it’. Maybe you’re one of the many who were expecting VMWare to release something.. sometime… maybe.
We’ve taken a look under the hood of a simple NxTop installation and put together a white-paper, A Look Under the Hood of Virtual Computer’s NxTop, to help you understand the installation requirements and the process of setting up clients and servers. In it we’ve considered the benefits, and issues, of a client-side hypervisor solution and how you can use such a service to manage your environment. How do you license such a service and indeed, how does a client-side hypervisor solution compare to VDI?
A barrier to introducing VDI is often the complexity and high initial costs such a solution can involve. Can you use a bare metal client-side hypervisor to manage your desktops? Should you?