Like waking up from a scene in a night’s dream where you were on a lovely walk, to find yourself stood outside of your now locked hotel room wearing nothing but your underwear, NxTop customers and resellers may well view the purchase of Virtual Computer by Citrix with a chill, heart-quickening, “right then, what next”?
Virtual Computer’s free offerings are no longer available, NxTop Enterprise edition gets a modest per user price increase. Support is still available. It is likely any road-map will take a wobble. What is now XenClient Enterprise is one of three client hypervisor versions that are offered by the application delivery leader who was, up until Friday, ‘the investing competition’.
Virtual Computer was a leader in the Type I client hypervisor delivery platform: although to be fair, it wasn’t a big race card. In comparison to its cousin XenClient, at technical level it had better instance management options, a pre-packaged virtual machine instance with Chrome and Citrix Receiver, far wider hardware support and integrated systray tools within Microsoft Windows VMs. The latest 4.0.6 released earlier this month, continued a steady improvement in management options for configurations. More importantly for the enterprise – Virtual Computer had the better links than the with hardware manufacturers with a strategy to integrate new hardware releases in weeks rather than months. Perhaps most interestingly, NxTop was highlighted as an solution that strongly aligned with Intel’s Intelligent Desktop Virtualisation (IDV).
VDI too expensive? VDI too remote? Have you considered IDV – manage centrally, run locally?
Yet despite innovation awards, the client-side hypervisor leader found it hard to gain momentum. Talking to CIO/CTOs the technology and you come across a number of obstacles in new accounts. Where does it fit with a BYOD strategy? What advantage does it offer over solutions such as LANDesk, Dells’ KACE or Microsoft’s SCCM? Will it run on a Mac? How does it deliver to my tablet?
The integration time for XenClient Enterprise likely to be 12-18 months. If you’re running NxTop now, how will that impact your roll-out or continued delivery? If you dismissed XenClient and went XenDesktop – should you stop? How could Citrix accommodate a product that can be pitched directly against XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-box? Why and will Citrix embrace IDV?
Citrix CEO Mark Templeton has confirmed Tuesday’s leaked story by announcing that Citrix has acquiring client hypervisor segment leader Virtual Computer. Templeton followed up the announcement with the news that Citrix would be introducing a new client hypervisor solution XenClient Enterprise, making it Citrix’s second standalone client hypervisor product following up from the security hardened XenClient XT.
Whatever your enterprise desktop issue VDI is often hailed as the answer. The next generation desktop will be virtual. Mind, while it’s not possible to say that no one got fired for recommending VDI, taking the compute power away from the end-device and putting it back in the data centre has been a task that has struggled to gain wide adoption.
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 have redefined virtual desktops delivery with their latest release, NxTop 4. In NxTop4 Virtual Computer have aimed to further improve their client-side hypervisor desktop management solution and to better harness the power of end-point PCs for local execution rather than requiring major investments in virtual machine server farms.
Apple have released their latest OS version. There are over 200 new features including autosaves, versioning, multi-touch gestures, access to the Mac App Store and, multi-user screen sharing. But Apple have not only changed the look and feel of the new, and significantly cheaper OS, they have changed their license terms as well.
One is the inclusion of clause to allow you to run multiple instances of the OS on your own device. A similar clause to one in Microsoft’s Windows 7 and a license feature that would sit well with a client-side hypervisor solution – giving administrators centralised control and management of end-devices. In the Panther and Leopard releases, Apple added features to allow fast user switching and screen sharing: possible precursors to a native Terminal Services function. For some enterprises, a virtual Mac OS X environment would be a desktop Nirvana: giving access to Mac-only applications on-demand without having to supply Mac hardware on a one-to-one basis.
Does the multi-user screen sharing function provide a native Mac Terminal Services solution? Will Lion allow you to virtualize the Mac OS to take pride of place in your desktop delivery strategy and finally maul Microsoft’s Windows dominance?