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.
Citrix has released XenApp 6 which finally provides support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (W2k8) R2. Citrix made their name delivering Presentation Virtualisation; and have been rightly seen as the the leader in that market in terms of functionality, support and scalability. Citrix did have to completely re-write the XenApp code for R2 – which was a considerable undertaking yet, in the meantime other PV vendors such as Ericom, Quest, Systancia have had W2k8 R2 functionality for some time: it is unusual for Citrix to appear to be chasing, rather than leading, the pack.
While VDI is being considered by many companies, and its adoption will likely grow, Presentation Virtualization services are embedded as departmental solutions, branch office deployments, even as the core of multi-national businesses’ desktop delivery solutions: but, those solutions are primarily based around pre-W2k8 R2 services. W2k8 R2 offers greater scalability for Presentation Virtualization than previous versions, there will undoubtedly be a steady migration to this platform.
Given there is a cost to migrating from x32 to x64 in terms of validating applications and drivers operating in the new environment and that there is an increased cost to purchasing the new RDS CALs – is the new functionality in XenApp 6 as innovative as in previous releases? Are you going to get a very rapid return in your investment? Besides W2k8 R2 support, what does XenApp 6 offer your business? Indeed, has the focus on battling VMware XenDesktop allowed the competition to catch up further?