Presentation Virtualization

Presentation Virtualization is an application delivery method that delivers users desktops and applications from a shared server, AKA server based computing. This method of delivering applications to users focuses upon running an instance of each Windows desktop operating system application i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Office for each user on a shared instance of a Windows Server operating system. (Read More)

The most popular product in this category is Citrix XenApp and its predecessors which include Citrix Presentation Server, and Citrix MetaFrame. In the 6.0 releases of its products, Citrix bundled XenApp into XenDesktop. In the 7.0 releases of its products, XenApp has been made available separately again. Microsoft also has a product in this category – Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, but this offering is mostly used in smaller implementations that do not require the enterprise class features that Citrix offers.

A VDI desktop is no More Secure than a Standard Desktop

Our very own Texiwill hosts a weekly Virtualization Security Round Table podcast. This round table provides an open forum to discuss all things related to Virtualization, Virtual Environment and cloud computing security.  We’ve questioned before the benefits of a virtual desktop infrastructure with respect to security. Is VDI secure? Is VDI inherently more secure than “traditional desktops”? The article Virtual Desktop Security? Are They Secure? considered the VDI vendor claims that there are several big virtual desktop security wins such as

  • Centralized Management
  • Centralized Patching
  • Improved Availability
  • and importantly, data never leaves the data center

The article and the associated Bright talk presentation generated a good deal of interweb discussion, which in turn led to #73 in the Virtualization Security Round Table VDI desktops – are they really secure? The regular podcast team were joined by Simon Crosby (CTO @ Bromium), Tal Klein (Director Technical Marketing @ Citrix ) and Andrew Wood (Analyst @ TVP).

The discussion meandered in a lively fashion to answer the question – can VDI make your environment more secure than standard desktops?

Continue reading A VDI desktop is no More Secure than a Standard Desktop

Citrix XenApp 4.x, 5.x and 6.0 EOL is 2013. The End is Coming: Look Busy.

I had an interesting discussion with a customer around prioritisation of their services prior to Windows 2003 and Windows XP going end of life in 2014. As we saunter nonchalantly to the start of 2012, what must the focus be next year? You may well be having the same conversations. Let’s be honest, corporate change isn’t as dynamic as we’d like. This has it’s own positives, it’s own negatives.

Back to my customer. There is a business-influential Citrix XenApp estate hosted on Windows 2003. It has a reliable history: and if it ain’t broke…The client has a sizable user-base in central London, this estate is scheduled to be expanded to accommodate more remote working due to the Olympics: which will cause the greatest mass of people in one place that you can get in peace-time.

Granted, there was an understanding that the XenApp environment had a limited shelf-life. Granted, there was an understanding that because this was an external facing  service, End of Life (EOL) and the subsequent lack of ability to at least security patch the service could not be tolerated.

So, we have an interesting question. Windows 2003, Windows XP EOL is 2014. For all Citrix XenApp versions other than the most recent 6.5 release, EOL .. End. Of. Life. Continue reading Citrix XenApp 4.x, 5.x and 6.0 EOL is 2013. The End is Coming: Look Busy.

AppSense Targets User Installed Apps

The User Managed Application is the IT manager’s redheaded stepchild.  It may be unloved and unwanted, but it’s there and it’s not going away.The lack of enthusiasm for user managed applications is readily understandable.  They are a liability, a licensing compliance headache, a drain of resources, and a security risk. Continue reading AppSense Targets User Installed Apps

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?

A Look At The Horizon

One of the cool things about attending VMworld every year is seeing what is new on the horizon and this year, ironically, there is something called Project Horizon and the first milestone of that project called VMware Horizon Application Manager.  Horizon is a hosted or in-house service that will centrally manage the provisioning, access and usage of software-as-a-server (SaaS) applications while at the same time applying the companies standardized security and access controls. This will give the end users of the application the ability to use the applications via VMware ThinApp or View products to stream the application across multiple devices all with a single login. The end users will also have self-service access to a corporate store for their SaaS and Web-based applications. Managing these applications will be completely user based with no need to worry about the underlying device the software or application is running on. Continue reading A Look At The Horizon