Citrix Systems plans on introducing a new version of its XenClient desktop hypervisor-based virtual desktop next week with better server-based management and support for virtual storage.
The new XenClient edition will add support for Personal vDisk—an addition that runs in parallel with XenClient to give end users the ability to install their own apps and store their own data even while using a virtual desktop image provided by the XenDesktop server.
Citrix VDI users can normally either share a single image of a desktop sitting on the server, or download a generic desktop image and a set of virtual apps using XenApp or ThinApp.
Power users who need to heavily customize their own desktops, but still want the centralized security and control of a VDI network, usually require a dedicated machine or VM that is stored in the datacenter. While that allows plenty of customization and security, it requires far more resources than less individualized versions of VDI.
In the new version, both the XenClient 5, both the client and server support the personal vDisk virtual-custom-desktop add-on Citrix bought from RingCube. Rather than cramming personalization and additional applications into the golden desktop image shared by other users, Personal vDisk stores all that information in a parallel set of files that work in conjunction with the golden desktop image on the server, creating the illusion of a personalized desktop while using a hosted version of the desktop operating system and not requiring the resources of dedicating a full or virtual PC to each power user.
Personal vDisk stores its data on the client, rather than on the server, further reducing the load on datacenter server farms supporting VDI implementations. XenClient 5 supports Windows 8 and high-resolution monitors. Supporting rich graphics has been a consistent problem for virtual-desktop vendors due to problems meshing drivers, bandwidth-hungry graphics and often-limited processing power on thin clients.
The retail list price for XenClient 5 is $179, or is available as part of the XenDesktop Enterprise package for $225 per seat.
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