Citrix Presentation Server Roadmap: 2007-2009

One of the last sessions from iForum in Scotland last week was "Citrix Presentation Server Futures." This article is a summary of what's coming in the next few years.

One of the last sessions from iForum in Scotland last week was “Citrix Presentation Server Futures.” This article is a summary of what’s coming in the next few years.

Please remember of course this is all subject to change and this is only what they’re talking about publicly. Who knows what the future will really hold?

In general, Citrix is hoping to create what they’re calling a “local experience or better” with Presentation Server. They mentioned a few IT trends that they’ll be paying attention to:

  • IT professionals are more and more becoming “generalists,” so it’s important that the products that Citrix makes are easier to architect and use.
  • A “hypervisor pervasiveness” will continue to affect all aspects of computing, from the server to the end device.

The very short version of these next three years looks like this:

  • 2007: Presentation Server “Ohio” (released this past March as v4.5)
  • 2008: Presentation Server “Deleware” (mainly a code update to work on Windows Server 2008)
  • 2009: Presentation Server “Parra” (lots of new features and the next major PS release)

Let’s take a deeper look at these:

2007: Presentation Server “Ohio”

The Ohio edition of Presentation Server was released this past March as “Presentation Server 4.5.” Much has been written about the new features, but one of the significant things that doesn’t get much attention but that’s relevant here is that Citrix has moved to a single codebase for both the 32-bit and x64 editions of Presentation Server.

This doesn’t mean that the same bits can be installed on both platforms. It just means that (for the most part) the Citrix developers only write the code once, and then they compile it once for 32-bit and once for x64. It means that hotfixes and rollup packs will come out simultaneously for both platforms. (It also helps to explain why Citrix is ending support for the hastily-built x64 version of Presentation Server 4.0).

2008: Presentation Server “Delaware”

Microsoft is saying that Windows Server 2008 will be released later this year. As anyone who’s used Vista knows, Vista changes A LOT with regards to how things work. Since Server 2008 is kinda sorta like the server version of Vista, it goes without saying that it many applications (like, ohhh... Presentation Server?) might not “just work” on Server 2008.

To that end, Citrix has publicly stated that they want to release a version of Presentation Server that will run on Server 2008 within 90 days of the release of 2008. This release is what’s known as “Delaware” and will go into beta Q4 of this year.

It seems that for the most part, Delaware will be a simple platform update, with the focus being on getting it to work on Server 2008. In that case it would probably be released as “Presentation Server 4.5 for Windows Server 2008” which would work along side the existing “Presentation Server for Windows Server 2003.” That said, some Citrix folks I talked to in the tech lab last week said that they might do a minor version rev, so we might see 4.6 or something like that.

Either way we’ll see Delaware in 32-bit and x64 versions for Server 2008, along with the updated 32-bit and x64 builds for Server 2003, meaning that Citrix will be back to supporting Presentation Server on four platforms.

Delaware will most likely have some minor new features, mostly tied to the way that Server 2008 changes things. Examples include proper client-side “My Documents” and other named folder redirections to the client “My Documents” locations without having to navigate to the client drive mapped locations. Of course the fact that Citrix likes to sneak new functionality into hotfix rollup packs means that we could see some more minor new tweaks.

2009: Presentation Server “Parra”

The next major Presentation Server product will be “Parra” with a 2009 target. At this point we can assume that will be “Presentation Server 5.0.” Citrix is focusing on “IT simplicity” and “business agility” for this release. They’re paying attention to new emerging application architectures and will focus on multimedia, voice, mobile and virtual workspaces, and phone integration. (They talked about delivering the “complete” work environment—applications plus phone—in this product.) This is probably where we’ll see the autonomic load balancing “constellation” feature they keep talking about.

They also really want to focus on the concept of “subscribing” to applications and letting them flow from device to device.

Finally, they’re also focusing on really understanding the client device (capabilities, hardware, software) and the connection between the client and the server so that they can figure out where an application should be rendered on-demand and how it should be delivered.

Anyone paying attention to this industry knows that a lot is changing, and certainly the big stories out of Citrix over the next few years are going to be about the core application delivery platform integrating with Citrix Desktop Server, application streaming, Ardence, WANScaler, and the Access Gatway. But in terms of pure Presentation Server, this is what we know today.

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What the frick does this mean?

  • IT professionals are more and more becoming “generalists,” so it’s important that the products that Citrix makes are easier to architect and use.
  • A “hypervisor pervasiveness” will continue to affect all aspects of computing, from the server to the end device.
  • Cancel

    Citrix better explain the comment that we are becoming more "generalists."  This is an offensive statement to anyone in the IT profession. Things are not getting easier.....they are getting more complex. Just look at how simplistic Metaframe 1.8 was compared to Presentation Server 4.5. With each new version comes more features and more complexity.

    This statement must have come from Citrix marketing. Citrix marketing is often confused and distorted. Look at all the name changes of the products over the years.


    Re: the IT generalist thing...

    I was in the session, along with maybe 200 attendees. The speaker asked how many people in the audience thought that their jobs were becoming more specialized, and no hands went up. Then he asked how many people thought their jobs were becoming more "generalized," with them having to know more about more topics.. and probably 150 of the 200 hands went up. (Mine included!)

    I mean five years ago I could be an expert in Citrix MetaFrame and that was it... but now I have to know about SBC and streaming and VDI and virtualization and WAN optimization... There's only so much time in the day, so as I learn about more topics, I become more general. 

    I think the response is motivated by managers who prefer to hire generalist techs as reflected in most of today’s job posts.  The real trend seems to be hire one for two or more positions and not pay for training or overtime.

    On the matter of generalist i think that we atleast in my back yard see a tendency to have more generalists on staff and use consultants for specialist tasks. So Citrix is correct in the assumption there will be fewer specialists but the need for specialist knowledge will not disappear but may be put into fewer people.

     Atleast thats the way i see things changing now..




    Not that it matters much, but at teh last customer council - Citrites were talking about Delawre being called version 5.0 (I've even got a rpesentation with that on it)...but these thinsg do change all the time...

    One thing is certain, Citrix will make the product name longer and more cryptic, instead of just calling it MetaFrame 5.0.

    Yes, and change all the names as well, like they have been doing already. Let's say,

    Now, Web Interface is called ABC;

    Presentation Server is called XYZ,

    To not mention the feature names (session reliability, smart roaming, Universal Printing ...), and the net products to be integrated, expect a big mess LOL !

    I mean, "the new products"  to be integrated
    The use of "MetaFrame" in the name has been dropped several years ago...

    I was one of the presenters, and the one who polled the audience - and Brian has the intent of the statement and the question I posed exactly right. Perhaps out of context, it might sound "offensive," but the idea was certainly NOT that IT pros are any less skilled or knowledgeable. Rather, they have to know more skills, handle more technologies, but there's not MORE time in the day to devote to learning more and more Citrix-specific skills. Therefore, it is an imperative for Citrix to make our stuff easier to use, easier to leverage cross-product, cross-industry skills, and easier to train on. That is one of the driving goals here. How can we help IT pros support more users/apps if we keep making things more complex? Just won't work that way.

    And yes, while I'm in Citrix product marketing, we didn't make this trend up, the analysts did ;-).  They tell us that internal IT staff are becoming more generalist (read: responsible for everything about everything), and meanwhile outsourcing the specialists on a needs basis. If you feel their data is wrong, please, let's hear about it!


    - Calvin Hsu (principal product marketing manager, Presentation Server) 


    This is an area of IT that has a growing hole and room for opportunity, people who understand more of the pieces and how all this technology can realistically meet business needs.  Too often I still see multiple business groups within one organization building their own solutions, oblivious to how their pieces could build on and support one another.  This results in wasted dollars on hardware and software building duplicate systems that could be working together.  I'm waiting for the day I get into an organization that has more than one Citrix farm, completely independent and unknown to one another. 

    That's my take on a "generalist" vs a "specialist".  I remember when one person could support Novell and Microsoft.  Now those products, and others, have grown, added components, and gotten so diverse in what they can do it's hard enough being a specialist in any one, let alone multiple products and platforms.

    In presentation server 2008 "delaware" - Does that mean only local my document redirects or network redirects as well? is there any more information on this?

    I agree with Brian.  I work predominantly with virtualisation platforms, such as Citrix XenApp, Provisioning Server, Presentation Server and VMware ESX.  But because I work with XenApp and clients want remote access to it, I also work with Access Gateway (mostly Enterprise), which means I also have to put on my comms hat and tell firewall guys that the connections are client initiated via SSL, and then it is decrypted at the Access Gateway and that I need port 80 from source Access Gateway to my Presentation Server farm.  If that does not work I have to capture TCPDumps and see what is occurring.

    To work in a dynamic environment your good people I believe have to have a good knowledge of your entire product, and where they need knowledge of products outside the scope of their understanding (such as I do not really understand ASA's, but I do know how to set up a F5 with a basic config) I will engage that person and tell them what I am setting up and what they need to know.

    Then we have setting up SLDAP (knowledge of PKI and certificate generation), ensuring DNS works, active directory group policies and how they apply to a Terminal Server.

    So Calvin, I think you have hit the nail on the head.  What I do want to say however is that while it is easier to install the products than what it was in the past, I see out there that the IT guys on the ground are expected to do allot more, with less time to properly implement solutions so therefore sometimes the solutions are not optimised, or even scoped correctly because technical assumptions are made due to the ease at which the product/s can be installed.

    That is my 2 cents for a Sunday midday here in Oz :)