Citrix XenDesktop is the desktop virtualization solution by Citrix. In this article, Ruben Spruijt discusses the advantages and disadvantages of desktop virtualization and the role that Citrix XenDesktop plays therein. What is the function of the Citrix Provisioning Server in virtualizing desktops?
Desktop virtualization is developing into a serious, interesting and effective desktop delivery platform. According to Ruben Citrix is at the forefront when it comes to the development and acceptance of this form of virtualization. “War of the Virtual Worlds Part II” has begun! Ruben gives us his vision of the virtual workstation 2010.
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Application and Desktop Delivery
Application and desktop delivery is a process whose objective is to be able to offer applications independent of location and workstation so that the user can always work everywhere: onsite, offsite and offline. Citrix XenDesktop is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution. This solution ensures remote access to Windows XP or Vista desktops that are centrally implemented on virtual machines in the data center. Server virtualization solutions such as Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX Server form the infrastructure basis for the virtual (Xen)Desktops.
Xen Xen Xen
After the take-over of XenSource by Citrix it is “Xen, Xen, Xen” that makes the clock beat at Citrix. In the Citrix dictionary Xen is equal to “virtualization.” XenServer virtualizes hardware, thanks to which desktops and servers are designed to be hardware-independent. XenDesktop virtualizes and provides desktops.
Citrix XenApp virtualizes applications in two possible ways. Option one is called “server-side application virtualization.” A nice name for the known and proven server based computing concept. The other type of application virtualization is “client-side application virtualization.” In this form, applications are quickly and very easily provided on a desktop, laptop or terminal server, whereby the application is implemented on the respective platform in an isolated environment.
What are the pros and cons of Citrix XenDesktop?
There are various advantages of XenDesktop (XD). I describe several of them here below:
User experience: Multimedia and graphically heavier applications must be provided by means of the ICA protocol with an acceptable user experience. By applying various SpeedScreen technologies, applications can even be used over a network connection with a low bandwidth and higher latency.
Safe access to applications: Users have safe and consistent access to applications with every type of connection, every device at every location, both within and outside of corporate networks. All information remains at the data center; only screen information is sent over the network.
Fast provision of desktops: With XenDesktop personal desktops can be distributed, retrieved, supported and maintained much more quickly than local desktops. The XD desktop is available within several seconds.
Several operating systems in one XenDesktop environment: Personal desktops can be provided with a Windows XP or Vista operating system. A determination as to which desktop is intended for which user is made depending on the set rules.
Application compatibility: Each Windows XP or Vista desktop is a complete stand-alone virtual workstation. There are two great advantages of providing applications via XenDesktop compared to Microsoft Terminal Services: Researching compatibility with Microsoft Terminal Services applications is not necessary and the number of applications that can be made centrally available via XenDesktop is higher compared to Microsoft Terminal Services.
User freedom: A XenDesktop solution offers the user Windows XP or Windows Vista. End-users can install applications and easily change configuration settings within their own workstation environment.
Real-time load-balancing: The virtual infrastructure platform monitors the use of system resources and assigns available sources to a number of desktops based on the rules that were set in advance by the ICT department. If the resources are limited, extra capacity is freed up through migration of active desktops to another physical server. In combination with live migration the desktops are load-balanced in real time.
High availability (HA): HA provides high availability for each desktop, no matter the operating system or the underlying hardware configuration. The technical interpretation of HA can differ per hardware virtualization infrastructure.