Citrix demos delivering the Mac OS X desktop to any Citrix Receiver via HDX!

In the biggest "wow" announcement from Citrix Synergy 2011 San Francisco, Citrix publicly demoed the delivery a remote Mac OS X desktop to any client device running the Citrix Receiver (which is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Blackberry, Android, WebOS, etc..)

Connecting to a remote Mac OS X desktop has been available for a long time via products like LogMeIn, GoToMyPC, VNC, etc. And Aqua Connect has a product that extends the Mac OS X desktop to client devices running via Microsoft RDP (which Aqua Connect licensed from Microsoft).

So while this *concept* is nothing new, what's new today is that this connection was done via Citrix's HDX protocol, which is very advanced and allows for high performance multimedia and a great user experience. In his on-stage demo, Citrix's Gus Pinto showed off Angry Birds and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean demo, and as you'd expect from an HDX connection, the experience was great.

Citrix didn't share to many details except to confirm that the remote system was running on Apple-branded hardware. They wouldn't clarify whether that instance of the OS was physical or virtual, but we've previously read that VMware vSphere 5 is rumored to support Mac OS X as a platform for guest VMs, so it's plausible that we'll see some sort of "Mac VDI" offering at some point.

Here's a snippet of the keynote which featured the Mac HDX demo:

I don't think this will lead to massive migrations to Macs in the enterprise, but it will be nice for Mac users to have options to move their primary desktops to the datacenter just like Windows users have. And something like HDX Connect for Mac would sure be nice for remote access!

What does this mean for Aqua Connect? I guess they'll continue to focus on the "value" play?

Interesting and unexpected... stay tuned!

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May not be much room for a value play. In addition to a potential Citrix play on the high end, there has also been talk of poor man's terminal services in OS X Lion:


www.appleinsider.com/.../mac_os_x_10_7_lion_to_introduce_multi_user_screen_sharing.html


VNC-based, but might be good enough ad hoc access for many.


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I believe starting with the the server version of OS X 10.5 (Leopard) Apple allowed virtual instances, as long as it another licensed copy and on Apple hardware.


Lion is supposed to incorporate the server functions at no charge.  The question is how many OS X virtual machines can you run on a Mac Pro?  $129 per OS X license isn't much more than the MS VDA.


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To add to your thought, the server version of Mac OS X allows for unlimited users to connect, and that's just $499. (This is what Aqua Connect Terminal Server uses.) And I think it's been confirmed that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will not have separate server and workstation SKUs... so this could get really interesting!


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There are a few VPS hosting companies who have been offering MacOS VMs for some time.


e.g.


myservers.iovps.com/cart.php


The ability to connect to these virtual instances using HDX will be a big improvement over VNC!


Regards


Neil


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It is worth noting that what we saw demoed was a remote session to a Mac FROM a Mac. While it may stand to reason that this can be done "to any Citrix Receiver", that is not what we saw. I think Apple's current EULA was in play here and that may not be likely to change...


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People legally connect to Mac OS X systems all the time from non-Mac systems.. (Again, AQTS, VNC, LogMeIn, GoToMyPC, etc.) The EULA issue is that the Mac OS X must be running on Mac hardware. (It doesn't even matter if it's physical or virtual.)


Either way, I confirmed with Citrix immediately following this demo that it's possible to connect from any receiver on any platform.


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More details of the Lion OS X release became available at WWDC today.  The server version is a $49 add-on, so much cheaper than today's $499 but not free either.


I didn't see any mention of virtualization.  However, they did include info on the multi-user feature:


"Per-user screen sharing


You can remotely log in to a Mac with any user account on that computer and control it, without interrupting someone else who might be using the computer under a different login."


www.apple.com/.../features.html


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