Citrix XenDesktop will run on Microsoft Hyper-V!

Maybe this should come as no surprise given Citrix and Microsoft's joint XenSource / Veridian announcements over the past year or so, but part of Microsoft's big desktop virtualization announcement yesterday was that Citrix XenDesktop will run on Microsoft's Hyper-V in addition to running on Xen.Let's back up a bit.

Maybe this should come as no surprise given Citrix and Microsoft's joint XenSource / Veridian announcements over the past year or so, but part of Microsoft's big desktop virtualization announcement yesterday was that Citrix XenDesktop will run on Microsoft's Hyper-V in addition to running on Xen.

Let's back up a bit. Citrix bought XenSource last August. Then at Citrix iForum The App Delivery Expo, presented by Citrix this past October, Citrix announced a new product called "XenDesktop." XenDesktop was essentially a combination of three of Citrix's products: Citrix Desktop Server, Ardence (to be called Citrix Provisioning Server), and XenServer (for desktop VMs). Why did they do this? According to what we heard from Citrix in October, the focus of XenDesktop is to simplify desktop virtualization and to combine everything you need into a single product.

What a difference a few months makes! Today Citrix and Microsoft jointly announced that Citrix XenDesktop will also run on Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization platform.

No word yet on pricing and packaging. (For example, will there be multiple flavors of XenDesktop, one for use with the Xen hypervisor another for people who want to use Hyper-V? Will these be priced the same?)

If you've been paying attention the past few months, this shouldn't really come as a surprise. Microsoft and XenSource were close even before Citrix bought them, and Microsoft and the Citrix-owned XenSource have been VERY close, even jointly announcing that virtual machine formats will be interoperable between Hyper-V and Xen, and that each company's tools could manage the other's virtual machines. So really you probably could have assumed that Citrix XenDesktop would work on Hyper-V, even if they didn't announce it.

Here's a fun game to play: Ask your local Citrix rep why they're supporting XenDesktop on Hyper-V. They'll give you an answer that it's all about choice and how some customers will feel more comfortable with Hyper-V and they want to give people the flexibility to do what they want. Then ask your rep why they bundle major features of their other products together.

Of course the fact that XenDesktop will run on Hyper-V is great news. XenDesktop is getting a lot of (well-deserved) attention, and it looks like it's going to be an awesome product. I just think it's funny that four months ago, Citrix was saying "XenDesktop is great because it's a single product for everything!" And now they're saying, "Oh, you can use it with Hyper-V too."

I wonder if it will run on VMware?

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As far as I know VMWare wil also be supported for Xendesktop.
During the Citrix Solution Conference in Antwerp the presenter told us that the XenDesktop VDI part could be hosted on any virtualization platform (like VMWare) if I remember correctly. But this is a while ago (November), so maybe they have changed plans in the meanwhile.

Yes, in ANtwerp they told the audience VMware would be supported


I think the main question is whether XenDesktop will simply support Hyper-V or will it be bundled with it. In other words, if you decide to run your VDI infrastructure on top of Microsoft Hyper-V will you:

1. Be required to use XenDesktop as the connection broker as no other connection broker will be allowed to support Hyper-V

2. Receive XenDesktop as part of a single, bundled product (OEM), but be able to use a different connection broker if you so choose (at extra cost)

3. Be able to use XenDesktop just like any other broker that supports Hyper-V (and I assume all of them will, except VMware VDM)

Based on past experience with Microsoft, I don’t believe it will be #1, and I’ll be surprised if it’s #2. So will it be #3 with Citrix simply being the “preferred solution” like it currently is for Terminal Services?

I agree, however, in Antwerp they did not say that Hyper-V would be supported. So now that Citrix and Microsoft have strengthened their relationship even more, and now that they've announced new stuff that was not announced in Antwerp, I wonder if what they said in Antwerp about VMware still applies?
You weren't paying attention.  XenServer, Microsoft, and Vmware were all mentioned and they are all three supported for hosting XenDesktop virtual desktops.



Your original article mentions XenDesktop running 'ON' Hyper V.

 Just to clarify, the current Xen Desktop preview is a bundle of several components, Provisioning Server for Desktops (Ardence),  Xen Enterprise, the connection broker 'Xen Desktop Server' and the Agent software running on each client workstation.

These components can run 'ON' any hypervisor which supports Windows guests.  What I'm guessing you meant is that Xen Desktop will support Hyper V as a hypervisor platform for desktop virtualisation?  If this is the case then it will have to tie in to SCVMM in the same way that it currently does with Xen Centre and Virtual Centre in order to control virtual desktop state.


The current tech preview of Xen Desktop supports VMWare in so far as the Xen Desktop Server component can talk directly to VMWare Virtual Centre in order to control desktop VM state.

I can't see Citrix dropping support for VMWare right now as desktops hosted on ESX will undoubtedly form a huge percentage of the deployments and therefore a large part of the inital revenue for the Xen Desktop product.

The answer is #3.

For now it would be folly for Citrix to limit the platforms that broker component of Xen Desktop will intergate with. Supporting Hyper V is a logical step, as is supporting Virtual Centre.

The big differentiator for Xen Desktop right now is the ICA protocol which for now is undoubtedly the best overall (WAN/LAN) remoting protocol with huge community support and understanding. The underlying architecture of ICA enables it to integrate with other Citrix products like Access Gateway and in time will undoubtedly have support for acceleration using WANScaler and end-to-end performance montioring with Edgesight. So, it doesn't matter where the virtual desktops are running, Xen, ESX or Hyper V, the agent software, which provides ICA connectivity, can still deliver massive benefits. The modular nature of the XDS component which enables integration with back end virtualisation platforms can easily be extended to accomodate pretty much anything that comes along.

As time passes, it sounds like Microsoft will develop their acquired Calista technology and have a remoting protocol capable of giving ICA a run for it's money, but in that timeframe ICA will as I mentioned, have even further integrated with the other essential components providing additional benefits which are essential to any managed desktop service.


"XenDesktop is great because it's a single product for everything!"  Taking this an d equating this to meaning there will no support for any other hypervisor seems like sensational stretch to make an article more interesting and make yourself feel good Citrix bashing. The Tech Preview has VMWare support in the drop down, although not enabled today. So adding Hyper-v to the current "Other" field in the TechPreview is hardly a surprise. Come on Brian, keep in real, we know you make money bashing Citrix, but this one makes your blog read like the National Enquirer. Perhaps the headline should have been "Kebab found on Mars." It would have had as much data to support the claim.
Will be good to see what Apollo offers vs Calista. Perhaps Citrix felt they could do this on their own, or simply too cheap?

It's a BUNDLED product which will probably have different flavors like Presentation Server.  You guys crack me up on being so shocked at something Citrix has talked about since day one.  Pay attention and READ what is being posted.

The person who posted above is correct, it will support all three platforms, which is only one part of the solution.


Several of the wall street analysts (who presumably know these things since they work the M&A deals) reported that Microsoft paid nearly $100M for Calista, outbidding VMware in the process. That's $100M for a company with a cool tech, but which doesn't even have a product yet. I'm not at all surprised Citrix didn't want to pay that kind of money, especially if they have the Apollo stuff working in the labs and their big platform buddy Microsoft was the one bidding against VMware.
Still recovering from passed acquisitions?

A company is only capable to integrate a limited number of acquisitions at certain amount of time. You can not expect them buy everything that looks good and make it work right away.



Brian how do you equate this to will not run on VMWare or Hyper-V? The Techpreview clearly indicates otherwise, just fire it up and take a look. Keep it rule dude. A very sensational statement to make a article interesting. This is not the National Enquirer last time I checked, you should have just said "Kebab found on Mars," and that would have had as much merit as that statement.

I agree, check out the Tech Preview before creating gossip :>)