It’s becoming clear that XenDesktop is going to be the technology leader for Citrix moving forward. In the old days, Citrix’s flagship product was MetaFrame/Presentation Server/XenApp. But now that Citrix has competition in the VDI space, (and now that VDI will be a $65B industry in five years ;), Citrix’s focus is definitely there. While I originally wrote about this last May, it’s continuing to play-out now.
Case-in-point: Citrix will release Feature Pack 1 for XenDesktop 3 at their Synergy conference in two weeks. This feature pack is wholly focused on the user experience and the ICA capabilities within a VM. (In fact, the complete feature pack “install” is just an update to the agent that runs in your remote VM images.) New features of FP-1 include:
- Multimedia redirection for Flash (or HDX MediaStream or whatever it’s called now). This just means that the remote host will send the raw flash content to the endpoint where it will be rendered locally, similar to the RAVE technology that’s been in place for media streams for the past five years.
- Improvements for general host-based motion, including Silverlight, Quicktime, dragging windows, PowerPoint animations, etc.
- VoIP soft-phone support for LAN users
- Bi-directional audio support in Vista.
- Refined smart card support, including flowing sessions between devices with different brands of readers
- Windows 7 guest support (which will be huge)
Don’t get me wrong.. these are all very cool features and all the more reason that most people doing VDI today are doing it with XenDesktop (keeping in mind that XenDesktop also runs on ESX. ;)
I don’t know how soon any of this will make it into XenApp. Even if it’s soon, I think we can safely think of XenDesktop as the Tier 1 product at Citrix now, with XenApp the afterthought. (By the way, in case you’re wondering about the future of XenApp in a XenDesktop world, I wrote about that a few weeks ago.)