Get ready for ICA connections to Windows XP / Vista desktops

Citrix Engineer Jeff Muir recently wrote about a research project at Citrix called PortICA. PortICA's goal is to add an ICA protocol interface for Windows XP and Vista workstation products.

Citrix Engineer Jeff Muir recently wrote about a research project at Citrix called PortICA. PortICA's goal is to add an ICA protocol interface for Windows XP and Vista workstation products. It's important to note that PortICA is not Presentation Server for desktops. Instead, it's simply offering ICA as an alternative to the built-in RDP protocol for use in remote connection and remote desktop scenarios.

So why in the world would anyone want to do this? Because it would allow a Citrix VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) product to connect an ICA client device to a virtual XP/Vista desktop with a single pure ICA connection.

Let's take a step back. Remember that VDI solutions allow end users to remotely connect to back-end workstation blades or VMs in a thin client computing kind of way, allowing users to have the benefits of their own "real" workstation with the portability and security of a server-based computing environment. ( More in VDI here.) Remember too that Citrix is in the perfect position to add VDI capabilities into their application delivery software offerings, but they kind of missed the boat on that and instead hastily released a free product called the " Citrix Desktop Broker." (This is just an app that you publish on a Presentation Server which connects users to back-end Windows desktops, so the end user connects from their client to the Presentation Server via ICA, and then makes a second hop from the Presentation Server to the back-end Windows desktop.)

The good news is that Citrix's Desktop Broker application is just a temporary stop-gap solution. They are working on a "real" VDI solution which is currently codenamed "Project Trinity." Trinity will integrate with Presentation Server's IMA infrastructure to provide users with access to virtual desktops via the familiar interfaces. It will also allow for direct ICA connections from client devices to the back-end Windows desktops, hence the need for an ICA interface to Windows XP / Vista.

I'll have a more detailed preview of Project Trinity next week.

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To me the most interesting thing about PortICA is that it does not rely on Terminal Services in any way. So users will get all the benefits of the ICA protocol but a TS CAL will not be required to connect.
 
Jay
 
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that is VERY interesting... is there any talk about whether or not this can be used to bypass TS for a normal Presentation Server implementation?  Removing the cost of TS licenses would be great!
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No, so far everything I've seen for PortICA suggests that it is a single-user solution: one user per hosted desktop. Presentation Server relies on the multi-user capabilities in Windows; TS CALs will be continue to be required for CPS deployments as long as that's the case.
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Has anybody tried to make Eiger (Windows® Fundamentals for Legacy PCs) Virtual, and if; how did it compare to the full XP on virtual?
If it works, next step could be ica to Eiger. 
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With PortICA you do not create an additional session.  You are remoting the console session so to speak.  With TS each connected user is isolated by a separate session and this gives you the basis for multiple concurrent users.
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Could this be used to connect via the Access Gateway to a PC which is setup offsite? 
 
We use computers set up at our customer's site to do remote support to the machines we sell - these machines act as consoles. If we could use something like this so our support team can connect to these computers via the CAG from their home or wherever in the world they are I'd consider it a Good Thing.
 
 
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Or you could use Citrix's "GoToMyPC" product...
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Something that would help in my environment is if they tied in additional Remote Control functionality.  So I could publish Linux, Dos, Win9x, etc for backwards compatability testing.
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