Citrix Synergy is going on now in Houston. We're barely two hours into the conference, and there have already been some major news items. I can't possibly do justice to write about each of these things today, so I'm going to use this article to aggregate and provide quick overviews of all these stories, and then I'll go in-depth into each of them more over the next few days or so.
Here are the big stories, in random order:
Citrix is bundling XenApp into some versions of XenDesktop
Citrix XenDesktop is officially launched today. There are several editions available, but note-worthy is that at the Enterprise edition ($295 per CCU) and higher, Citrix is bundling in XenApp / Presentation Server as well. This is not for an integrated suite, rather, it's just that they're including the XenApp license. You can then use XenApp to stream or provide remote ICA seamless apps, but the catch is that you can only to this to your virtualized XenDesktop users. If you want to use XenApp for non-XenDesktop users, you still need to buy the full traditional XenApp package. This somewhat addresses the "Application Tax" I wrote about two weeks ago, although not entirely.
Current XenApp Platinum Customers can add-on XenDesktop for $95 per CCU
I guess that headline kind of says it all! Again, XenApp and XenDesktop are not integrated--this is just a licensing / product bundle. (Although of course you can integrate the user experience of these two products by creating a single Web Interface page for both environments.
Citrix acquired Sepago for their profile management product
We've been talking about the importance of profile management (or "user environment management") for awhile, and Citrix has always had a huge hole in their offerings around this. Sepago was a smaller profile management company who solved the problem the "traditional way." There are other companies who are virtualizing user environment settings altogether (RTO and RES immediately come to mind), so we'll have to work out how those stack up to Sepago,
Virtualizing a XenApp Server on XenServer only amounts to a user reduction of 7.6%
Citrix released a white paper (which was independently verified by The Tolly Group) where they ran performance tests on a typical XenApp server running natively, and then they took the same server and virtualized it via XenServer and only saw the number of users they could put on it drop by 7.6%. Interestingly they focused this paper on only running one XenApp VM per XenServer host, with the idea being that you can trade off the 7.6% fewer users for the other soft benefits of virtualization, like live server migration, ease of deployment, and the ability to use a standard image across different types of hardware.
Also interesting is that Citrix compared the performance of XenApp on XenServer to XenApp on "a leading virtualization vendor's platform." (Hmmm.. who could that be?) The other vendor had a much worse performance hit, and the XenApp/XenServer combination was able to host 70% more users. There are some catches though, that I'll address in an article in a few days.
New Appliance: Citrix Branch Repeater
The branch repeater appliance is based on Windows Server, and can kind of be thought of as a "XenApp" appliance, although it also acts as a WANScaler appliance. The idea is that you set up your apps in your central XenApp environment, and then they're streamed down to the branch office appliance where they're served locally to branch office users. Pricing starts at $5500.
Mark Templeton has always loved comparing server-based computing to the cable TV industry. "Why can't you just get a box and have all your apps, just like the way the cable company gives you a box for all your tv content." Citrix talked a bit about their "App Receiver" concept at iForum last year, and this year they're talking about it more.
But in addition to the "App Receiver," Citrix is also showing off a "Desktop Receiver." The Desktop Receiver is a lightweight client that can be pre-installed into thin client devices (or "Desktop Appliances, in today's vernacular) to give them a good desktopy experience (instant on, connect right in to remote desktops, etc.). A bunch of the typical thin client vendors are getting their stuff certified as Citrix Desktop Ready. There will also be an installable software version of the Desktop Receiver, which is kind of like the traditional ICA / Program Neighborhood Agent client, but with a UI specifically designed for connecting to remote desktops instead of single apps.
New Brand: "Citrix Delivery Center"
Citrix has created a new family name called the "Citrix Delivery Center" to encompass all of their products. The CDC includes five parts:
- Controllers - XenApp, XenDesktop, XenServer, NetScaler
- Gateways - Citrix Access Gateway (SSL-VPN)
- Repeaters - The new Citrix Branch Office Repeater
- Receivers - The client software.. App Receiver and Desktop Receiver
- Orchestration - Citrix Workflow Studio
That's it for now. I'll update this blog entry as more news comes out.