Citrix XenDesktop is a high-performance, open-architecture desktop virtualization platform that can deliver standardized or personalized Windows desktops and applications to any PC, Mac, thin client, tablet, or smartphone from a centrally managed data center. XenDesktop supports both server-side and client-side delivery options, and these can be combined to support any mix of client types from task workers to mobile users. These delivery options include the classic Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) architecture that maximizes flexibility for online users and the local Virtual Machine (VM) desktop for users who need to be able to work offline.
XenDesktop offers all the major advantages associated with virtual desktop technology including simplified management, lower client hardware costs, higher availability, and improved security and compliance. XenDesktop provides these benefits by allowing fast provisioning of new client computers, fast deployment of new applications and updates, streamlined desktop image management, rapid recovery from client hardware failure or loss, lower initial cost and longer usable life for client computers, consistent performance by avoiding application conflicts and chaotic Windows registries, tight control and enforcement of security policies, and the ability to keep sensitive corporate or government data from leaving the data center.
Progent offers the support of a Citrix-certified XenDesktop expert who can help you design a XenDesktop environment that maximizes the business value of your information network; integrate XenDesktop technology with your servers, end-user computers, and peripherals; upgrade your virtual desktop software to current versions of XenDesktop; and provide comprehensive online troubleshooting. Progent can also train your IT staff to follow industry leading practices to manage XenDesktop efficiently.
Improvements in XenDesktop 5.5
The latest release of XenDesktop offers significant enhancements in important areas including improved desktop customization and management; support for a broader range of client devices and operating systems; higher performance for voice, video, and multimedia applications; and better utilization of available online bandwidth.
For improved client personalization, the Desktop Studio includes Early Access technology that allows administrators or users to install applications without changing the master image, a new profile manager simplifies the control of user settings, and Windows folder redirection improves performance and productivity by isolating user data from the virtual machine. Client computer options have been extended by the new Citrix Receiver, which supports the latest generation of touch-screen pads and smartphones including Linux-based devices. The simulation of a responsive local experience for online users has been improved via real-time audio streaming, webcam compression, graphics command redirection, and local rendering. Wide Area Network (WAN) performance has been increased through granular Quality of Service (QoS) controls and HDX WAN optimization in the Branch Repeater that doubles the allowable number of remote users.
Citrix XenDesktop Delivery Options for Windows Desktops and Applications
XenDesktop's FlexCast delivery technology offers a variety of server-side, client-side, and on-demand delivery models for Windows desktops and applications that provide the versatility to accommodate a mix of user scenarios while retaining the core benefits of single-instance management, fast deployment, and tight security. Delivery models supported by XenDesktop include:
- Hosted Shared Desktops
This cost-effective server-side model for desktop virtualization allows online clients to share a single Windows Server environment with a uniform set of on-demand applications. This model is easy to manage, offers very high security, and supports a broad range of user devices. Because it does not allow personalized clients, the hosted shared desktop model is best suited for task workers with focused and well-defined job responsibilities. Because clients share the same virtualized desktop, a single XenDesktop server at the data center can support from 500 to 1,000 users, offering the fastest return on investment of any of the delivery models.
- Hosted VDI Desktops
This classic server-side model for desktop virtualization, also called Hosted VM (Virtual Machine) Desktops, allows online clients with any device to personalize a virtual machine hosted at the data center. Suitable for knowledge workers who need a flexible computing environment, this model still offers relatively easy management while providing excellent security since sensitive data stays at the data center. Administrators can assign virtual desktops to user accounts so that custom changes persist from session to session, or limit personalization to a single session. Because each client can have a unique virtualized desktop, the hosted VDI desktop model is limited to about 150 clients per server.
- Streamed VHD Desktops
The Streamed-VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) model is a client-side delivery technique typically used to provision standardized local desktop PCs with a centrally managed hard drive image that is streamed as needed throughout a client session. This makes it easy for IT management to maintain up-to-date operating system and application environments and reduces the load on the XenDesktop server because applications are run locally. This architecture allows a single XenDesktop server to support several thousand clients.
- Local VM Desktops
This client-side delivery model is ideal for mobile workers who need to use their computers even when they are disconnected from the data center. Under the local VM (Virtual Machine) desktop model, virtual machine desktops are downloaded from the data center to client computers which run the applications locally. Users can run their own personal desktop in isolation from the locked down virtual machine, preserving security while permitting client flexibility. IT managers can specify how long the client computers can run virtual desktops before requiring users to connect to the data center to check security and synchronize changes.
- On-demand Applications
With this delivery model, XenDesktop is used to virtualize individual applications and manage them in an app store. Users can select applications they want and stream them from an enterprise app storefront as an on-demand service. This is simpler to manage than virtualizing entire desktop images with hard-coded applications embedded in them. Because the applications are virtualized, they can run in isolation on any device, alongside any operating system, and along with other applications with which they might ordinarily be incompatible. IT can centrally manage application libraries distributed within the data center, on the web, or as SaaS apps, and users have one-click access to any application for online or offline use.
Citrix Receiver for Universal Access to Windows, Web, or SaaS Applications
Citrix Receiver, available as a free download, is a device-independent client that works with XenDesktop to allow Windows PCs, Linux desktops, Macs, smartphones, and tablets to access a centrally managed data center to run virtual Windows desktops and applications as well as web and SaaS applications. Citrix HDX high-definition technology makes it possible to use touch-based mobile devices to run multimedia applications hosted at the data center. This includes legacy applications not designed for touch screens. Citrix Receiver supports a broad range of client operating systems including Windows, IOS, Android, WebOS, Chrome OS, Mac OS, and Linux. Handheld computers and smartphones supported by Citrix Receiver include the Apple iPhone and iPad tablet, Google Android-powered devices, and RIM Blackberry smartphones.
Citrix OpenCloud Access technology gives users of Citrix Receiver fast access to web, cloud, and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, and Citrix NetScaler supports secure single sign-on. Citrix Receiver allows self-service access to any authorized application permitted via a simple app store interface. Users have the option to launch applications directly from Citrix Receiver or add favorite programs to Windows start menus or Mac Dock. Mobile device management is simplified and user productivity is enhanced through Citrix Receiver's auto-updating architecture, which makes it possible to update client software and plug-in modules without user intervention.
How Progent Can Help You with Citrix XenDesktop
Progent's Citrix-certified consultants can help you evaluate, test, install, manage, and troubleshoot XenDesktop technology and can assist you with other virtualization platforms from Citrix by providing Citrix XenServer consulting services, Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V support, and Citrix XenApp expertise. Progent can also help you integrate XenDesktop with virtual server environments from Microsoft or VMware by providing Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V consulting and VMware vSphere support.
Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can help you optimize connectivity infrastructure to support your virtual desktop solution and Progent's disaster recovery consultants can help you develop and document a disaster recovery/business continuity plan that takes advantage of the high availability features of XenDesktop technology. To assess your network security and compliance, Progent's certified security engineers can provide security evaluation testing and can help you follow industry best practices in defining and enforcing security policies and controls.
To find out more about Progent's consulting services for desktop virtualization, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or send email to email@example.com.