The Demo: Citrix’s Xen Desktop

The burgeoning desktop virtualization space got a new player this summer with the addition of Citrix and its Citrix XenDesktop product, the fruit of its recent XenSource acquisition. It’s the latest in the company’s line of XenSource-based products, including XenApp and XenServer. Citrix area vice-president for Canada David Wright said, “If you take a look at the virtualization of applications, that’s been going on for the last eight to 10 years now, while virtualization of servers has come along in the last couple of years. The new ground to be worked is desktop virtualization. It’s a very new area, and we’re in the early stages.”

The user’s learning curve should be relatively pain-free — to launch the virtual desktop, they merely have to open a browser and log in to the program, as shown here. This boosts security by keeping sensitive data off mobile devices and remote computers. XenDesktop also allows users to log in on the go or from a home office, which will support the growing number of teleworkers. When a person logs back in to their desktop, their work from the previous session should be right there where they left it.

Said Wright: “With user adoption, the experience is virtually identical (no pun intended!).” The similar look-and-feel — as shown here — cuts down on training time. Another bonus of the virtual experience is the ability to open two versions of the same application at the same time; this saves IT managers the hassles of having to transfer over data in old applications to the new ones, a process that can be time-consuming and very costly.