Citrix Systems Asia Pacific XenDesktop 2.0 Enterprise Edition

Citrix XenDesktop 2.0 leverages streaming applications, server virtualisation, and swift tools for a scalable and manageable virtual desktop infrastructure solution.

Citrix Systems Asia Pacific XenDesktop 2.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Wizard-based approach to building and managing desktop VMs, write caching that during user sessions, Desktop Delivery Controller, quick updating of VMs

Cons

  • XenServer still not on par with VMware ESX

Bottom Line

Citrix has long been the leader in the terminal services/remote desktop game. Its ICA protocol is heads and shoulders above alternatives, and the manageability of its solutions continues to be strong. By coupling this existing technology with VDI, Citrix aims for the best of both worlds, delivering streaming and hosted applications to a small-footprint desktop VM. XenServer still lags the capabilities of the VMware ESX hypervisor, but XenDesktop does not require XenServer to function and will play nice with VMware and even Microsoft Hyper-V.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 295.00 (AUD)

The Desktop Delivery Controller is just like it sounds — it manages user access to desktop VMs. Pools of desktops can be defined and linked to specific Active Directory groups. In this way, you could give all HR users a desktop VM with 512MB of RAM and a specific CPU share, while all Engineering users get a desktop with 1024MB of RAM and a more powerful CPU. Obviously, you could also deliver Windows XP to one group and Vista to another.

The DDC is also where time-based resource management is handled. It's possible to create rules that will keep a minimum number of desktop VMs ready and waiting for a login between 8.30am and 9.30am, and then reduce the number of idle VMs throughout the rest of the day, finally keeping a small number active after business hours. This reduces the load on the VM infrastructure and helps handle the morning ramp-up. It's also possible to assign desktop VMs to specific users, rather than pooling them for a group of users.

The transient nature of VDI requires some method of delivering per-user profiles to the desktops, which is generally handled via roaming profiles, much like in the traditional terminal server world. Windows administrators have typically weathered bristly relationships with roaming profiles, but the reality is that they're not going away, and their benefits outweigh their detriments, at least for now.

However, Citrix is heading toward a better world after licensing code from Sepago to address profile management issues. Citrix will be leveraging sepagoPROFILE to hopefully ease this particular burden in the future.

XenDesktop's management methods also allow for quick updating of VMs, as it's possible to modify the baseline VM image that will then be used to boot all new VMs. You can update that image in the middle of the day, and every VM will pick up those changes the next time it reboots.

As with any enterprise-scale virtualisation infrastructure, shared storage is a must. In order to migrate running VMs from one host to another, especially with the write-cache nature of XenDesktop, all the hypervisor hosts need to be playing in the same sandbox.

Apps in the stream

But what about the applications? This is where Citrix brings its app streaming tech to the table. A baseline VM image can be built that links to any number of streamed applications, such as Microsoft Office apps. The user who logs into that VM sees normal application launch icons, but these icons link to an application stream from a Citrix XenApp server. Thus, the application isn't installed on the VM at all, but is pulled into the VM when needed from the network. This reduces the footprint of the VDI infrastructure significantly, since you only need a single installation of Office 2007, rather than one installation per desktop. The apps run like they were natively installed, and users won't notice a difference.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?