Citrix announced an end-to-end virtualization strategy Monday at its iForum user conference, where it unveiled the integration of recently acquired XenSource into new virtualization offerings.
"Virtualization is an end-to-end proposition, not just for servers. It's a property of every part of the application delivery infrastructure," said Wes Wasson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Citrix, in Santa Clara, California.
As part of the strategy, Citrix announced two new product lines: XenDesktop 2.0 for desktop virtualization and XenServer for server virtualization.
Desktop, Server Offerings
"Citrix is now positioned to be a key provider of server, desktop and application virtualization technologies, a market which IDC expects to be worth in excess of $3.4 billion by 2011," John Humphreys, program vice president of IDC, said in a Citrix press release. "Citrix's new end-to-end virtualization offerings augment the company's application delivery strategy and represent the foundational components of the future application delivery environment."
On the server side, the XenServer line combines "comprehensive server virtualization capabilities" with scalability, performance, and ease-of-use benefits, Citrix said. Citrix has renamed XenSource's data center product XenServer Enterprise Edition, while adding a single-server option called XenServer Express Edition.
The new desktop virtualization solution, XenDesktop, will ship in the first half of 2008, according to Citrix, which said XenDesktop is designed to "overcome the challenges of cost, complexity, and user experience that have prevented virtual desktops from becoming a mainstream enterprise reality in the past." The desktop technology combines a desktop delivery controller with Xen's virtualization infrastructure, allowing for virtual desktops to be hosted in the data center.
XenDesktop allows for a "perfect world," Wasson said. Instead of merely preinstalling Windows applications in the data center and then streaming them on demand to users' PCs, Citrix's solution isolates applications, thus avoiding problems of managing application conflicts.
"By delivering a pristine OS like Vista and using a separate infrastructure for delivering the applications, they never cross or get hard-coded into that desktop environment. If you stream those applications into a virtual isolation environment, then you have the perfect world," he said.
The announcement from Citrix aligns nicely with trends that analysts have been identifying in recent months. "By allowing partitioning, emulation, and aggregation at every layer of the software stack, virtualization is transforming enterprise I.T. from the data center server farm to the desktop PC, thin client, or remote laptop at the enterprise edge," Rachel Chalmers, senior analyst for enterprise software at The 451 Group, wrote in an industry report this summer.
"The trouble is that approaches for desktop and application virtualization differ, and many are complementary, leading to tremendous market confusion as to which companies and technologies are competing head-to-head and which are building on one another," she wrote.
Citrix Presentation Server features a PowerSmart interface, available in December, that will allow data center managers to turn server power down when traffic bottoms out. Citrix demonstrated the feature with HP Reliant servers at the conference.