Citrix released on Tuesday its newest version of VDI-in-a-Box -- that's VDI, as in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Version 5.1 offers several new enhancements, including personalized virtual desktops, single-instance management and Google Earth support.
Virtual desktop technology enables a user desktop to run inside a virtual machine on a server. It offers an individual desktop for each user, while providing the IT department or tech specialist with centralized management.
Citrix says its VDI-in-a-Box product is intended to make virtual desktop technology affordable and easy for small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs) that do not have major IT support. The company also offers a complementary and more extensive enterprise solution called XenDesktop for desktop virtualization at larger organizations.
The SMB-focused VDI-in-a-Box, in its current incarnation, was released in November of last year, following the virtualization technology the company acquired when it bought Kaviza in May. The new 5.1 version uses technology from XenDesktop, and Citrix has been working to get both products better aligned.
Kumar Goswami, Citrix vice president of products for VDI-in-a-Box, said in a statement that VDI-in-a-Box allows customers to "increase the level of personalization offered to end-users without increasing complexity or costs," even while growing deployments.
In Version 5.1, there is no longer the need to create separate static desktops in order to allow end-user customization, as single-instance management can now allow individual user workspaces to have their own apps and data. The company said that this new ability for single-instance management, along with individual personalization, reduces maintenance efforts and cuts data center storage costs by as much as 90 percent.
Other enhancements include Active Directory failover, dual data stores for faster tiers of storage -- such as solid state storage -- and another layer of built-in load balancing via a grid-wide virtual IP, to better handle the failure of a single server.
Google Earth, Alerts
In addition, 5.1 users can now use Google Earth seamlessly, and Citrix said various new features make deployment, upgrades and management easier. A new "touchless desktop agent" automatically upgrades all the images in the VDI-in-a-Box grid without requiring admin help. There's now also support for multiple virtual CPUs and the ability to partition user and computer domains for increased compliance and flexibility.
With the formal release of Windows 8 just around the corner, the new version supports Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 8 beta, as well as XP and 7, pending general availability of the new OS.
We asked Krishna Subramanian, vice president of Marketing and Partner Engagement for VDI-in-a-Box, what the company saw as the most significant enhancements in the new release. (continued...)
Posted: 2012-08-31 @ 5:34am PT
Good but not enough. We use Unidesk with Xendesktop because it can package ANY application, and users can install applications if permitted. It's also very easy to just layer everything.