Citrix and Intel are teaming up to develop desktop virtualisation that delivers a managed client environment to unmanaged hardware.
The companies said on Wednesday that they will combine Intel's vPro remote management technology with Citrix's Xen hypervisor to build the package, which will eventually be released by Citrix under the name 'Project Independence'. By focusing on client-based desktop virtualisation rather than a server-based approach, the partners said they hoped to bring the technology's benefits to a wider enterprise audience.
At the heart of the plan will be a Xen-based desktop hypervisor, optimised to work with Intel's virtualisation technology and the management functions in vPro. The new client hypervisor will be made available to PC manufacturers and enterprises worldwide.
Using the new system, IT departments will be able to stream a centrally managed corporate desktop, including applications, directly to a virtual machine running on a remote client. The desktop and application software can then be cached on that client, meaning that laptop users can continue to work when they are no longer connected to the network.
This will mean desktop or laptop users can run their software securely and isolated from one another, making the total corporate environment secure, Intel and Citrix said. Organisations should be able to manage the desktop image, as well as software and operating system updates, from a central, secure location.
In particular, the companies said, this means that non-enterprise laptops or other domestic and personally owned hardware could safely run enterprise applications within their own managed environment.
Mark Bowker, of the analysts Enterprise Strategy Group, said: "This innovative approach from Citrix and Intel has the potential to swing the pendulum toward desktop virtualisation alternatives and disrupt a traditional desktop management industry that is costing enterprises billions of dollars a year today."
The first delivery of Project Independence, including a new Xen client hypervisor for Intel vPro, is planned for the second half of 2009.