Citrix is putting some dazzle into its expanding virtualization and application delivery software portfolio -- and its relationship with Microsoft.
At its annual conference known as Synergy 2009, the Ft Lauderdale, Fl company launched a series of new products and upgrades of its Xen virtualization software and Netscaler network acceleration software and launched a new enterprise licensing program.
Synergy reflects the growing "convergence of virtualization, networking and application delivery," Citrix said.
Several of the new offerings and upgrades feature better support and tighter integration with Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization hypervisor and Windows client and server, including:
Dazzle is a new product that Citrix says puts the personal back into personal computing. Dazzle provides a self service "storefront" to enterprise applications in the same way that Apple iTunes is a storefront to digital music. Dazzle is a rich GUI in front of Citrix's XenApp and XenDesktop infrastrucrure that requires no training and gives end users 24-by-7 online and offline access to corporate applications without IT admin intervention. The user facing applications run on Windows and Macintosh desktops. Dazzle is scheduled to be available in the second half of 2009. A preview will be made available in July. It's "unlike anything you've seen from Citrix," one executive said in a conference call on Monday. Maybe. But the lack of Linux desktop support is disappointing from the pen source virtualization vendor.
Receiver is a companion product to Dazzle, which is also free of cost. It becomes generally available this week. It is a lightweight client -- a URL -- that allows users to access virtual desktops and applications on any device and enables IT admin to deploy applications without worrying about form factor. The HDX technology ensures a rich high definition user experience, Citrix claims. The end user is given a URL and then downloads a Receiver much the way a users downloads Flash or QuickTime and is given instant access to corporate applications. It works on Windows and Macintosh andis being ported to the iPhone and Android. Citrix is working with other device manufacturers to expand Receiver support on smart phones.
Citrix also provided an update and the official naming of its much anticipated client hypervisor code named "Project Independence." It will be called Citrix XenClient and is going to ship as planned in the second half of 2009. The desktop hypervisor will give end users disconnected access to applications even as they enjoy centralized management and other benefits of server based computing.
Citrix XenServer 5.5
XenServer 5.5 is the recently announced upgrade of Citrix's core and free virtualization servers. The upgrade, announced in late March, offers consolidated backup, enhanced search, better conversion tools to Microsoft-developed VHD format, integration with Windows Active Directory and more guest support, including for several of the latest flavors of Linux.
Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Windows Hyper-V
Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V 5.5 is an upgrade of the recently announced virtualization management offering that complements XenServer 5.5, which was announced on March 30. Essentials 5.5 offers enhanced storage integration, automated stage management and dynamic workload balancing. The storage integration capabilities allows customers to integrate their virtualization management platform with leading storage and backup systems. This represents a big savings. Citrix pointed out, for example, that some virtualization solutions contain proprietary storage technologies that do not play well with existing storage solutions.
Citrix NetScaler VPX
VPX is the software-based virtual version of Citrix's NetScaler MPX hardware appliance. The virtual appliance will accelerate web applications in a more flexible, low cost way that opens up new on demand deployment options for both customers and service providers, Citrix maintains. Offers multi-tenancy at a fraction of the cost. A tech preview will be available this week and general availability will come early in the second half of the year.