Citrix overhauls SMB line-up, updates 'VDI-in-a-box'

Solution will let smaller companies deploy virtual desktop infrastructure more quickly; works with hypervisors from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.

Desktop virtualization pioneer Citrix has overhauled its lineup of products and technologies focused on small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in an effort to get more closely engaged with these businesses. Among the changes is the introduction of the first Citrix version of a prepackaged solution for virtual desktop infrastructure, VDI-in-a-Box.

The new product reflects the fruits of Citrix acquisition of Kaviza in May 2011. VDI-in-a-Box, which runs on a single server, includes all the architectural pieces that would allow a smaller company to develop virtual desktops throughout the organization. The goal is to simplify management, without oversimplifying the features that are available to end users. The technology supports all three of the major hypervisors: Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and VMware vSphere, ESX and ESXi.

Citrix has also introduced a product that combines VDI-in-a-Box with Citrix GoToManage, its cloud-based support service. The combination would allow companies to create automated managed services that keep the VDI-in-a-Box configurations running smoothly over time. Citrix has also teamed up with Dell to offer validated end-to-end solutions that deploy VDI-in-a-Box on specific Dell infrastructure hardware.

Here's some perspective from an early customer, James Preston, IT technician with Fitzharrys School in Abingdon, United Kingdom:

"We were looking for something that would extend the lifespan of our classroom PCs, while keeping us at the leading edge of technology. Within an hour of first hearing about VDI-in-a-Box, we had it up and running on a spare PC. Nothing else we had tried could even match this ease and speed of free trial download to a full production deployment. The best thing about VDI-in-a-Box is that you can scale from 20 clients to 100 just by adding another server -- no extra configuration needed."

The latest edition of VDI-in-a-Box hasn't actually shipped yet (it is due before the end of 2011), so pricing wasn't released by Citrix. The company is encouraging SMBs to give the trial version a spin.