Citrix is launching XenDesktop 5, the next major release of its desktop virtualization software, and the company is betting heavily that the user interface will be a big differentiator.
The company unveiled XenDesktop 5 at its Synergy conference in Berlin. The desktop virtualization software, which is increasingly gaining traction and boosting Citrix's quarterly results, aims to do the following:
Of those points, the last one is most notable. "The user experience is strategic for us," said Wes Wasson, chief strategy officer at Citrix. "XenDesktop is not a server virtualization tool masquerading as desktop virtualization."
Wasson's argument is that desktop virtualization, which enables companies to deliver enterprise software to any device including "bring your own computing (BYOC)" arrangements. Most companies have some form of BYOC in place today as workers bring in their Android devices and Apple iPads for work. Technology managers are looking to desktop virtualization as a way to garner some sort of control over technology usage for better security and data protection.
Will the user interface matter? To end customers carrying around Citrix's Receiver app on their iPads it matters. To IT departments, a good experience can't hurt. "The UI is the first impression," said Wasson. "Do you want to give users something they are frightened and concerned about or something that's inviting? IT managers are betting their career on this stuff so it has to work and be accepted."
A few key points from Citrix's take:
Now it's still early in the desktop virtualization inflection point, but companies are very interested. Citrix has 50 of the Fortune 100 deploying desktop virtualization in production. A good user experience could bolster that percentage.
While XenDesktop 5 is the headliner, Citrix also had other key items announced at its Synergy powwow. Among them: