Citrix to deliver Windows desktops from the cloud

Citrix's Project Avalon initiative will allow companies to deliver Windows apps and desktops from the cloud, as it made a slew of announcements around virtual desktops and cloud management at its customer conference in San Francisco
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Citrix has lifted the lid on 'Project Avalon', an initiative that can deliver Windows apps and desktops from the cloud, amid a slew of announcements at its customer conference in San Francisco.

Citrix said on Thursday that Project Avalon will use its XenDesktop and CloudStack technologies to give companies the ability to shift apps and desktops into public clouds to deliver capacity on demand. 

Chief executive Mark Templeton told the audience that the increasing use of BYOD, smartphones and apps have upset traditional assumptions, such as the idea that staff work from on office, using company-issued hardware on a wired connection to access a standard suite of applications.

"What used to be the exception has now become the assumption: the exceptions of the PC era have become the assumptions of the cloud era," he said.

Alongside the Project Avalon announcement, Citrix unveiled a version of its GoToMeeting HDFaces conferencing tool for the iPad. It demonstrated integration between this and its recently acquired Podio collaboration software.

In addition, the company said its GoToAssist tool for mobile devices now supports Android, allowing IT professionals to provide live support from anywhere, by connecting to employee computers and solving problems from their phone.

Elsewhere, the company said it had updated its enterprise file-sharing product Citrix ShareFile to include the ShareFile StorageZones feature, which allows organisations to decide the best locations for storing corporate data; either off-premise in the public cloud, or on-premise in their own datacentre. Templeton described this as "iCloud for business", and said that, for example, if the information related to a German contract, the application could ensure that such data is only stored in Germany.

What used to be the exception has now become the assumption: the exceptions of the PC era have become the assumptions of the cloud era.
– Mark Templeton, Citrix

Citrix is also plugging ShareFile into its Receiver software client, which allows users to open, edit and share documents on their personal and mobile devices.

It also announced a new version of its Citrix CloudGateway, adding mobile application management capabilities, including full support for native HTML5, iOS and Android apps.

In another announcement, Citrix explained how its HDX System-on-Chip is driving down costs. It said a thin client that might have cost $250 (£155) six months ago could now be bought for $125. HP showcased a client that uses Power-over-Ethernet and consumes just 13 watts.

Templeton also gave an update on CloudStack, which was recently put forward as an Apache Project. "We see orders of magnitude more downloads and more implementations. The early results have exceeded our expectations. What open source is about is a community using and developing the technology and we see a big uptake," he told ZDNet UK.

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