Citrix has released an update to its XenDesktop suite for desktop virtualisation, adding features for greater user customisation amd broader endpoint device support, and including a more mature version of the XenClient tool for laptops.
Available immediately, XenDesktop 5.5 focuses on a better end user experience, while earlier versions delivered on scalability and management for enterprise IT departments, according to the firm.
A key part of this is the incorporation of the Personal vDisk technology from RingCube, which Citrix recently acquired, which stores user data separately from the virtual machine image.
This allows the IT department to maintain a single virtual machine image for many employees, who still get the benefit of a desktop they can customise as they would on a physical PC.
"Before, XenDesktop users could do a certain level of customisation, but this allows them to have their own preferences, data and even locally installed apps on their own vDisk," Citrix product marketing manager Patrick Irwin told V3.
The company's HDX technology for delivering multimedia over a remote connection has also been improved to support full Aero Glass graphics for Windows 7 even over a WAN connection, Irwin said.
IT departments can also now apply quality of service controls to different Independent Computing Architecture protocol channels to prioritise voice and video traffic and optimise performance when using tools such as Microsoft's Lync for videoconferencing, for example.
XenClient, Citrix's tool which uses virtualisation to manage corporate images on laptops, has been given an overhaul and is now production ready, according to Irwin, who admitted that the version included with XenDesktop 5 was really suitable only for pilot projects.
XenClient 2 adds full admin tools, better scalability and integration with Active Directory, plus a better user interface on the client side and improved backup of client data, Irwin said.
Meanwhile, Citrix has been working to extend support across as many endpoint devices and platforms as possible, and unveiled new Citrix Receiver clients for Mac OS X Lion and Google's ChromeOS.
Irwin said that there is increasing uptake of centralised virtual desktops, in part driven by organisations migrating to Windows 7, and that 61 per cent of Citrix revenue now comes from desktop solutions.
Pricing for XenDesktop 5.5 starts at $95 (£57) per user or device, while further features such as XenApp 6.5 for application virtualisation are available in the Enterprise and Platinum editions priced at $225 (£135) and $350 (£215) respectively.
XenDesktop now runs on VMware vSphere as well as Microsoft's Hyper-V and Citrix's own XenServer.
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