Here Comes Citrix XenDesktop 3

Citrix Systems today announced Citrix XenDesktop 3, the newest release of its desktop virtualization solution. XenDesktop 3, a key component of the Citrix Delivery Center product family, incorporates several of the company’s new Citrix HDX technologies, giving virtual desktop users a richer “high-definition” experience with enhanced support for multimedia, audio and video.

XenDesktop 3 also dramatically improves scalability, hosting twice as many virtual desktops per server as previous versions. And with version 3, XenDesktop becomes the first product on the market to deliver Microsoft Windows desktops from a common set of centrally managed images that can be run either in the datacenter (hosted), or directly on a PC or thin client device (local). This new capability gives IT organizations far more flexibility, reducing desktop management costs by making efficient use of distributed processing power across both servers and end point devices.

XenDesktop 3 includes several enhancements that dramatically improve virtual machine density and efficiency in the datacenter, allowing customers to host up to twice as many hosted virtual desktops per server as previous versions.  These new optimizations cut server acquisition costs in half and dramatically reduce ongoing management and power consumption costs, allowing significantly larger deployments than before at no additional cost.

With version 3, XenDesktop becomes the first solution on the market to deliver both hosted virtual desktops and local streamed desktops from a single image store, leveraging the same delivery infrastructure. Most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions on the market offer only hosted virtual desktops, in which each desktop runs inside a virtual machine in the datacenter.

Adding support for local streamed desktops lets XenDesktop administrators stream desktops from the same golden master images, and execute them locally on any network-connected endpoint capable of running a desktop operating system. This powerful combination adds significant flexibility and cost savings, allowing IT to centrally manage desktops for office workers and run them wherever it makes the most sense, leveraging the distributed processing power of both servers and endpoint devices.

XenDesktop 3 also includes a variety of new features to support simpler management, easier user personalization and enhanced security. Most significant among these new features is fully integrated user profile management, making it far easier for IT to provide a consistent, personalized experience for each unique user every time they log in. Version 3 also includes broad support for smart card security authentication systems which are widely adopted throughout government, financial services and healthcare organizations.  XenDesktop not only enables this added level of security for gaining general access to the desktop environment, it also ensures that this information is seamlessly and transparently passed through to individual applications within each virtual desktop.

Citrix XenDesktop 3 will be generally available from authorized Citrix partners in February 2009, and from the Citrix website at Suggested retail pricing begins at $75 per concurrent user.

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