Release: Citrix XenDesktop 2.0

The long awaited VDI solution from Citrix, XenDesktop, is finally available.
For some reasons the product starts from version 2.0 despite it’s the very first release.

Originally announced in October 2007, XenDesktop is a monumental series of bundles around the new VDI connection broker called Desktop Deliver Controller (or DDC, formerly Desktop Server).

To deliver its out-of-the-box Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Citrix includes with DDC several other products: the back-end virtualization infrastructure (XenServer), the streaming server (Provisioning Server), the application virtualization & streaming server (XenApp), the SSL VPN gateway (Access Gateway), the monitoring suite (EdgeSight), the QoS engine (WANScaler), the remote control (GoToAssist) and the VoIP gateway (EasyCall).

The resulting bundles are:

  • the Standard Edition (XenServer + Desktop Delivery Controller + Access Gateway)
  • the Advanced Edition (Standard Edition + Provisioning Server)
  • the Enterprise Edition (Advanced Edition + XenApp)
  • the Platinum Edition (Enterprise Edition +  EdgeSight + WANScaler + GoToAssist + EasyCall)

(it’s not clear if any bundle includes the management console XenCenter)

Along with these editions, surprisingly, Citrix announced a special Express Edition, which is identical to the Standard Edition but capped to ten concurrent users.
This move is particularly interesting considering that last week Ericom, a long-time Citrix competitor, launched a free edition (without any limitation) of its connection broker, PowerTerm WebConnect, for the free Xen-based hypervisor Oracle VM.

On the client tier, XenDesktop only supports Citrix ICA as the remote desktop protocol.
On the broker tier, XenDesktop only supports Windows Server 2003.
On the server tier, XenDesktop supports Windows XP and Vista (32bit only) virtual desktops, and requires the installation of a Virtual Desktop Agent.

It’s worth to note that while Citrix offers its own hypervisor with XenDesktop, the product also supports VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V once available.
XenDesktop will also integrate with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 when available, as announced in January.

The new DDC connection broker offers the typical features available in this class of products, like:

  • Active Directory authentication
  • Session management
  • Session stickiness
  • Virtual desktop pools support
  • High Availability support

The price depends on the selected bundle and starts at $75 per concurrent user (Standard Edition).

Citrix received support from most key players in the thin computing market, including HP, IGEL, Wyse, Chip PC, Computer Lab International and many others.
More or less the same ones that just yesterday were celebrating with VMware the launch of its new thin client certification program.

Download XenDesktop Express free of charge here.
Download the other XenDesktop editions in trial here.

The Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.

Update: Citrix also published a 1-hour eLearning course about XenDesktop 2.0 (despite it seems still focused on the beta version). Access it here