After almost two years since the public announcement, Citrix finally delivered its first client hypervisor: XenClient 1.0 (formerly Project Independence), as part of the XenDesktop 4.0 Feature Pack 2.
Originally expected at the end of 2009, the new product has been postponed to the point that the first public beta appeared only in May 2010. Despite the delays, Citrix managed to release the product before its competitor VMware, which has been indefinitely postponed its Client Virtualization Platform (CVP), replacing it with a hosted (type 2) virtualization platform included in View 4.5 and called Local Mode.
virtualization.info previously published some details about the architecture and the capabilities of the client hypervisor.
A key point of the platform is the mandatory support for the Intel vPro technology feature set: at the GA time the Hardware Compatibility List includes 23 supported laptops (9 from Dell, 8 from HP and 6 from Lenovo), ranging from Intel Core 2 Duo to Core i7 CPUs, all featuring vPro.
Another limitation is the current lack of support for NVDIA display cards: all machines listed above only support Intel GPUs, in most cases the GMA 4500.
Citrix incrementally added capabilities until the very last minute, to both the hypervisor and the Synchronizer component.
- Integrated Disk Encryption
VMs delivered to XenClient from the Synchronizer can now be protected with AES-XTS disk encryption. This ensures that sensitive data is fully protected when deployed on XenClient systems. In the event a system is lost or stolen all the data remains protected from unauthorized access. On systems with Core i5 and Core i7 vPro technology XenClient will use Intel AES-NI to offload encryption operations to the hardware.
- External Monitor/Projector Support
The latest generation of Intel Core i5 and i7 vPro systems now fully support use of external monitors and projectors. Previously using external monitors and projectors required running a VM with 3D graphics support enabled.
- XenClient to Synchronizer Communication Hardening
XenClient systems will now use client side digital certificates along with user credentials to authenticate to the Synchronizer. Additionally all VHD files are encrypted with AES CBC encryption to allow secure delivery and caching of components over http.
- VM Switching Enhancements
The in-guest VM switcher bar has been re-skinned with updated graphics and new pull-down behavior. And the switching process has been revamped with a beautiful fade on switch between VMs.
- Revamped Synchronizer Web Interface
The Synchronizer for XenClient has a revamped UI and refreshed graphics showing off the latest Citrix UI standards.
XenClient is also available as an Express edition, installable on up to 10 devices free of charge, with all enabled features and no expiration.