Citrix Looks Beyond VDI
Last week's Virtually Speaking looked at the virtualization vendors' growing interest in the virtual desktop. I questioned whether the virtual desktop will have its due in 2010. Not surprisingly, Citrix believes the the answer to be a firm "yes."Virtually Speaking: Within two years, 60 percent of all desktops will be virtualized, according to Gartner. Citrix has six avenues to make this possible.
Last Thursday, I met with Citrix CTO Harry Labana to discuss the company's plans for increasing its virtual desktop footprint. For some time now, Citrix has believed the virtualization will drive client devices in the not-so-distant future, and it is moving actively on that vision.
Citrix is not alone in this belief. Research firm Gartner predicts that "60 percent of corporate desktops will be virtualized all or in part by 2012."
Citrix currently claims 20,000 end users taking advantage of the six virtual desktop options that make up its FlexCast technology. Labana emphasized that the oft-cited virtual desktop encompasses far more than virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) a desktop operating system that is in actuality a virtual machine (VM) hosted from a centralized server.
Unfortunately, VDI and desktop virtualization are often used interchangeably, and thus VDI is overused. At times, the virtual desktop isn't actually a desktop at all, but a client device. Note that the 60 percent that Gartner cited applies not just to VDI but to all types of desktop virtualization. Also interesting is that Citrix is talking about more than just desktops. Its technology is meant for smartphones and netbooks as well as desktops and laptops.
For highly mobile users, where supporting everything on the client is preferable, a client-side compute model is the way to go. The three options are:
- Local, VM-based desktops (offline mode), like XenClient
- Virtual apps that are delivered to installed desktops
- Local, streamed desktops (i.e., diskless machines booting from a single image)
For task-oriented workers, three other options may be more appropriate:
- Hosted blade PC desktops, machines cannot have a hypervisor
- Hosted virtual-based desktops the technology more commonly known as VDI
- Hosted shared desktops