Citrix claims to have cracked one of the limitations of desktop virtualisation – how to continue working when a machine is offline. Citrix has announced a beta release of XenClient, its client-side virtualisation product that allows users to continue working on virtual desktops even when they're disconnected from the network.
The company has worked with Intel to install a bare metal hypervisor, based on Intel's vPro virtualisation technology.
"The great downside of desktop virtualisation is that users have to be connected to the network, whether that's through the LAN, WAN or through 3G mobile," said Patrick Irwin, product marketing manager at Citrix. "XenClient avoids that problem, if you're disconnected, you can just carry on working as before and sync when you get online again,"
The product has been expected for some time. "We released Xen Desktop 4 last year, but it was missing support for mobile workers, "said Irwin, "but Xen Client is the missing piece of the jigsaw."
He said that there were three great strengths to the product, "It's secure – if the device gets lost or stolen, the administrator can kill centrally; it offers great performance and it's flexible, for example, it could offer a variety of desktops to user, a personal one and a business one."
Irwin said the use of the bare-metal hypervisor increased its appeal. "Companies are wary of Type 2 hypervisors," he said, " as introduced complexity by piling hypervisor software on top of operating system. It means that machines don't run too well – we've got round that by the use of bare metal.
XenClient Express, a free trial and evaluation kit is available for immediate download beginning today. While Citrix has also put up a video on "The Making of XenClient" for further information. Irwin said that XenClient was expected to be included with the launch of the new version of Xen Desktop later this year.