It’s the Martini approach to virtualisation. Citrix is set to launch its latest version of Xen Desktop 4 promising that the software will give users access to business desktops from any location and from any device.

This anytime, anyhow, anywhere approach is being driven by a new technology, Flexcast, that Citrix claimed would shake up the way that an enterprise’s office workers would receive technology. According Sumit Dhawan, vice president of Citrix’s Xen Desktop product group, Flexcast is a new technology that offers enterprises the simple ability to have a central IT solution for delivering to a high variety of different desktops, be they for office workers, developers or power users – including  blade PCs.  He said that Flexcast would offer up to 500 desktops per server.

Coupled with this new technology, Citrix will be offering high definition, multimedia desktops through its HDX technology. Dhawan claimed that this would use about 90 percent less bandwidth than its competitors’ offerings. He said that this had been achieved by changing the way that the software handled Flash applications, “We’ve introduced client-side Flash, that will make a tremendous saving on bandwidth,” he said.

Dhawan said that Xen Desktop 4 offered five major strategic changes.  “We’re offering any device, any time,  anywhere; HDX; Flexcast ; On-demand apps and Open architecture”. He likened the changes to the way that SUVs emerged. “SUVs came from the truck market – the first ones were basically trucks, It’s only when the auto manufacturers came along and offered comfort that they became the total SUV model. We believe that Xen Desktop 4 is such a solution.” He said that there had been lots of interest in desktop virtualisation but Xen Desktop 4 really raised the bar.

Key to the Citrix approach is the forthcoming launch of Windows 7. Dhawan emphasised the close relationship that Citrix has with Microsoft and said that the 22 October launch of the new operating system would. “Windows 7 is going to be big driver,” he said.

Citrix said that XenDesktop 4 which will be available next month offered a new type of pricing. Xen Desktop 4 will now be based on named users, not concurrent, and will be bundled with XenApp – existing XenApp users will be offered a discount to upgrade. Prices will start from $75(£47) per user for the bronze edition rising to $225(£141) for the platinum.