Synergy, the Citrix user conference, will open its doors in Berlin on Wednesday. The company is expected to launch a new version of XenDesktop there, and also to talk about its client hypervisor XenClient, which should allow users with a virtualised desktop to work offline.
The use of desktop virtualisation, in which the client operating system runs on a server and is delivered virtually to the user, is at an important turning point. Enterprises have moved on from just talking about it, and are actually starting to use products like Citrix's XenDesktop, according to Federica Troni, a principal analyst at Gartner.
However, this adoption has also exposed shortcomings in the technology, some of which Citrix plans to address in the next version of XenDesktop, according Troni. For example, administration has been too cumbersome, and customers have complained that they have to use several tools to manage their users, she said.
Another shortcoming of the current generation of virtualised desktop products is the inability for users to work off-line. Citrix wants to change that with the XenClient, which has been more than a year and a half in the making. Citrix finally released XenClient last month.
XenClient is a so-called bare-metal hypervisor which runs directly on the hardware, as opposed to products like VMware Player and Parallels Desktop, which need an underlying operating system to work.
However, XenClient is still in its infancy, and Citrix needs to be careful not to overpromise what the first version can do, according to Troni. For example, the product only works with processors and graphic chipsets from Intel, which is a major limitation, Troni said.
But Synergy attendees are hoping hear about more that just Citrix's existing products. Danish Citrix user group founder René Vester hopes to learn more about Project GoldenGate, he said in a blog post on Sunday.
Project GoldenGate looks to integrate e-mail, calendaring, contact, and collaboration capabilities into a single application that runs in the data center and is delivered to smartphones by Citrix XenApp, according to Citrix.
As smartphones become more commonplace in the enterprise, ideas like Project GoldenGate are becoming more important. So far, though, no decisions have been made about commercialization of the technology, Citrix said.
However, some IT departments still have more basic ideas of what they would like Citrix to improve. A big step forward would be to make XenApp more stable across long distances, and also work better when a user is sitting behind a firewall that belongs to a customer, according to Mikael Areschoug, who is in charge of a platform for distance workers at SWECO Connect, which runs XenApp on about 2,600 clients.
Citrix should also make it easier to install and configure its software, he said. It takes too long from start to finish, when you include all the fine tuning to make it work as well as possible, Areschoug said.