Citrix has set a launch date and pricing for its desktop virtualisation platform.

XenDesktop will start shipping 20 May, at the Citrix Synergy conference. The company will offer three versions: Standard, Enterprise and Platinum. The latter will include more advanced management tools, including EdgeSight Monitoring, to keep track of how the system performs.

Pricing will begin at $75 (£37) per concurrent user.

Citrix said that XenDesktop will allow companies to virtualise Windows desktops in the datacentre and then deliver them on demand to office workers in any location.

The promise is to lower complexity and management costs by as much as by 40 percent compared to a traditional desktop, according to Citrix.

To do that Citrix wants to separate the management of operating systems and applications, which will solve the problem of virtual desktop "image sprawl".

XenDesktop will centrally manage the operating systems: end users will get a new desktop at each login.

"If you take the applications out of the equation you'll be able to use the same image for thousands of users, instead of one for every user," said Dave Austin, Citrix EMEA's director of product marketing.
The centralisation of the desktop will also offer significant improvements to traditional Citrix customers.

"Most of them still manage operating systems in the traditional way," said Austin.

XenApp (formerly known as Presentation Server) will then manage the applications; they can either run server-side or be streamed to the client.

Citrix is working with both HP and Microsoft, in conjunction with the launch of XenDesktop.

HP will offer support to customers who run XenDesktop on its hardware, either ProLiant servers, or HP Compaq thin client offerings.

As announced back in January, XenDesktop will also integrate with Microsoft's management platform System Center.

"It's up to the customer to choose which management framework they are going to use, not us. We are not a management company," said Austin.

Besides System Center, XenDesktop also integrates with other platforms such as IBM Tivoli and HP Openview, he added.

Those impatient to test XenDesktop ahead of the 20 May launch can download the public beta version.