Citrix, HP and ClearCube rolled out products in Houston last week aimed at stimulating the desktop virtualisation market.
At its annual user event, Citrix Synergy, which attracted as many as 2,000 users, Citrix announced that its Citrix XenDesktop product will be immediately available.
The new product allows organisations to separate applications from the desktop operating system and simplify the deployment of desktop environments.
XenDesktop consists of five editions, each differentiated by use. The free Express Edition is for use in environments that have fewer than 10 workstations. The Standard Edition is an entry-level product for departmental implementations.
The Advanced Edition is a virtualisation product for organisations that are already using an application delivery model - it allows companies to reduce the costs of storing desktop images and makes them available on demand. The Enterprise Edition includes application delivery and XenApp for Virtual Desktops, while the Platform Edition is aimed at customers who want to provide desktop virtualisation as a service.
Jim Klein, director of information services and technology for the Saugus Union School District in California, is an excellent candidate for XenDesktop Advanced or Enterprise Edition. While Klein hasn't yet started to virtualise the desktops in his environment, he has virtualised 15 servers across four blade servers using the open source Xen hypervisor, which Citrix acquired with XenSource in August of last year.
"Desktop virtualisation is like the next generation of thin-client computing for us, with a great deal more flexibility, in that each user essentially has his or her own virtual machine to hack on," says Klein. "Users can check virtual machines in and out of a pool [of storage] as needed, with regular users using a shared virtual machine image and other power users having their own private image."
The product will compete with desktop initiatives from other vendors, including market-leader VMware's VMware Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
Klein sees great benefits of using products such as XenDesktop and XenApp for Virtual Desktops to virtualise his desktop environment.
"The key benefits are distributing the processing load between the server and client, and much more rapid deployment of workstations, without the 'everybody gets the same thing' limitations of traditional thin client," says Klein.
XenApp for Virtual Desktops allows IT administrators to monitor the performance of virtual machines and manage desktop images.
XenDesktop is available now starting at US$75 per concurrent user for the Standard Edition. The Advanced Edition is $195; Enterprise is $295 and Platinum is $395.
HP complemented Citrix's XenDesktop with the introduction of the HP 2533t Mobile Thin Client, a device that is built on the VIA chipset, which provides access to virtual computing blade or desktop environments. The HP 2533t weighs three pounds and features a 12.1-inch diagonal widescreen LED display, integrated Wi-Fi certified WLAN and support for 3G broadband wireless via a PC memory card slot. Using remote location tools such as HP's ThinState, administrators can manage multiple client types and configure new clients with the Altiris Deployment Solution.
Finally, virtual desktop manufacturer ClearCube of Austin, Texas, spun out VDIworks recently. ClearCube will continue to concentrate on remote desktop hardware environments, while VDIworks will market the company's remote management product, Sentral VDI Management System, to blade and server manufacturers.