Many organizations have a need to give certain remote workers access to 3D graphics and imaging applications, but that has been a big challenge in the past. Managing high-end graphics workstations at remote locations isn’t easy. And even if the user has the right equipment, pulling up large design drawings (potentially millions of vertices) from a central database over a network connection can be agonizingly slow. On top of that, the company’s intellectual property may be exposed because the data has to be sent over the network to the user’s workstation.

Citrix solved these challenges for 2D and lightweight 3D graphics with the introduction of SpeedScreen Progressive Display in XenApp PS 4.5 (also included in XenDesktop), and since then we have been working on combining our remoting technologies with 3D graphics hardware acceleration. One of the new technologies being developed under the Citrix Multimedia Virtualization Initiative is Apollo Accelerated Bitmap Remoting (ABR), and we’re about to unveil our second Tech Preview of Apollo ABR on October 27, 2008. Whereas our first Tech Preview release was focused on demonstrating the ability to deliver DirectX applications and Vista Aero desktops with full animation and glass effects, this new release is all about delivery over DSL-like WAN/Internet connections. This will allow organizations to effectively deliver high-end 3D graphics and imaging applications to remote users who have standard PCs or recent-model desktop appliances. Centralization allows organizations to protect their intellectual property and reduce IT management costs and complexity. It even opens up the potential for organizations to recruit professionals from around the world.

Apollo ABR is a XenDesktop-based technology that leverages a graphics processing unit (GPU) on the host workstation in the delivery center to render 3D graphics. Users connect through the XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controller. A special version of the XenDesktop plugin (client) has been created for Apollo ABR to optimize the user experience over DSL-like network connections (2-6 Mbps).

If your organization would like to evaluate Apollo ABR Tech Preview 2, please review the information on our web page and complete the application form. Applications will be evaluated according to match against Citrix’s objectives for the Tech Preview program, variety and graphics-intensity of applications, and resource availability for support.

Derek Thorslund
Product Strategist, Multimedia Virtualization