I want to make everyone aware that we will soon be releasing XenDesktop 3 Feature Pack 1 with some new feature enhancements that will make your virtual desktop evaluations go even better and smoother. Here is a quick summary of what you will find in the Feature Pack 1. For more details visit – http://www.citrix.com/xendesktop.

Flash gets HDX’ed

Did you know that over 99% of desktop users use the Adobe Flash player? Almost every webpage you go to has a Flash banner-ad. Most of XenDesktop banner ads are Flash-based. Flash provides a lot of mainstream content for most users, and guess what, it is one of the culprits for poor performance, high bandwidth utilization and low user density with virtual desktops. If you are evaluating virtual desktop solutions, Citrix XenDesktop 3 Feature Pack 1 will enable you to carry out your user acceptance testing and evaluations with Citrix HDX technology that accelerates the delivery of Flash content over virtual desktops. Citrix HDX MediaStream for Flash technology enables the local endpoint device to handle processing of Flash media, freeing up server resources, optimizing network bandwidth and providing the best PC-like performance for Flash content. I am a happy virtual desktop user myself with this technology implemented for my XenDesktop. This technology is a trial release that will be able to use with your virtual desktop evaluations as soon as it is available. We have kept it simple – just install the Feature Pack 1 and it will guide you through the process of installing the Trial Release of HDX MediaStream for Flash. In addition to Flash, Feature Pack 1 will include other optimizations for media-rich content that accelerates the performance of Silverlight, QuickTime video, graphics rich websites, animations and other on-screen motion. 

They call it “multi”-media for a reason – it’s more than what you see

Screen-capture rate, bandwidth for screen updates, screen scraping, bitmap codec, remote display, etc. – all of these seem to be the areas of discussion and debate within virtual desktops. But that’s only part of what makes up a rich multimedia desktop. How about audio and in particular, VoIP? Only XenDesktop 3 Feature Pack 1 enables users to run their VoIP soft-phones and use microphones and headsets within their virtual desktop and collaborate and communicate with other users. This new HDX RealTime technology increases user satisfaction with their virtual desktops. Feature Pack 1 is our first step towards our vision and enables the use of soft phones for LAN connected users. Citrix will continue to invest in enabling VoIP soft-phones within virtual desktops accessible from any device, anywhere.  

Unmatched Smart Card integration

If you are managing IT in industries such as healthcare, government and even large scale design and manufacturing, you understand the importance of Smart Cards and how Smart Cards have become an industry-leading standard for implementing two-factor authentication for internal users. XenDesktop 3, http://www.citrix.com/xendesktop3, is the only virtual desktop solution with seamless integration with Smart Cards for Windows-based end points. Feature Pack 1 will make the Smart Card integration complete with further enhancements including broad support for Linux-based endpoints and the ability for users to roam from one device to another – even with a different card reader – and have their virtual desktop session follow them. Some of our large customers are in the process of implementing XenDesktop 3 with Smart Card integration to implement secure virtual desktops for users that can be accessed from any device – making it a low cost ‘hoteling’ workplace where devices and office locations do not matter and users get to their personalized desktops from any device anywhere.  

Get ready for Windows 7

And finally, if you are planning to migrate to Windows 7 and want to get a head start on your virtual desktop implementation, Feature Pack 1 comes with an early release of our support for the Windows 7 beta as well. Citrix HDX technologies are all enabled, including the latest HDX MediaStream for Flash, HDX Plug-n-Play and HDX RealTime. We plan to have the Feature Pack generally available at Citrix Synergy (http://www.citrixsynergy.com) in about 2+ weeks.

We will be demonstrating the new capabilities and more at the event – go ahead and register if you would like to know more about it. Whether you are currently using XenDesktop in production or just beginning a proof-of-concept, plan to download and install the Feature Pack to get the latest advancements and best performance.