When I joined Citrix as general manager of the XenDesktop team in January 2008, I had a core conviction that when we would look back in 3-4 years time, we would have fundamentally transformed how enterprise users work with their desktops – for the better!

In June 2008, we launched XenDesktop 2 and transformed the desktop from a device to an on-demand service. Today, on October 6, 2009 we have taken a bold leap towards fulfilling our vision. A virtual desktop revolution is here – with the introduction of XenDesktop 4.

A virtual desktop – for everyone.

During the course of the last 18 months, my team and I have literally logged hundreds of thousands of air miles meeting hundreds of customers and partners worldwide. While many industry observers were skeptical about the hype, I always calibrate my impressions by studying and understanding what customers are doing. And I was certainly impressed with what I found:

  • Customer interest was high worldwide – in North America, Europe and Pacific
  • Key drivers were business agility, better security, anywhere access and yes – cost savings and green computing
  • Adoption was across multiple verticals – education, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, government agencies, retail and financial services
  • Primary use cases were for knowledge workers – whether remote, offshore or in the office
  • Confirmation that user experience was very critical to the adoption of virtual desktops. In fact, the #1 reason why XenDesktop won over other alternatives was user experience – there were several reasons, but user experience was always #1
    In 2009, despite the tough economic headwinds, I saw our momentum accelerate:
  • Early pilots were turning into production
  • Many customers were coming back in 6-9 months to expand their deployments
  • Larger initial purchases indicating deeper deployments
  • Several customers kicking off strategic adoption of virtual desktops – broadly across thousands of users

25 years ago, PCs fundamentally changed computing. They radically improved personal productivity and communication. PCs changed the way we work. However, that’s not enough anymore.
Traditional PCs were designed for a different world. Today, people need to work in entirely new ways, powered by the connectivity of the internet, an explosion of new devices and the limitless promise of the web. A traditional PC – locked to an office, laptop or network is too confining.
In the world ahead, the virtual desktop will revolutionize computing all over again.
It will revolutionize how we work and play. It will enable a new virtual workstyle to unlock our efficiency and increase our speed to stay ahead – in a world that’s flat, small and always changing.

Here is the promise the virtual desktop brings:

  • Un-tethered from any office or location
  • Un-tethered from any device: netbook, smartphone, thin client, BYOPC or Mac
  • Access on any network
  • Simple and complete access to enterprise computing on demand
  • Self-service and provisioning of enterprise apps, just like picking songs from an iTunes store
  • A high definition user experience.

With this virtual desktop, on-boarding new employees goes from days to minutes. New branches can be opened in a fraction of the time. Employee adds, moves and changes due to expanding businesses or M&A become quick, easy and save money. A graphics engineer in San Francisco can securely collaborate on a 3D graphics model with his colleague in Taipei.

This virtual desktop is here with XenDesktop 4 – for every user.

As mentioned earlier, I have seen our momentum accelerate in 2009. However, I have also had customer meetings where people have been prone to take a wait and see approach.

Having worked in emerging technology markets before, I have found that when faced with a new type of solution many times people will fall into an “All or nothing” trap.
The solution must meet all use cases and all requirements or we will not deploy it.
This is what I would call an “on/off switch” approach. All or nothing.

I would suggest that you think of desktop virtualization as a “dial” rather than an “on/off switch”.
Pick the use cases that are the most compelling for business agility, security and/or cost savings and start with them first. Then expand to additional use cases. Nothing succeeds more like success.

With XenDesktop 4 and FlexCast technology, we are providing a dial for IT. Pick the type of user: task worker, knowledge worker, advanced user or mobile worker. And then optimize the desktop with the appropriate desktop delivery that suites the user. You can control whether you want to deliver a hosted shared desktop, a hosted VM-based desktop, a blade PC based desktop, a local streamed desktop, virtual apps on physical laptop or desktop or a local virtual desktop. The right virtual desktop for every user.

So, perhaps VDI alone may have made you think of desktop virtualization as an “on/off switch”. All or nothing.

We just gave you a giant dial with FlexCast delivery technology – the ultimate in flexibility for a complete desktop virtualization solution. You can start now with virtual desktops that best meet your needs and deliver an ROI.

Dial “R” for revolution. Let the revolution begin!

Raj Dhingra
General Manager, XenDesktop