On February 4 2010, Citrix announced dramatic improvements to the economics of desktop virtualization(http://citrix.com/English/NE/news/news.asp?newsID=1862148). Our new test findings show that the capital cost and cost of ownership for virtual desktops continues to pull away from the costs of traditional PCs, making it easier to adopt virtual desktops for every user in the enterprise. In barely two years, the number of hosted virtual desktops you can get on a single server has increased by over 6X! Even more dramatic is the 10-fold increase (up to 5,000) in the number streamed desktops from a single server using Citrix’s unique Provisioning Services technology. As a result, IT Pros can now deploy XenDesktop 4 at scale with not just less datacenter infrastructure but also significantly lower operating costs.

These scalability improvements are enabled by rapid advancements in our desktop virtualization software, as well as new generations of hardware, like the Intel Xeon 5500 “Nehalem” processor-based servers. In addition, these improvements are aided by Citrix best practices developed in real-world, large-scale virtual desktop implementations performed by our consultants, systems engineers and partners over the past 18 months. Our new scalability findings and methodologies are captured in reference architecture available online at http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-bdx/cds-scalability-wrapper-bdx.html. Look for updates to this site as we continue to raise the bar on scalability with XenDesktop.

Desktop virtualization adoption is accelerating worldwide. Citrix recently announced strong results for Q4 2009 and growing momentum for XenDesktop that is exceeding expectations on all fronts. In Q4 2009 alone, we acquired more than a 1000 customers for desktop virtualization. Several purchased over 10,000 seats, and many XenApp customers expanded their strategic implementations of Citrix technology by leveraging our Trade-Up program to upgrade to XenDesktop 4. In addition, there were several joint wins on Hyper-V as a result of our ongoing partnership with Microsoft. However, it’s not just the growth of XenDesktop customers but also the growing number of use cases that I find interesting. In a recently completed survey, the following drivers/use cases were frequently cited by customers:
• Security and mobility
• Simplify desktop management through centralization
• Reduce PC hardware refresh
• Reduce downtime when upgrading apps
• Lack of IT staff at remote offices
• Application compatibility
• Disaster recovery
• Offshore developers

These are just some of the 60+ interesting use cases we have learnt about.

These exciting developments are kicking off what will be an eventful 2010. Let’s take a look ahead at what to expect in 2010 for XenDesktop, and some of the milestones that will drive our strategy over the next year or so.

“Desktop Virtualization Made Easy”: Best Practices For Adoption

As I mentioned above, Citrix has published some guidelines on how to design a XenDesktop architecture – but equally important are guidelines on how to adopt desktop virtualization across the organization.

In the early part of this year, we’ll see a multi-phase model for adoption that is based on actual implementations and analyst studies. This model will break into steps what use cases to engage first, when to introduce different desktop delivery models, and how to optimize the infrastructure to reach every user in the organization. Think of it as a roadmap for enterprise-wide deployment. And through this journey, you’ll be in a great place to leverage this desktop virtualization infrastructure for what may today seem like a very challenging task – upgrading an entire enterprise to Windows 7 easily, quickly and cost-effectively.

The Virtual Desktop Revolution – Coming for Mobile Users

Today, we can address mobile users with HDX technology that enables even 3G wireless connections to deliver a good user experience. We can also enable them to take their centrally managed virtual applications offline with application streaming and integration with Microsoft App-V. The remaining step is to enable a centrally managed, offline virtual desktop – one that is fully isolated and secured, automatically backed-up, and completely portable across hardware. Last year, Citrix announced XenClient, a bare-metal hypervisor that is the platform for local virtual desktop virtualization. This year, it will hit the market and, if early feedback on the technology is any indication, it will fly quickly out of the gates. Centrally managed desktops and apps for mobile users, road warriors- that are also available offline – will be a reality.

Enabling Manageability for Global Deployments

Desktop virtualization, done right, means empowering IT with all desktop and application delivery tools needed to meet any user requirement, on any device, over any network. Today, to meet this requirement involves a certain number of skills and management interfaces. Managing desktop virtualization infrastructure needs to get simpler than it is today – especially for end to end monitoring and delivery of desktops and apps.

We are also seeing a need for a different breed of tools for managing virtual desktops that were not required for virtualized server environments. Even in our larger customers, the number of VMs running server workloads may number in the low thousands. These customers are rolling out virtual desktops worldwide for tens of thousands of users. So, scaling to manage tens of thousands of VMs is a new challenge for these environments.

At Citrix, we see this challenge as an opportunity to raise the bar on manageability in 2010.

So those are some of my picks for the major milestones in the next year. Undoubtedly this will be a tremendous year for desktop virtualization – and for IT organizations.

Looking forward

Raj Dhingra
GM, XenDesktop.