Following the recent announcements of the Citrix and Microsoft partnership in virtualization, I’ve had a busy couple of weeks: First, at Microsoft TechReady I was the lone open source protagonist in a sea of Microsoft techies but had a blast because I could give them hard evidence that Hyper-V offers superior density today in Windows 7 virtualization, XenServer for Windows XP, and both XenServer and Hyper-V are the two top performing hypervisors for end-user app and desktop delivery. That was fun, but I love being with customers. Today I had an opportunity to present our joint solution with Scott Woodgate, who manages everything MDOP for Microsoft, at a customer event in the Citrix Microsoft Desktop Virtualization Roadshow..
As part of the prep for the event I received the standard product marketing-style presentation from our joint team, took one look at it, and then shot an email to Scott: “This looks a little dry, don’t you think?” His response: “Agree, why don’t you do lots of demos?”. I got his response late last night when I got back from California. Demos? Hmm, I wasn’t prepared for that…..
Actually I was – all I needed was a network connection, and access to my Citrix XenDesktop. I called Citrix IT Support: “I have a presentation tomorrow at 8am with Microsoft. I need a Windows 7 virtual desktop.” The response was hilarious: “You want what? When? You want to move from Vista to Windows 7. I’m not sure I can get that done for you tonight. What apps do you need? Please hold.” (not all Citrix Support folks are “there” yet with regard to the power of Desktop Virtualization). Suddenly he was back on the line with a slightly humble tone: “OK, I spoke to my team mates. You’re all set, just log in again.”. All he had needed to do was make a trivial change to Active Directory and hey presto, I was set. He stayed on the phone while I logged in, and when the Windows 7 virtual desktop appeared a moment later, with all my documents and settings, and my presentation ready for this morning sitting on the desktop, he was completely floored: “Wow, this stuff really rocks!”. Yes, it rocks.
The story doesn’t end there. Though I had my demo all ready to go, when it came time to doing the presentation, my client, running Windows XP, couldn’t get onto the network. (I know why, and it was my fault, because the XP VM was running on top of XenClient, and I’d been fiddling with the VM settings, but that’s not the point.) It gave me a perfect opportunity to borrow a connected laptop from someone else, log into my XenDesktop via the web interface, dynamically add Office 2007 to my desktop using Dazzle and XenApp with application virtualization, and in under a minute I was up and running on my Windows 7 virtual desktop and proclaiming another cool consequence of Desktop Virtualization: The Desktop is NOT a Device, it’s a service to any user on any device.