At Citrix Synergy back in May, Burton Group, a division of Gartner, introduced their “Server Hosted Virtual Desktop Evaluation Criteria” (this is a blog – you’ll need a client login to access the document). If you aren’t already familiar with it, it consists of over 100 detailed solution criteria broken into required, preferred and optional categories. In a session at Synergy, Burton compared XenDesktop 4 and View 4 against the criteria, and while Citrix came out ahead across all the board, there were still a couple items missing on the “required” list in order for Gartner to recommend XenDesktop for large enterprise deployment.

Before I go any further, I want to make something clear. Although Burton asked for our feedback, and were exceptional in providing a forum for discussion and debate about any and all of the criteria, at the end of the day, these were customer-driven. Believe me, we debated those items that we missed , but we recognized that customers needed them, and we needed to work on them. In fact, our engineering team was already hard at work in those areas.

So that brings us to some updates that Citrix released recently, and the blog that Chris Wolf of Burton posted yesterday, declaring “XenDesktop 4 SP1 is the First Enterprise-Ready SHVD Platform.” A big part of achieving this distinction was the release of XenDesktop 4 Service Pack 1

What’s in XenDesktop 4 Service Pack 1?
To be clear, we didn’t create SP1 just to meet the Burton criteria, and in fact, the primary component of SP1 has nothing to do with that at all. So here’s the breakdown:

  • VDA update (strongly recommended for all customers to implement as soon as possible): this contains improvements to the VDA (Virtual Desktop Agent) and is focused on improving its reconnection stability. It also has the already-released hotfixes 1, 2 and 3, plus other improvements. The new VDA underwent some pretty extreme testing to ensure the reliability benefits. 64-bit and 32-bit downloads are available.
  • Optional delegated administration and configuration logging features (intended for large enterprise IT organizations): If you are familiar with how these features work in XenApp – these are practically identical. We already had these in the works by customer request when Burton published the criteria and noted that XenDesktop was missing these features. We can’t thank Chris Wolf enough for taking the time to get hands on with these features – his feedback led to some last minute interface enhancements. Get it here.

Meeting the Burton criteria isn’t just a milestone for Citrix – it’s a big win for customers developing their desktop virtualization strategies. Now you have an industry-validated set of criteria, and a solution that fulfills the primary requirements for the enterprise.