It’s going to be a big month for new arrivals. In about 5 weeks time I’m scheduled to become a first time father. And in about 5 weeks time XenClient V1 will be made publicly available.

One will be given life after what feels like  an age of creation, will end the cycle of aches, pains, headaches and endless preparation and will enrich life with new possibilities – and the other will be a baby (ok, you saw that coming…)

Back in May at Synergy SF we announced the availability of the release candidate of XenClient. This morning, we announced how and when XenClient will be available and also how XenDesktop 4 Feature Pack 2 will provide a complete solution that extends the reach of desktop virtualization for all laptop users in the enterprise.

In my conversations with customers over the last couple of months, I’ve seen a fascinating response to some of the new functionality that XenClient enables. To some, the idea of being able to run two desktops on a single laptop offers the perfect solution to the issue of separating business from personal usage, enabling IT to deliver the perfect locked down secured environment while answering calls from users (for users, read execs) for flexibility and personalization. I posted here how this brings advantages to a range of customers that have very locked down environments and those that encourage an open, flexible environment. For others, the ability to create a virtual machine which is portable between different laptops, and enables a backup that captures not only new data, but also any changes made to the OS, apps and user settings is huge and solves the very real issues of business continuity for laptop users who are on the road.  In fact, why not take a look for yourself at what customers are saying about client virtualization and how they see it benefiting not only IT, but their users as well.

Critical to the acceptance and the excitement of XenClient is the user’s experience with their environment. What is that experience? Well its… erm… just like using their laptop really. 3D apps, high def video, audio. Meeting over-run and need to rush home? Close the lid, jump in the car, drive home, open the lid, machine wakes up, carry on working with or without an internet connection. When the laptop environment is running actually on the laptop, at all times, as nature intended, the user keeps the flexibility and agility they are used to. So how does the user need to change how they work? Not at all – Oh, they don’t need to carry a personal laptop around as well any more… and they can switch straight into their personal environment without having to worry about what IT will say about them saving a few music files (that they’ve legitimately downloaded of course) and enjoy a little downtime while waiting for the customer email they’re expecting that evening (see how Intel view this at 2:40). In fact, what we’re hearing is that by making the environment more flexible, by offering real usability enhancements that can make it easier for users to work and play from a single device, the user acceptance of IT projects and subsequently their success is beneficially impacted.

What most excites me about the release of XenClient is the potential for innovation. For the first time at the client machine, we’ve separated the tie between the installation of the operating system and the hardware and delivered the basis for an extensible environment that will foster an eco system of development. The Receiver for XenClient is the first of what we term ‘service VM’s’ that uses the hypervisor as a platform to deliver new services that can be shared across the VM’s, outside of the operating system. We’ve already heard how McAfee plan to deliver their anti-virus scanning at this level enabling a single instance of their software to protect multiple environments, simplifying the management and decreasing the system overhead. What else could we deliver in a service VM? VPN, authentication, backup (well, we’re already doing that) management are all pretty short steps. But what about self contained instant on apps? High security apps? What about automatic failover of a users desktop to a background VM?

If you’re already a XenDesktop Enterprise or Platinum customer, congratulations on a great choice – here’s the next evolution in desktop virtualization – another solution that is developed specifically with an understanding that one size does not fit all and that each solution has different requirements for both IT and the users  – and you’re already licensed to use it. If you’re not a XenDesktop customer, feel free to take a look - in fact with XenClient Express you can use it on up to 10 devices free of charge, with full functionality, and no expiry.

So now it’s time for sleepless nights, spending every minute thinking about what’s best for the new arrival, planning for the future, working hard to provide the best possible start… And the other is a … well, you know…

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