As a brand new Citrite, having just joined the Product Marketing team for XenDesktop, I wanted to kick off my inaugural blog post with an impression of what I believe might be the most important feature (and an important indication of the maturity of desktop virtualization)  in XenDesktop 5, the Desktop Director.

I have been marketing desktop virtualization for the past 12 years (and no we didn’t call it that back then.) I would bet I have given a thousand customer presentations explaining how centralizing user’s desktops makes managing the desktop environment simple and easy since it is all running in the datacenter. I have built many a demo system where I can show admins a View Manager interface and a Virtual Center instance and show the relationships of desktops, pools, users, virtual machines and infrastructure utilization. That always looked impressive in theory, complete power and control at your fingertips. However,  does it really make sense that you would give every level one and level two helpdesk administrator control over the deployment and configuration settings of your complete virtual infrastructure assets?

Desktop Director is a web-based console that was designed specifically for the desktop helpdesk. It provides the “big picture” from a desktop-centric point of view. It then has the filtering and search capabilities to target specific desktops or resources and then take corrective action for a localized user issue, or likely escalate or write tickets to the datacenter admins if they identify more systemic issues.

As a product marketer, what is most impressive to me is that Desktop Director could only have been developed once there were large customers in mainstream production deployments. It is easy to build consoles that expose more and more information and controls, but the realization that configuring and deploying virtual desktop infrastructure is much different than daily management of desktops is indication of the maturation of the industry (at least for XenDesktop customers.) Deployments have grown large and settled into the mainstream organizational structure of enterprise IT, rather than a skunkworks team wearing lots of hats and firefighting through the initial deployment.

So will Desktop Director inspire the inner geek like fully integrated Windows 7 desktop on an iPad? Maybe not; but if you are wondering just how you will actually manage thousands of virtual desktops around the globe with your existing desktop helpdesk resources, you should now be smiling.

To see the Desktop Director in action, check out this quick video tour below. To learn more about the architecture and features of Desktop Director, check out this blog post by the architect for Desktop Director, Richard Benwell.

Thanks! And stay tuned for more…


The views expressed here are mine alone and have not been authorized by, and do not necessarily reflect the views of, Citrix.