In October 2009, we brought the virtual desktop revolution to the market with the introduction of XenDesktop 4.  A virtual desktop – for everyone.

This week at Synergy 2010 in Berlin, we unveiled XenDesktop 5 and the “Desktop Transformation Model” – two key innovations to accelerate the virtual desktop revolution. These two announcements represent critical milestones of our journey to drive mainstream adoption in 2010. This journey started with the “wow” of desktop virtualization.

“Wow – I want that”

Early in 2010, the CIO of a leading technology company based in Silicon Valley brought his IT team to the Citrix Executive Briefing Center in Santa Clara, CA.  A key part of an EBC presentation is demonstrating XenDesktop in action – showing the various types of virtual desktops delivered ( via FlexCast) and the  “any device, anywhere” support (via Citrix Receiver).  When the CIO saw how easy it was to connect to a virtual desktop from an iPad, he exclaimed “Wow – I want that.”  The next day he purchased an iPad. His IT team set up a hosted virtual desktop for him and he proceeded to use it as his primary device to access his desktop. He was so excited about his virtual desktop, he showed it to everyone he spoke to, including the CEO of the company. Several months later, I learned that the CEO bought an iPad for all 5000+employees.

This story exemplifies how  one user who is  “wow-ed” by the whatever, whenever, wherever benefits of  Going Virtual can start a revolution at their company to get everybody to Go Virtual. One revolutionary-  bringing change for everyone.

The massive adoption of consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets is simply amazing. Seeing Citrix Receiver in action to get to their apps/desktops whether on Android, Blackberry, iOS, Linux, Windows creates a huge demand for users to go virtual, to say “Wow – I want that.”

Well, what about IT Pros?

We knew we needed to create end-user demand for virtual desktops and apps. And we have focused on that over the last 3 years by continuing to innovate on HDX and Citrix Receiver. However, we were not going to stop at that.

With XenDesktop 5, we are changing the game in desktop virtualization – again. This major release was designed from the ground up to be simpler faster and powerful. We have shared the early access release with a few select customers and the overwhelming reaction by the IT Pros has been  “Wow – I want that.”

XenDesktop 5 is truly a ground-breaking release, and you can learn more about the exciting new features here+.+

 I just want to highlight a few of the things that are truly changing the way we think about deploying, maintaining and supporting desktops. The first new tool is called Desktop Studio. This tool was designed from the ground up to make the installation, configuration and provisioning of virtual desktops easier than ever. In fact, with virtual infrastructure already in place, you can take a fresh build of Windows Server 2008R2, and then install all of the XenDesktop components, walk through the Quick Deploy option, and configure and deploy multiple virtual machines ready for user login in about 10 minutes. Getting started has never been easier. 10 minutes to Xen…

Of course, we also have customers that are far beyond getting started, and already have thousands of virtual desktops already running in production. Even though the desktops are all centralized in the datacenter, the helpdesk still needs complete visibility across the endpoints, networks, servers, storage and applications in order to help users. To that end, XenDesktop 5 includes Desktop Director, an industry-first console created just for helpdesk personnel – built directly on the real-world requirements collected from customers.  Desktop Director will revolutionize the way support is done, giving the helpdesk the power to quickly monitor, diagnose and fix virtual desktops. They can shadow the desktop session, check vital statistics and then take corrective actions – all from one pane of glass.

The “How” of Desktop Virtualization

In 2010 as we met with customers and partners around the world, some of the common questions we heard were:  “Can you help us to get from Wow to How?”    “Where do we start?”  “How do I plan my desktop transformation?”

With the most virtual desktops in live production environments in the industry, Citrix has amassed an incredible amount of experience, expertise and best practices. Together with our resellers, SI partners and technology alliance partners, we are now in the best position to help new customers through the process of identifying target use cases, building out a desktop virtualization plan and then implementing that plan in a streamlined, expedient manner. While we have already taken the first step to document reference architectures and describe best practices, Citrix is banding together with some key partners to build simple, proven and industry best-practices  for what we call the “Desktop Transformation Model.” Over the coming months, look for new tools to be published in support of a common industry approach for how to assess, plan, and implement desktop virtualization projects that speed time to deployment and time to value.

The Time is “Now”

When I look back at 2010, it has been an amazing year for desktop virtualization and XenDesktop. We have made great advances in product innovation with FlexCast, HDX, XenApp6, Citrix Receiver, XenClient and now XenDesktop 5.  We have strengthened our partnership with Microsoft on Hyper-V  and System Center.  We have forged new alliances with Cisco, McAfee to reduce the cost of ownership of XenDesktop.  We have 15,000 products in the Citrix Ready ecosystem. We started a revolution one year ago. And now it is in high gear.

So, join our revolution. Now.

Raj Dhingra

GM, XenDesktop.