This week at Synergy Barcelona, the Cloud App Delivery team at Citrix is showing off new technology – Project Dorado – that will be a game changer for cloud-hosted desktops.  Our Citrix Service Provider (CSP) partners are very well aware of the benefits of delivering a cloud-based desktop solution to the thousands of customers who consume their services every day.  Their customers have moved from old school, capitally intensive, premised-based IT to operationally efficient Windows apps and desktops as a service (“WaaS”).

To keep operating costs low, our CSP partners prefer to offer a standard, fixed set of cloud hosted capabilities (e.g. the desktop, productivity apps and collaboration apps). This basic building block approach allows them to keep their costs low. But, as business grows, they encounter more and more special cases where certain apps (e.g. unique line-of-business apps) need to be included in their offering.  Something was needed in order for CSPs to deliver a complete solution that offers a “standard” desktop but still provides the ability to blend in applications from other sources.

Here’s where Project Dorado comes in.  Dorado is a set of technologies that allows CSPs to offer a “blended desktop” experience.  If a customer has local apps that cannot easily be shifted to the cloud, Dorado will allow a CSP to blend end-user device-installed apps with the cloud-based desktop to present a unified experience for the end user.  To the user, cloud-based and local apps appear to run side-by-side in the cloud-based desktop but some may be executing on the end point device.  Even copy/paste and other standard OS capabilities will work across local and cloud-based apps.  These may be apps that are not supported or simply won’t run in a cloud or server-based environment or that require special peripherals or dongles to operate properly.  Or they may be legacy apps that the customer does not want to move or change because there is no suitable alternative.

Project Dorado will also enable the blending of apps from other “clouds” into the CSP’s hosted desktop.  Imagine a customer who wants to take advantage of what WaaS has to offer but has a legacy app running in a small on-premise XenApp farm and they don’t want to move it (not broken – don’t fix it).  With Dorado, the CSP can blend the customer’s local XenApp-based app with the CSP delivered desktop and locally installed apps for one smooth, seamless experience.  Or the CSP may want to blend in an app or two that are hosted in some other cloud – not an issue with Dorado.  You’ve heard Citrix talk about the “3PC era” that spans the Personal Cloud, Private Cloud and the Public Cloud; Dorado enables CSPs to deliver apps from all three in a seamless, beautiful Win7-like experience.

Dorado also includes a feature that allows the CSP and customer to re-direct predefined URLs to a locally running browser and blend that back into the cloud desktop.  This comes in handy for access to local intranet sites and Web apps that may not be reachable from the cloud-based desktop or for offloading certain resource-intensive Web apps and sites from the CSP’s servers to the user’s end point (think Flash and other resource-hungry Web apps).

This game changing technology enables CSPs to onboard customers much more quickly because they can immediately gain access to apps that may take some time to transition to the cloud or may never transition.  They may always want to run a blended desktop that includes apps from all 3 sources, Personal, Private and Public clouds.  Dorado is truly redefining the desktop from a single, static collection of apps to a seamless merger of apps and resources brought together from any source that the user requires to get things done.  The desktop is no longer confined to a single computer; it is a view into multiple clouds, assembled in real time in a unified, smooth and seamless experience.  This is truly the next generation of the cloud based desktop.  You can view a demo of Project Dorado and learn more about the technology during my Citrix Summit session (SUM207) and from the smart engineers who built it by visiting Pod 29 in the Citrix booth at Synergy Barcelona.