Today, Citrix released VDI-in-a-Box V5.1.  This release continues to focus on simplicity but it is packed with features to meet the needs of its maturing customer base.  VDI-in-a-Box is geared to make it simple for a desktop IT administrator to stand up a production grade system in just hours.  The features in release V5.1 further that ability.

Some of the features that address improved availability while making management even simpler include:

1)      Virtual IP address allows administrators to provide end-to-end high availability with any end user device (e.g. iPads, thin clients) without requiring a load balancer.  With V5.1, one server in the grid hosts the IP address and if it fails another takes over.  An external load balancer is no longer required to direct the end user device to another server.  This makes it even easier to setup a full production system while requiring less infrastructure thus saving both time and expenses.

2)      Active Directory failover allows administrators to provide IP addresses of more than one Active Directory server so that if the primary fails, VDI-in-a-Box will automatically failover to another Active Directory server.  This makes VDI-in-a-Box more resilient to outages in 3rd party systems.  Note that Active Directory is only required if Windows Domains is used and is not required when using Windows Workgroup.

3)      Integration with the latest Access Gateway from NetScaler to provide a dramatically simpler way to setup secure remote access to virtual desktops.  The latest NetScaler Access Gateway provides a drastically simpler setup wizard and V5.1 integrates and works with it to make secure remote access simple.

4)      A touchless VDI-in-a-Box agent which self-installs.  Not only does this reduce the number of steps required to prepare virtual desktops it makes upgrading to future versions of VDI-in-a-Box truly effortless.  The VDI-in-a-Box agent installed on older images are also automatically upgraded when you upgrade VDI-in-a-Box making it possible to stay current with little to no effort.

5)      And finally, V5.1 uses the PVD layering technology available with XenDesktop to provide personalized desktops.  With PVD, user installed data and applications are stored in a user specific layer that is used in conjunction with a base image.  The benefit of this approach is that the user can install applications and personalize their desktop as they see fit while the administrator can continue to manage their desktop by administering and upgrading the base image.  The result is personalized desktops for users coupled with single image management for administrators.

This is just a short list of the features available in V5.1.  I hope you will take the time to try it out and let us know what else you’d like to see in the next release.   Many of the above items are due to direct user feedback.