Wow – there is a lot of excitement at Synergy Europe this year! The energy level from customers and partners was unreal at Mark’s keynote. And the announcements on Project Avalon! Like many customers and partners here in Barcelona this week, I, too, am very excited about the announcements around Project Avalon, especially the upcoming Excalibur tech preview. I know there was A LOT of new and exciting announcements shared by Mark at the keynote about Avalon so I jotted down some notes (OK, 5 key highlights) on why you will want to download the Excalibur tech preview. Let’s get started!

1. Simplified, unified, and expanded FlexCast 2.0 architecture

Here is your opportunity to experience first hand the new unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture. This new architecture combines simplified and integrated provisioning with personalization tools for both desktops and apps. We’ve also simplified the management experience through intuitive workflows to guide the Citrix administrator and make it easier to quickly deliver desktops and apps to users. Simply put, with the Excalibur tech preview there is no more standing up a XenDesktop infrastructure to deliver desktops and a separate XenApp infrastructure to delivery apps. With Excalibur it’s one install, one architecture, one console to meet all your XenApp and XenDesktop delivery needs.

2. Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8

I know many of you have been “chomping at the bits” to try XenDesktop to deliver Windows 8 virtual desktops or XenApp to deliver an app from Windows Server 2012. The Excalibur tech preview will let you do just that. Now you are able to deliver a Hosted-VDI desktop and VM-hosted apps from Windows 8 and hosted-shared desktops & applications apps from Windows Server 2012. All from a unified architecture and single install.

3. Intelligent configuration validation 

Have you ever thought you had properly configured your XenApp or XenDesktop server, only to find out later you missed a configuration step, or worse yet, made a typo? Usually this results in wasted time trying to pinpoint the error or creates scaling issues as your environment grows. Wouldn’t it be great if there were an intelligent configuration tool for deploying desktops and apps that proactively checks configuration errors in real time while streamlining the provisioning of profile management and storefront settings? Excalibur has it and with the tech preview, you get try this first hand.

4. Storefront for apps & data

As the saying goes “happy end users equals happy IT”. End users want a self-service and consistent experience with their personal desktops and apps so let’s give it to them! In the Excalibur tech preview IT admins can create centralized enterprise app stores directly from Studio to deliver desktops, apps, and other resources to users on any device, anywhere with Citrix CloudGateway.

5. It’s all about the users

The Excalibur tech preview introduces improvements to the personalization capabilities, critical to managing a consistent and personal user experience. IT can now manage their Citrix profiles and folder redirection from Studio console, including Citrix roaming and mandatory profiles. Additionally, Director provides real-time analytics through a context-aware dashboard to empower the help desk support and Citrix specialists to quickly root cause and resolve issues before they negatively impact end users.

Watch this space for the announcement when you can grab the tech preview from MyCitrix.

By the way, I anticipate the tech preview will be available for download from on Nov 1. Hopefully, this answers the when… And I’ll follow-up with another blog when it’s posted.

The Excalibur tech preview is now available for download… Follow this blog to download: /blogs/2012/11/01/the-excalibur-tech-preview-is-available-for-download/