Citrix Synergy – Anaheim is shaping up to be another fantastic event this year. There was a lot of energy at the opening keynote, and one of the exciting announcements was around the upcoming XenDesktop 7 release. As many of you recall, Mark announced Project Excalibur tech preview at Citrix Synergy – Europe. Today, we hit an important milestone as Mark officially introduced Project Excalibur as XenDesktop 7.

I know many of you are probably wondering… what’s in XenDesktop 7, how do the features/capabilities benefit you and your organization… and probably just as important, what does XenDesktop 7 mean for XenApp customers.

So, I want to take this opportunity to quickly share with you my thoughts and takeaways on XenDesktop 7….

Three key themes of XenDesktop 7:

  1. Mobile: One of the newer challenges with respect to delivering enterprise applications is,… how do you make these applications accessible on all the different types of devices such as tablets and smartphones – without having to rewrite the applications for each target device? So to solve this particular challenge, XenDesktop 7 introduces new capabilities to support new multi-touch gesturing, including swipe for scrolling, pinch & zoom for re-sizing the apps and file within the app. H.264 in SuperCodec helps ensure smooth, bi-directional, high def (HD) video and audio for true collaboration experience, including performance improvements, like: 2X increased in frame-rate and up to 10x reduction in bit rate when playing HD videos over a low-speed connection.
  2.  Simple: Unlike previous versions of XenApp and XenDesktop, XenDesktop 7 customers no longer need to have separate infrastructure and management consoles to deliver business critical apps and desktop to their users. XenDesktop 7 expands FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) to not only deliver virtual desktops and apps running on Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista and XP, but also server-hosted desktops and apps from Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008R2. And with the enhanced Citrix Director, help desk admins and escalation engineers have one support console for troubleshooting and supporting XenDesktop 7 users. It is through this simplification effort, customers stand to benefit from the reduced costs with centralized management and automation.
  3. Secure – Protecting intellectual property and privacy information is one of the top business challenges for many organizations. With XenDesktop 7, businesses can confidently delivery any Windows applications, especially 3D and graphical intensive applications,  to remote users, contractors and partners. XenDesktop 7 introduces features like OpenGL acceleration, direct-shared hardware acceleration, HDX seamless local apps and integrated PC remote access, to enable successful collaboration engagement with partners/contractors, but at the same time, protecting the intellectual property and maintaining privacy protection for their organizations.

XenDesktop App edition

Mark also introduced a new App edition of XenDesktop 7, to complement the existing VDI, Enterprise and Platinum editions. The new XenDesktop App edition is designed for customers interested in delivering applications today, and yet want the flexibility to expand to the full FlexCast model at a later time. And because of the unified FlexCast architecture, customers simply upgrade from the App edition to XenDesktop Enterprise or Platinum to immediately delivery virtual desktops to their users – all without additional installation or management consoles.

And as a benefit of Subscription Advantage, XenApp customers with Enterprise and Platinum licenses are entitled to the XenDesktop App edition.

XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2

Recognizing many of our XenApp customers have invested on the XenApp 6.5 version, Citrix will be releasing a Feature Pack 2 at the same time as XenDesktop 7. This feature pack will bring improved user experience for application developers via an updated Mobility Pack, more scalability and cost-effective OpenGL support with GPU sharing on the XenApp 6.5 server, AppDNA to help accelerate application validation, Microsoft Lync 2013 optimization pack, support for Hyper-V 3 and Provisioning Services, along with enhancements to CDM (client drive mapping) delivering up to 4x faster download & upload speed.

Lastly, I would encourage you to have a read at a blog by my colleague, Kevin. The title is Citrix brings Windows apps and data to a mobile world, and it covers the importance of applications, applications and data on mobile devices and more .

More to come…

The Synergy opening keynote has generated a lot of exciting at the convention center and over the internet this morning. I hope this blog has offered an additional level of detail to the XenDesktop 7 announcement. Please come back next week, as we kick off a XenDesktop 7 blog series where product experts will share more details on the new capabilities and features in this exciting XenDesktop release.