Citrix Labs recently released the XenDesktop 7.5 Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image. This blog post takes a closer look on where Windows Azure Pack fits within the Enterprise and how the XenDesktop Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image allows for rapid and automated XenDesktop deployments in a private/hybrid cloud scenario.

XenDesktop in a Private/Hybrid Cloud

CC Photo Credit: Daniel Lu

If you were to ask a typical enterprise if they have embraced some form of a public cloud, chances are 100% of those would say “yes” (and this survey reinforces that assumption).

Now, if you were to ask that same set of enterprise customers if they still have a heavy investment in their own internal datacenter, the answer would also probably be close to 100%. The reality of cloud adoption is that while it offers the Enterprise plenty of benefits around cost, efficiency and agility; the typical Enterprise will still be managing internal datacenters for quite some time. Reasons likely include a variety of factors that may include legal concerns, security concerns, testing purposes, or managing legacy applications that perhaps are not well suited for the public cloud.

This has given rise to the private and hybrid clouds, something that many enterprises have already started to evaluate and implement, or are planning to implement as they look to combine aspects of public and private clouds together.

Knowing this, the Citrix Labs team explored how we could help our customers deploy virtual desktops in a private or hybrid cloud scenario. Recently, we released a tech preview of our XenDesktop System Center Templates. These templates provide an easy way to simplify and automate XenDesktop Deployments in a service-based private cloud. Our next project, which we have just released as a tech preview, is a XenDesktop Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image.

XenDesktop Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image Tech Preview

What is a XenDesktop Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image? Well first, let’s start with Windows Azure Pack.

“The Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server provides a solution for enterprises looking to act as service providers and service providers keen to attract enterprise workloads. … (it) delivers the power of Windows Azure into your datacenter, enabling you to offer a rich, self-service, multi-tenant cloud with Windows Azure consistent experiences and services. (Microsoft- Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server Whitepaper)

Windows Azure Pack is meant to emulate the Windows Azure experience for a datacenter so that large enterprises and service providers can have a consistent experience in how they provision and manage resources regardless of their location – public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud. A Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image is a standard, sharable component of Windows Azure Pack that allows customers of a large enterprise or service provider to self-service provision virtual machine roles or server roles as a repeatable configuration.

The XenDesktop Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image provides a consistent installation of XenDesktop roles. Similar in concept to the aforementioned System Center Service Templates, they are intended to be reusable virtual machine blueprints that can be used to simplify deploying and managing virtual machines. The main difference is that gallery images can be exposed to the Windows Azure Pack Management Portal for Tenants, making it easy for a large enterprise or a service provider to share gallery images across multiple customers.

Windows Azure Pack Management Portal

If this sounds interesting to you, then check out our technology preview. You need to be using Windows Azure Pack as well as Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 as well as XenDesktop 7.5.

To learn more and get access to the technology preview, visit this page. For a walk through on how this works, we have prepared this ‘how to’ video on Citrix TV.

So give the XenDesktop Windows Azure Pack Gallery Image a try and let us know what you think. For more information on the kind of projects the Citrix Labs team is working on, take a look at the Trends and Innovation site at Citrix.com. You can also join the Citrix Labs group at LinkedIn.com.