Citrix Launches Virtual Desktop in a Box for SMBs

Tuesday Oct 25th 2011 by Sean Michael Kerner
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Is it time to finally ditch the physical desktop and go virtual? The folks at Citrix thinks so.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is an increasingly popular technology that enables companies to run their user desktops as a virtual machine. So instead of requiring a fully unique operating system to be installed on each and every machine in a small business, VDI enables a more agile, rapid and centralized approach to desktop management and deployment.

To date, the challenges of VDI deployment for SMBs have been cost and complexity, which are two issues that Citrix is aiming to solve with their new VDI-in-a-box 5 solution.

"There is pent-up demand among small and medium organizations who want to realize the benefits of desktop virtualization but have been underserved by existing solutions," Krishna Subramanian, vice president, marketing and business development, SMB solutions at Citrix said in a statement.

The VDI-in-a-Box solution is built using technology that Citrix acquired in May of this year with the acquisition of software vendor Kaviza. VDI-in-a-Box provides small business with the capability to deploy virtual desktops, powered on the backend by servers that are connected to shared storage resources.

A key part of the release is the inclusion of new wizards to help ease virtual desktop deployment in an effort to make it more intuitive for small business IT managers to use.

"Since the acquisition of Kaviza in late May, our team has been working feverishly with the extended Citrix teams to build and deliver this release," Kumar Goswami, vice president of products, Citrix wrote in a blog post. "The UI effort alone is significant -- we have completely revised and updated the management interface, with usability testing to ensure we are delivering the simplest experience for Windows administrators to setup and manage virtual desktops."

In order to deliver streaming audio and video capabilities for the virtual desktop, VDI-in-a-Box leverages the Citrix HDX 5.5 stack. HDX provides enhanced multimedia protocol capabilities for remote and virtual desktops.

The overall goal for Citrix with its virtual desktop deployment efforts is to get both the ease of deployment and the cost for VDI down to the point where it's cheaper than deploying a PC. Wes Wasson commented on a call with press that it is Citrix's view that the crossover point for virtual desktops is now here.

"With continued innovation, the cost of setting up a virtual desktop will be lower than a physical desktop across the board," Wasson said. "It's a huge milestone and it really takes cost off the table and lets customers focus on the true benefits of going virtual for the desktop."

Citrix currently has a trial version of VDI-in-a-Box available, with general availability set for later this year.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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