Citrix has updated its virtual desktop and appliance software with a goal of alleviating one of the biggest problems that come with a VDI deployment: Storage.
It's common for centralized storage pools to hinder the performance of virtual desktops and apps. When potentially dozens of users are all connecting into a shared storage service at once, it puts tremendous strain on the system.
Traditionally, the problem has been solved by throwing solid state drives at the storage pool, or even adding additional spindles to the traditional spinning disks. With the release of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6, the company has a new approach.
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With the new software - which is set to hit the market next month users can spin up a commodity server that sits in front of the storage array to help regulate how much data is released into the storage pool at a time. Doing so allows a steady, constant stream of data to be managed by the central storage pool, instead of having it deal with spikes and valleys, which are the cause of the bottlenecks and lagging performance explains Calvin Hsu, a Citrix marketer.
Along with the new storage features Citrix has a number of other new features in the latest update to the company's virtualization products. One is what it calls Anonymous Login. It means that users can log in once to either a virtual desktop or virtual application and it authenticates the user through both. Citrix has the health care industry in mind for this update. Think of many doctors who are running around an office, jumping from workstation to workstation. Instead of having to re-log into each workstation when they arrive for both the virtual desktop and the virtual application, now just one logon credential is needed for both, and users can remain authenticated across various workstations.
Citrix has also added a feature that allows a central administrator to "warm up" virtual desktops before they're used. So, if for example doctors begin seeing patients promptly at 9 a.m. every day, the machines can be set to spin up at 8:55 and be ready to go so that doctors don't have to wait for them to boot.
Both new versions of XenApp and XenDesktop are also both Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Compliant, which is a common reference standard for federal government, health care organizations and other regulated industries. Being FIPS compliant is a head start when auditing time comes around.
Both the XenApp and XenDesktop software are available as on-premise installations, or customers can chose to host them with one of Citrix's partners and resellers, or run it in a public cloud such as Amazon Web Services.
The new versions 7.6 of XenApp and XenDesktop will be available next month. XenApp starts at $350 per concurrent users. XenDesktop starts at $95 per user or per device, and the VDI edition is per concurrent user at $195.