Citrix Unveils Desktop Virtualization Tool

Citrix Systems Inc. last week introduced Citrix Desktop Server 1.0, which it said will let IT managers deliver Windows applications virtually from the data center to workers as secure, on-demand services.

The new application delivery and virtualization offering can also provide additional CPU capacity, memory or storage to on-site and off-site virtual desktops as needs change, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company said.

Frank Norton, director of IT at Morrison Mahoney LLP, a longtime user of Citrix products, said the offering shows that “Citrix is headed in the right direction.”

The Boston-based law firm runs Citrix Presentation Server to deliver applications to about 30 desktops, 40 laptops and 300 thin-client machines used by attorneys and other workers, who can occasionally be demanding, Norton said.

“Sometimes the users tell me, ‘If you don’t fix this laptop, I’m going to lose this client or this case,’” he said. “I get that all the time. They can be a little dramatic.”

Presentation Server can deliver applications to both servers and desktop systems.

The Citrix software has allowed Morrison Mahoney to use thin clients instead of PCs, making it possible for the firm to skip an entire PC leasing cycle and save an estimated $750,000 over six years, Norton said.

Mick Hollison, vice president and product line executive for Desktop Server at Citrix, said the offering updates the delivery capabilities of Presentation Server.

Citrix estimates that Desktop Server can cut corporate desktop management costs — which it says can reach $5,000 per user per year — by 40%.

UtilIT Technology Inc., a Citrix reseller based in San Francisco, recently installed Desktop Server for its own workforce of 25 people, and now it plans to market it to companies with 10 to 500 workers, said UtilIT President and CEO Chris Boone.

Boone said his company has sold a modified version of Citrix Presentation Server for three years to provide small and midsize customers with the features in the new Desktop Server.

“Desktop Server is a better product than Presentation Server [for those customers], since it is more user-friendly and has automated provisioning that allows a user to point and click to add a new profile,” he said.

UtilIT also sells Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Secure Global Desktop, but Boone said Citrix Desktop Server is a better application for his customer base.

Desktop Server can be used with any PC, Mac or thin client, and with any Web browser, he said. Users can keep files on their own hard drive, or the files can be kept in storage in the data center, Boone explained.

Desktop Server will ship in the second quarter; pricing will start at $75 per user.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group Research Inc. in Boston, said the new offering keeps Citrix ahead of rivals like F5 Networks Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. in the applications delivery business.

With Desktop Server, Citrix will now be competing against vendors like AppStream Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in the small and midsize business market, Kerravala said.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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