Citrix VDI Gets a Boost to Compete in a Cloud-Centered World

By | May 17, 2012

Midsize business IT admins have heard endless stories about the cloud in recent years--how it will revolutionize the way they store data, secure information, and even interact with non-IT employees. Sidelined, in the rush to the cloud, was virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI), but recently big players have started to push this technology as a stepping stone to the cloud. Now, not just Citrix VDI solutions but Oracle, Dell, and VMWare virtualization options are all getting an upgrade as the market heats up.

Ever Upward

A recent CIOL article discusses new moves made by Citrix to compete in the expanding VDI market, including an upgrade to its foundational virtual service, XenDesktop. According to Sheng Liang, the CEO of (recently purchases by Citrix), the company has developed what they term "project Avalon," which "enables windows desktop and windows applications to be delivered as a cloud service." Avalon is built on top of XenDesktop, and the goal for Citrix is to provide a simple, straight path from virtualization to cloud in a way that limits the need for convoluted platform migration.

Citrix VDI isn't the only virtualization option getting the upgrade treatment--Information Week talks about improvements to Oracle's VDI release 3.4, which became available May 10. In addition to increasing the solution's overall level of security, Oracle also added a larger number of storage options and the ability to create independently administered sets of virtual desktop deployments.

What does it mean for midsize business IT? That Citrix is getting serious about both the cloud and backing it up with reliable VDI. More importantly, it also means that competition is heating up in the market, and that's only a good thing for IT admins.

The Long Road

In a recent Citrix blog post by strategy and development overseer Joe Vaccaro, businesses won't have "a magical moment where they cut everything over to running their desktops in a cloud." Instead, it will be a slow process of moving over desktop and app groups first to a private, local cloud and eventually onto a hybrid or public model.

It's a common sense evaluation, one that's often glossed over by right-to-the-cloud providers who want to sell companies on the idea that they can port their entire structure to a public solution overnight. For midsize business IT admins, stability is the key to productivity; change is costly and time-consuming. While there's no question that cloud options are rapidly becoming more accessible and thankfully more standardized, jumping over virtualization to the cloud doesn't yield instant rewards; instead, it can be more trouble than it's worth. Big providers seem to have finally gotten the message and see the value in delivering an end-to-end service rather than simply bits and pieces; Citrix VDI and other solutions may simply be a transitional measure, but with virtual-to-cloud movement a (hopefully) slow and steady process, these solutions can offer substantial benefits both to providers' bottom lines and help streamline the work of IT admins.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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