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    Citrix Moves to Put Windows Desktops into the Cloud

    At the Citrix Synergy 2013 conference today, Citrix outlined what it described as a multi-phase effort to push Windows desktops into the cloud while at the same time announcing a raft of new mobile computing applications.

    According to Calvin Hsu, vice president of product marketing for desktop and apps, at Citrix, XenDesktop 7 is the first component of Project Avalon, a Citrix effort that will lead to delivery of Windows desktops as a cloud service.

    Hsu says XenDesktop 7 is a lot easier to deploy and manage than previous generations of the company’s desktop virtualization offerings. It can be installed in 20 minutes, includes analytics tools to troubleshoot configuration issues in real time, and can be managed via a console based on a Citrix FlexCast Management Architecture that automates many basic management tasks.

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    In addition, Citrix announced that XenDesktop 7 includes support for high-definition video, support for H.264 compression across wide area networks, and the ability to extend touchscreen capabilities to any Windows application running on top of XenDesktop 7. That latter capability should prove critical in helping IT organizations extend the value of existing Windows applications to mobile computing devices, says Hsu.

    As part of the shift to mobile, Citrix today also unveiled XenMobile Enterprise, which combines a suite of mobile computing applications, including email and file sharing, with mobile device and data management tools that are specifically designed for business environments. It also includes what Citrix is calling a unified app store through which organizations can manage deployment of both mobile and desktop applications.

    Finally, Citrix today also announced its new Citrix ShareFile StorageZone Connectors for Microsoft SharePoint and network drives and new StorageZone options using the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud computing platform.

    Clearly the combination of mobile and cloud computing is transforming how Windows applications will be deployed and managed across the enterprise. It may not be clear which vendors will emerge victorious in the battle to own those new delivery models, but with most companies still running Windows XP, the fight is just beginning.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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