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Citrix Preps XenApp 6

XenApp 6 will launch this month with management tools designed to ease the difficulty of virtualizing enterprise applications.
Citrix Systems will add more scalability and centralized management capabilities to virtualized applications when it launches XenApp 6, the former Citrix Presentation Server, on March 24.

XenApp 6 will feature a new management console, AppCenter, aimed at making it easier to manage from one central location the virtualized applications in the enterprise. In some cases, companies run SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, or other applications in virtual machines to better meet fluctuations in user demand.

"This version is about trying to drive IT as more of an on-demand environment," said Alicia Rey, director of product marketing. When applications are virtualized, IT can better manage server resources and forestall some capital expenses that might have been needed to keep up with demand in the past, she said.

The new version has been integrated with Microsoft Application Virtualization or App-V, formerly known as the product acquired with Softricity, SoftGrid. App-V can run applications in virtualized form on a central server or stream them over the wire to another computer, where they can be run locally.

The combination means Citrix customers can use whatever mix of centrally running or locally running virtualized applications that they choose, said Rey.

Citrix publicly says an SAP or other application running in virtualized form can now serve up to 500 users per server, or 15% more than previous versions of XenApp. "We've seen in excess of 500," Rey added in an interview. New wizards in XenApp make it easier to install an SAP or other enterprise application and run it as a virtualized resource, she said.

XenApp 6 has also been integrated with Citrix' iTunes-like application store, Dazzle, where users of XenApp may select the applications they want to work with and have them activated on demand without IT intervention. The applications may have been virtualized under either XenApp or Microsoft App-V.

Citrix has extended support for virtualized application clients, which already include Windows and Linux PCs and notebooks and netbooks. The application runs on a central server but can be accessed from a Macintosh or smartphones, including the Apple iPhone, Google Android-based phones, or Microsoft Mobile-based devices.

XenApp 6.0 has been verified in tests as being able to handle up to 150,000 concurrent users when it's running on a server cluster; no specific cluster size or type of application was listed with the claim.

XenApp will be available in the future as part of XenDesktop 4, Citrix' approach to creating and managing virtualized desktops on an enterprise scale. Part of the return on investment in virtualizing desktops is realized when the user applications are virtualized on central servers, Rey said.