Citrix Unwraps XenApp 5, Presentation Server Upgrade

Citrix Systems' Presentation Server, renamed XenApp, fits into a broader suite of desktop virtualization and virtualizes Windows applications on central servers for shared access.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

August 22, 2008

2 Min Read

Citrix Systems is fitting its venerable Presentation Server, now renamed XenApp, into a broader suite of desktop virtualization suite.

After a 20-year stint as Presentation Server, XenApp 5, reflects Citrix' new focus around its XenServer, a proprietary version of the Xen open source hypervisor. XenApp 5, XenServer, and XenDesktop, its earlier entrant in desktop virtualization, will all be components of what it calls the Citrix Delivery Center product line.

The three building blocks represent "an end-to-end approach" to end user desktop virtualization, and allow several variations on how that desktop is assembled and delivered, said Bill Hartwick, senior director of product marketing.

The approach is a Citrix trademark. While other vendors talk about virtualizing desktops, one at a time, Citrix builds on its Presentation Server experience.

"Virtualization is only part of the story," said Hartwick. "You also need desktop management, scalability, high availability and security. You need branch [office] performance, mobile device performance."

XenApp 5 is still a way of virtualizing Windows applications, including Office applications, on central servers and letting large groups of users access them jointly. The application logic is executed in the data center,with only display results sent to the end user machine. IT staffs can patch, update or migrate the applications to new versions within the confines of the data center, eliminating a desktop-by-desktop technical support headache in organizations with thousands of end users.

Hartwick said XenApp 5 has been updated to allow faster start-up of applications. It's also been integrated with Citrix Branch Repeater, announced earlier this year, as part of Delivery Center. Branch Repeater allows a branch office to cache frequently used virtualized applications on a local basis and generate faster response times for end users, since they don't have to rely on a remote data center server.

XenApp 5 allows virtualized applications meant to work together to be linked together, allowing a Word user to pull data out of Excel, even though each application is running in an isolated virtual machine, Hartwick said.

Administrators can also use XenDesktop to build complete desktops as virtual machines, each with its own operating system and applications. Or XenDesktop can generate end user virtual machines that get their application services out of the XenApp pool of virtual applications.

Employees away from the office could use any available machine to log in and activate their preferred desktop, discovering what applications are available through XenApp, Hartwick claimed. Desktop configuration will depend on how IT administrators view the needs of their organization.

Gordon Payne, senior VP of the Citrix Delivery Systems Division, called XenApp "the cornerstone of Delivery Center and said it will have a one-time license price of $350 per concurrent user in its Advanced edition; $450 in its Enterprise edition and $600 in its Platinum edition.

This article was edited on Aug. 26 to clarify XenApp's pricing.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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