Citrix XenDesktop 4. Many changes.

So today here I am sitting in a CTP only webinar about XenDesktop 4. It will be officially announced in 12 minutes so by the time you read this we are not under NDA anymore.

The major changes, many that I see as REALLY welcome are:

– Now licensed per user, not per concurrent user anymore.
– Trade up program with savings up to 80% for customers running XenApp. Valid until June, 2010.
– Reduced costs per user (starting at $75, then going to $225 and $350).
– Now you can run XenApp served apps not only on XenDesktop hosted desktops but anywhere. This is indeed a great move.

XenApp licensing does not change, still remaining as Concurrent User. The reason for XenDesktop moving to per user is reasonable I think. Citrix says when accessing XenDesktop it means the user will have access to his desktop 24/7 while on XenApp he accesses the apps on a needed basis, not necessarily 24/7 so concurrent user makes sense for XenApp but not XenDesktop.

On the HDX side, some of the new stuff:

– Support for VoIP and Webcams. On the Audio side several enhancements. Broad support for SoftPhones and a much better audio codec (three settings – high definition, Optimized for Speech and Low bandwith – amazingly, high definition uses only 96kps, way way less than the high setting we had on Presentation Server, remember that???). Webcams, for now on LAN (2 to 7 MBits used and latency is for sure killer).
– 3D Graphics support (some specific hardware/hosting requirements do apply – meaning you need a blade PC with specific requirements like CUDA enabled GPU, not working on a VM). The Client that supports the 3D stuff is still not combined with the other one so a specific client is required.
– Enhanced MultiMon support so you can now have that Mickey Mouse monitor arrangement working just fine on your hosted Desktop. Awesome.
– Enhanced Plug-and-Play. I heard about the ‘Bloomberg’ keyboard. First time for me. Living and learning I guess.
– Up to 30fps on server side rendering! Default is 24fps but a registry change allows you to bump it up.
– MediaFoundation support, now used on Windows Media Player on Windows Vista/7.
– HDX MediaStream for Flash. Animations, HD video, all the goodies. Access to local webcam/audio/microphone is supported.
– HDX IntelliCache with Branch Repeater Integration. In certain cases, where the content ends up on the client side, of course there is quite a reduction on bandwitdth (up to 25x). Nice improvement for sure in several cases but remember this does not mean everything will be greatly improved in terms of bandwidth. According to what Citrix showed us, much better than the PCoIP solution from Teradici.

It is great to see Citrix moving on this space and if XenClient comes to the picture (as you saw on Project Independence), this is really how I see the future for sure. Being able to run my Desktop, locally or hosted, from anywhere, anything.

For the first time in years I am excited about what Citrix has up on their sleeve. Impressive.

Cannot wait to download it and give it a try! And if I were VMWare I would be concerned as right now VMWare View seems VERY outdated, at least in my opinion. Others may not agree with me…


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6 Replies to “Citrix XenDesktop 4. Many changes.”

  1. Wow, some of this sounds great, but this licensing change may well rule XenDesktop out for us.

    We take care of 1,000 lab computers on campus and were planning on rolling out a sizeable chunk of XenDesktop licenses each year till all were covered.

    But while we “only” have 1,000 computers, we have 28,000+ unique users.

    I can sell my leadership on a thousand XenDesktop licenses over time, plus some additional XenApp for other purposes. There is no way Citrix could drop the price on XD enough to make it possible for me to sell my leadership on 28,000+ licenses.

    I can’t argue with the rationale for changing the model – I’m sure it makes sense for Citrix and for some customers. But even if we expand our labs virtually to allow for access from home or over wireless, etc, I doubt we’d ever see concurrent usage of double or triple our current max physical usage, so this license model will make no sense for us at all.

    1. I totally understand Mike. Citrix is aware of this and from what I know is working on a case by case basis, for customers that are on the exact same boat as you. I also heard some were actually able to get the concurrent licensing model back for their particular needs so I am certain, considering your size, you guys will have no problem at all getting the same deal.

  2. Hi Claudio,

    This will greatly reduce the amount of confusion in the market. There were too many complications in the previous model – what we see here should simplify things going forward. One of the roadblocks to the adoption of desktop virtualization is a lack of clarity from the vendors. This greatly simplifies matters from a Citrix perspective and we should all benefit from not having to explain to customers which capabilities are included in which product.

    From AppSense’s perspective it is also good to be the only recommended personalization solution too. Pete Rawlinson, our VP Marketing, has covered our thoughts and views in more detail on the AppSense blog:

    Martin Ingram (AppSense)

  3. I sure hope so. I did the math today, and, just looking at retail pricing (our cost would be less, but the ratio is about the same) and last week, to rollout XenDesktop (primarily for OS Streaming right now, hosted desktops later) in our labs would have worked out to:

    1,000 x $195 = $195,000

    Today it would be more like:

    28,000 x $225 = $6,300,000

    32x more expensive means it simply won’t happen.

  4. I completely agree with Mike. I definitely hope a concurrent model will be available (at a reasonable price) for .edu customers unless Citrix want to hand out this market on a silver plate to Vmware or other competitors.

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