Judges: Charles Babcock (InformationWeek), Matt Vogt
Desktop virtualization has lagged far behind the server virtualization wave that's swept over data centers. Brave virtualization advocates who've proposed virtualizing desktops have often found themselves floundering. Suspicious end users are often disappointed by performance. Employees want a personalized desktop, they want to access work files on mobile devices as well as laptops, and their storage requirements are growing. IT has been severely challenged with managing that load, especially given that any failures in delivering a desktop environment mean end user rebellion.
For years, Citrix Systems has attacked each of these problems from its position as an expert in the area of virtualizing and managing end-user computing. It developed protocols for delivering rich content to end users, regardless of the nature of the device. It developed a thin hypervisor for disconnected laptops. It produced Citrix Receiver, the universal client framework for any device's virtual desktop.
Citrix's leading products include XenDesktop for basic end-user provisioning, XenApp for application virtualization, and XenClient for the mobile desktop. Now it has rolled these features into one product with simplified administration, without crimping on features: VDI-in-a-Box.
Citrix VDI-in-a-Box provides the software needed to provision, manage, and personalize a set of virtual desktops. It also includes its own server management functions so that provisioning capacity can grow with the size of the end-user group. A version of Receiver geared for Macs, iPads, Intel laptops, Wyse (Dell) thin clients, and many Android devices comes with VDI-in-a-Box. Another plus: It isn't restricted to Citrix's hypervisor. It works with Microsoft's Hyper-V and VMware's ESXi hypervisors as well. --Charles Babcock