Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series


Citrix XenClient Update Targets Mobile Workers

XenClient 5 runs on bare metal; Asigra adds granular restore for Exchange; Polycom supports 50,000 devices; IBM recruits first members for OpenPower Consortium.

The latest version of Citrix XenClient is designed to give mobile workers access to the same virtual desktop and files on any device, whether the virtual desktop is hosted or local. XenClient uses the company’s XenDesktop profile management technology combined with Citrix ShareFile to provide users with a personalized virtual desktop that supplies all of their files and documents through data synchronization.

Citrix has taken Personal vDisk technology from XenDesktop and built it into XenClient’s two core components, the XenClient Engine and the XenClient Synchronizer. The Engine is a Type-1 client hypervisor that runs on bare metal. Users can run multiple local virtual desktops at the same time, access their desktops while disconnected from the network and even install their own applications. XenClient Synchronizer allows IT to centrally manage virtual desktops running locally on PCs as well as the devices themselves.

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While VDI has been growing as a way to deliver personalized applications and files to users on mobile devices, XenClient is not a VDI offering, notes Brett Waldman, research manager for client virtualization software at market research firm IDC. XenClient falls under what IDC calls “distributed virtual desktops” because the virtual machine actually runs on the endpoint, while being centrally managed and synchronized by IT.

Waldman says other major players in the distributed virtual desktop space include VMware, which has a strategy similar to that of Citrix, although it does not have a Virtual User Session software technology such as Citrix’s XenApp, and Microsoft, which is focused only on thin clients and Windows-based devices.

Waldman says the most notable feature in XenClient 5 is the integration of the Personal vDisk technology that gives users the personalization they want and the ability to easily switch between XenClient and XenDesktop images. Citrix acquired the Personal vDisk technology through its purchase of RingCube Technologies in 2011.

XenClient 5 will be available for download this month for $175 plus a $39 software maintenance fee. It is also included in XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum editions.

Asigra Offers Exchange Backup Options

Asigra has added more granular backup and recovery for Microsoft Exchange by giving users the option to recover only a single email or a complete database. The feature is an update to its Asigra Cloud Backup version 12.2, which provides granular recovery from standalone email servers, server clusters and virtual machines.

Asigra Cloud Backup v12.2’s single-pass Microsoft Exchange backup and granular recovery means enterprises can choose to restore an entire email database, individual user accounts or just one email if necessary. It also has the flexibility to restore information to its original location or a different location based on user requirements. Backups can be scheduled and automated, and email repositories can be backed up without disrupting users. In addition, new mailboxes are automatically included.

[Asigra recently unveiled a new pricing scheme that focuses on how much data needs to be recovered rather than how much storage is used. Could this be a game-changer for the backup/recovery market? Read David Hill's analysis in "Shifting The Backup And Recovery Focus To Recovery"]

Asigra is not the only vendor to offer granular backup and restore support for Exchange. Seagate-owned EVault supports item-level restore in Exchange 2013 with EVault Agent 7.2, for example. Asigra Cloud Backup v12.2 with single-pass backup and recovery for Microsoft Exchange is available now with no additional license fees for existing customers. Asigra also recently announced single-pass backup and recovery for Microsoft SharePoint.

Polycom Scales Up

Polycom has updated its RealPresence Resource Manager software to help enterprises support as many as 50,000 video users, whether they are joining a session from a mobile, desktop or group video system. The company also introduced a new RealPresence Platform product on an industry-standard server that features resource management, broad call-control support and video network interoperability.

In addition to supporting more users, RealPresence Resource Manager v8.0 can support up to 10,000 group video collaboration systems, including the company’s own HDX Series and RealPresence Group Series. Other new features in v8.0 include an API suite for custom application development integrations, more flexible call scheduling, and better monitoring, provisioning and reporting.

Polycom’s new RealPresence Video DualManager 400 is aimed at helping enterprises manage midsize video networks, and includes RealPresence Resource Manager along with the latest version of the company’s RealPresence DMA software v6.0, which provides video operator services with help desk features. IT managers can manage and distribute as many as 150 concurrent calls across different video and voice networks and monitor, provision and report on up to 400 devices. DualManager 400 also supports SIP-based SVC call management and can be deployed on a single Dell PowerEdge R620 server.

Both products are available now.

IBM Opens Up Power Architecture

Big Blue has recruited its first round of partners to participate in its OpenPower Consortium as part of its effort to open up its Power hardware and software to others and expand the microprocessor architecture’s ecosystem. Developers will have access to the Power firmware, which controls basic chip functions.

Initial partners include Google, NVIDIA, Mellanox and Tyan, but IBM says the consortium is open to any company that wants to develop on the platform. One of the first projects for OpenPower will be the integration of NVIDIA’s CUDA GPU. Google, Mellanox and Tyan did not disclose their integration plans.

IBM is not the first vendor to open up its chip technology to other players. ARM provides access to its intellectual property through its DesignStart community, which includes both physical and processor IP. According to the DesignStart portal, ARM will be adding other tools and multimedia IP in the near future. ARM has also supported open source software and participated in a number of the Linux-focused Linaro working groups.

Of late, IBM’s Power architecture has been mostly relegated to the company’s own line of servers, although it has been used in some gaming consoles. ARM has gained significant traction in the mobile world, while data center environments tend to lean toward Intel-based x86 architectures. Intel recently released details for Atom SoCs designed to penetrate all areas of data center infrastructure, from micro servers to storage systems and network devices.



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