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Citrix's XenDesktop 4 Does It All

XenDesktop 4 from Citrix offers a more flexible way to deliver desktop applications to end users. The application streaming product, XenApp, is still available as a standalone product, but all of the XenApp features and functions as also available in XenDesktop 4. Citrix has also extended the HDX technology to XenDesktop, offering the best balance of processing power versus performance. Citrix has also simplified XenDesktop pricing, starting at $75 per user and offers a trade-up program for existing XenApp customers.

The most interesting new feature is FlexCast, which allows administrators to centrally manage and deploy applications to users who are using any of XenDesktop or XenApps delivery methods, such as VDI including blade PC desktop, traditional VDI, shared VDI, and off-line VDI  or application streaming. The benefit is that users can access applications regardless of where they are or the computer they are using. They could be using VDI from a remote workstation or streamed applications in another.

Citrix has also enhanced XenDesktop with HDX support that dynamically determines where to execute processor intensive graphics--on the server or on the PC--based on PC processing power and network performance. HDX also simplifies USB port sharing and printing.

Citrix is not doing away with XenApp. Rather, the company is positioning XenApp for scenarios where there are a smaller number of concurrent users accessing a small set of applications. Unlike XenDesktop, which is based on named users, XenApp is priced based on concurrent users. If you have ten concurrent XenApp licenses, any number of users can be given access to a XenApp application, but only ten concurrent users can be actively using the application at a time. XenDesktop is better suited for larger deployments where centralized desktop management is the critical factor.

XenDesktop has three editions with pricing based on a named user basis. Standard edition is $75 per named user provides just virtual desktop. Enterprise Edition is $225 per named user and provides all of Citrixs VDI and application streaming functions. Platinum edition is $350 per named user and includes Citrix's security and optimization product integration.

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