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Rollout: Citrix Presentation Server 4.5

The Upshot

Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 aims to be a complete solution for delivering applications to a broad range of users. Applications can be run on the server or streamed to the client for better and wider support of end users and applications, giving IT shops a single solution for application management.
Citrix is a market leader for thin-client applications. The addition of application streaming makes it a formidable competitor against products such as Microsoft's SoftGrid and AppStream's AppStream.Now. Existing Citrix customers and greenfield accounts will appreciate the product's flexibility.
CPS 4.5 delivers the goods, allowing IT administrators to deploy thin clients or streamed applications as they choose. The remote display of 2-D graphics applications are improved as well. However, CPS 4.5's application streaming is limited to Windows; a broader footprint would be welcome.

Citrix Presentation Server 4.5

IT shops that prefer server-centric app delivery have had to compromise when it comes to road warriors and users that require graphic- and CPU-intensive applications. These groups just aren't a good fit for thin clients that run over the network. The result? IT has had to maintain separate application-deployment models to match the needs of disparate populations.

Now comes Citrix Presentation Server (CPS) 4.5, which says IT can have its cake and eat it, too. CPS adds application streaming to its portfolio, which means all the executables, DLLs and other files required to run the application are sent to the client and cached on the local hard drive. The application then executes locally rather than on the server.

When we streamed a version of Microsoft Office 2003, this new feature let us do something no other CPS product allowed us to do before--unplug our laptop and still use Microsoft Word.

Of course, you can do exactly the same thing with products such as AppStream's AppStream.Now and Microsoft's SoftGrid. So what separates CPS from its more mature application-streaming competitors? Choice. Applications delivered to your CPS server farm can be published for remote display (that is, run as thin clients) or streamed to the client. This is a welcome addition for IT shops that are deploying applications under a number of different scenarios.

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