The latest version of Citrix's Access Gateway appliance creates a more secure virtual desktop.
Citrix Systems is looking to offer a new layer of security around the
On June 9, the company released the latest version of its Access Gateway
appliance-Version 8.1-now integrated with Citrix
XenDesktop, which allows IT departments to create a virtual desktop
infrastructure where the desktop images and applications are streamed to the PC
from a server housed in the data center.
The integrated Access Gateway feature is part of Citrix's
Delivery Center, a set of technologies that allow for the creation of a
virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, that can allow desktop images to be
streamed either to the main office or remote locations and branch offices.
The Delivery Center will
be available in the second half of 2008. Citrix released its
XenDesktop product in May.
The Access Gateway is a security appliance that allows a user to access his
or her desktop image and applications from a home or remote PC, while giving
the IT department the ability to create policies for how employees can access
their virtual desktops. For example, employees can access a desktop image from
their own PCs but the IT administrator can ensure that no documents or files
can be printed or copied unless the computer is attached directly to the
While there are several security benefits to creating a virtual desktop
infrastructure, including the ability to apply a security patch once in the
data center for all the corporate desktop images, enterprises have not fully
embraced the models that Citrix and VMware are beginning to develop.
At a forum in May in New York,
found that while IT department and enterprises are studying this new model, the
costs of investing in a new infrastructure and concerns about issues such as
operating systems licensing mean that not many businesses are adopting VDI just
Still, Citrix, VMware and soon Microsoft with its Hyper-V option in Windows
Server 2008 are looking to define what it means to create a virtual infrastructure
and what benefits come with this type of technology. In this case, Citrix
believes it has overcome concerns about protecting a company's data from being
lost or stolen from a misplaced laptop by allowing IT to set policies, such as
not allowing a user to download the data to a local hard disk drive or print it
out at a remote location.
"Most of the IT organizations have done a pretty good job when it comes
to protecting the edge of the network," said Sai Allavarpu, a product
marketing manager at Citrix. "However, what we are seeing more and more is
the need to protect the data itself from being lost or taken in the case of a
The Access Gateway sits between the various Citrix delivery controllers,
such as XenDesktop and XenApp-the new name for Presentation Server-and the
desktop or the Branch Repeater that brings the desktop images to a remote
Through a series of technologies called SmartAccess, the Access Gateway
authenticates the user's identification, checks the policies for accessing applications
and desktop images, and finally conducts a check of the end device for malware
The Access Gateway and Delivery Center
will work with any PC-whether a diskless desktop model, laptop or thin-client
PC-which Allavarpu said will help companies if and when they move toward a VDI
model. It also allows employees to use their home PCs without compromising work
Access Gateway will cost about $3,500, but will
include the user licenses for the XenDesktop product.