The Dynamic Desktop

Citrix's new initiative calls for the delivery of 3 Windows desktop types

Citrix systems ceo Mark Templeton drew back the curtain on a new initiative his company is undertaking to simplify the deployment of different types of desktops at the Citrix iForum user conference in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 22-25.

The Dynamic Desktop initiative is intended to allow any Microsoft Windows desktop to be delivered over any network and allow it to be optimized for the types of workers who will use it.

When he announced the initiative on Oct. 23, Templeton drew the distinction between delivering the desktop and deploying it and described the formula for creating a dynamic desktop delivery capability.

"You start with a Windows-based access device, add any kind of network connection, your favorite Windows desktop OS, and then add a full complement of desktop delivery and experience management technology for a full system," he said.

The initiative, which will also rely on Citrix partners such as IBM Global Services, Wyse Technology, Accenture, Neoware and others, calls for the delivery of three types of Windows desktops.

The first, simple and fast, is intended for office workers who perform repetitive tasks. Examples include call center workers, branch bank clerical staff and retail clerks. That type of desktop employs Microsofts Windows Terminal Server in the data center.

Citrix will take that capability, largely available today, and expand it to two other types of dynamic desktops.

The personal and versatile desktop is intended for non-repetitive, administrative tasks such as those performed in marketing, finance, sales and other administrative departments in an organization.

That dynamic desktop type leverages virtual machines on Windows.

The Citrix initiative, code-named Trinity, also calls for a dynamic desktop intended for workers performing complex, compute-intensive tasks. It targets users such as trading-floor workers, visualization analysts working in oil and gas exploration, design engineers, and so on.

The first deliverable in the initiative, the Desktop Broker, is a new feature available now with Citrix Presentation Server. It is a free download feature for customers with Citrix support.

The Desktop Broker governs the type of desktop that is delivered to a particular user. It provides an administrators console where the administrator can initiate a connection reset and deliver the desired operating system to the user. It provides private or pooled desktop brokering, a Web interface and a secure gateway.

In the first quarter of next year, Citrix will release an integrated version of the dynamic desktop capability that separates the desktop delivery from the application delivery.

The integrated version will bring new application-streaming capability to that delivery and integrate the performance monitoring capabilities of the Citrix EdgeSight end-user monitoring tool, according to Scott Herren, group vice president of the virtualization systems group at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company. It will not require Citrix Presentation Server infrastructure.

A second release of that capability, due in the last half of 2007, will add a direct ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) connection to a central desktop, support for a universal print driver, USB support and other features.

Citrix user Eachan Fletcher was encouraged by the potential in the Trinity project. "Individually, those technologies are nothing new. The magic will be in how they pull things together. Its a good thing that Citrix recognizes there are different user profiles. Show me the integration, and Ill be happy," said Fletcher, head of group solutions at online betting company Betfair, in London.

Trinitys Three Sides

The three profiles of the Trinity desktop:

1. Simple and fast

* Intended users Office workers in bank branches, call centers or retail centers

* Characteristics Instant on, one log-in and always works

* Based on Windows Terminal Server in the data center

2. Personal and versatile

* Intended uses Nonrepetitive, office administration tasks

* Characteristics Personal, portable, always current

* Based on Virtual machines in the data center running Windows

3. High performance and powerful

* Intended uses Complex, knowledge-based tasks using compute-intensive apps

* Characteristics High performance and multitasking

* Based on Blade servers and blade PCs in the data center