Citrix Sets New Standard for Desktop Virtualization

Citrix XenDesktop 5.5 Enhances User Personalization and High-Definition Experience over the LAN or WAN

Citrix Systems today announced a new version of its market-leading Citrix XenDesktop® product line that adds major enhancements in personalization, user experience and rich consumer device support. The new XenDesktop 5.5 adds the “Personal vDisk” technology acquired earlier this month from RingCube (see the announcement) to all editions of XenDesktop, making it far easier for customers to deploy highly personalized virtual desktops at a substantially lower cost. XenDesktop 5.5 also features the most significant enhancement in company history to its market-leading Citrix HDX™ user experience technology, enabling customers to deliver high-definition virtual desktops up to three times faster for both LAN and WAN users. Using XenDesktop 5.5, customers can now build true “private desktop clouds” for the first time ever, delivering virtual desktops and apps with rich voice, video and multimedia support to more than one billion end user devices, even for the most challenging remote, branch and mobile users.

As the industry moves from the PC Era to the Cloud Era, virtual desktops are growing rapidly in popularity. IT organizations like the security, flexibility and cost-savings of delivering desktops as a centralized service, while end users like the ability to access corporate apps and desktops from any device, in any location. Addressing these market needs is one of the reasons Citrix was recently recognized as the only vendor in the Leaders category of the IDC MarketScape: Desktop Virtualization 2011 Vendor Analysis1.

Gartner expects mainstream adoption of hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) to take place in 2012 through 2014, with 70 million users by 20142. Driving broad mainstream adoption of desktop virtualization at this scale will require continued enhancements in personalization and user experience, along with continued reduction in deployment and operation costs. XenDesktop 5.5 raises the bar in all of these areas:

What’s New in Citrix XenDesktop 5.5

  • Virtual Desktops Made Personal – XenDesktop 5.5 gives IT the ability to deliver personal VDI desktops through the innovative “Personal vDisk” technology acquired recently from RingCube. This technology is now available at no charge as an early access capability in all editions of XenDesktop 5.5, making it easy for customers to gain hands-on experience and begin pilot deployments. This new feature will enable broader enterprise-wide deployment of virtual desktops by storing a single copy of Windows centrally, and combining it with a personal vDisk for each employee’s personal apps, data and settings, enhancing user personalization and reducing storage costs.
  • Raising the Bar on High-Definition User Experience – With more than 150 new features, XenDesktop 5.5 represents the most significant enhancement ever to Citrix HDX user experience technology. Central to the release is the ability to deliver virtual desktops over the WAN to mobile workers and branch office employees up to three times faster, at a fraction of the cost. Key enhancements include six times faster printing and scanning, two times faster app launch, and flexible new Quality of Service controls to ensure superior user experience in all network conditions. The new release also features significant multimedia, voice and video enhancements, including new Flash redirection technology that delivers stunning video and audio experience over the WAN at less than half the cost.
  • Support for More than One Billion Devices – Combined with the Citrix Receiver™ universal software client, XenDesktop 5.5 extends the company’s already significant lead in delivering apps and desktops to the widest possible range of end user devices. Using XenDesktop 5.5, customers can deliver self-service apps and desktops to more than one billion devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones and thin clients – and all major device operating platforms, including new environments like Apple iOS, Google Android and Google ChromeOS.
  • Unparalleled Native User Experience on Tablets and Smartphones – Unlike competing products that offer only basic support for non-PC devices, XenDesktop 5.5 enables a rich, native experience on each unique device, including support for gestures and multi-touch features. This experience is also customized based on the type of device. Smartphone users, for example, tend to be document-centric. Instead of opening a full Windows desktop, they generally prefer to interact with individual files. Tablet users, by contrast, tend to be app-centric, preferring to launch individual applications, rather than navigating a full Windows desktop. In all cases, XenDesktop 5.5 enables a rich, native experience on each unique device, allowing users to access corporate apps and data in whatever way is most convenient and natural. No other desktop virtualization product in the industry comes close.
  • Millions More Laptops Supported with XenClient 2 – XenDesktop 5.5 also includes Citrix XenClient™ 2 as a standard feature (see XenClient tech preview announcement). XenClient extends the value of XenDesktop to millions of laptop users, enabling customers to manage desktops centrally, but execute them locally on client hypervisors rather than run directly on each laptop – even when disconnected from the network. The XenClient 2 technology includes a host of new enhancements that significantly expand hardware compatibility, deliver a simple user experience and enable larger more complex production deployments.
  • Faster App Delivery with XenApp 6.5 – XenDesktop 5.5 includes the new Citrix XenApp™ 6.5 as an integrated feature. XenApp 6.5 delivers applications with the same high-definition experience as desktops delivered via XenDesktop. In addition, end-users benefit from the new Instant App Access feature that reduces application launch times by 50 percent. Customers can also manage applications delivered by XenApp alongside virtual desktops from within the XenDesktop Desktop Director console.
  • Enhanced Support for Microsoft Technologies –XenDesktop 5.5 includes support for Microsoft RemoteFX, a key capability of Microsoft Hyper-V. XenDesktop with HDX and RemoteFX delivers a great user experience for rich content, including Aero-based Windows 7 desktops, whether executing on the server or the client device. Support for Microsoft management technologies, such as App-V and System Center enables IT to virtualize applications and manage their desktop infrastructure, including physical and virtual desktops and applications, from a single view.


XenDesktop 5.5, XenApp 6.5 and XenClient 2 are available for download today from the Citrix website. Suggested pricing for XenDesktop starts at $95 per user or device for the VDI-only edition. Comprehensive desktop and application virtualization is available in the Enterprise or Platinum editions, priced at $225 and $350. XenClient 2 is available standalone as a free download from the Citrix website and included along with the Synchronizer for XenClient with XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum.