My Thoughts on Synergy 2013
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the CTP meeting followed by Citrix Synergy in Anaheim. In contrast to last year, I must say that this time it was a great experience. Citrix seems to be back on track when it comes to their “bread-and-butter” business around XenApp and XenDesktop. During his keynote, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton spent substantial time on introducing XenDesktop 7, formerly known as Project Excalibur.
Despite its name, XenDesktop 7 is all about bringing together XenApp and XenDesktop. The formerly separated worlds of multi-user session hosting and VDI are finally merged into one common architecture, one package to download, automated install and deployment, and two consoles. XenDesktop Studio is for the configuration side of things while XenDesktop Director is for monitoring. Target platform is Windows Server 2012 and integration into System Center 2012 is also provided. With XenDesktop 7, Citrix wants to get established in both private and public cloud infrastructures, allowing to provide Windows applications through mobile cloud services.
An interesting move is the new focus on 3D applications delivered from the cloud. In order to fulfill the necessary requirements in terms of application performance, Citrix partners with NVIDIA. The goal is to deliver high-end Windows applications for visual design, 3D modeling, big data design, engineering, medical imaging, geospatial information systems and financial analysis from the cloud. Together with NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, Mark Templeton and Brad Peterson demonstrated what they called “extreme SaaS-fication”. They showed amazing 3D performance of applications running on XenDesktop 7 and XenServer using NVIDIA’s GRID cards. It is obvious that Citrix believes that rich 3D graphics is something not only designers will be using in the near future. According to Citrix and NVIDIA, rich graphics will be used and consumed by a majority of consumers and enterprise users, from a variety of end devices.
All this gave the remoting protocol comparison session Shawn Bass and I presented one day later a lot more visibility. NVIDIA had provided us with GRID K2 cards for our test labs only three weeks before Synergy. This allowed us to present some vendor-independent test results using NVIDIA GPUs for accelerating graphics performance with Citrix HDX and Microsoft RemoteFX.