New Citrix, Intel Tech Cuts Virtual Umbilical Cord

Virtualization software provider Citrix and chipmaker Intel announced a deal Tuesday that will see them teaming up to develop the industry’s first application and desktop delivery solutions optimized for desktops with Intel’s Core 2 processors and laptops featuring Centrino 2 chips with Intel vPro technology.

Under the terms of the joint venture, Citrix will produce a new class of virtualization solutions it said will optimize the delivery of applications to millions of Intel Core2 and Centrino 2 processor-based devices, leading to a significant reduction in the cost of desktop management.

Mobile and Otherwise

The upcoming offering will feature a first-of-its-kind hypervisor-based virtualization solution that will give both mobile and office-based users benefits normally associated with a centralized desktop virtualization tool in a personalized PC environment.

Both mobile and office workers will be able to utilize enterprise-scale virtualization without compromising security, manageability, ease-of-use, performance or mobility, according to Citrix.

“I think this is a great move for Citrix and Intel — it brings local desktop virtualization to Citrix and allows Intel to enter the client virtualization market,” Natalie Lambert told TechNewsWorld.

One Part Hardware, One Part Software

A bare-metal Xen-based desktop hypervisor will be the centerpiece of the new technology. It will be included in an upcoming solution codenamed “Project Independence,” according to Citrix. It will be optimized for Intel virtualization technology and other features of Intel’s vPro platform. The new client hypervisor will offer IT departments the option to dynamically stream a centrally managed corporate desktop with all its related applications directly into a secure, isolated, client-based virtual machine.

The new technology differs from server-based desktop virtualization technologies in that it caches and executes desktop and application software directly on the PC client. This enables high performance, rich graphics and full off-network mobility for laptop users, according to Citrix.

“This will enable mobile users and those with low bandwidth to get the benefits of virtualization in a manner they can digest,” Lambert said.

Dell plans to certify the product on its computing platforms and has provided aid with the design and testing of the new technology, Citrix said. The first technology from “Project Independence,” along with the new Xen client hypervisor optimized for Intel vPro, will be available in the second half of 2009.

“Today, bare metal hypervisors for the client device are still far off, but they shouldn’t be. This move will enable local desktop virtualization to become the default way of delivering a local desktop. With that said, I still believe it will take at least three years before we really see any traction. Over the next three years, Citrix and Intel will iron out the kinks while enterprises get a grasp on the technology — they will be ready when the market is ready,” Lambert added.

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