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'Project Independence' to bring Xen-based client virtualization

Posted: 11 Feb 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:virtualization client? Xen Citrix Intel? Independence Project?

Citrix Systems Inc. will develop what it claims is the industry's first application and desktop delivery solutions optimized for Intel Core2 desktops and Centrino 2 laptops with Intel vPro technology.

Under an agreement with Intel Corp., Citrix plans to produce a new class of virtualization solutions that optimize the delivery of applications and desktops to Intel Core2 and Centrino 2 processor-based devices, reducing the cost of desktop management. The first-of-its-kind hypervisor-based virtualization solution will bring the benefits of centralized desktop virtualization with a personalized PC environment. As a result, users will be able to take advantage of enterprise-scale virtualization without sacrificing security, manageability, ease-of-use, performance or mobility.

"This innovative approach from Citrix and Intel has the potential to swing the pendulum toward desktop virtualization alternatives and disrupt a traditional desktop management industry that is costing enterprises billions of dollars a year today," said Mark Bowker, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "By serving as a transparent delivery platform, this approach has the potential to positively transform the corporate desktop ownership equation and improve how enterprise IT manages the delivery of applications and desktops to their users."

At the heart of the new solution from Citrix will be a bare-metal Xen-based desktop hypervisor optimized for Intel Virtualization technology and other features of Intel vPro technology. This new client hypervisor, which will be made available to PC manufacturers and enterprises worldwide, will enable IT professionals to dynamically stream a centrally managed corporate desktop and all related applications directly into a secure, isolated client-based virtual machine (VM).

This new technology will be productized in an upcoming solution from Citrix code-named "Project Independence." By enabling devices, desktops, applications and people to operate more independently, but with all the benefits of centralized management, Project Independence will bring cost savings and IT agility to businesses worldwide.

Unlike server-based desktop virtualization technologies, this approach caches and executes desktop and application software directly on the PC client, enabling high performance, rich graphics and full off-network mobility for laptop users. The combination of centralized desktop and application management with a rich, secure, personalized and mobile user experience will enable enterprises to reduce the escalating cost of managing an increasingly mobile workforce while enhancing security and always-on access to corporate applications for Citrix and Intel end users worldwide.

In addition to its virtualization capabilities, Intel vPro technology, now in its third generation, provides an array of remote management and security capabilities. With vPro technology-enabled devices, IT managers can, for example, troubleshoot and potentially repair a PC even if its OS or hard drive has been disabled.

"Citrix and Intel have worked together to lead the development of the open source industry standard Xen hypervisor, which has brought an entirely new level of openness, security and scale to the server virtualization industry," said N. Louis Shipley, VP and general manager of XenServer product group at Citrix.

Virtualization to the client
In 2008, the Xen open source community established the Xen Client Initiative project to foster the development of a Xen-based solution for client environments. The new Xen client hypervisor resulting from this collaboration between Citrix and Intel will be optimized for bare metal virtualization and ideally suited for delivery as an embedded, small footprint component of an enterprise laptop or desktop PC, and can also be installed on existing client systems that already have an OS installed.

The Xen hypervisor includes several key architectural advantages that make it ideally suited for this project. Xen was designed from the outset to address the industry's broadest range of devices and chipsetsfrom super computers to PDAs. As a result, its architecture is uniquely designed to ensure strong isolation between VMs running on a single device, as well as allowing pass through device control directly to the client in a way that doesn't impact security, capabilities that are essential for virtualization on client devices.

This collaboration between Citrix and Intel will enable PC manufacturers to include "built-in" client-side virtualization with new desktop and laptop computing systems for the first time ever.

Dell plans to certify the product on its computing platforms, and has provided engineering support to aid in the design and testing of the new technology.

"Simplifying computing, and saving time and money for customers has always been at the heart of our business, so we are delighted to work with Citrix and Intel to enable this new class of virtualization solutions," said Darrel Ward, director of commercial desktops at Dell product group. "Virtualization has the potential to dramatically streamline acquisition and management of corporate desktops, improve TCO and ultimately allow us to offer our customers more efficient and diverse solutions."

The initial delivery of Project Independence, including the new Xen client hypervisor optimized for Intel vPro, is planned for the 2H 09.

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