Citrix previews bare-metal virt

New client, fresh server, embedded antivirus


Citrix Systems shelled out $500m to buy XenSource and get its hands on the Xen open source hypervisor, and it looks like 2010 is shaping up to be the year that the Xen family of products starts to pay back some of that dough.

This week, at the Synergy 2010 conference in San Francisco, where Citrix is holding court with customers, partners, and a few rivals in the desktop and server virtualization racket, the company plans to preview its long-awaited bare-metal desktop and laptop PC hypervisor, XenClient, and discuss updates to its XenServer server hypervisor, also a bare metal or type 1 product, in the virt lingo and something that has been woven into existing Citrix application streaming and virtualization technologies to create something Citrix is calling FlexCast.

With FlexCast virtualization, Citrix is delivering a Swiss army knife approach to virtualization, giving customers lots of different ways to virtualize machines or applications, each tailored for specific needs. It starts with XenApp, which is the renamed Citrix Presentation Server from pre-XenSource days that hosts shared PC applications on servers and gives end users access to them over local or remote networks. Over the past year, XenApp has been mish-mashed with the XenServer server virtualization hypervisor and the XenDesktop virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) tool that rides atop it to stream virtual PC images down to PC clients over local networks and it is hard to tell where one product begins and the other ends.

As far as Citrix is concerned, having distinct products no longer matters, but what is key is having a set of tools with a predictable revenue and maintenance stream that keeps Citrix in the game. In any event, the converged XenDesktop and XenApp software allow for hosted PC images to be either streamed down from the data center and run locally using XenClient or hosted in the data center with only their video and local peripherals running locally, using a protocol Citrix calls HDX (what Citrix calls) and supporting maybe 125 users per server and allowing personalization of desktops. Using XenApp to host a common, shared desktop, you can get maybe 500 users on a server, and using streamed VHD, which is halfway between a PC hypervisor and hosted VDI, Citrix says it can support for up to 5,000 users per server.

One important bit of the FlexCast equation has been missing, however, and that is a bare-metal hypervisor on the client itself that can run multiple and possibly incompatible operating systems on a single machine. This would provide better isolation and security for desktop software that is hosted on the PC, whether it's streamed down from the network using the XenDesktop/XenApp combo or hosted back on the data center servers using the same middleware.

XenClient is that missing piece. And it is late, considering that when Citrix and Intel announced their development partnership back in January 2009, they said they would have the product in the field later in 2009. That clearly didn't happen, which is why software is no less disappointing than hardware when it comes to development and meeting schedules.

And if you were expecting a commercial-grade, bare-metal hypervisor to be ready for delivery today at Synergy, you will be disappointed. But not entirely, because according to Wes Wasson, chief marketing officer at Citrix, the XenClient Express Test Kit will be available today, presumably for free as a download and as an open source product. This test version of XenClient Express is based on the first release candidate variant of the PC hypervisor, and it will include Receiver and Synchronizer software that will allow it to automatically be seen by XenDesktop VDI software.

XenClient, says Wasson, will be included in the "next major release" of XenDesktop and was developed not only in conjunction with Intel, but also PC makers Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which will be on hand to endorse XenClient at Synergy. Wasson said that Microsoft has given XenClient its "full endorsement" too.

Next page: How much, then?

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • FTC urged to protect data privacy of women visiting abortion clinics
    As Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v Wade, safeguards on location info now more vital than ever

    Democrat senators have urged America's Federal Trade Commission to do something to protect the privacy of women after it emerged details of visits to abortion clinics were being sold by data brokers.

    Women's healthcare is an especially thorny issue right now after the Supreme Court voted in a leaked draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark ruling that declared women's rights to have an abortion are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

    If the nation's top judges indeed vote to strike down that 1973 decision, individual states, at least, can set their own laws governing women's reproductive rights. Thirteen states already have so-called "trigger laws" in place prohibiting abortions – mostly with exceptions in certain conditions, such as if the pregnancy or childbirth endangers the mother's life – that will go into effect if Roe v Wade is torn up. People living in those states would, in theory, have to travel to another state where abortion is legal to carry out the procedure lawfully, although laws are also planned to ban that.

    Continue reading
  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022