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Citrix Readies Next Release Of Its Application Virtualization Solution

Improved performance, cost control and migration to Windows Server 2008 are the focus of the upcoming XenApp 5.

virtualization software Web 2.0 interface Windows Server

The new version of XenApp, previously called Citrix Presentation Server, continues Citrix's efforts to offer a complete lineup of virtualization software through its 5,600 VARs. That strategy got a boost last October when the company acquired XenSource and its virtualization product line.

"Our VARs are always looking for the next opportunity to engage with their customers," said Tom Fink, Citrix vice president of worldwide channels and emerging product sales, when asked how much Citrix's channel partners are anticipating the new release.

XenApp is part of the Citrix Delivery Center product line, which also includes the XenServer, XenDesktop and NetScaler software.

XenApp delivers applications to physical and virtual desktops and the majority of the new release's enhancements improve the software's performance while helping businesses reduce infrastructure and support costs. On the performance side, for example, the new release speeds up local application start-up times by a factor of 10 while improved "preferential" load-balancing capabilities let businesses give application performance priority to key users.

Those load-balancing features also help cut costs by reducing the number of servers companies needed to run multiple applications. XenApp 5 also uses a feature called "linked profiles," which eliminates the need to aggregate applications before sending them to a virtualized desktop, to reduce virtualized application maintenance costs by 30 percent, according to Bill Hartwick, senior director of product marketing.

Improved application monitoring and alerting features also reduce costs by helping IT managers anticipate and prevent application performance problems. That's particularly important to Jim Steinlage, president of Choice Solutions, an Overland Park, Kansas-based solution provider and Citrix reseller.

"The expanded monitoring [of the] user experience will allow faster and more efficient assessment of performance issues," he said in an e-mail. "Also, the simulation tools will allow those managing the [server] farms to proactively identify performance issues before they become a customer-critical item."

XenApp 5 supports Windows Server 2008 while still running Windows Server 2003. Steinlage said that support would enable quicker migrations to the new Windows Server release.

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