Citrix XenClient

Citrix has announced/released a type 1 (bare metal) hypervisor for the PC, called XenClient.  This is a product with a very small set of supported hardware.  It must have one of a few Intel processors (AMD not supported) and the machine must have drivers included in XenClient … that’s because it is a monolithic hypervisor like ESX, instead of being a paravirtualized hypervisor like XenServer or Hyper-V.

The obvious benefit for the user over hosted solutions such as VMware Workstation is performance.  I saw a quick demo of it at PubForum 2010 Frankfurt.  It did look cool but the very limited set of supported hardware was offputting.  Speaking of which:

General Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core i5, Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: Intel integrated graphics GMA 4500, Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory: 4GB RAM recommended
  • Disk: 160GB recommended
  • Wireless Lan: Intel WiFi Link 5100/5300, Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200, Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300
  • Intel vPro: Highly Recommended

Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)  

  • HP EliteBook 6930p, 2530p, 8440p*
  • Dell Latitude E4300, E6400, E4310*, E6410*, E6500, E6510*
  • Dell Optiplex 780
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X200, T400, T500

* Standby and external monitors are not fully supported on these systems. This will be addressed in a near term update.

Heh – My Dell Latitude is supported.  I’m tempted!

Some nice features when combind with a server infrastructure:

  • To enable local virtual machine desktops for laptop users, download and install XenClient and Citrix Receiver™ for XenClient. To enable centralized management of XenClient devices, download and install the Synchronizer for XenClient virtual appliance.
  • Create multiple desktops locally by installing each operating system into a new local virtual machine. Connect to the Synchronizer to download predefined virtual machines hosted by IT
  • Use XenClient to switch instantaneously between multiple secure desktops, run high-performance graphics, and access business and personal applications. Whether for business or personal use XenClient delivers flexibility and mobility for users with control and security for IT.

There will be two versions.  “XenClient is going to be available in an Express freebie edition that individuals or companies can download and put on as many as ten machines … a fully supported XenClient hypervisor for PCs will only be available in the XenDesktop 4 Enterprise and Platinum Editions … The freebie XenClient Express will have support only through the Web forums at Citrix”.

Now all we need is a client hypervisor from Microsoft that we can optionally synchronise with Hyper-V hosted VDI machines.  That would be cool.  Manage the sucker with ConfigMgr, deploy the VHD’s with WDS, control and secure using BitLocker, AD and Group Policy, etc.

Credit: The Register

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