This week at Citrix Summit/Synergy, Citrix finally revealed details behind their much anticipated client (bare metal) hypervisor. To recap, for the folks who are not following, this will finally bring “offline VDI” to XenDesktop. It will also match (and potentially beat) VMware’s current offline VM checkin/check out functionality currently available in View.
XenClient 1.0 will be released later this week for download on MyCitrix and is being demoed and talked about at the conference. After playing with it at one of the demo stations and talking with some Citrix Engineers, here are some details:
- Unlike VMware’s View, XenClient is a Type 1 hypervisor. This means it lives above the client side OS (Windows). Once installed, the user has the option to boot into whatever VMs are available on the laptop.
- At the moment, XenClient will only support a small subset of hardware types. This includes Dell’s Latitude E series, Dell Optiplex 780, and HP EliteBook laptops. Full HCL to be published later in the week.
- Citrix Synchronizer is the server appliance that chats with the XenClient (over HTTP/SSL) to continuously sync and update the local running VM back to the Data Center.
- Synchronizer will be available as a virtual appliance running on XenServer. According to Citrix, there is no planned version for ESX. – I am sure this will change though.
- XenClient can be installed as a standalone or in conjunction with “Synchronizer”.
- XenClient supports paravirtualization to allow VMs direct access to hardware (using it’s native driver). For example, a VM under XenClient can tap directly into a GPU for accelerated video playback and graphic intensive applications. – This demoed very well with the engineer playing back an HD video file without skipping within a VM.
- At the moment, only a small subset of USB devices are supported through XenClient.
I am at Synergy all week, so I expect to learn more details about XenClient over the course of the week. If you guys have questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll try to get those questions answered while at the conference.