Client Hypervisor Guide

Client Hypervisor Guide

There are a number of ways to virtualize desktops, and one technology that's finally gaining maturity is client hypervisors. This type of desktop virtualization provides the benefits of VDI without the back end infrastructure costs and complexity.

A client hypervisor resides on a laptop, PC or other client device and runs virtual machines on a desktop host. This is useful for isolating OSes from hardware to make the OS hardware-agnostic. This desktop virtualization technology also runs different versions of operating systems on the same machine to parse out corporate and personal computing environments.

This guide covers the types of client hypervisors on the market today from vendors including Citrix Systems Inc., Virtual Computer and VMware and Microsoft's plans to deliver a client hypervisor as part of Windows 8.

Table of contents:

Client hypervisor product: Citrix XenClient

With SP1, is Citrix XenClient ready for primetime?
Citrix released Service Pack 1 for the XenClient client hypervisor and Citrix Synchronizer in January 2011, addressing some limitations. But is XenClient ready for enterprise deployment?

Is Citrix's client hypervisor better than XenDesktop for VDI?
One Citrix executive says the company's client hypervisor is closer to the future of desktop delivery than what is offered by the company's flagship VDI products.

What's the difference between XenClient 2 and XenClient XT?
Citrix released XenClient 2 and a new, highly secure client hypervisor called XenClient XT. Here, Brian Madden parses the differences and explains the use case for XenClient XT.

Citrix XenClient with AMD graphics support coming mid-year
IT pros who have tested XenClient have their complaints, but Citrix promises to deliver a production-level version this year with an HCL that extends beyond Intel vPro chips.

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Client hypervisor product: Virtual Computer NxTop

Virtual Computer's NxTop outshines XenClient in Gabe's lab
If you're putting VDI projects on hold while you wait for Citrix XenClient to mature, wait no longer -- Virtual Computer's NxTop may have everything you need.

Virtual Computer's CEO dishes on virtual clients, Microsoft and Intel support
Virtual Computer's chief discusses client hypervisors, industry trends, server-based VDI and why Microsoft, Intel and Lenovo support client virtualization.

Client hypervisor executes desktops locally, uses centralized storage
Virtual Computer's updated client hypervisor supports diskless workstations and VM transparency. Gabe Knuth digs in for an early look at NxTop 4.

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Client hypervisor product: Microsoft Hyper-V

Microsoft supports IE virtualization in Windows 8 with Hyper-V client
Microsoft devised a way to let developers virtualize legacy versions of Internet Explorer along with current versions of IE without violating its own Windows licensing rules -- a Hyper-V client hypervisor in Windows 8.

Will MinWin and a Hyper-V client hypervisor debut in Windows 8?
Microsoft's refusal to support Internet Explorer as a virtualized application has IT pros up in arms, but the combination of "MinWin" and a Hyper-V client hypervisor in Windows 8 could remove the licensing roadblocks that form the core of Microsoft objections.

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Client hypervisor product: VMware View Local Mode

What's new in VMware View 4.5 and ThinApp 4.6
Although VMware is continuing to develop and test a Type-1 client hypervisor in its labs, the company isn't convinced that there's market demand for it and instead, delivered a Type-2 client hypervisor in View 4.5.

Citrix XenClient vs. VMware View 4.5 Local Mode -- which is better for your environment?
Offline support for VDI comes in different forms. VMware's Local Mode offers benefits that Citrix XenClient doesn't, and vice versa. Here are the pros and cons of each.

The downsides of VMware View Local Mode may outweigh the benefits
VMware's offline desktop feature in View 4.5 broadens the use case for virtual desktops, but the Local Mode feature has some drawbacks that may outweigh the benefits of using disconnected VDI.

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Using client hypervisors

Using client Hypervisors to secure desktops
Client hypervisors from companies including Citrix, Virtual Computer and VMware help secure desktops, but each vendor has its own set of requirements and restrictions.

Why using a bare-metal client hypervisor on a Mac makes no sense
Apple supports running Mac OS X 10.7 Lion in a client hypervisor VM on Mac hardware, but is there any value in virtualizing the Mac OS with Type-1 products such as XenClient?

What Intel vPro brings to VDI, client hypervisors
Citrix XenClient only supports Intel vPro, but vPro isn't necessary, and other bare-metal client hypervisors are compatible with various AMD and Intel chips.

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More on client hypervisors

Type 2 client hypervisors aren't worse than Type 1, just different
Both types of client hypervisors let users run one or more virtual machines locally on their laptops or desktops. Here are the differences and how these technologies work.

Wintel cheerleads for client virtualization to whip VDI
While IT pros weigh the pros and cons of the ways they can deliver virtual desktops, vendors do their best to discredit the methods that don't benefit their bottom line -- particularly Intel and Microsoft.

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