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Burning questions on Citrix roadmaps, XenServer answered

IT pros at Citrix Synergy heard a lot about its cloud movement, but lingering questions about roadmaps, features and XenServer are answered here.

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Citrix Synergy 2014 conference coverage

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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Citrix releases new products before they are fully baked, without properly informing customers,...

and includes some features that IT administrators don’t need while ignoring some that they do.

Those were complaints from Citrix Synergy attendees here this week who learned about the company's movement toward cloud platforms through Workspace Services and its mobility plans, but want answers on roadmaps, release issues and the fate of XenServer.

Here are four burning questions on the minds of Citrix customers, answered.

There needs to be better messaging around product roadmaps, especially Provisioning Services (PVS), which has been rumored to disappear in favor of Machine Creation Services (MCS). Why doesn't Citrix keep customers better informed on its future plans?

Citrix may have been too reserved in its approach to roadmaps and letting people know what's coming, according to Calvin Hsu, product manager for XenApp and XenDesktop. Citrix is shifting its roadmap attitude and being more explicit about what it’s doing and the features it will deliver ahead of time to provide better visibility, especially about beta programs, he said.

Citrix will move toward more regular timed releases that come faster, and they won't be as large, Hsu said.

For XenDesktop and XenApp, Citrix is looking at one core update per year, and it depends when it will do another modernizing update.

(Also, PVS isn't going away, though MCS will have a greater role going forward).

Why does Citrix release products before they are "ready?" When StoreFront came out it wasn’t ready, even 2.0 wasn’t ready. Why not hold back releases until they are fully baked?

Iteration is the best way to get stuff baked, and of course there is a competitive pressure, Hsu said. Also, customers don't upgrade to the latest version right away. With XenApp, people wait for the server platform to expire because they are tied together, he said.

With XenDesktop 7, Citrix needed to get the platform out, and refine it and mature it, and those things are in motion, Hsu said.

Why isn't there Citrix support for Linux on the backend? Virtual desktop infrastructure users don’t want to worry about Microsoft VDA licensing, and they can avoid that cost with Linux.

Citrix knows some customers want Linux support, but the company goes with Windows because that's what the majority of business customers rely on. They will respond to demand, however.

What the heck is going on with XenServer? One presenter here predicted that it won't be around in five years.

It is still included with all of Citrix's product options. Improvements  around storage and other components continue, and the company recognizes that customers use VMware and Hyper-V. A spokesperson couldn't say whether XenServer will go away or not, she said there will be an increased effort to ensure products work well with VMware and Hyper-V.

Citrix will also launch a XenServer tech preview within the next couple of months. The company will move to 64-bit XenServer for better performance, scalability, and hardware support. Moving to a 64-bit platform also allows for an increase on Nvidia GPU support. It now supports 64 virtual GPUs per host, and up to 8 physical GPUs per host if you’re running GPU pass-through.

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Citrix Synergy 2014 conference coverage

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