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Where Citrix will go with Receiver, XenClient and Project Avalon

Citrix had a lot of announcements at its Synergy U.S. conference back in May: Project Avalon, the new XenClient, enhancements to Citrix Receiver and more. To keep in step with desktop virtualization and consumerization, the vendor should move forward with these offerings in the coming months.

After attending Citrix Synergy in Barcelona last year, I realized that while VMworld Europe is essentially a VMworld U.S. clone, Synergy Barcelona is a launch pad for all the things the company announced five months earlier at

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Synergy in San Francisco. With that in mind, here are a few things you're likely to hear more about at Citrix Synergy Barcelona this year:

Introducing Project Avalon

Project Avalon was announced as "one more thing" at the end of the Citrix Synergy keynote in San Francisco, so I expect the vendor will announce something else about it to generate buzz.

I can't imagine Citrix will let VMware steal the show with Horizon Data for too long.

Project Avalon allows you to manage and provision XenApp or XenDesktop to local and cloud locations. We've been talking about cloud bursting for data-center-based workloads for several years now, so this isn't ground-breaking technology. What's new, though, is the single pane of glass for management. It will be interesting to see how that aspect has developed in the last six months.

At the show in Barcelona, Citrix could release a beta if they're on the same schedule they talked about in May.

XenClient Enterprise

It has been five months since Citrix acquired Virtual Computer and released its client hypervisor product as XenClient Enterprise. I'm curious to see if there has been any more development on that front. We know now that client hypervisors are more about device management and have very little to do with VDI, so it will be interesting to see how Citrix shifts focus to managing physical devices.

VMware is doing something similar with the Mirage product it acquired from Wanova, which will almost certainly get more exposure at VMworld Europe.

Giving Citrix Receiver a boost

Last week, I wrote about how the desktop of the future doesn't necessarily involve Windows (but we'll still rely on Windows apps). I expect the post-PC era to be a big topic at Citrix Synergy Barcelona.

The vendor has a lot going on with Citrix Receiver, Branch Repeater and CloudGateway. It also showed an app-wrapping solution in May that delivers native Apple iOS apps to Receiver. Citrix will probably put more weight behind this concept, especially because VMware Horizon Mobile now has an iOS version.

More on Project Avalon and CloudGateway

Project Avalon offers Windows as a Service

Citrix CloudGateway could get mobile device management

Citrix Receiver has also seen enhancements with ShareFile integration for follow-me data, and I expect to see more in that regard. I can't imagine Citrix will let VMware steal the show with Horizon Data for too long.

The last thing about Citrix Receiver that I'm watching for is the clientless VPN feature the company announced, where Receiver maintains a secure connection to the data center without the user having to know about it. Now, via Receiver, users can access Windows apps, Web apps, local apps and data through an SSL VPN to CloudGateway without having to mess with mobile device settings.

Citrix's demo of CloudGateway 2 and Receiver's new native iOS mail client also bring some competition to the table. You could say the vendor is now competing with Good by delivering native applications as well as Windows applications within a secure wrapper. You can now administer Receiver by provisioning or de-provisioning apps and data without managing the device itself. Essentially, that's the same model Good is pushing.

What's up with Remote PC?

Citrix announced Remote PC in May, and the remote desktop control feature was met with a collective "It's about time!" from the community. Remote PC essentially installs the XenDesktop client on a physical desktop so you can access that desktop remotely. The problem with this is that it's anti-VDI. It's not a strategic desktop virtualization solution; it's a remote access solution that uses HDX. I expect someone to try to prove me wrong about that during the show.

Love for Microsoft

At Synergy in May, Citrix explained how it was working hard to make sure everything can be managed by Microsoft's System Center. There was also a lot of talk about how great Hyper-V is, which -- when you add it to Citrix's commitment to App-V -- means the vendor is essentially doubling down on the Microsoft love. Now that Windows Server 2012 is out, we should be hearing more about the two companies' combined capabilities.

Stay tuned next week for announcements from VMworld Europe and my reactions from Citrix Synergy Barcelona.

This was first published in October 2012

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