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Citrix cuts virtual desktop storage costs with IntelliCache support

Citrix XenDesktop 5 Service Pack 1 adds support for IntelliCache to cut storage costs for shops that run XenServer. It also includes a migration tool for XenDesktop 4 upgrades.

A new service pack for Citrix System’s XenDesktop 5.0 adds a migration tool and reduced storage costs thanks to support for IntelliCache technology.

XenDesktop 5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) became available last week. It supports the IntelliCache storage technology in XenServer 5.6, which caches temporary and non-persistent desktop files on the local disk of the host server.

By caching locally, a portion of runtime reads and writes of the virtual machine happen on lower-cost server attached storage instead of NAS or SAN. Citrix claims this reduces storage requirements for central storage by as much as 90%. Some analysts agree.

“This is the way that storage will probably be handled for virtual desktops in the future, because it’s much more cost effective,” said Dave Bartoletti, an analyst with The Taneja Group, a technology analysis firm in Hopkinton, Mass.

Enterprise customers with XenDesktop often run it atop of VMware ESX, though. They won’t be able to use the IntelliCache feature unless they switch to XenServer. IntelliCache could give XenServer adoption a boost, but it won’t be long before other vendors develop a similar storage technology, said one Citrix virtualization architect.

XenDesktop 5 SP1 also includes support for the XenDesktop 5 migration tool that launched in March, which gives admins to quick way to migrate their data from XenDesktop 4 to XenDesktop 5. This tool is necessary because XenDesktop 5 is based on different back-end architecture and requires a rip and replace upgrade from previous versions. 

XenDesktop 5 SP1 also includes bug fixes, printing optimization and XenVault for virtual desktop security, a setup wizard for using Citrix Provisioning Services in hosted XenDesktop 5 environments.

Desktop Studio, the new interface in XenDesktop 5 that lets administrators build, test and update desktop images in one place, now supports licensing reporting as well.

This service pack also adds supports Microsoft Server 2008R2 SP1, Microsoft Hyper-V 2008R2 SP1, VMware vSphere 4.1 update 1 and Windows 7 SP1.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho or follow @BridgetBotelho on Twitter.

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