Earlier this year Citrix announced the acquisition of Virtual Computer and shortly after introduced XenClient 4.1. That release introduced a host of new features that greatly broadened hardware compatibility, delivered a simplified user experience, and enabled larger, more complex production deployments of XenClient. To continue that momentum, today at our Citrix Synergy™ conference in Barcelona we are announcing the Technology Preview of XenClient Enterprise 4.5 for availability later this month and general availability in December. In a related XenClient blog Sham Sao highlights some of the business advantages of the XenClient Enterprise 4.5 release. This blog takes a look at the specific features in XenClient 4.5 we’ll be including that enable these benefits:

  • Broader hardware compatibility provides for support for the latest 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processors including Ultrabooks. The current hardware compatibility list can be found here and will be updated when XenClient 4.5 becomes generally available.
  • XenClient Enterprise is now localized allowing end users around the globe to experience a more engaging and familiar experience when using the product. This release introduces client side support for French, Italian, German Spanish, Japanese and Simplified Chinese. The Synchronizer includes support for German and Simplified Chinese.  Citrix has seen tremendous traction with XenClient in international markets and this reaffirms our commitment to delivering capabilities our customers require to expand their use of the solution on a global basis.
  • VLAN tagging support enables administrators to extend the notion of virtual machine isolation by tagging and routing network traffic to specific virtual machines.  VLAN tagging policies are configured on the Synchronizer management server. One customer scenario is shown below where one VM is used for secure credit card transactions (meeting PCI compliance requirements) and the 2nd VM is used for non-secure web browsing:

 

  • External network access to Synchronizer via Citrix NetScaler allows users external to the corporate network to securely access the Synchronizer from remote locations. Two modes of NetScaler operation were tested with the Synchronizer:
    • SSL bridging provides an added layer of security by enabling organizations to secure their corporate Synchronizer behind a NetScaler.  In this model the NetScaler sits in the DMZ and the Synchronizer inside the corporate network.  NetScaler acts as a ‘man in the middle’ to ward off TCP/IP oriented exposures such as denial of service (DOS) attacks.
    • SSL offload reduces workload on the Synchronizer to allow it to achieve improved single server scalability.  The Synchronizer certificates are placed on the NetScaler device and it offloads processing from the Synchronizer.
  • Windows 8 guest OS support provides for updated paravirtualization drivers and multi-touch in guest support.  This is useful for laptop and desktop form factors.  Tablet, convertible and multi-monitor support will follow in a later release.
  • Native Windows experience features include:
    • A new display architecture provides for a monitor management experience that is similar to that in Windows.  The new display control panel window allows users to configure individual monitor screen positions and resolutions platform-wide (in the VMs and in the hypervisor UI).

 

    • Dual external monitors in a docking station support to enable users to take advantage of this common monitor configuration to be more productive
    • 30% improvement in hypervisor boot time allows users to quickly get to their Windows VM and reduce their time to productivity.
    • VM export support complements the previous ability to import VM’s.  This feature is especially useful in scenarios where users need to move VM’s between XenClient devices.
In addition to XenClient Enterprise, Citrix also offers another edition of XenClient for organizations requiring extreme levels of security, running in the most secure environments in the world.  This edition is XenClient XT. XenClient XT embraces extensibility, allowing Citrix partners to add enhanced capabilities to the solution. In the most recent release, XenClient XT 3, Citrix has introduced centralized management capabilities into this extreme security solution as well as expanded its hardware compatibility list.   Additional information regarding XenClient XT 3 can be found here.
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More blogs will follow that deep dive into many of the technology areas described in this blog.