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May 17, 2013

XenDesktop 7 and what it means for storage and Atlantis ILIO and your Desktop

Jim Moyle - Atlantis

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The new release of Citrix XenDesktop 7 features a new architecture that combines XenDesktop and XenApp into one common framework. In this blog, we’d like to have a look at how Atlantis ILIO works with these new XenDesktop 7 features to optimize storage, automate deployments and improve the user experience.

One of the big changes in XenDesktop 7 is that the ability to deploy XenApp Virtual Machines via Machine Creation services (MCS) rather than just using Provisioning Services (PVS), or use full XenApp installations.

Which technology you use to deploy your XenDesktop virtual machines has in the past largely depended on whether you can cope with the extra storage load generated by MCS implementations.  With Atlantis ILIO running virtualized XenApp instances using RAM as primary storage, you can be sure that you won’t be running out of IOPS anytime soon.  So, Citrix has now provided XenApp users with the ease of management of MCS and Atlantis ILIO software has eliminated the main storage performance barrier to using MCS.  Customers love the simplicity of MCS to provision their virtual desktops, and with the release of XenDesktop 7, this now applies to XenApp servers too.

Citrix XenDesktop 7 also adds support for Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. As Atlantis ILIO just appears as a normal datastore to the hypervisor, our simple architecture and lack of drivers both in the Windows guest VM and the hypervisor enables us to very quickly and seamlessly support new versions of Windows and Hyper-V.

We tested Windows 8 in our labs quite extensively since it became available last year, and we have determined that the storage characteristics of Windows 8 are very similar to Windows 7.  In fact, our engineering team is already using virtual desktops with Windows 8 as their primary desktops. If you have sized Atlantis ILIO for Windows 7 and you want to upgrade to Windows 8, don’t worry! You’ve already got all the storage performance you need.

Whether you are using XenApp, XenDesktop, PVS, MCS, stateless or persistent, Atlantis ILIO can lower or completely remove the storage cost from your XenDesktop 7 deployment.

Besides the new FlexCast architecture and the expanded platform support for Windows 8 and Server 2012, there are a lot of great features coming in XenDesktop 7 that have Atlantis Computing and our customer excited to upgrade. Here are some of the cool features we are looking forward to using every day on our desktops:

  • New HDX Touch technologies transforms Windows with a mobile-native look and feel:

Using desktop virtualization to deliver apps and virtual desktops to mobile devices like iPads is great but it can be challenging to use a Windows interface designed for a large screen, keyboard and mouse on a small mobile device for tasks like creating a document or presentation. Transforming the windows OS to work more like native mobile device apps will be great for users.

  • Simple: Built on the new FlexCast architecture, designed to enable cloud-style simplicity, automation and scale

Simplicity and automation are key to making desktop virtualization a success in our customer deployments. By unifying the management and enabling delivery of XenApp through MCS, XenDesktop 7 has dramatically simplified desktop virtualization. At Atlantis Computing, we have applied the same principles to simplifying the deployment of the infrastructure required to scale XenDesktop 7. For example, Atlantis ILIO for Citrix XenApp can completely eliminate the need to deploy storage (local or shared) for Citrix XenApp, by running XenApp instances completely in-memory with MCS, PVS,and full clones. Atlantis ILIO Fast Clone can automate the creation of XenApp full clones and XenDesktop dedicated desktops to accelerate deployment, improve the user experience and cut deployment costs.

  • Security: Securing intellectual property and protecting privacy data

Atlantis Computing customers in the federal government, healthcare and financial services are always looking to improve security. Atlantis ILIO software is deployed at the US Army alongside Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. As part of the process for winning this project, the integrated Citrix and Atlantis ILIO solution had to go through rigorous security testing and receive the U.S. Department of Defense Certificate of Networthiness (CoN). To ready more about the U.S. Army deployment visit,http://www.atlantiscomputing.com/pr_20130130

The new HDX seamless local apps feature in XenDesktop 7 gives users the ability to blend local apps from the PC with a virtual desktop.  This is both a great feature from a user experience perspective and maintains the separation between the users’ endpoints and the virtual desktops.

  • Cloud Ready, Cost Efficiency

It is great to see XenDesktop workloads moving into the cloud with CloudStack and Amazon Web Services. As part of the Citrix Ready program, Atlantis ILIO software optimizes XenDesktop deployments to drive down the cost and complexity of virtual computing deployments. The ability to run Atlantis ILIO software alongside Citrix solutions in the public cloud will be a game changer. Atlantis ILIO is an open platform itself – it works with all major hypervisors and is compatible with any storage vendor.

Conclusion

Atlantis Computing wants to congratulate Citrix with a fantastic XenDesktop 7 release! We believe that Atlantis ILIO continues to provide amazing performance and cost-efficiency benefits for new XenDesktop 7 deployments, whether they are pooled, dedicated or hosted shared deployments. Using Atlantis ILIO with XenDesktop 7 radically simplifies virtual desktop infrastructure!

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