Citrix just released VDI-in-a-Box 5.2 which includes some big changes if you have not been paying attention, like me for instance.
New Hypervisor Versions are Supported including Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012, XenServer 6.1, and vSphere 5.1. Not huge news but nice to see VDI-in-a-Box continuing to grow along with the more traditional suite of Citrix products.
Citrix Cloud Gateway StoreFront support. Almost everything we talked about in the last two posts about StoreFront and CloudGateway now applies almost universally to VDI-in-a-Box. VDI-in-a-Box can now access the internal AppStore tool, StoreFront for unified corporate application access that allows Windows, web, SaaS and mobile applications to be aggregated and delivered to any VDI-in-a-Box user. For more specifics on this feature check out StoreFront with VDI-in-a-Box.
Microsoft Lync is now Supported. The Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Microsoft Lync lets end users participate in audio-video or audio-only calls to and from other HDX RealTime users and other video desktop and conference room systems.
The Citrix License Server can now Optionally Manage VDI-in-a-Box Licenses. Now you do not have to maintain two different licensing stores if you are an existing Citrix customer. If you are already using Citrix Licensing, you now have the option to also manage VDI-in-Box licensing through your central license server.
Personal vDisks are now Possible with Multiple Data Stores. A third data store can be configured. This allows separate storage of personal vDisks (the personalized data and applications used for personal desktops), enabling more personalization and faster optimized storage.
RDP Connected Windows Server 2012 Virtual Desktops Are Now Supported. Windows Server 2012 images as virtual desktops using RDP connection only is now supported.
Automated desktop agent upgrade. Once you upgrade VDI-in-a-Box, you can update the desktop agents on your existing images with a one click.
Workstations Converted to Thin Clients with Citrix Desktop Lock. If your users do not need to interact with the local desktop, you can use use Desktop Lock to prevent them from interacting with the local desktop. The virtual desktop effectively replaces the local one, allowing the user to interact with the virtual desktop as if it is local. This enables you to use workstations as thin clients to connect to VDI-in-a-Box.
Citrix continues to break down the silos that have existed between VDI-in-a-Box (which as Kaviza before Citrix acquired it in May of 2012) and their traditional Metaframe/XP/Presentation Server/XenApp/XenDesktop product line. VDI-in-a-Box, at least in my mind, has struggled a bit to find its position in the Citrix family since its acquistion. This release is certainly a step in the right direction to creating a singel unified vision for both Citrix customers.
VDI-in-a-Box is a very easy product to stand up, scales easily and avoids the mass storage requirements that can come along with a "best practices" XenDesktop deployment.
While not formally part of FlexCast, with integration into the existing Citrix Licensing Server it is much more practical for existing Citrix shops to incorporate VDI-in-a-Box into their existing application/desktop delivery infrastructure.