Citrix aims to cut virtual desktop costs with next-gen XenServer

The latest version of Citrix Systems’ XenServer cuts the cost of virtualizing high-end PCs by increasing the number of desktops that can run on each server.

For XenServer 6.5, Citrix has been working on improving the platform’s GPU virtualization capabilities. The end result is that companies can now achieve a greater density of virtualized desktops for graphics-heavy apps using XenServer.

That means fewer servers have to be used to host the desktops, which lowers both hardware and operating costs.

To boost graphics performance, Citrix is collaborating with Nvidia. With Nvidia’s Grid vGPU technology, it becomes possible for virtualized desktops and apps to take better advantage of hardware-accelerated graphics. The graphics commands of each virtual machine are passed directly to the GPU, without translation by the hypervisor.

XenServer 6.5 is based on a new 64-bit kernel architecture that offers dramatic improvements in networking and storage performance, according to Citrix.

For example, the capacity for a large number of virtual machines to send and receive data at high speeds has been improved, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday. XenServer has also become better at booting many virtual machines in a short time period.

Another new feature is what Citrix calls workload geo-tagging, which lets IT departments restrict workloads from running in a particular location for security reasons.

The launch of XenServer 6.5 isn’t the only thing Citrix has done to lower the bar for virtualizing desktops. On Monday, the company also announced it had acquired storage management company Sanbolic to drive down storage-related costs.

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