Among the greatest challenges of the cloud for the small and medium business or the enterprise are the reliability, availability, scalability, security and trust of one's applications and data. So far, public cloud approaches to these challenges have proven to be more expensive across resource types for both the service provider and customer, and inelastic. To compound the problem, end users demand high performance, the ability to get their job done, a familiar environment, a great user experience, freedom and flexibility, the ability to use personal apps and data, and faster recovery and migration. At the same time, IT and service providers demand ease of management, simple deployment and updates, hardware independent images. Moreover, IT needs to be able to protect and secure data, leverage built-in data back-up and recovery, and to isolate business and personal worlds.
With Intel vPro, Citrix XenClient provides this through a high performance type 1 bare-metal hypervisor on the client, which can securely execute multiple images, is hardware aware whilst being hardware independent, with simplified OS management. Through Off-network mobility, application and data security and isolation, bandwidth- and access-intelligent network performance, near-native virtualised performance, large scale manageability, all with hardware-based acceleration and augmentation, this provides a local, mobile platform with management, security and adaptability needed by the small/medium business and enterprise for the cloud.
XenClient caches and executes desktop and application software directly on the device, enabling high performance, rich graphics and full off-network mobility for users. The usage model: A user requests a business image, the control domain creates an image with the desired policies, this initial image is delivered, and subsequent changes are synchronized. Small businesses and enterprises can leverage this to scale management of an increasingly mobile workforce, while enhancing security and always-on access to data and applications.
With vPro, XenClient is manageable whether the device is on or off. This solution is designed for security, with image isolation, trusted measurement & launch of XenClient, memory protection, and vPro management & security. With Intel Virtualization Technology, performance is enhanced over software-only solutions, and I/O device pass-through and assignment enabled. The solution is based on a single image management methodology, drastically reducing patch and upgrade maintenance efforts, enabling service level assurance.
How does this pay off? Users enjoy a rich services cloud experience with a lightweight hypervisor supporting pass thru of latency sensitive devices (e.g. graphics, DVD, USB 2.0), one that is truly mobile optimised with support for offline caching and synchronization, wireless support and power management optimizations. The user's desktop is assembled dynamically, providing instant image provisioning which can be role-based and portable.
This neatly supports the three personae of the cloud - public, personal private and organization private. The public persona covers all data and applications - business/corporate or personal - one could freely share with the world (e.g. social networking, sharing of non-sensitive information, etc.). Whilst many in the blogosphere think that all personal information fits in this category, the reality is that it does not - thus the personal private persona, which covers all personal data and applications whose abuse would adversely affect a user (e.g. financial, health, identity records, etc.). These are joined by the business/corporate persona which covers sensitive data and applications, or representing intellectual property, to a business/corporation, as well as to ministries/governments, NGOs, non-proflts, etc .
The vPro + XenClient solution provides a way to securely work in each of these personae on devices, whilst maintaining isolation between them. This enables an employee, consultant or representative of an organisation to access public, personal private and business/corporate data and applications without the risk of exposing sensitive information, violating conformance/compliance, or polluting intellectual property. Imagine the use who has one or more operating systems installed with all their tools and applications, which they may delete periodically depending on what they are working on. They also require access to their company’s business applications that are managed and brought to their clients by the corporate IT department. With XenClient, the user can have full control over their own managed operating systems but also benefit from having a corporate managed standard desktop environment.
I am excited about what vPro + XenClient offers - centralized desktop virtualization with a rich, personalized device environment, across device form factors, locations and workspaces. Mobile, office and remote workers for small/medium business and the enterprise will be able to take advantage of enterprise-scale virtualization without sacrificing security, manageability, ease-of-use, performance or mobility. This further extends what the rich services cloud provides to organizations, hardening and augmenting its value to them.