Citrix historically has been know as an application virtualization vendor, focusing on delivering applications to a multitude of edge devices from PCs to smart phones. Citrix does, however, have a handful of VDI offerings.
VDI is the generic name for Virtual Desktops, or more specifically Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
At a high level, suffice to say that a VDI desktop is a discrete desktop instance running on servers in the data center that an end user can access from anywhere they have access to the servers hosting the virtual desktops. Citrix and VMware are the two largest companies licensing VDI desktop technology.
Wikipedia has a different way of saying the same thing. “Desktop virtualization is software technology that separates the desktop environment and associated application software from the physical client device that is used to access it.”
VMware has a VDI offering which is named VMware Horizon View now on version 5.2. This includes a collection of additional features like VMware Thinapp, VMware vShield Endpoint, and Horizon View Persona Management.
Citrix had two VDI options available for sale. Citrix VDI-in-a-Box, formerly known as Kaviza, is Citrix’s entry level VDI solution. This solution is built on a grid architecture utilizing storage local to the server only. As capacity scales, you add more servers with a few caveats. Currently Citrix VDI-in-a-Box is on release 5.3 which now includes support for HDX connections to Windows 8 desktops, better 3D application support with the new H.264 SuperCodec and reduced bandwidth consumption. Certificate installation has been simplifed with a new wizard and suppot for Citrix’s Universal Print Driver has been included.