XenDesktop Remote PC Feature

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Today at Citrix Synergy Citrix announced the Remote PC feature of XenDesktop.  This adds another delivery method to the FlexCast model.  A lot of people’s reaction have been how is this different from what we have already been doing and that this is not a new feature.  This is not a new concept, but addresses challenges with the old/current methods.  In the blog post I am going to go over the challenges with past/current methods, how this is different, and what additional features Remote PC provides to XenDesktop.

Providing users access to their physical PCs has been done by either publishing RDP to them in XenApp or installing the XenDesktop VDA and assigning them to their PC.  Using either of these methods work, but also provide some challenges.  Below are some high level challenges with current methods.

Challenges with XenApp using RDP to connect to PC:

  • Double hop connection – User launches RDP client using HDX and then connects to their PC using RDP.
  • User has to remember name or IP address of their PC
  • User does not get full HDX experience
    • Smart Access
    • HDX Policies
  • User is not able to remote power on PC if PC is powered off

Challenges with exiting XenDesktop Brokering to Remote PC:

  • Issues with XenDesktop VDA and video drivers
    • Resolution issues
    • Multi monitor issues
  • Screen doesn’t always black out when connection is made
  • User is not able to remote power on PC if PC is powered off

The challenges above are resolved by the new XenDesktop Remote PC feature.  After the Synergy Keynote I stopped by the Solutions Expo for an overview of the XenDesktop Remote PC feature.  Gabe Carrejo of Citrix gave me a great overview and demo of this new feature.

How does XenDesktop Remote PC address these challenges?

  • Allows full HDX experience to physical PCs
  • Provides new WDDM Display Driver
    • Respects local display adapter
    • Uses ThinWire
      • Billions of devices
      • High latency
      • Remote Aero
  • Power Management feature – power on PC if PC is powered off
    • Wake on LAN prototype using Intel AMT technology
  • RDC Service for touch less administrator PC assignment
    • Creates Machine Catalog and Desktop Group
    • Maps PC to user automatically

The XenDesktop Remote PC feature will be available to all XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum licensed customers in XenDesktop 5.6 Feature Pack 1.  This gives you a new distributed virtual desktop delivery method in the FlexCast model allowing you to leverage existing PCs for XenDesktop.  Today it is a private technical preview.  If you have a customer that is a good use case for this, contact your local Citrix team or Gabe Carrejo to get access to the technical preview.  You can contact Gabe via Twitter (@CitrixGabe) or by email.

I am happy that Citrix has released/added this feature to XenDesktop.  I have customers trying to do Remote PC using the methods above with challenges.  This new feature will address those challenges.

If you have found this article interesting or if you have any other insights, please feel free to leave comments on this article.

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  1. tomstoms05-31-2012

    Allows full HDX experience to physical PCs?

  2. Barry SchifferBarry Schiffer05-11-2012

    Pretty cool feature! FP1 will be released end of june!

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