Citrix Excalibur Tech Preview

As many of you might know Citrix are kind of melting all there product in one, a Cloud product. The project name is Avalon, with two releases until next year named Excalibur (what we will speak about in this blog post) and Merlin coming later next year.

First, I spoke with many customers and other partner, and Citrix one more time did confuse everyone with all those names… Avalon, Excalibur, Merlin, Thor etc etc Almost 90% of the people I spoke with though Avalon, Excalibur and Merlin are three different products. Maybe I’m wrong but as far s I can see thing, Avalon is the code name for the final project then Excalibur and Merlin are just timeline version release until the final release and then a final product name. I must admit this one is a bit confusing everyone… This is like Citrix wants to show the big picture but just give a tiny pieces of the puzzle.

Citrix Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview is available for download here : [link]

Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview is our next-generation, unified desktop and app virtualization technology that is reinventing the delivery of Windows apps and desktops for mobility in the cloud-era.  The availability of this tech preview will allow Citrix customers and partners to have a first-hand look at a new unified FlexCast infrastructure combining VDI and Hosted Shared desktops and apps from a single platform.

New features include:

  • Simplified, unified, and expanded FlexCast 2.0 architecture
    New unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture combines simplified and integrated provisioning and personalization tools for both desktops and apps, delivered from either a desktop-based or server-based operating system.
  • Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8
    Host Windows 8 VDI desktops or VM hosted applications in addition to Windows Server 2012 server-based desktops and applications. This tech preview also supports Windows 2008R2/SP1 and Windows 7.
  • SuperCodec for Optimized Graphics
    New enhancements to HDX using Deep Compression Codec technology double the visual performance of desktops and apps to mobile devices dynamically adapting for device type, form factor and network connection while still leveraging the processing power of modern tablets and smartphones
  • Storefront for apps & data
    Create centralized enterprise app stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device, anywhere with the Citrix StoreFront.
  • Intelligent configuration tools
    New intelligent configuration tools for deploying desktops and apps that proactively check configuration errors in real time while streamlining the provisioning of profile management and storefront settings.
  • Delegated Administration
    Enterprise-class administration model includes role-based access, custom roles with configurable permissions, and fine-grained, object-based control.
  • Advanced Configuration Logging
    Capture site configuration changes and administrative activities within a single tool, Desktop Studio.  Use Desktop Studio to diagnose and troubleshoot problems after configuration changes are made, assist change management, track configurations, and report administration activity.
  • Personal vDisk Improvements
    Improve scalability with performance enhancements designed to optimize resource utilization, deliver updates faster with the newly enhanced personal vDisk update process, and experience how an improved architecture increases the number of apps compatible with personal vDisk technology.

You will find available for download, the Project Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview zip file download which contain link to documentations, a license file, one ISO file of Avalon Excalibur Tech Prev and another ISO file of PVS Avalon Tech Prev.

Other available download are XenServer Virtual Infrastructure with the 6.0.2 version, a note is written to come to download again Avalon Excalibur mid November to download the product with XenServer 6.1…

The last download part is XenClient Enterprise 4.5 Tech Preview because it needed to be somewhere available for download I guess 🙂

The link to the documentations are as follow :

  • Important Information for XenApp Customers – helps you understand the differences between XenApp and Excalibur, as well as key concepts of the unified infrastructure.

  • Deployment Guide for Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview – takes you through a streamlined installation and configuration process leading to a basic Excalibur deployment.

  • Administrator’s Guide for Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview – provides information about new components and features and installing, configuring, and administering Excalibur.

To help you to understand a bit what is this project, here is a schema of component included in the Excalibur version :

Now it rings a bell, you can find component you know, Delivery Controler, Receiver, StoreFront. As you can see, now the Delivery Controler will deliver Windows OS Server Machines as well as Windows Desktops OS Machines.

Here is a brief description of all these components:

  • Receiver. Receiver provides users with self-service access to resources published on XenApp or XenDesktop servers. Receiver combines ease of deployment and use, and offers quick, secure access to hosted applications, desktops, and data. Receiver also provides on-demand access to Windows, Web, and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.
  • StoreFront. StoreFront authenticates users to XenDesktop sites and manages stores of desktops and applications that users access.
  • Studio. Studio enables you to configure and manage your XenDesktop deployment. Studio provides various wizards to guide you through the process of setting up your environment, creating your desktops, and assigning desktops to users.
  • Delivery Controller. The Delivery Controller is responsible for distributing applications and desktops, managing user access, and optimizing connections to applications. Each site has one or more delivery controllers.
  • Server OS Machines. VMs or physical machines based on Windows Server operating system used for delivering applications or hosted shared desktops to users.
  • Desktop OS Machines. VMs or physical machines based on Windows Desktop operating system used for delivering personalized desktops to users, or applications from desktop operating systems.

That’s it for the first blog, kind of introduction to the Citrix Avalon Project, the Excalibur episode.

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