iPad as virtual desktop? Citrix says yes

But virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and other types of desktop virtualization are not yet mainstream,

If you haven't heard yet, Apple released a new device this past weekend called the iPad. It's basically a computer and an iPhone rolled into one, but, like, 8 billion times better.

At least, that's what people seem to think. So, if you're an IT pro you can probably expect users to be clamoring for ways to use the new, totally awesome device at work.

Luckily, there's a new technology that can turn just about any user device into a fully functioning desktop without completely sacrificing IT security rules -- it's called desktop virtualization. Citrix and Wyse Technology have already released software applications that extend Windows desktops to the Apple iPad.

"I'm convinced it's going to be a really big hit in the enterprise," says Chris Fleck, vice president of community and solutions development at Citrix. "We see a big demand from any kind of mobile worker, and teleworkers. We see salespeople adopting it quickly because it means they can travel lighter. They can do presentations from the iPad."

But virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and other types of desktop virtualization are not yet mainstream, and businesses may rightfully wonder if their virtualization efforts should focus on thin clients instead, which are much less expensive than the iPad and have already been proven in large customer deployments.

Most likely, employees who want to use the iPad for business will have to buy their own, says Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf.

"I haven't talked to a client yet whose internal organization is willing to fund the iPad as a mobile device," Wolf says. "Right now, the techies in the organization are willing to buy their own. Sure, maybe IT will provide connectivity," but the iPad is not yet a device for strategic deployments of virtual desktops throughout an enterprise.

Citrix's new marketing campaign claims the iPad is "open for business," and the company released two pieces of software to the iPad App Store that enable business use of the consumer-focused device. Citrix Receiver lets iPad users access corporate applications and documents, while Citrix GoToMeeting offers Web conferencing capabilities.

With Citrix Receiver, customers can connect iPads to existing implementations of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop to deliver Windows applications and desktops to the iPad. Security is strong, Fleck says, because applications are running in the data center rather than on the endpoint itself.

Wyse Technology, which sells thin clients, also released http://www.wyse.com/about/news/pr/2010/0402_iPad.asp an iPad app that provides access to Windows-based virtual PCs and supports multiple virtualization technologies, including VMware View and Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol.

VMware hasn't made any iPad announcements, and one VMware employee has expressed skepticism about using the iPad as a virtual desktop client. VMware application performance engineer Todd Muirhead wrote in January that the iPad seems like a good device for reading books and checking out Facebook, but not for getting a lot of work done on a desktop.

Citrix says the iPad will be ideal for healthcare workers, salespeople, insurance and real estate agents, and other types of professionals, and has more potential in businesses than the iPhone. But Fleck acknowledges that most early deployments will rely on employees buying their own devices.

"I believe, at least initially, it's going to be a bring-your-own scenario. The iPad will be the door opener for the bring-your-own model," he says.

While enterprises may be reluctant to buy iPads for workers, the device itself should work well with virtual desktop technology, Wolf says. Word processing, PowerPoint presentations and other types of applications should work well with Apple's latest computer.

"It's an interesting mobile client device," Wolf says. "It certainly could be used to access virtual desktops. But it could also be used for software-as-a-service applications."

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Citrixapple ipadVirtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?