The curiously named XenDesktop 7 was released this week, the fact that XenDesktop 6 does not exist was an interesting twist. This was named project Avalon and now includes XenApp as part of the same stack rather than a separate architecture. The latest release of XenApp was 6.5 and maybe Citrix decided to bring this in-line.
Any way! Citrix showed a demo of a flash offloading mechanism for iPad with XenDesktop 7 at Synergy and Citrix Mobility London. This recognised that an iPad was being used and instead of just sending screenshots to the client it translates the video to H.264 and sends it to the iPad for local rendering.
The results in the demo were amazing and I couldn't wait to get my mitts on the code to test. Unfortunately this feature didn't exist in the Tech Preview so I had to wait patiently for the full release to come out.
Below is a comparison of XenApp 6.0 (2008 R2) and XenDesktop 7.0 (windows 8) watching a flash video of the Wimbledon coverage on the BBC sport website. The result was pretty amazing.
As you can see the video performance in XenDesktop 7 to the iPad is far superior to previous version. Apologies for the poor focus, maybe I will get AirServer working to get a better video at some point. This rendering does use a fair amount of CPU on the backend side (in this environment Windows 8). The iexplore.exe process takes around 25% of CPU and a new process called "Citrix Graphics" takes another 25%. As this is the first release, hopefully Citrix can improve this performance overhead further down the line.
My thoughts immediately turn to other platforms, will Citrix use this mechanism to deliver rich Flash animation and videos to platforms which cannot use their native Flash redirection (Wyse ThinOS and other SoC platforms)? Will they abandon native flash redirection altogether.
Lets wait and see!