Home Interviews Talking to Atul Ahuja Director – Desktop & Apps, Microsoft Alliance – India Subcontinent, Citrix

Talking to Atul Ahuja
Director – Desktop & Apps, Microsoft Alliance – India Subcontinent, Citrix

Talking to Atul Ahuja  Director – Desktop & Apps, Microsoft Alliance – India Subcontinent, Citrix

Citrix is a Microsoft partner, and offers deep expertise in virtualisation, remote desktop, and systems management. Citrix has upgraded its desktop virtualisation offering Xendesktop 7.1 to virtualise a graphics unit and deliver the same on demand, aiding automotive and engineering companies to smoothly transport complex data to endpoint devices from the datacentre. Excerpts from an interview to Bhushan Mhapralkar.

What is desktop virtualisation?

Desktop virtualisation is a set of technologies which optimise the delivery of desktops, applications and data to users. The operating system, applications and data are decoupled from the underlying PC hardware and moved to datacentre where they can be centrally managed, secured and delivered. Instead of juggling with multiple static desktop images, IT can manage and update OS and Apps from a central location and deliver desktop and apps that are customised to meet the performance, security and mobility requirements of individual user. This solution transforms windows desktops and applications into ‘on-demand’ service availability to an individual user, anywhere, and on any device, allowing him or her to securely access windows, web and SaaS applications, or full-fledged virtual desktop on any device like PC, thin client, Macs, tablet, smartphone or laptop.


What are the platforms used by automotive designers as they work as a team on complex projects with ever tightening deadlines?

Automotive designers typically work on applications such as AutoCAD, CATIA, Dassault, PTC, etc.

What are the challenges they face in terms of desktop virtualisation?

Most complex designing projects involve multiple teams working on it together from different locations. This necessitates all members across locations to access same set of files which requires real time data-update. These files are usually very large, and with each update the size exponentially grows. It becomes extremely difficult to circulate the latest version of the files across teams, and results in bottlenecks in tracking the latest version. There’s a risk of data leakage too. Especially damaging in case of automotive companies transporting highly confidential design data, etc. Another challenge auto design centres, and automotive engineering companies face is the performance of design applications. It requires powerful expensive computers to process the designing applications, and the product refresh cycle is relatively short, which makes it a very investment heavy process.

How would the XenDesktop 7.1 aid in addressing these challenges?


XenDesktop 7.1 completely eliminates the scenario of having multiple copies of the design documents and files for the teams to collaborate, since the main data resides centrally and a secure access is provided to the appropriate team members. Users access only the appropriate applications and the latest version of the files stored in the datacentre, in real time from any locations, and from multiple endpoints simultaneously. Any risk of data leakage is completely mitigated. Companies do not have to invest in high configuration workstations for running the standard designing applications as they are run from the datacentre. Work therefore can be done from cost effective end point devices such as thin clients, lower end of the workstations, etc. The use of mobile devices enables mobility and this enables working from anywhere, enabling organisations to adopt mobile work styles.

What went into the development of XenDesktop 7.1?

Most businesses use Windows apps that were never meant to be mobile. With mobility a top priority in the current operating environment, the XenDesktop 7.1, building upon the advantages of Xendesktop enables any Windows app to function intuitively and transparently on mobile devices, providing a seamless experience on devices of any type. Added support for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1, and new Studio configuration of server-based graphical processing units (GPUs), considered an essential hardware component for supporting virtualised delivery of 3D professional graphics applications. The technology is especially beneficial for companies involved in graphics and designing, helping to centralize and virtualise design centres. With desktop virtualisation technology, the entire data residing in the individual workstation of engineers is shifted to datacentre which could be accessed from any workstation or a mobile device.

Any sub-sectors within the auto industry, like OEM design departments, tier suppliers, SME suppliers, etc., that would stand to gain from the employment of Xendesktop 7.1?
Yes. Sub-sectors in the design and non-design departments of automotive components manufacturers (Tier 2 & 3 suppliers) would find XenDesktop 7.1 very beneficial to their work. It will offer an ability to collaborate, secure, save cost and enhance ease of access. Access data even when mobile, thereby improving the overall productivity and efficiency.

How do you foresee the XenDesktop 7.1 contributing to your growth in India?

Until now Graphic Processing Units (GPU) remained outside the scope of Desktop Virtualization. XenDesktop 7.1 brings in the virtualization power, which would benefit more than 300,000 engineering design users, education institutes and media and entertainment industries in India.

Who are your nearest competitors?

XenDesktop 7.1 is currently the only product in the market that has the capability to virtualise GPUs, which gives the automobile engineering and design companies new possibilities to improve productivity, efficiency and cost saving.

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