We had a great time at ShowStoppers press event Mobile World Congress (MWC) at the University of Barcelona yesterday, on February 26, announcing to different journalists that Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) is now available at Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Parallels RAS on Azure was demonstrated at the event including hands-on demos of how simple it is to use […]
Citrix Server is a virtualization tool that enables businesses to centrally host applications and resources and deliver them to Windows clients, as well as non-Windows clients using Microsoft Terminal Services or RDSH and VDI. While there are multiple components involved in a Citrix virtualization infrastructure, it is available in two main editions, XenApp and XenDesktop. […]
I recently attended the 2016 Citrix Partner Summit event in Las Vegas. I gathered what I felt were some of the most important notes provided by Citrix around what’s new with its core enterprise products. In this first post, I will review what’s new with XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7. In my next post, I’ll share what’s new with XenMobile 10.3. If you have questions around these announcements, please reach out.
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7
- Deployments that span widely-dispersed locations connected by a WAN can face challenges due to network latency and reliability. Configuring zones can help users in remote regions connect to local resources without forcing connections to traverse large segments of the WAN. Using zones allows effective Site management from a single Citrix Studio console, Citrix Director, and the Site database. This saves the costs of deploying, staffing, licensing, and maintaining additional Sites containing separate databases in remote locations. Zones can be helpful in deployments of all sizes. You can use zones to keep applications and desktops closer to end users, which improves performance. For more information, see the Zones article.
- Improved database flow and configuration
- When you configure the databases during Site creation, you can now specify separate locations for the Site, Logging, and Monitoring databases. Later, you can specify different locations for all three databases. In previous releases, all three databases were created at the same address, and you could not specify a different address for the Site database later. You can now add more Delivery Controllers when you create a Site, as well as later. In previous releases, you could add more Controllers only after you created the Site. For more information, see the Databases and Controllers articles.
- Application limits
- Configure application limits to help manage application use. For example, you can use application limits to manage the number of users accessing an application simultaneously. Similarly, application limits can be used to manage the number of simultaneous instances of resource-intensive applications, this can help maintain server performance and prevent deterioration in service. For more information, see the Manage applications article.
- Multiple notifications before machine updates or scheduled restarts
- You can now choose to repeat a notification message that is sent to affected machines before the following types of actions begin:
- Updating machines in a Machine Catalog using a new master image
- Restarting machines in a Delivery Group according to a configured schedule
- If you indicate that the first message should be sent to each affected machine 15 minutes before the update or restart begins, you can also specify that the message be repeated every five minutes until the update/restart begins. For more information, see the Manage Machine Catalogs and Manage machines in Delivery Groups articles.
- You can now choose to repeat a notification message that is sent to affected machines before the following types of actions begin:
- API support for managing session roaming
- By default, sessions roam between client devices with the user. When the user launches a session and then moves to another device, the same session is used and applications are available on both devices. The applications follow, regardless of the device or whether current sessions exist. Similarly, printers and other resources assigned to the application follow. You can now use the PowerShell SDK to tailor session roaming. This was an experimental feature in the previous release. For more information, see the Sessions article.
- API support for provisioning VMs from hypervisor templates
- When using the PowerShell SDK to create or update a Machine Catalog, you can now select a template from other hypervisor connections. This is in addition to the currently-available choices of VM images and snapshots.
- Support for new and additional platforms
- See the System requirements article for full support information. Information about support for third-party product versions is updated periodically. By default, SQL Server 2012 Express SP2 is installed when you install the Delivery Controller. SP1 is no longer installed. The component installers now automatically deploy newer Microsoft Visual C++ runtime versions: 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Visual C++ 2013, 2010 SP1, and 2008 SP1. Visual C++ 2005 is no longer deployed. You can install Studio or VDAs for Windows Desktop OS on machines running Windows 10. You can create connections to Microsoft Azure virtualization resources.
Citrix Director – The Director version provided with this release contains the following new and enhanced features
- Proactive monitoring and alerting
- You can now configure proactive alerting and notifications when thresholds are reached. This enables quicker responses even when you are not viewing the monitoring console. For more information, see Alerts and notifications.
- SCOM integration
- Deployments that use Microsoft System Center 2012 – Operations Manager to monitor deployments can now view alerts provided by the Operations Manager on the Dashboard and in other high level views in Director. For example, if connections to supported hypervisors fail, the administrator can check Director for Operations Manager alerts. After reviewing alert details in Director, the administrator can then switch to the Operations Manager console for additional troubleshooting, if needed. For more information, see SCOM alerts.
- Windows Authentication
- Director now supports Integrated Windows Authentication. For single sign-on, a user’s Windows credentials are automatically used to access Director. This support allows users to log on to their machines using any credential provider and supporting hardware, and use that logged-on identity to access Director. For more information, see Use Director with Integrated Windows Authentication.
- Desktop and Server OS usage
- The Trends view now shows the usage of Desktop OS by Site and by Delivery group, and it shows the usage of Server OS by site, by Delivery group, and by Machine. This gives you a real-time view of your OS usage, enabling you to quickly assess your site’s capacity needs. For more information, see Monitor historical trends across a Site.
- Application limits in Director
- Application limits configured in Studio are shown in existing views and counts in Director. For example, the User Connection Failures on the Dashboard will indicate when a connection attempt fails because it would exceed an application limit. Citrix has also announced that they are going to release version 7.8 in the first quarter and is intended to enhanced application delivery and management.
Again, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
By Peter Crepeau, Solutions Architect
A History of Citrix Products One of the issues businesses have with Citrix is choosing the right tool from Citrix’s multiple products and versions. The company has already released two dozen products with 200 names in a span of 20 years. Its first virtualization product, Citrix Multi-user, was released in 1991 and was succeeded by […]
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Last week was the annual Citrix Synergy event in Orlando Florida. This year was a little different with Citrix offering instructor-led learning labs prior to the start of the conference on Sunday and Monday. I opted to attend three on Monday, each of them being about three hours in length and very interesting. The labs I attended included:
SYN622 – XenApp and XenDesktop design workshop – This workshop grouped teams together to review a design and to find the mistakes. This was a great way to meet people from different backgrounds and apply various skillsets to the design. Afterwards, the Citrix consultants provided their recommendations.
SYN616 – Accelerate your NetScaler skills – This session provided overviews on new advanced features deployment scenarios, including GSLB, Clustering, AAA and Content Switching.
SYN623: This lab focused on how the new Citrix Workspace Cloud Lifecycle Management (CLM) service is used to deploy and manage Citrix infrastructure. CLM provides SaaS based services to perform blueprinting, automation and management for the design and deployment of enterprise workloads. Citrix has really extended the capabilities of the hybrid cloud. More to come on this later in the summary…
Keynote Tuesday May 12th
The day kicked off with Citrix CEO Mark Templeton. Mark said this year’s event was the largest attendance ever (in person and online). Mark began with a discussion on his favorite rock bank, The Moody Blues, and the Software Defined Workplace! The concept of the Software Defined Workplace suggests that work is no longer a place; it is something you do anywhere the inspiration strikes.
Then, Mark talked about why we all love XenApp, and everyone got a drawstring backpack that said, “we love XenApp.” This reinforced the continued emphasis on traditional XenApp. We heard a lot of this at the Citrix Summit Partner event in January this year.
Next, Mark showed off script demos of the new X1 mouse that didn’t go well. I think this was related to a room full of Bluetooth devices. We also saw Mark’s Inbox with over 65,000 unread emails! He said he has someone that manages his inbox; I can’t imagine dealing with that much email.
Some key announcements from Day 1:
Citrix is going to extend XenApp 6.5 lifecycle support until 2017. Also announced was Feature Pack 3 for XenApp. This is expected to be out very soon and will include support for Receiver .Next, Storefront 3, profile management enhancements, support for Citrix Director for help desk troubleshooting, and some improvements in the Lync optimization pack.
There was also an announcement of support for a Linux VDA, supporting both Red Hat and SUSE for XenDesktop. These Linux virtual desktops are targeted at high performance Linux applications. This will integrate directly within the existing XenDesktop toolsets.
HDX FramHawk will be directly integrated into receiver. This is a technology Citrix acquired and is targeted at very high latency links, such as satellite, cellular and LTE networks. It provides local-like experience over lossy networks!
XenServer 6.5 Service Pack 1:
XenServer is not going away and some big performance increases are coming. I was sitting with one of my coworkers during this, and he quickly deployed it in his lab! I continued to get text messages throughout the day telling me about the new features and performance and video performance improvements. SP1 has new 64-Bit dom0, nVIDA vGPU scalability enhancements, with up to 96 vGPU sessions per host, new in-memory read-cache, Workload Balancing, big network, and storage performance enhancements.
Receiver x1 Mouse was released, and we all got one as a gift for attending Synergy. If you haven’t seen this new mouse, it is pretty cool! The x1 is integrated with Receiver and allows you to use the mouse with an iPhone and iPad. This is important because Apple doesn’t support Bluetooth mice on these devices. This gives you the precision, control, and usability needed for a better user experience.
XenMobile 10 is now out and the management stack has been consolidated into an easy-to-deploy virtual appliance. Not only is it much easier to deploy, it’s also simple to make highly available through cloning by using just one tool to configure additional nodes. This also gives administrators a single console to manage (which we have all been asking for). There were also new announcements around Worx apps for Salesforce and WorxTasks.
Citrix Workspace Cloud. Citrix Workspace Cloud is architecturally similar to ShareFile, in that Citrix provides the control plane allowing you to leverage on-premises cloud infrastructure and public cloud resource infrastructure of your choice. This can provide companies with a SaaS based solution for cloud management. Workspace Cloud has a number of services that make up the solution.
Lifecycle Management – see above in one of the instructor lead sessions I attended. This has a simple SaaS based orchestration engine that allows drop and drag capabilities. This is very easy to use, even for first time users. It includes service blueprints, a unified interface for the management and deployment of applications services, service monitoring & alerting, self-healing, auto-scaling, and disaster recovery capabilities in the event of a primary site failure. Other features include:
- Secure delivery of applications and desktops with XenDesktop and XenApp
- Enterprise Mobility Management with XenMobile
- Data Synchronization with ShareFile
- Concierge Service targeted at improving end user experience with the ability to securely share their screens with support personnel
I think the most anticipated feature of the Citrix Workspace Cloud is the ability to host the traditional Citrix XenDesktop Infrastructure components in the Citrix Workspace Cloud. This is achieved by separating the control plane from the data/resource plane, so all the traditional control devices such as, the Delivery Controllers and StoreFront, are deployed and managed in the Citrix Cloud. A small connector is installed in your data center allowing for secure connections to the control plane. Think of this as a scaled down XenDesktop Delivery Controller. This allows for the very quick deployment of the infrastructure components, and then you provide the virtual resources for the XenApp and XenDesktop VMs in your data center or a cloud provider of your choice. This could be a very compelling solution for customers looking for simplified administration of the Citrix infrastructure.
Day 2 Keynote with Mark Templeton:
Citrix AppDisk was announced with a tech preview expected in Q2. AppDisk is an application layering technology that you can use to create individual application containerized in a disk. This is different from Microsoft App-V. Citrix will be competing with VMware App Volumes and Liquidware Labs FlexApp. This should be pretty interesting, as Citrix has had a lot of experience with application virtualization. Expect a lot more to come on this in the next few months. Citrix will be integrating this with AppDNA, which should help to resolve problems and determine the best method to deliver applications. The demo showed the direct integration with Citrix XenDesktop Studio and showed further commitment from Citrix to keep consoles minimized and leverage the investment made in these tools. I did find it funny that Citrix had VMware in the Expo Hall demonstrating Horizon View and other competing products.
Citrix CloudBridge Virtual WAN was also announced. The Virtual WAN will be able to add reliability and quality at branch office locations with multiple aggregate WAN connections all virtualized.
NetScaler with Unified Gateway – this seems like a collection of integrated features including the following:
- Unified Remote Access Infrastructure – with web, mobile, cloud and SaaS based applications
- Single URL for End User Access
- Secure Single-Sign-On to applications with Active Directory and SAML
- Visibility – enterprise security and compliance with end-to-end visibility on protocols in use
- SmartControl, which is a new future on the NetScaler giving admins an easier way to set access controls for users with police
GoToMeeting Mobile Screen Sharing used through the new GotToMeeting app, allows the user to share their screen on a mobile device.
Finally, the Workspace Hub and Project Octoblu were announced – this facilitates the integration and automation of complex technologies and automation with Octoblu, Amazon echo and the new Workspace Hub. Mark demonstrated the way a conference call should ideally run. The entire time all I could think about is the YouTube video “A Conference Call in Real Life” This is one of my favorites. The concept of the Project Octoblu is that you can automate the workspace so that the complexities are removed. For example, when you walk into the room the automation sets up the presentation, calls into the bridge, the software determines who is on the bridge and then emails, text messages etc. the missing people and gets the call moving more efficiently. At the conclusion of the call notes or the recording is emailed to the participants all automatically.
In summary, another great Citrix Synergy event with lots of new features and technologies to keep us busy for another year!
Are you interested in speaking with Randy about the latest Citrix technologies? Email us at email@example.com
By Randy Becker, CTO