Since the XenDesktop 7 announcement at Citrix Synergy keynote (@ ~25min in) and my XenDesktop 7 blog, I have had many discussions & questions about the future of XenApp. So, I want to take this opportunity to say that Citrix is not divesting from Windows apps delivery. In fact, it’s the opposite in that we are making significant investments to improve Windows app delivery for our customers. In the key note, you saw new XenDesktop 7 capabilities to deliver productivity, collaboration and graphical intensive applications to even mobile devices and mobile 3G/4G networks. Now, I want to highlight some of the key improvements in XenDesktop 7 that make application delivery easier and faster.

App publishing made simple: 

In XenDesktop 7, we’ve made it a lot easier for admins to publish apps to their users. Publishing apps in XenApp has traditionally been a time consuming task – admins need to publish applications one at a time. And if you want to leverage session sharing, you need to make sure settings for the applications are the same. In XenDesktop 7, we designed a new application publishing workflow, which queries and populates all the applications installed on the server (or desktop) into Studio console. From there, all the admin needs to do is select all the applications for publishing. Not only does this new design saves time, but virtually eliminates mis-configuration that would otherwise prevent session sharing from working properly.

Image management & provisioning for your application servers

XenDesktop 7 introduces Machine Creation Services (MCS) for server-workloads. Up to XenDesktop 7, MCS has been a feature available only for VDI workloads. However, as more XenApp customers move their application workload from physical to virtual (perhaps as part of moving from XenApp on Windows Server 2003 to XenDesktop 7 App edition on Windows Server 2012), we understand that having server-build consistency means significant savings to on-going server-image management and maintenance. Hence, XenApp customers deploying XenDesktop 7 (App, Enterprise or Platinum editions) will gain the benefit of single image management all your virtualized server-hosted apps and desktop workloads.

We know many XenApp customers today leverages Provisioning Services (PVS) for image management, and XenDesktop 7 continues to support PVS… in fact, we have made a number of PVS enhancements in this release, specifically leveraging new Hyper-V 3 features.

If you are new to MCS and PVS…you can learn about these features in this Citrix TV video. Note this video (from 2012) does not cover MCS for server-workloads, which is new feature in XenDesktop 7.

Microsoft App-V 5 made easier

Another new feature in XenDesktop 7 is support for App-V 5. Recognizing many customers are now adopting App-V, we focused on making the App-V 5 application publishing experience easier for customers. In XenDesktop 7, administrators will be able to configure and publish App-V 5 applications directly from Studio.

Learn More… 

Of course, these are just some of the new capabilities in XenDesktop 7 to benefit XenApp customers. You can learn more by watching the XenDesktop 7 breakout session (session ID: SYN320) recorded at Citrix Synergy in May. This is a 90min session, so I’ve noted below the key sections & time index, in case you want to skip to a particular section of interest.

  • FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) – what is it and how XenApp customers will benefit from this architecture (starts @ 2:30min mark)
  • XenDesktop 7: new features and capabilities (starts @ 18:15min mark)
  • XenDesktop 7 App edition and also XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2  (starts @ 46:40 min mark)
  • Adopting & migrating from XenApp to XenDesktop 7 (starts @ 1:01:40)
  • Making the transition – Jarian Gibson, Citrix PTEC member, sharing his insight on how to navigate to XenDesktop 7, from an admin perspective. (starts @ 1:08:18min)

By now, I hope XenApp customers recognize Citrix is not divesting from application delivery, but in fact, creating a platform for delivering Windows applications in the mobile cloud era.

As a final note… you may have noticed… the XenDesktop product team is publishing a new blog around XenDesktop 7 every Tuesday & Thursday. The goal of these blogs is to share with you, our customers, insight into the new features and questions we’ve gotten from other customers about XenDesktop 7. Derek Thorslund highlights new HDX capabilities in XenDesktop 7 last week, Lisa Green explained the new Director and EdgeSight in her blog this Tuesday.

Next Tuesday, my colleague, Joe Vaccaro, will have a blog offering more detail on the migration process for XenApp & XenDesktop customers… so, stop back again for more new information about XenDesktop 7!