Recognizing that Microsoft Lync is a strategic application for many organizations, Citrix has done more than any other vendor to optimize the delivery of Lync in virtualized environments. We led the way with the introduction of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync 2010 in June 2012 and also embraced Microsoft’s VDI Plug-in solution for Lync 2013. Now, as part of the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 1 release, I’m pleased to announce version 1.7 of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync.

This is the third release of our Lync pack in six months. Version 1.5 provided support for Lync Server 2013, while delivering the Lync 2010 client to Windows, Mac and Linux devices. Version 1.6 added Active Directory Federation to Office 365, plus USB phone support. This HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync version 1.7 brings optimized delivery of the Lync 2013 client to Windows and Linux devices, and we’ll be providing Mac support soon in version 1.8.

The HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync features an optimized architecture, as illustrated below, which offloads media processing to the user device to maximize server scalability and eliminate any degradation of audio-video quality.

And although this release is part of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 1, it is also fully compatible with XenApp 6.x and XenDesktop 5.x.

When would it be appropriate to use the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync rather than the Microsoft Lync VDI Plug-in solution, which Citrix also fully supports? Here are some scenarios that only the HDX Lync pack supports:

  • Non-Windows devices (currently Linux and Mac)
  • Additional Windows versions on the user device, including Windows Thin PC, Windows XPe, Windows Embedded Standard 2009, Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES7) and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Delivery of Lync as a published application (rather than as part of a full virtual desktop)
  • Lync Online / Office 365
  • Lync Server 2010 (in addition to Lync Server 2013)
  • Fallback to media-over-ICA if no media engine is available on the user device

Besides integrating with the Lync 2013 client, the new release of the Optimization Pack adds telephony features to address the growing number of customers who use Lync as their phone system. These new features, which previously required using one of the alternative methods of delivering Lync, include:

  • Call Forwarding and Simultaneous Ringing controls
  • Dialing via an on-screen keypad
  • Dialing by typing the phone number
  • Call Park and Call Pick-up
  • Announced Transfer (in addition to Unannounced Transfer)

Our testing included running the Lync 2013 client on Windows Server 2012. Although the only server release listed as officially supported is Windows Server 2008 R2, Eason Wang of Microsoft TechNet Community Support advised the community that “it should be working fine”, and our test results validated that. Reports from various other Lync partners on that same TechNet page, and from other sources, also confirm that it works.

Microsoft’s Lync/Skype product group requests that customers requiring formal support of the Lync 2013 client on Windows Server 2012 highlight this requirement to their Microsoft representative. The Microsoft reps have an online system for relaying customer requirements to the product group and this mechanism helps ensure appropriate prioritization.

Ready to download the new release?

Log in with your Citrix credentials and go to the Components section under XenApp or XenDesktop. You can also find the accompanying product documentation on our support site.

Technical questions?

Please make full use of the Support Forum for the Lync pack.