A lot of content has been published recently about Lync optimisation.

Many of my customers are keen to get clear guidance from Citrix about how best to deploy and optimise Lync in their XenApp and XenDesktop deployments. In this blog, I have tried to collect it all together and present in a form that makes sense, in order to help to deploy this product successfully.


  1. Overview of Features
  2. Choosing the best delivery method
  3. Citrix Optimisation Pack for Lync 2013
  4. Microsoft Lync VDI Plug-In
  5. Client-side Citrix Receiver notes

High Level Overview of Lync optimisation options and features:

XenDesktop Master Class – Virtualising MS Lync – March 2015: http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/13071

You can find the slides from the webinar here: https://citrix.sharefile.com/download.aspx?id=s0eca98e76974b828

From the Master Class we can see that there are four optimisation options:

  1. Generic HDX
  2. HDX Local App Access
  3. Citrix Optimisation Pack
  4. Microsoft Lync VDI Plug-in

Choose which option works best for your environment:

Lync Delivery Feature Matrix

Use the feature matrix to determine which optimisation technology is best for your environment. One of the key decisions here will be client Operating System support. If you have Windows on your client devices then you can choose from any of the 4 options. If you need to support other operating systems then you cannot use the Microsoft Lync VDI Plug-in or HDX Local App Access.

Citrix option 1 – Generic HDX

When we say that we can optimise Lync using “Generic HDX” we are saying that we will not be using any of the specific optimisation options listed below.  Instead we are relying on the efficiency of the standard ICA/HDX protocol to compress the audio and video (and the usual screen and keyboard) traffic.

There is a lot of good technology built into HDX so it can be very efficient.  If you want to read more about the (many) options for configuring this I recommend reading this superb blog post created by my fellow TRMs here: /blogs/2014/10/22/whats-new-with-hdx-display-in-xendesktop-xenapp-7-x/

“Generic HDX” can do a lot of good work with audio and video data compression, and has the best client compatibility since no special components (other than Receiver) need to present on the client device.  The downside is that all processing will be done in the datacentre, limiting scalability, and this option does not solve the hairpin problem.

Citrix option 2 – HDX Local App Access

HDX Local App Access is a feature of XenApp 6.5 and XenDesktop 7.x which allows the full Lync application (executables and multimedia) to run on the client device, with the application UI being overlayed with a hosted desktop session.  This is potentially very useful as we can fully move the processing requirements of Lync from the datacentre to the client device…as long as the client device runs the Windows OS.

HDX Local App Access required platinum licensing so will not be an option for every environment.

HDX Local App Access was added as a feature of XenApp 6.5 with the release of Feature Pack 2.  You can read more about this feature here: http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp65fp2-w2k8/ps-csp-rs-intro-wrapper.html

You can read more about HDX Local App Access with XenDesktop/XenApp 7.5 here: http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-75/laa-overview.html

You can read more about HDX Local App Access with XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6 here: http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-laa-intro.html

Citrix option 3 – HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync version 1.7

Version 1.7 was released last month and supports Lync 2013 client.  The previous version of the optimisation pack (1.6) supports Lync 2010 client only.  A blog post from the product manager describing the release is here: /blogs/2015/03/30/more-flexibility-in-lync-2013-delivery-from-xenappxendesktop/

Download the Citrix HDX Realtime Optimisation Pack for Lync 2013: https://www.citrix.com/downloads/xenapp/components/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17-for-microsoft-lync.html

Documentation is here: http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17/lync-realtime-optimization-pack-17.html

With system requirements here: http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17-system-requirements.html

The Microsoft option – Microsoft Lync 2013 VDI Plug-in

If you choose to use the Microsoft Lync VDI plug-in you can view the Citrix support statement for it here: http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX138408.html

Download the Microsoft Lync 2013 VDI Plug in from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35457

Documentation is here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj204683(v=ocs.15).aspx

With system requirements here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj205304(v=ocs.15).aspx

Deployment guide and notes from the field: http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2013/09/23/deployment-details-for-lync-vdi-plugin.aspx


Client-side Citrix Receiver notes

Citrix option – You are free to use any Receiver for Windows 3.x or 4.x with the Citrix optimisation pack.

Microsoft option – There are Microsoft Lync VDI plug-in bug fixes in Receiver 4.1.100 and 4.1.2 so if you plan to use this optimisation method them consider using at least Receiver 4.2 to ensure you have all of these bug fixes

See the Citrix Lync Optimisation pack in action:

Click, Play and See the Citrix Optimization for Microsoft Lync