Newly updated HDX policy templates now make it easier to deliver the best possible user experience based on business requirements and employee use cases.
With the release of Feature Pack 3 for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6, Citrix has completely revamped the built-in HDX policy templates based on exhaustive customer feedback while optimizing the templates to include the new innovative product performance enhancements included in recent releases.
If you are new to HDX policy templates, these updated templates allow administrators to deploy recommended policy settings based on individual use cases, rather than tweaking each individual setting one at a time to evaluate environment performance. Administrators can start with a template and decide to deploy it as-is or use it as a starting point to build their own template by customizing any relevant settings.
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop have a very powerful and granular policy assignment engine which allows admins to deploy one set of policies to a user group that only accesses apps and desktops from external network, or apply a different set of policies based on certain IP addresses, and so on. At a high level, the updated templates can help address the following use cases:
- High Server Scalability is recommended when it is important to maximize the user density per server. This template turns on optimizations for highest level of performance, allowing the server to deliver the best returns on investment while still ensuring a good user experience. This template turns on the new Thinwire mode, which is compatible with most old thin-clients and has a very efficient bandwidth and CPU footprint.
- Optimized for WAN is a high performance template, much like High Server Scalability, useful where real-time interactivity for branch office users on low bandwidth and high latency is a priority. It works by making use of multiple streams to handle traffic between datacenter and endpoints, putting real-time user activities on a higher-priority channel compared to lower priority tasks like printing. This template also uses the bandwidth and CPU efficient Thinwire mode, introduced in FP3.
- High Definition User Experience is suitable where users enjoy the luxury of ample bandwidth, such as on LAN, or when the best possible user experience is more important than optimizing every drop of available resources. This template delivers a visually rich multi-media experience.
- Security and Control enhances the environment security and IT control to restrict user behavior in order to strengthen IT security.
For example, if the “Optimized for WAN” template is deployed to users located across the WAN, administrators may now rest assured that the environment has been optimized for typical conditions faced by such users. In addition, the first two policies are available for so-called “Legacy OS”.
The informal term Legacy OS refers to Windows operating systems (OS) before Windows 8, when Microsoft made a radical change in the underlying graphics provider technology. The latest versions of XenApp and XenDesktop are written to meet the newer capabilities in a so-called “Modern OS” such as Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, as well as Windows Server 2012 R2. To maintain backward compatibility with Legacy OS such as Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2, Citrix provides the additional policy templates which are optimized for those particular operating systems.
In each case, the beauty of the Citrix HDX technology policy engine is that it empowers administrators to meet user expectations while aligning with the priorities of the organization and the individual use cases.
How do you get started and get more familiar with the built-in policy templates? The first step is to download the new Group Policy Management 7.6.300 from the Feature Pack 3 page on Citrix.com. You can get the related product documentation at http://www.citrix.com/policytemplates
The XenApp and XenDesktop team is excited make these templates available as part of Feature Pack 3, and if you are looking for specific guidance on each use case and associated policy setting, all this information has been thoroughly documented in a whitepaper available on the Citrix Knowledge Center, CTX202330. This document goes into extensive detail on the ideal use cases, individual policy tuning, and even provides testing data based on policy configurations.
You are welcome to comment on this blog post, or use the feedback mechanisms in the pages listed above to provide your insights on the new templates and environment performance. Please let us know your experiences, what worked and what you tweaked, and if you wish to share an additional templates for other use cases feel free to do so.