Auditing and compliance: two topics of great importance with which many organizations struggle.

These topics are of particular interest in verticals like finance, government and healthcare, where risks to sensitive data can often result in dire consequences. It’s the responsibility of IT to ensure that systems are used appropriately while providing users the resources they need to remain productive. One of the most effective and scalable ways to achieve this is to visually monitor user sessions to ensure security is maintained and productivity maximized.

Leverage the latest Session Recording in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8

Session Recording, available in XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum Editions, allows administrators to record on-screen user session activity and play it back at a later time as required.

It has been available for server-based desktops and published applications for some time, and now, VDI desktops are supported as well. Policy control and notification options provide flexibility to meet environment requirements and regulations. With policy control, the IT administrator can choose to activate recording for select sessions, filtered by published application names, users or groups, delivery groups, desktops or machines. And for the sessions that are recorded, IT can choose to notify the user at the start of the session that his/her session is being recorded. Custom messages, including ones for specific languages, are supported.


Alert that the session will be recorded on a Windows 10 desktop


Alert that the published app session will be recorded on a Windows Server 2012R2 host


Configure default and language-specific notification messages shown to users

Get started with Session Recording

Implementing Session Recording involves an understanding of the components and architecture. The Session Recording Agent is installed on your Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) machines to record the session data and send it to the Session Recording Server. The Session Recording Server processes the data and stores it in a Session Recording Database on a SQL server. A Session Recording Player is used to list and playback the recordings and a Session Recording Policy Console controls the recording behavior. For additional details, refer to the Session Recording Documentation.


Session recording is designed to be as transparent as possible. It does not interfere with user sessions and has virtually no impact on performance. Also, only the session itself is recorded and nothing from the endpoint’s desktop.

In my test environment, I have recorded numerous sessions with typical user activity such as web browsing and Microsoft Office usage. Recorded file sizes are kept to a minimum. Sessions over three hours in duration resulted in files less than 200KB thanks to the superior compression utilized – though factors such as resolution, color depth and frequency of screen updates all affect the results.


Use the Session Recording Player to view a previously recorded user session

There are so many great use cases for Session Recording. Here are just a few that come to mind:

  • Rolling out a new app to users? Record sessions for it and review later to assess how it’s performing and being adopted.
  • Ensure that systems are not being misused by employees. Confirm that hourly employees are putting in the proper time.
  • Enable recording on all or certain apps to assist the help desk staff with troubleshooting. Reduce the time-consuming and frustrating situation of “I can’t duplicate the issue whenever I call in.”

I encourage customers to take advantage of the latest Session Recording capabilities in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 Platinum. Use it in accordance with your company’s guidelines and local regulations to assist with auditing, compliance and end-user supportability. Interested in Session Recording but not a Platinum customer? Register for a free trial today! Already using Session Recording in 7.8? Join the discussion below and tell us your use cases!

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