In March, Carisa Stringer and I hosted the What’s New in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 & 7.8 webinar, which you can now watch on-demand.
We had over 3,000 people register for the webinar, which resulted in lots of wonderful questions about the new 7.7 and 7.8 features, like AppDisk layering technology, Multi Zone management, Skype for Business integration, Director improvements, App-V integration and more.
In our one-hour time slot, however, we simply couldn’t answer all the questions you submitted. We promised to aggregate all your questions and craft a blog post that could be referenced by anyone who attended either session or watched the on-demand recording.
So, here you have it! Supporting resources to help get you up to speed on this exciting new release and answers to the commonly asked XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 and 7.8 questions.
- AppDisk and AppDNA for AppDisk.
- Long Term Service Release (LTSR).
- Unified Comms, Skype for Business and the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack.
- Multi Zone Management.
- Upgrades and Versions.
- General Questions.
AppDisk and AppDNA for AppDisk
The much anticipated AppDisk and integrated AppDNA for AppDisk feature of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 has generated a lot of interest and many of you asked a lot of questions during the webinar regarding AppDisk. Instead of answering all your AppDisk questions in a static blog post, I wanted to aggregate all the AppDisk collateral that you can reference to get answers to your questions as well as some high level implementation recommendations for AppDisk and AppDNA for AppDisk:
- Getting Started with AppDisk (video): This video gets an introduction to AppDisk and shows how to create and deploy an AppDisk to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012R2 virtual machines.
- AppDisk FAQ: This FAQ document will provide insights into the questions answered below as well as additional AppDisk and AppDNA for AppDisk questions and some sizing details.
- XenDesktop and XenApp Reviewer’s Guide: The Reviewer’s Guide is great if you are looking for step-by-step instructions on installing and configuring AppDisk. Mayunk Jain does a wonderful job of walking you through the setup and configuration of AppDisk in this visual guide.
- AppDisk Product Documentation: The product documentation provides comprehensive details on all things AppDisk related including system requirements, Provisioning Services & Machine Creation Services considerations, on-going maintenance, etc.
Long Term Service Release (LTSR)
Along the same lines, there has been a lot of interest in Long Term Service Release (LTSR) program and the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR. Here are some great resources that are continuously updated give you more information regarding LTSR:
- XenApp and XenDesktop Servicing Options website: com is the best starting point to come up to speed on the new Servicing options, see side-by-side comparisons of Current Releases (CR) and Long Term Service Releases (LTSR).
- Product Lifecycle Milestones (dates) for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR: When determining if LTSR is right for you, start with the product milestones for your current implementation and compare them with the new LTSR milestones to determine which timelines best align with your business goals.
- Updated! XenApp and XenDesktop Servicing Options (LTSR) FAQ: We know there have been lots of questions about LTSR, so we just recently updated the LTSR FAQ which should give you a great deal of insights into our new LTSR and CR programs.
For the XenApp and XenDesktop Licensing questions, I also want to point you to a great document called the on XenApp and XenDesktop Licensing FAQ. This document provides a great deal of insight into Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop licensing models, license enforcement, licensing overdraft as well as the new Secure Browser edition licenses. If you have never looked over this doc, I highly recommend giving it a look over as we are continuously updating this doc as well.
Unified Communications, Skype for Business and the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack
Citrix partners with various unified communications solutions to optimize their performance with XenApp and XenDesktop. However, the strength of the Citrix and Microsoft partnership has been amplified with the joint integration efforts Citrix has done with Skype for Business and the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack. The technical marketing team, specifically Mayank Singh and Dan Feller, have put together some wonderful collateral to help you dive into using Skype for Business in a XenApp or XenDesktop environment.
- Delivering Skype for Business to XenApp and XenDesktop users: Mayank created this step-by-step guide to walk you through setting up the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business within your XenApp and XenDesktop environment.
- Overview of Skype for Business with XenApp and XenDesktop (video): Dan Feller walks you through the architecture of Skype for Business within XenApp and XenDestkop with a live demo.
- Citrix and Microsoft Unveil “v2” Solution for Skype for Business: @derektcitrix gives you a great preview of the new HDX RealTime Optimization Pack and some of the key features.
- Learn about all our Unified Communications Optimizations for XenApp and XenDesktop including Cisco Jabber, Avaya one-X, VidyoDesktop, and IBM Lotus Sametime.
- Skype for Business and Lync Delivery Feature Matrix: This feature matrix will help you understand the detailed features of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business.
Multi Zone Management
One of the new features of the 7.7 release of XenApp and XenDesktop is the ability to define ‘zones’ in a site and to place elements from the site into different zones.
- The motivation behind this feature is described in the article An Intro to Zones within FMA by Craig Hinchliffe.
- Additional information is provided in the Deep Dive: XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 Zones blog by William Charnell which covers the usual questions such as the number of satellite zones, bandwidth requirements, latency limits and high availability.
- And because Multi Zone Management uses the Connection Leasing feature that we introduced a while ago it might be worthwhile taking a look at the Connection leasing design considerations article by Joe Deller.
The Director features of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 have improved over the past few releases and Director continues to generate a lot of interest. As with other features there are a lot of good resources out there which I’ve summarized here.
- Syed has written a great blog containing details about HDX Insight integration and ICA latency and RTT metrics. HDX Insight Integration with Director and Accessing ICA RTT metrics for XenApp and XenDesktop
- Obtaining a list of the current sessions, looking at capacity reports related to vGPU usage, Round Trip Time are examples of Custom Reporting. Further examples of this very common question are covered in depth by both Kiran and Thomas in these articles. Create custom reports with Director and Analyzing the Director data by means of custom reports. The blogs also uncover details about the data captured with ideas about how to use the data in your own reports.
- So you’ve created that key report and you now need to send it to your boss every week. Can automatic emailing also send reports? But how? Here’s how. Automated report emails
We all know that users expect a real-time response from the apps they are working with, both when they connect from reliable corporate networks and when coming in over challenging wide area networks that are typically low-bandwidth, high-latency and/or high packet-loss. And we all know that the HDX technologies address these scenarios to ensure the best possible user experience at all times. The following selection of articles will show how we continue to evolve technologies to ensure the best user experience.
- Extending device support such as USB Credit Card, chipped credit card readers, Bluetooth devices all comes down to the type of redirection required. The KB article, USB Support in XenApp/XenDesktop Server Products, discusses the difference between Device Level and Port Level redirection and provides some further resources for reading.
- Deploying & configuring Receiver correctly is critical for end user acceptance. Customizing and deploying Receiver from Steven Kruger is an excellent starting place. How to Deploy Citrix Receiver for Pass-Through Authentication Using Active Directory Group Policy provides a detailed step-by-step guide about deploying and configuring CitrixReciverEnterprise.exe onto a large number of machines using Active Directory Group Policy. The article How To Deploy Citrix Receiver for Windows Using SCCM 2012 R2 provides an insight into installing and managing Receiver for Windows in a managed desktop environment with SCCM and Receiver command line parameters describes how to configure and install Receiver for Windows using command-line parameters.
- And once you’ve configured Receiver correctly you might need to enable 4K monitor or multi-screen support. Here’s how.
Upgrades and Versions
Q. Can I upgrade from Windows Server 2008 R2 & XenApp 6.5-FP1 to Windows Server 2012 R2 & XenApp 7.8 using a parallel farm/site?
A: Yes, actually StoreFront 3.5 will be a huge help here as well. You can keep your XenApp 6.5 farm running, spin up a new 7.8/2012R2 site and use StoreFront to aggregate the resources between both environments. Once the users start using StoreFront you can seamlessly move users from the existing farm to the new 7.8 site with minimal changes.
Q. Can XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 servers be built in Azure?
A: Yes, there are actually multiple ways you can leverage Azure. You can host your entire XenApp/XenDesktop environment in Azure, here’s a reference architecture on how to do just that. Plus, you can actually host XenApp/XenDesktop management on-premises and host your workloads (XenApp servers/Virtual Desktops) in Azure; refer to Prasanna’s blog for more info.
Q. Does XenApp 7.8 require Windows Server 2016?
A: No, XenApp 7.8 now supports Windows Server 2016 Tech Preview; read Allen Furmanski’s blog and video on Server 2016 TP support. As for 7.8 server operating system support, 7.8 supports 2008R2 through 2012R2.
Q. For XenApp 6.5 admins today why wouldn’t we go with the latest 7.8 version. Why should we go with 7.7 or 7.6?
A: For XenApp 6.5 customers, XenApp 7.8 offers some new features and 7.8 includes all the features of 7.7. However, many customers have also been interested in the long term support benefits of the new LTSR (Long Term Service Release program) and those are specific to 7.6 LTSR. You may want to as part of your decision to move to 7.8 or 7.6.
Q. I’m a client with a Microsoft Enterprise license. Hyper-V along with RDS and Remote-App come bundled with our yearly agreement. We are very interested in pursuing Citrix for our remote access and application publishing needs. Why should we incur the additional costs and use Citrix?
A: I’m so glad you asked! We really pride ourselves on our partnership with Microsoft and all the additional value-add we can bring to Microsoft solutions, such as RDS, Remote App, Hyper-V, etc. Those value-add benefits include everything from our HDX user experience technologies, enhanced security, simplified management, environment monitoring, etc. Learn more about the additional value Citrix brings.
Q. There seems to be a lot of focus on the platinum edition. What can enterprise users expect in the future?
A: Citrix is committed to all customers on all editions. AppDisk is a great testament to that as it’s available in every edition, while competing software vendors, like VMware, considers their app layering technology a high-end feature only available in their most expensive edition. At the same time Citrix is very committed to ensuring that we continue to bring more value to the Platinum edition for customers who continue to pay for Software Maintenance or Subscription Advantage for Platinum features.
Q. Can you deliver App-V apps directly to App-V clients without Citrix Receiver?
A: No, the 7.8 App-V integration within Citrix Studio enables the admin to stream App-V packages directly to virtual desktops or virtual servers only.
Q. Are App-V Connection Groups (linking application packages) supported via Studio?
A: Connection Groups or sometime also referenced as isolation groups are not currently supported with the 7.8 integration.
Q. Are Framehawk and HDX3D Pro supported with windows 10?
A. Framehawk is supported on Windows 10 as part of the VDA. HDX 3D Pro is not currently supported on Windows 10.
Q. Is Framehawk now supported with NetScaler gateway?
A: Yes. NetScaler Gateway added support for Framehawk last year.
Q. How has version 7.7 + 7.8 improved the printing experience for users?
A. While there are no explicit printing improvements in 7.7 and 7.8, the universal print server introduced in version 7.6 significantly improved the printing experience.
Q. With the exception of desktops that interface with medical devices & scanners, there is greater demand for Thin Client in healthcare. What is Citrix’s position of use of Thin Clients with XenApp?
A. Thin Clients have traditionally been one of the most popular use cases for many customers. There are many success stories on the web but I’d suggest starting here with the Citrix Ready programme.
Q. Has Citrix made any improvement to Profile Management?
A. While there are no explicit UPM improvements in 7.7 and 7.8, Profile Management 5.4 introduced in December 2015 has improved the user profile management solution.
Q. Is the Skype for Business Client from Office 2016 already supported for HDX RealTime Pack 2.0?
A: Please refer to this guidance on the Skype for Business 2016 client.
Q. Is Self-Service Password Reset is available for XA/XD 7.8 without Password Manager/Single Sign-On 5.0? Or is this limited to XA 6.5?
A. SSPR is not limited to XenApp 6.5 and is technically a feature offered by StoreFront 3.5. It requires the 6.5 Password Manager infrastructure to enroll new users. Password unlock and reset is achieved by StoreFront.
Q. Does self-service password support 2-factor as well, that is, unlocking / resetting a token device and not just a user password?
A. No, the unlock / reset functionality is intended for user credentials only.
Q. How does profile management work with regional VDA’s? Home directories?
A. UPM has no dependency on the VDA. Home directories can be used for defining the user store if you leverage relative paths rather that absolute ones as detailed here.
Q. I have heard of SAML support in XenApp 7.8. Does this help in getting over the need for one-way trust from resource domain to Tenant domain?
A. Yes. The NetScaler will have to be configured to approve SAML identity provider as providing identity. The domains have no cross dependency.
Q. What are the differences between the FIPS in 7.7 and 7.8?
A. There are none. Our most current FIPS Compliance statement was against 7.6. For majority of customers this will work with the 7.x versions.