How do you make the most advanced secure app delivery and VDI solution even better? How about making it easier to manage, add unmatched graphics performance and make it deploy seamlessly on Microsoft Azure. Oh! And make sure it comes ready to support Microsoft’s next major server platform – Windows Server 2016.
Introducing XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11, the latest Current Release (CR) offering of our industry-leading app and desktop virtualization solution.
XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 embraces the latest Microsoft platform offerings establishing the foundation for Day 1 support of Windows Server 2016, provisioning of app and desktop workloads on Azure Resource Manager and enhancements for App-V integration.
Admins now have advanced management options for delivering apps and desktops across geographically dispersed sites based on criteria such as user location, app location or user profile. Ongoing site management improvements deliver new performance metrics and alerts, easier self-service password reset configuration, and more provisioning options. This release continues to enhance the user experience with improved graphics rendering capabilities, new application delivery options for Linux, and profile management improvements. All these new capabilities and more converge with the 7.11 release to reaffirm XenApp and XenDesktop as the market-leading solution for virtual app and desktop delivery.
Embrace Microsoft’s Latest Platforms
Day 1 support for Windows Server 2016
For the first time ever, Citrix is targeting Day 1 support for a server operating system with Windows Server 2016, as publically announced during the Synergy Keynote. Windows Server 2016 is Microsoft’s next-generation, cloud-ready server operating system. As soon as Server 2016 is released, you will be able to use 7.11 to take advantage of this new platform for virtual apps and server-based desktops as well as hosting your infrastructure components such as the Delivery Controller, StoreFront and Provisioning Services.
To date—and with the flexibility of the XenApp and XenDesktop architecture—you can instantly integrate Windows Server 2016 workloads into your existing pre-7.11 site. Additionally, Windows Server 2016 is based on the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition which is essentially R2, so you can start planning your deployments with confidence that this is a proven platform.
Leverage the power and scale of Azure Resource Manager
XenApp and XenDesktop is the only hypervisor and cloud agnostic app and desktop delivery solution on the market. At Citrix Synergy 2016 in Las Vegas, we declared Microsoft Azure our strategic cloud vendor of the future, further strengthening our alliance with Microsoft.
With this release, our dedication to Azure is now represented in our on-premises solution, as well as our Citrix Cloud solution with the ability to leverage your on-premises XenApp and XenDesktop site to provision, via Machine Creation Services, virtual app and desktop workloads to Azure Resource Manager (previously we supported Azure Classic). You can now create a new XenApp and XenDesktop deployment entirely within Azure or extend an existing on-premises deployment to Azure with the scale and flexibility required – regardless of the location of the on-premises datacenter.
Extending Microsoft Universal Apps to any device
Develop apps once and deploy to any Windows device—that’s the power of Microsoft Universal Apps based on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) standard. These apps are a new set of Microsoft apps designed to provide rich, engaging experiences on a wide range of operating systems and environments, including Windows 10 devices, virtual workspaces running on Windows Server 2016, smart phones, tablets, IoT devices and more. Administrators can now publish built-in Universal Apps or custom-developed Universal Apps – all from the familiar Citrix Studio publishing wizard. Microsoft takes Universal Apps to any Microsoft device, while XenApp with Citrix Receiver lets you take Universal Apps to any device—Microsoft, Android, iOS, Mac or Linux—to deliver more value-add to your Microsoft investment.
Simplifying app management with enhanced App-V integration
By integrating XenApp and App-V, you can stream the same application package to every server in your site to ensure application consistency and simplify app management across your environment. XenApp further simplifies your App-V infrastructure by integrating directly for even more cost savings.
Now App-V applications can co-exist in the same isolation space for greatly simplified administration and maintenance. App-V applications are isolated by default though there is often the need for multiple isolated applications to communicate with one another. Now application intercommunication can occur within the same isolation space without the need to create multiple, redundant packages. This saves administrative time and conserves resources with the use of a streamlined App-V infrastructure.
Simplified management and enhanced monitoring
Context-aware app and desktop delivery across geos
Large organizations typically have multiple XenApp and XenDesktop deployments distributed across the globe to support today’s international workforce. These sites can allow organizations to logically group site resources based on physical location or other factors to streamline management efficiency. Now with zone preference enhancements, IT can deliver the best possible user experience while reducing network traffic and preventing help desk calls. Administrators can define how users connect to their apps and desktops based on criteria such as the location from which the user is currently connecting from, what datacenter the app resides in, or the location of the user profile.
Simplified management for dedicated VDI
Dedicated VMs are often used by key members of an organization, including upper management and executives, as they offer the ability to fully personalize the virtual desktop. Full clones for these machines allows IT to easily handle storage operations and migrations as required. Now you can simplify the lifecycle maintenance of dedicated VMs by provisioning full clones using Machine Creation Services.
Give users access to content, including websites and documents, from within the same StoreFront interface where they access their apps and desktops. Users can easily collaborate, as required, on centralized materials while IT maintains control over intellectual property. File Type Association (FTA) can be used to specify whether content will attempt to launch on the local device or within a published application.
Delivering a high performance user experience
The default overall graphics quality in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 is noticeably sharper without any bandwidth increases. Intelligently adapt the user display for optimal graphics performance when users are running both video and text-based content to provide the best possible quality and server scalability. Conserve resources while providing a great user experience for advanced HDX 3D Pro graphics using NVIDIA’s NVENC hardware-based video encoding for NVIDIA GPUs.
Optimize the access experience with Citrix Profile Management
Optimizing user profile configuration can enhance performance and simplify administration within your XenApp and XenDesktop sites. However, user profile corruption is a common reality in many organizations due to a variety of factors such as storage, malware, and application issues. Citrix Profile Management, also known as User Profile Management, has been enhanced to prevent user profile corruption with intelligent profile backups. Additionally, new default GPO templates will save time and help you adhere to best practices by specifying recommended profile inclusion and exclusion lists.
Deliver Linux applications
Provide access to published Linux applications from any device that supports Citrix Receiver. Users can launch multiple Linux apps as required and quickly switch between them. Publishing is handled through the Citrix Studio console.
Increasing the value of XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum editions
XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 includes a number of exciting new additions. Not on Platinum yet? Check out How to Get the Most out of Your Citrix Deployment to learn about Platinum benefits.
Self-service Password Reset has been updated and is now web-based and completely within the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x architecture. Users enroll by answering security questions and can easily unlock or reset their account when needed – all from within the StoreFront portal.
AppDNA is able to analyze application compatibly for apps you want to move to Windows Server 2016 as well as give you remediation guidance if a compatibility issue is discovered. Save countless hours as you plan your migration strategy to this new platform.
Session Recording now includes the ability to track administrative changes to assist with auditing and compliance. View when administrators change recording policies, download recordings or unauthorized attempts to access recorded files are made.
SCOM Management Packs now support SCOM 2016 and Windows Server 2016. Leverage the latest features that these platforms provide while obtaining the necessary insights into the infrastructure. Additional user reports are also included for improved visibility.
Behind the scenes of the 7.11 versioning decision
Let’s take a moment to discuss the decision to select 7.11, pronounced “seven dot eleven.” Why not 7.10 or 8.0? Well 7.10 is too similar to 7.1 which some customers are still using. We didn’t want to cause confusion, or worse yet, potentially break automation scripts doing version checks. 8.0 is a milestone major version number change.
Historically when XenApp supported a new server operating system, we would make a major version increase as this resulted in a major architecture change. This release includes support for Windows Server 2016; however, the proven FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) 7.x platform is designed to support new operating systems without major architecture changes and there are other considerations with major version changes as well such as industry recertification. So, after much consideration, we felt it best to go with 7.11.
As you can see, there are a number of innovative, use-case focused capabilities packed into this release. I could continue talking about it, but the better approach would be to experience it for yourself. For customers with active Software Maintenance (SWM) or Subscription Advantage (SA), as of September 8, 2016, we encourage you to download XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 today!