The calendar says 2016 is coming to a close, but Citrix on Windows Server 2016 is just getting started!

This is the last entry in 2016 to our “Getting Ready for Windows Server 2016 Series”; in 2017 we will be looking at an even broader solution. This next phase of investigations includes more detail about what we have already discussed over the last few months, and it will also include System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, and Configuration Manager. We will also revisit some of the Office 365 integration topics as part of this system, as we wend our way through the early part of 2017.

Let’s recap our investigations so far.

In July, we kicked this series off with “Citrix is Ready for Microsoft Windows Server 2016, Are You?” a post that included an overview of the Microsoft and Citrix partnership around Remote Desktop Services and a link to a presentation that Scott Manchester (Group Program Manager, Remote Desktop at Microsoft) and I did at Citrix Synergy in May.

Next, I explained how to build a minimal XenApp solution on Microsoft Hyper-V in “Get Up and Running with XenDesktop 7.9 Apps & Desktops in a SNAP!” As part of that post, I included an installation and configuration doc that you can download after logging in with your MyCitrix credentials. The post and document make references to Microsoft’s TP5 and Citrix supporting XenApp builds, but the steps can be used for the most recent generally available products from both companies.

In “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!” & The Goodness of Windows Server 2016,” we finally had GA-released products from both Citrix and Microsoft and could begin the complete investigation of deeper features in earnest. “Get Day One Support for Windows Server 2016 with XenApp & XenDesktop—TODAY!” provided the opportunity to share a larger test system that I was using for my investigations; here is a graphic from that post I used to show the various VMs I had up and running at that point.

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Check out this blog post for more details on what features were included and the tech specs on the physical hosts and the VMs themselves.

Our first stop after the products were generally available was for graphics. I addressed the basics in “Using Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Discrete Device Assignment with XenApp 7.11” where I provided examples of how to configure DDA in Hyper-V and XenApp 7.11, as an extension to RDS to provide shared GPU support for high-definition graphics use cases over Citrix HDX connections. As we moved into this next-level click-down of platform features, I began the process of not only explaining what they are, but why they matter to XenApp customers, and some of the ways builds upon the platform capability to provide for more use cases, efficiencies, and cost savings.

In “Taking a Quick Look at Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct & Citrix XenApp,” I discussed Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct and how Citrix XenApp not only “just works” on this cost-saving base capability, but can also add additional value.

As we made it into December and the release of XenApp 7.12, “Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Secure Boot Support Now Available in XenApp 7.12!” announced Citrix official support for Hyper-V Gen2 VMs that are enabled with Secure Boot. I also took a look at the new opportunities we now have to test some of the most innovative security features available only in Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 platform. We will definitely be looking deeper at these capabilities in 2017.

I invite you to review the series and build your own labs right along with me. We have much to cover as we head into 2017 and with a new version of XenApp and XenDesktop making its way into the market about once a quarter now, things are going to be evolving at a fairly quick pace. Some new features will be made available, and some deeper information and enhancements for existing features will definitely unfold through the year. My plan for the 2017 series is to hit on critical elements of the solution as they pertain to valuable Citrix Workspace enabling extensions to the Microsoft platform, and the unique sets of use cases that can be addressed by this long standing and powerful partnership.

I look forward to seeing longtime friends and partners at our Citrix Summit 2017 in Anaheim, CA – January 9 – 11, where I will be presenting an update on these investigations so far.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Chag sameach, Joyeux Noël, Happy Kwanzaa, Glædelig Jul, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad and … Happy New Year, everyone!

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