Keeping your employee’s Citrix Receiver up-to-date is critical for ensuring that every user of your XenApp and XenDesktop sites is getting the best possible app and desktop performance, end user experience, and security benefits. While implementing XenApp and XenDesktop has done wonders to centralize and simplify the administration of your apps and desktops, Citrix Receiver has continued to be the one remaining bit of software that is distributed across devices and could be user managed without IT having much control, until now!
I would like to introduce you to the new Citrix Cloud-hosted service designed specifically to simplify the process of maintaining Citrix Receiver updates across your user community.
Whether you are managing every user and device in your organization, opting for a more BYOD environment where the devices are user managed, or have a device management plan that falls somewhere in the middle, this new Citrix Cloud service for Citrix Receiver updates is going to be of interest to you. To truly gauge how impactful this new service is going to be to your organization, I like to always run a comparison between how most admins execute delivering a Citrix Receiver update today and how that can all be radically simplified for you through Citrix Cloud.
Today, Citrix releases updates for each of our various Citrix Receiver platforms a couple of times a year, depending upon the individual platform. With each release comes new features and functionality that enhance the user experience. However, the challenge has always been getting those Citrix Receiver updates out to all your users. Today, we typically see admins push out updates to Citrix Receiver in a few ways:
- For mobile devices, the latest version of Citrix Receiver is always available for any user in their local app store as well as Citrix.com/Receiver. Therefore, any user will be notified via the app store that a new version is available.
- Citrix StoreFront can also check the user’s Citrix Receiver version and notify them that an update is required or the user can simply go to Citrix.com and get the latest version.
- Admins can also utilize Active Directory Group Policy scripts to push Citrix Receiver updates out to the user’s device as part of the startup or shutdown of the AD GPO.
Now there is an even easier way! There is a new Citrix Cloud service designed to help keep Citrix Receiver up-to-date based on your XenApp and XenDesktop release plan — you can select to keep Citrix Receiver up to date based on a Current Release (CR) schedule or a Long Term Service Release (LTSR) schedule. If your company has any of the 200,000 daily active users of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business, this new Citrix Cloud service will also ensure that the HDX RealTime Media Engine (the client-based component of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business) is updated, giving your users the latest and greatest Skype audio and video optimizations. This new Citrix Cloud service designed exclusively for keeping Citrix Receiver up to date is available for any user, whether their XenApp and XenDesktop site is hosted on-premises, from Citrix Cloud or a hybrid of both.
How does it work?
While we plan to make the new service available for all Citrix Receivers, this first phase is focused on Citrix Receiver for Mac 12.6 and Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.8.
- Users should upgrade to the latest versions of Citrix Receiver for Windows or Mac using their existing processes. When updating the existing Citrix Receiver, there are some new settings that an administrator can specify:
- You can specify if Citrix Receiver should be updated based on the schedule of a Current Release (CR) or Long Term Service Release (LTSR). More details on Citrix Receiver for Windows LSTR strategy is here (this option is only available for Citrix Receiver for Windows.)
- You can also decide the speed at which you want to have your users receive the latest updates. You can choose to have users receive the update as soon as it is released (High priority); receive the update after it has been available and tested for an extended period of time (Low Priority); have users receive it sometime in between (Medium Priority); or simply let Citrix decide when to deploy the update for you (Auto).
- Lastly, when the update is available, you can choose to have the user notified that the update is available (Auto), have users check for updates on their own (Manual), or not provide the user with any notification at all (Disabled).
- Specific guidance for each configuration is available in the Citrix Documentation for Citrix Receiver for Windows and Citrix Receiver for Mac.
- After upgrading to the newest Citrix Receiver and specifying the settings, Citrix Receiver can now check for updates automatically.
- When a new update becomes available, Citrix Receiver will utilize the settings you specified to notify users to accept the download and install the updates.
- If you need to change one of your settings, you can simply make edits via Group Policies, the Command line, Advanced Preferences of Citrix Receiver or StoreFront. Some of these options are only available for Citrix Receiver for Windows. Check the Documentation for the specifics.
Just one more way Citrix Cloud services are simplifying the management and maintenance of your Citrix environment.