We are absolutely thrilled by the response to XenApp Essentials. It is great to see XenApp Essentials become one of the top trending apps in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. More importantly, I am happy to report that multiple Azure RemoteApp customers, who were eagerly looking forward for a replacement solution, have migrated successfully to XenApp Essentials and have reported improved user experience for their end users.
While these are great early signs, we are not resting on these successes. Our development team continues to improve the overall solution to bring you more value and functionality. We have had multiple updates since our April 3 launch, which not only helped improve the overall reliability and supportability of the solution but also added significant new value to our customers. This post is a first in a new blog series that highlights the key features added to XenApp Essentials. In this post, I specifically want to focus on the following top-requested features from our existing XenApp Essentials customers:
Faster performance with Premium Storage for app workloads:
Now when selecting compute for your app workloads, you have the option to use premium disks for your workload VMs (VDAs). Azure Premium disks are backed by solid state drives and offer low latency performance. Thus, premium disks are a great way to improve end user experience when delivering I/O intensive applications using XenApp Essentials. The XenApp Essentials service also now supports uploading of master images created using premium storage.
High definition graphics with GPU Enabled Azure N-Series VMs for app workloads:
Now you can leverage the new GPU enabled Azure N-series VMs to deliver graphics intensive workloads including 3D applications from the cloud to any device running Citrix Receiver. A GPU powered VM instance can significantly improve user experience even for any app, including office apps and browser-based apps as even they can take advantage of the GPU if available. Since XenApp Essentials leverages Windows Servers for your app workloads, the GPU enabled VM instance can now be shared across concurrent users logged into the server, thus providing significant TCO benefits when leveraging these high-end VM instances.
Greater personalization with Custom Icons for Published Apps:
Now as part of the app publishing workflow, you have the option to provide a custom icon for your application. This is particularly useful when you are publishing apps by path as you can now change the default Citrix icon with your application icon. For example, when publishing a browser-based app you can now show case the icon of the specific web app that will render upon launch. In addition, you can publish the browser with the command line parameter pointing to the URL of the web app and change the browser icon to the web app icon as shown in the graphic below. This will make it easier for your users to identify the application within StoreFront.
Better end user experience for Southeast Asia customers:
Our NetScaler Gateway Service team added a new Azure Point of Presence (PoP) in South East Asia, which XenApp Essentials’ customers can now leverage. This brings the total NetScaler Gateway Service PoP locations to twelve. Nine of these locations are in Azure. The new South East Asia PoP can help significantly improve user performance by lowering the network latency for users located in this region. Earlier these users were getting connected via Japan East or Australia East locations based on their proximity to these locations.
Along with these additional enhancements, we are continuously improving documentation for the service. In particular, I would like to highlight the following new resources that have been added to documentation:
- How to buy guide
- Deployment guide
- Troubleshooting catalog creation failures
- XenApp Essentials Overview – Citrix Synergy Session
Microsoft has also created a new Azure RemoteApp to XenApp Essentials migration document that helps you walk through key migration steps.
More exciting updates to the service are on the horizon, and I look forward to sharing those updates in a future blog. In the meantime, we are eager to hear your feedback and suggestions for improving XenApp Essentials. If you would like to submit ideas for improving the service, then please use the “Post a new idea” option after signing in using Citrix Cloud credentials at https://citrixcloud.uservoice.com/. You can vote on other’s ideas as well and help bubble-up good ideas to the top!