We’ve had a lot of interest in what’s next for Citrix App Layering, so I wanted to write a couple of quick articles on where it is going. If you are an App Layering user, you have already seen some of our direction land in code that has been made available as “labs” features — the cloud services version of beta — over the last month or two.

Right now, in addition to refining code and focusing on hybrid cloud environments, we also have three of our biggest customer requests top of mind:

  • Add more support for the “persistent” use cases
  • Increase support and performance when using applications like Office 365
  • Make management of layers across environments and platforms, even easier.

The development teams have made “User Layers” available for testing for Windows 7 and Windows 10 use cases. This feature allows non-persistent/stateless desktops to “feel” and behave like a persistent desktop. When a user logs onto a pooled/non-persistent delivery group, a unique user-assigned virtual disk is attached that will contain everything the user has changed in their desktop (profiles, documents, apps, anything!). This is meant to support heavy knowledge workers that often need to install tools or customize their desktop deeply.

In addition to the full User Layer, we are looking at implementing a pared-down version of this tech, just for Office 365 users. This will allow admins to make Office perform properly (like it does on a traditional desktop) while still managing their images and applications in non-persistent model. Look for this feature to be available in Labs soon.

And finally, we have begun to introduce new code into the Layer Manager virtual appliance, which allows replication of layers between appliances. This can be used today in environments with isolated Dev, Test and Prod infrastructure. It can also be useful in multi-datacenter configurations or in environments that leverage a scale out pod within a single datacenter. This code is really the first step towards greater support for large hybrid environments and the ability to make it easier to manage and move layers between platforms and physical locations!

As you can see, our work on the App Layering team continues as we work to make provisioning and managing virtual desktops as simple and easy as possible. Stay tuned for more updates to see what’s next.

Which of the top 3 customer requests would you vote for:

1) Expand support for persistent User Layers;
2) Increase support for Office 365; or
3) Replicate layers across environments?

Is there another layering use case you believe is more important for us to focus on? Share your thoughts in the comments below.