I am excited to be back with another post in the What’s New in XenApp Essentials series. I hope you had a chance to review my first post in this series posted in August. You will notice that we are rapidly adding more value while also continuing to simplify the product experience. Here are some of the key features that we’ve rolled out in recent weeks:
StoreFront evolves to Workspace Experience for XenApp Essentials: Citrix shared the vision of Workspaces at Citrix Synergy 2017. I am proud to share that XenApp Essentials is one of the first Citrix Cloud services to embrace the Workspace vision of accessing apps and data from any device anywhere. The new Workspace experience user interface (UI) will now effectively replace the current StoreFront UI. Several customers already have rolled out Workspace in the last few weeks and we expect to complete the rollout soon. Advantages to customers include:
- New simplified access experience: Now as end users access the published resources using Workspace URL (previously StoreFront URL), they will be invited to a new experience which will further simplify their access, including enhanced app layout, custom logos and friendly access URL to help improve the end user adoption and productivity. The screenshot below summarizes some of the key changes. We expect to evolve the Workspace Experience over time, so stay tuned for more exciting updates. If you are an existing XenApp Essentials customer, then you can learn more about this update here.
- Add custom logos and color scheme: One of the immediate benefits of XenApp Essentials adopting Workspace experience platform is the ability to customize the look and feel of the user portal. You have the ability to add your own company logo along with modifying the color scheme of the portal to match your corporate brand. You can configure these customizations in the Appearance tab of the Workspace Configuration page of the admin portal as shown below.
- Customize access URL: With Workspace configuration, you also have the ability to modify the authentication domain portion of your Workspace access URL to create a friendly URL for your users to help remember. Many of you have previously reached out to Citrix to have us modify the assigned Workspace URL. This was a manual process that required a Citrix Support ticket, but now you can easily do it yourself using the Access tab in Workspace Configuration page as show below.
Strengthen security with Federated Authentication via Azure AD (Tech Preview): This is one of the most significant updates that enables you take advantage of the security features of Azure AD. With Workspace configuration, you can now enable Azure AD federation that will allow you to redirect users to Microsoft Azure portal for authentication when accessing their Workspace. In addition, you also have the ability to take advantage of all the security features of Azure AD such as multi-factor authentication and conditional access to strengthen security for your XenApp Essentials deployment. This feature is still in preview and we would love all your feedback. So please check it out! You can learn more about configuring this feature is this excellent blog post.
XenApp Essentials supports Citrix Cloud European Control plane: Citrix Cloud rolled out its European control plane recently to help meet the business requirements of our European customers thereby accelerating response times when accessing the platform from that region. Now you will be prompted to select a home region when signing up for XenApp Essentials as shown below. You can learn more here.
New purchasing options to simplify bring your own (BYO) RDS CAL: Now you can choose our new BYO RDS CAL option during the buying process of XenApp Essentials within the Azure Marketplace. Previously, you were automatically charged for the Microsoft Remote Access Fee ($6.25 per user per month) with your XenApp Essentials purchase and had to work with Microsoft via separate, manual process to have the fee waived if you already owned RDS CALs. Now, we have made it easier for you to simply specify that you already own the RDS CALs when you purchase XenApp Essentials, which can help keep costs down. All you need is to make sure you install your CALs in the Microsoft RDS License server and point the XenApp Essentials VDAs to the RDS License server.
REST APIs to automate Catalog updates (Tech Preview): We are excited to announce the availability of the public REST APIs for XenApp Essentials. We have provided APIs for many of the common Catalog actions such as updating master images and apps. We hope these will allow you to integrate and automate some of these common tasks into your existing workflows. The APIs are currently in preview and we would love to get your feedback. You can learn more about these APIs and find code samples (including PowerShell samples) at developer.cloud.com.
Greater control over Resource Location creation: In XenApp Essentials, we automated the creation of the Resource Location by creating two Cloud Connector VMs as part of the first Catalog creation. Now, we are providing you more control over this process by allowing you to specify the name of the resource location, Azure Resource Group and Organizational Unit (OU) to use for the Cloud Connector VMs being created. You still have the option to use the default settings; however, some customers preferred a separate OU for Connector VMs as it gave them the option to use a different policy set compared to the one used for catalog VDAs.
In-Product Help to simplify onboarding experience: New customers are now welcomed with guided walkthroughs when they launch the XenApp Essentials Admin UI for the first time. The welcome mat guides you through the key steps involved in setting up your first catalog. We also have tutorial videos in key pages and a new guide center (compass icon) at the bottom right corner to provide walkthrough guides for key product workflows. You can quickly learn about the key product workflows using these guides available directly in the product UI. We hope this helps you quickly get started with your first catalog deployment. This functionality is also available to existing customers to help educate you about new features rolling out as they happen, keeping you up to date on the latest enhancements.
Faster provisioning of catalogs and reduced storage costs: Azure Resource Manager support for Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop Service continues to evolve. Please note, XenApp Essentials leverages the same technology as the full Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop Service. We recently enhanced both the full service and XenApp Essentials to improve the catalog provisioning speed and machine power operations while reducing storage costs. You can learn more about these significant improvements here and a snapshot of some of the results are shown below:
The best thing about XenApp Essentials is its simplicity and functionality. We make it easy to determine if XenApp Essentials is right for you with the great new resources available below.
I hope you are as excited as we are about these new XenApp Essentials updates and are eager to take advantage of these new capabilities. We are committed to making XenApp Essentials the best solution for your business. Stay tuned for the next update!
- For more information on XenApp Essentials and Azure, click here.
- To Purchase XenApp Essentials from Azure Marketplace, click here.