Welcome to our first-ever MONTHLY update on what’s new with XenApp and XenDesktop. Since we now roll out new features and enhancements so much faster, it makes sense to provide a monthly update to keep you up to date.
This month we are delivering new user experience, security, and flexibility improvements across all our releases. This includes our latest XenApp and XenDesktop release — v7.16 — which posted to citrix.com/downloads today, our Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop Service, which is updated every few weeks, as well as new compliance information and updates on our immensely popular XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR. Whether you are new to Citrix and just beginning your digital workspace journey or you are a seasoned XenApp and XenDesktop veteran, this is the blog post for you!
XenApp and XenDesktop 7.16 introduces significant user experience enhancements for both the XenApp and XenDesktop Service and on-premises deployments. In fact, with our cloud-first approach, we actually introduced many of these features in the cloud service first and then packaged them for the 7.16 release, making the cloud service the hub of innovation:
- Real time user experience optimizations with Adaptive Transport: Only Citrix can dynamically adjust its HDX Adaptive Transport technology in mid-session to adapt to changing network conditions in real time to deliver the best possible high-definition user experience. These latest enhancements have accelerated client drive mapping by up to 10x, improved user interactivity by up to 2.5x, accelerated print jobs by 2x and improved generic USB redirection by up to 35% over challenging WAN conditions. By extending the capabilities of our innovative Adaptive Transport technology, XenApp and XenDesktop establishes connections over TCP and EDT (Enlightened Data Transport, a reliable UDP protocol) in parallel to ensure that the user is quickly connected to their virtual applications and desktops prioritizing high-performance EDT over TCP. This results in faster connection times and an optimized user experience. Admins should implement the new 7.16 technology as well as the latest version of Citrix Receiver for Windows, iOS, and Mac to realize the latest improvements in Adaptive Transport.
- Introducing full browser content redirection, not just HTML5 video redirection: Extending the capabilities of our content redirection technology, XenApp and XenDesktop now enable the full contents of a web browser, not just the HTML5 video, to be rendered on the client for maximum server scalability and optimal user experience. Flexible configurations enable you to configure the internet content to be fetched on either the server or the client and then offload the content rendering to the client to maximize server scalability.
- Enhanced multi-monitor graphics quality with Citrix Receiver for Windows: Many users leverage multiple monitors across their virtual app and desktop sessions to optimize productivity. Now Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.10 makes multi-monitor configuration easier than ever. Receiver now intelligently detects virtual apps and desktop sessions spanning across multiple screens with varying DPI settings and it automatically adjusts session displays. Given that this enhancement is at the Citrix Receiver level, these performance improvements can be leveraged across different XenApp and Desktop versions and releases. This improves supportability while also extending server scalability. Scaling and GPU offload is handled on the client.
- Extending the power of Windows 10 S with Citrix Receiver: Windows 10 S is a streamlined OS for security and superior performance that only runs applications delivered from Microsoft Store. This means many existing Win32 apps will not run locally on Windows 10 S. The most secure way to get access to these business-critical Win 32 apps is through Citrix XenApp. Citrix has introduced a new version Citrix Receiver available in the Windows store that enables Windows 10 S users to safely and securely access Win 32 apps from any Windows 10 S device. This announcement is just one more way Citrix is enhancing and extending the capabilities of Microsoft Windows 10 devices for the modern digital workforce.
- Improved graphics experience with H.265 and integrated 3D Pro VDA installer: With ever-increasing improvements to video resolution, Citrix is extending its codec capabilities by incorporating H.265 codec into XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum edition. By leveraging new H.265 hardware with XenApp and XenDesktop with NVIDIA GPUs, you will notice improved graphics performance while reducing bandwidth consumption by up to 50%. In addition, Citrix has simplified the HDX 3D Pro experience by integrating the full 3D Pro capabilities into the standard Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) installer. You no longer need to choose between the 3D Pro VDA and the standard VDA during setup; you now have one VDA installer that has the ability to enable 3D Pro graphics performance by intelligently selecting the correct mode at runtime.
- Expanding our industry-first Windows Continuum virtual desktop experience: XenDesktop, with XenServer, was the first and only desktop virtualization solution to deliver Windows Continuum experience with Windows 10 virtual desktops. Now, XenDesktop is expanding its industry-leading Windows Continuum virtual desktop technology by enabling a Windows 10 virtual desktop to recognize when the user switches from a physical tablet to a physical desktop and automatically toggle the virtual desktop between tablet and desktop mode. As the state of the client hardware changes, for example, attaching or removing a keyboard from a Surface or iPad as well as an X1 Mouse, the XenDesktop virtual desktop will adjust the desktop display accordingly.
At Citrix, we aren’t just building digital workspaces, we are committed to building secure digital workspaces. Security is top of mind in everything we do and we believe security is not simply a black and white solution of access denied and access granted. Secure digital workspaces should dynamically adjust to protect sensitive IT resources while keeping users productive. This month we are announcing even more security enhancements for XenApp and XenDesktop:
- Securing your apps and desktops to Azure Government & Azure Germany: With Azure as our preferred and strategic cloud vendor for app and desktop virtualization, we are pleased to announce that we have launched tech previews of provisioning apps and desktops in Azure Government and Azure Germany. The key item to highlight is that the XenApp and XenDesktop Service Machine Creation Services (MCS) technology preview can automate the provisioning of resources, so now you can safely and securely deploy XenApp and XenDesktop workloads in Azure Government or Azure Germany using the same familiar Machine Creation Services interface currently available for various other worldwide Azure regions. Of course this security announcement goes hand in hand with our announcement that the core Citrix Cloud management plane that hosts the XenApp and XenDesktop Service is also now available in the European Union.
- Extending the management capabilities of Microsoft AppLocker with Workspace Environment Management: Microsoft AppLocker is a whitelisting security solution designed to prevent users from running unauthorized applications, which also prevents hackers from installing and running malicious software. Today, AppLocker only lets you apply each security rule to one user or group at a time. Also, there are no search capabilities. With the latest release of Workspace Environment Management, Citrix now extends the management capabilities of AppLocker with bulk editing, bulk assigning, search capabilities and the ability to apply a rule to one or more users or groups. This delivers even more Microsoft value-add.
Citrix provides the industry’s most flexible digital workspace solutions. We have supported any device, any application, any hypervisor, and of course now any cloud before anyone else in the industry. We know that for your digital workspace to be successful, it has to be flexible to address the ever-changing demands IT poses day in and day out. Therefore, in this November update of XenApp and XenDesktop we are excited to share new ways we are enhancing the flexibility of our solution:
- Improving our Office 365 integration with App Layering and Workspace Environment Management: Many XenApp and XenDesktop admins are eager to integrate their virtual apps and desktops with Office 365 applications (and Citrix already offers a range of value-add enhancements with Office 365). This month, Citrix is pleased to announce two key enhancements for Office 365 — specifically Outlook 365. Office 365 has posed issues for administrators of non-persistent VMs, specifically with large Outlook (OST) files that complicate logins. App Layering (Labs) introduces a solution to this challenge with Office 365 containers. Large Outlook files will not be transferred to desktops. Instead, by leveraging the same technology as Elastic Layers, they are simply mounted from a share. Data is read from fileshares by the VM, reducing login time without forcing the user to download their entire mailbox. Given that the App Layering technology is still in labs, Citrix is also introducing the ability to simply redirect the OST files to a network share instead of the user’s profile. This nets better performance with User Profile Management in the 7.16 release.
- Improved administrative insight and intelligence with new monitoring tools: Citrix Director introduces greater application visibility and guidance with a new application dashboard within Director. This new application dashboard will showcase metrics that highlight number of running application instances, application faults and application errors. In addition, Director is also releasing new shadowing capabilities for Linux VMs, access to the XenServer console, component version checking and more.
Last, but not least, Citrix has made some additional enhancements to its XenApp Essentials service. The latest information on enhancements to XenApp Essentials is available here. There you have it! One blog post that covers all the XenApp and XenDesktop release updates, and this is just the beginning. We are going to make it easier for you to track this type of information.
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