Although we typically write blog posts about major enhancements to our products and solutions, it’s easy to forget about the smaller changes we make on an ongoing basis to improve our products and to make them more user-friendly. This post will look at some of the enhancements we rolled out over the last quarter or so, and we will also recap some of the more major changes to the Citrix Cloud platform and Citrix Cloud Services.
Citrix Cloud EU Region and Additional Languages
In October we introduced a new region for Citrix Cloud, expanding our capabilities to Europe and adding language support for French, Spanish, and German. Now, as part of creating a new Citrix Cloud account, customers can select either US or EU locations, based on their needs. Additionally, If you select EU, but need to leverage a service located in the US, no problem! For more detailed information, please read the FAQ. To recap on current platform and service regions:
Support Ticket Details & Commenting
We already offered administrators the capability to open support tickets with Citrix Support directly from the Citrix Cloud administrative interface. From within Citrix Cloud, you would be able to see a list of your tickets with basic information. But getting more details, as well as back and forth communication about the support case, would still be handled outside of the user interface (e.g. email or phone).
To drive a faster time to resolution of issues we made improvements to how we present support tickets, including details about the ticket and current status of the ticket and we added two-way communication and comment history to each ticket.
To make it easier for you to set up and use Citrix Cloud, we recently introduced in-product tutorials that give you step-by-step instructions to complete important actions. An example is linking your Azure subscription in order to set up XenApp Essentials.
You can find additional tutorials by clicking on the Guide Center icon at the bottom right of your screen. We will automatically show you guides available for the page you are on.
Expect more in-product guidance and tutorials coming to the various Citrix Cloud offerings in the near future.
Updated Main Navigation Menu
We wanted to make sure that as we add more services and functionality to Citrix Cloud; it should still be easy to navigate from anywhere in Citrix Cloud to the service or section of the platform you want to go to. So, we redesigned the main navigation menu (aka the “Hamburger Button.” Yes, that’s an actual thing) to make it simpler and separate out the sections of the platform from the various Citrix Cloud services, so you can more easily find what you are looking for.
Domain Management in Citrix Cloud
In the past months, several improvements have been made to help customers manage their domain connectivity in Citrix Cloud. The domains page in Citrix Cloud helps admins understand where connectors have been deployed to access to enterprise identity. A resource location is listed under a domain when a connector has been deployed in that domain and registered to the resource location.
Domain functional level is displayed to show admins what version each of their domains are running, making it easy to align with Citrix Cloud domain best practices and supported functional levels. Citrix Cloud officially supports Windows Server functional levels 2008 R2 through 2016. With support for both 2008 R2 and 2016, Citrix Cloud supports customers who are maintaining older functional levels as well as providing future coverage as more and more customers move towards 2016.
Additional details and a comprehensive list of supported functional levels can be found here: https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/citrix-cloud-resource-locations/citrix-cloud-connector/technical-details.html
Citrix Cloud continues to invest in additional domain features to support more advanced AD topologies and enterprise use cases. One example is optimized Active Directory API call routing that ensures sequential AD calls (such as a MCS provisioning flow) will continue to route to the same AD controller – preventing any failure or issues that may occur related to delays in AD replication.
Citrix Cloud Connector Health Monitoring and Alerts
With millions of connector health checks now under our belt, we’ve learned a lot and have been optimizing and expanding our health check routines. If you’re interested in your connector performance and learning more about how Citrix Cloud is monitoring your connectors, check out this blog post, written when the feature launched earlier this year.
Notification Email Forwarding
In addition to new notifications being added (such as the health checks mentioned), we now support forwarding Citrix Cloud notifications to admin emails. Admins can enroll in this feature by visiting their profile in account settings and turning on the feature. If you want to know right away when your connectors may be having an issue, this feature is for you. More details on this feature can be found here: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/10/23/citrix-cloud-admins-take-notice-notification-forwarding-to-email-is-now-available/
Performance & Reliability Improvements
Although new features and functionality are an important part of improving the usability of our products and making your users more productive, an important factor for a great user experience is performance. Additionally, arguably the most important “feature” of any Cloud service is its reliability: if you cannot access the service, all the features mentioned in this blog are more or less irrelevant.
Just like how improving performance is an ongoing project, improving reliability is too. Increasing reliability is partially about technical enhancements, but is often dependent on implementing good processes. Some examples of things we’ve done are enhancing our roll-out capabilities and processes for the Citrix Cloud platform, the Citrix identity platform, as well as Citrix Cloud Connectors. For the latter, we also support “roll forward,” which allows us to deploy specific fixes for customers when needed. Another good example is that we implemented the capability to limit or eliminate aggressive traffic in case of an emergency (e.g. when the actions of a single customer, impacts the reliability of other customers, intentionally or not). Of course this is all supported by approval processes with a chain of command, preventing that a single person could decide and execute such an action. Other things we do to deliver on our Service Level Goals are ongoing training for our developers and support staff to quickly identify and resolve issues, a “buddy system” for production changes and improve the way we do patching of systems we use.
New Citrix Cloud Services and Services updates
In addition to changes to some of the core Citrix Cloud platform components and User Interface, we’ve added various new services as well as enhanced existing services, including:
- XenApp Essentials: including the release of Citrix Workspace and support for Federated User authentication through Azure AD
- XenApp and XenDesktop Service: including Syncing Zones to Resource Locations, support for LTSR VDAs and Previews for both provisioning VDAs in Azure Germany Cloud and support for Azure Managed Disks
- NetScaler Management & Analytics service: the functionality that allows administrators to easily view, automate, and manage all their application infrastructure, as well as gain deep insights into application performance and security is now also available as a service through Citrix Cloud
- Smart Tools: if you are not familiar with Smart Tools yet, make sure to check it out. All Citrix customers with valid CSS Select are entitled to use Smart Tools through Citrix Cloud. We made various enhancements to Smart Check and Smart Scale
- Linux VDA Image Labs Service: a new Citrix Cloud Labs service that allows administrators to jump-start their Linux VDA deployment on Microsoft Azure
- ShareFile: existing ShareFile customers (and there are many) who are transitioning to our Citrix Cloud offering are now able to link their existing ShareFile account to their Citrix Cloud subscription. For those Citrix Cloud customers that don’t have ShareFile yet, they can easily start a trial right from the launchpad:
Stay tuned for more!
The enhancements mentioned in this post are just a part of what we’ve been doing over the last few months across the Citrix Cloud platform and Citrix Cloud services. Many other changes — both visible and not visible —have been included (40+ enhancements for just the core Citrix Cloud platform components in the last quarter, this is excluding services and bug fixes). We also made various improvements specifically targeting our Citrix Partners (stay tuned for a blog post on this soon).
And there is much more to come! We will be making additional announcements at Citrix Summit in January and of course keep an eye on the Citrix Blogs, as well as on the What’s New section in the Citrix Cloud user interface to stay informed about these upcoming changes.
For those who are not using Citrix Cloud services yet, but want to start checking it out, we offer a simple way of getting you started. Go to our trial page or go directly to our onboarding page and get started with Citrix Cloud today!