As you know, Citrix is making it easier to experience its solutions by unifying its portfolio. Thus in this quarter’s release, in order to facilitate alignment of our new versioning in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Linux VDA versioning is transitioning to Linux VDA 1808, rather than 7.xx.

Enhanced smartcard certificate mapping

In the previously supported smart card logon solution introduced within the Linux VDA Q1 release, we used the user principle name (UPN) which is extracted from the user certificate —  for example, — as a domain username for authentication.

This works for most cases. However, it fails if the domain used in the user certificate’s UPN is not the same one used for single sign-on. Similarly, if the user attribute in user certificate’s UPN is different from the domain logon name, it leads to logon failure as well.

In this mapping module (or mapper) maps a certificate to a domain user based on an LDAP search when the user is logging on to a Linux virtual desktop session. This new feature enhances smart card logon by supporting smart card certificates generated from a larger range of certificate templates.

For more information, see the “Configure the pam pkcs11 module” section in the Citrix product documentation for “Pass-through authentication by using smart cards.”

YUV444 support for software encoding

H.264 mode is well suited for video and 3D workloads. However, what if you don’t have 3D Pro GPUs available in your VM or haven’t deployed them yet?

Previously, Linux VDA had a by-design spec for one specific scenario. It was this: When H.264 mode is selected, and there is no hardware encoded GPU in the virtual machine, the graphics mode would fall back to TW+, since software-encoding (full-screen H.264) did not support YUV444.

Starting with this release, the Linux VDA supports YUV444 software encoding. So even if you don’t have 3D Pro GPUs, for the cost of additional bandwidth and CPU, the end user experience could be satisfied for video and 3D workloads.

Support Citrix Workspace app for HTML5

In previous releases, if end users wanted to access Linux virtual apps or desktops using an HTML5 experience, Citrix Gateway (formerly NetScaler Unified Gateway and NetScaler Access Gateway) had to be deployed.

In order to support more deployment scenarios such as incidences in which NetScaler Gateway is not leveraged for internal access to Citrix Virtual Apps or Desktops, you can now use Citrix Workspace app for HTML5. This enables direct access to Linux virtual apps and desktops without connecting thru Citrix Gateway.

HDX bandwidth limit

In order to enhance and guarantee a great end-user session experience, this version of the Linux VDA supports the bandwidth limit on total sessions and the bandwidth limit per each virtual channel. You can customize the relevant bandwidth policies to avoid performance impacts that can arise due to the bandwidth consumption of sessions.

Tech Preview: Adjust average bit rates based on bandwidth estimation

As always, the Linux VDA team commits to delivering innovative features based on customer feedback. With that in mind, there is one additional tech preview feature that we’d like to get your feedback on before we incorporate it into a future release.

When the HDX 3D Pro hardware encoding is in use and the network is not as stable as expected, the Linux VDA can intermittently estimate the bandwidth of the network and adjust the bit rates of encoded frames based on that bandwidth estimation. By adjusting average bit rates based on bandwidth estimation, this new feature provides a mechanism to balance between sharpness and fluency in order to enhance HDX 3D Pro hardware encoding.

For more information about this experimental feature, see this article on Linux VDA graphics configuration and fine-tuning.

New platform support

Last but not least, along with the new capabilities I mentioned above, Linux VDA 1808 now supports RHEL 7.5 and CentOS 7.5 along with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as host platform.

Try out these awesome features by adopting Linux VDA 1808 today. In the comments section below, please let us know what you think of the new features.