Back in August [2018], we released a new version of our virtualization solution: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) 7 1808 (formerly known as Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop). With it came a few changes, enhancements, and new features. For example, a new name, Citrix Workspace app – which is much more than a new name/version for Receiver, web-based Teams optimization, support for NVIDIA NVENC and H.265, to name a few. Check out the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1808 release blog post and documentation for more details.

There is a particular enhancement that sort of flew under the radar, yet, it is one of the most significant enhancements we made. It was our first step towards next generation HDX. We increased the max throughput for ICA by up to 100% – when encapsulating ICA in CGP (i.e. when Session Reliability is enabled). What exactly does that mean? Simply put, we can push more data to the client when we need to, especially in high latency networks. This results in a much-improved user experience because of being able to deliver higher quality and smoother video to the client, provide overall higher framerate and resolution, transfer files from the virtual app or desktop to the client faster. This enhancement applies to every virtual channel, so any activity within the session that requires large amounts of data to be sent to the client will benefit from this. Also, because it is especially beneficial in higher latency networks, the impact of the added latency introduced when hosting your virtual apps and desktops in the Cloud is minimized.

To help visualize it, here is a video that compares video playback in CVAD 1808 and XenApp & XenDesktop 7.18 (no audio):

The following graph shows the bandwidth consumption in both scenarios presented in the video as well as a comparison of playing that same video in a 100ms RTT latency network:

We have received great feedback from customers already. I kid you not, one of our customers that upgraded to CVAD 1808 sent us a note saying “We are now able to fully render 1080p 60FPS real-time video playback through VLC… Even simple content playback at 1080p 60FPS via YouTube which is fully in sync with no loss of frames!”

We also tested file transfers, and on average the transfer times were cut in half in high latency networks (up to 150ms RTT tested). For example, with 150ms RTT latency, a 400 MB file took around 7 minutes to copy from the virtual desktop to the client drive before the enhancement. After the enhancement, this dropped to around 3 minutes.

Now, to be clear, this is an improvement made to Citrix Workspace app for Windows 1808 and will be incorporated into CWA for other platforms in the future, so it doesn’t require a specific version of the VDA. Keep in mind, however, that you will be missing out on all the cool stuff released in CVAD 1808 by sticking with an older version of XenApp & XenDesktop. 😉

Also note that this benefits ICA over both TCP and EDT. However, the benefits of these enhancements are not as significant when using EDT since it is more efficient by design. Either way, there is a performance boost that will help deliver an even better experience.

As I mentioned earlier, this was just our first step towards next generation HDX, so stay tuned for more in Part 2 of this blog series.

Until next time,

Product Manager – HDX

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