Take a trip down memory lane for a moment. You’re back in high school, sitting at your desk watching the clock above the classroom door, foot tapping eagerly. Just moments until that final bell rings and you’re off for a summer of relaxation and lake (or ocean) days. There’s no better feeling than the anticipation of fun things to come.

Then you hear it … that long-awaited final bell.

I can almost hear the bell ringing now. But in this case, something better than summer is here — Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 1906! So throw those papers in the air because school might be out, but the latest and greatest features in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are definitely in!

Chock-full of enhancements for your end users and admins, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Current Release 1906 is sure to make a splash. Remember, Citrix announced at Citrix Synergy that our next Long-Term Service Release (LTSR) is targeted for 2019 Q4, making it even more important to evaluate 1906. Take a look at the latest features and improvements that are continuing to add value to your environment.

Citrix Optimization for Microsoft Teams

Last year, we introduced optimization for web-based Microsoft Teams. With Current Release 1906, we are excited to announce Citrix Optimization for Microsoft Teams to offer a fully native, fully featured Microsoft Teams experience within Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. This is a continuation of the Realtime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business.

Because Microsoft Teams is bundled into Office 365, businesses that are on, or are migrating to, Office 365 can utilize the full Teams capabilities within their virtual environment. This optimization is dependent upon a future Microsoft release of Teams. Take advantage of the collaboration tools, app integration, and file storage capabilities included with Teams that are now optimized with Citrix.

Take a look at the video to see the solution in action:

Additional HDX Technology Enhancements

  • Windows LSA protection: We now support Windows Local Security Authority (LSA) protection, which maintains information about all aspects of local security on a system. This support provides the LSA level of system protection to hosted desktops.
  • Time zone redirection: This feature allows for individuals who are not in their native time zone to remain in their new time zone even if their session disconnects. For example, if a Florida-based user is in California and launches a session set to Pacific time, when they disconnect and log back in an hour later, the session continues in Pacific time. This feature is available for the desktop OS.
  • Default configuration improvements: This brings further improvements to configurations out of the box, namely providing further fine tuning for displays that are on poor connections.

Session Recording Role-Based Access Control

IT admins often have to play back recorded sessions. We currently offer event logging features to make it easier for admins to search for specific sessions and streamline their playback process. But in some enterprise deployments, not all individuals need the same level of access to recorded files. With role-based access control on playback in 1906, admins can create viewing policies for the recorded sessions. They can apply specific viewing rules on each policy for who can view the recordings and what exactly they can view.

Citrix Analytics for Security Integration with StoreFront

As a part of Citrix Workspace Premium Plus, we are now offering security analytics capabilities with StoreFront. Admins who are currently leveraging StoreFront can now receive the granular security insights of Citrix Analytics for Security. This capability tracks user patterns and looks for inconsistencies in the data to secure your infrastructure in real time. For example, you are able to set policies to automatedly end a user’s session if there is a large inconsistency in their usage, and you gain additional insight straight to the source of the issue through the management console. And this is just the beginning. Citrix has also announced Citrix Analytics for Performance — designed to optimize the user experience — coming later this year.

Citrix Access Control for StoreFront Tech Preview

At Synergy, we announced that a tech preview of Citrix Access Control capabilities for on-prem with StoreFront Sync Utility is now available. Keeping your web and SaaS applications secure is just as important as securing your published apps. Single sign on (SSO) by itself is not secure enough. With Access Control, admins can deliver a SSO experience and customize security policies depending on the application. These policies can restrict cut/copy/paste, print, add a watermark, and even remove the navigation bar so a user can’t go to another site.

Bringing this capability to Citrix StoreFront can further enhance on-prem deployments. Access Control for SaaS and Web apps in StoreFront enables Citrix admins to harness the power of Citrix Access Control’s enhanced security and web-filtering policies to deliver secure SSO access to SaaS and enterprise web apps.

Citrix Gateway as Identity Provider for Citrix Workspace Tech Preview

To ensure tighter security and prevent unauthorized access to Citrix Workspace, we are happy to announce a public tech preview that enables Citrix Workspace to use an on-premises Citrix Gateway (previously Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway) as an identity provider. At Synergy, we announced that we are broadening our ecosystem for supporting different identity providers, and this is our first step in that direction. By utilizing an on-prem Citrix Gateway, you can now expand the value to Citrix Workspace. This capability allows for authentication via Smart-Card, RADIUS, Integrated Windows, and conditional access policies.

Citrix Director Enhancements

  • Session startup information: Over the past year, we’ve made major enhancements to our Login Duration information. Getting metrics on everything that happens within a user’s session launch — basically everything that goes on between clicking on an icon and having their app ready for input — allows administrators to drill down into the launch sequence and see details of each phase of the event.  Recently we’ve added new metrics around client and server session startupand UPM processing time, which brings us to over a dozen individual metrics that can be analyzed. Using this Director functionality, admins know where to focus their efforts in optimizing launch performance or troubleshooting user issues, either for individuals or across their user populations.
  • Desktop Probing: A continuation of our App Probing capabilities, Desktop Probing enables admins to schedule automated launches for any kind of published resource and test overall system health. Using these features, admins can simulate user launches at off-hours across their organization and ensure their sessions connect successfully – effectively performing an end-to-end launch test of the environment.  Results will be visible inside Director, and alerts can be set to notify admins or help desk staff of potential issues. This is a great tool for large deployments, because it helps admins avoid frantic 8 am helpdesk calls that apps or desktops aren’t connecting.
  • Session Reconnect Analytics: Session Reconnect data inside Director reports give admins new visibility into the health of their networks and troubleshooting lost sessions. The drill down provides additional information like Session Reliability or Auto Client Reconnect, time stamps, endpoint IP, and endpoint name of the machine where Citrix Workspace app is installed.

Additions to Citrix Provisioning

Citrix Provisioning 1906 brings some highly-anticipated new features, as well. One of the biggest features accelerates the activation of Microsoft Office, which will force activation of the Microsoft Office package at boot time, removing the false error message claiming the installation is not being correctly licensed. Additionally, UEFI boot for Windows VMs, a feature that is in Tech Preview in Citrix Hypervisor 8.0, will now be supported by Citrix Provisioning 1906. Lastly, you can now export virtual machines within the Provisioning console, without having to switch to Studio just for this task. This feature will help streamline the provisioning process for Citrix admins.

Download Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 1906 today!

So the bell has rung, the latest and greatest in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is here, and if you’re an eligible customer, you can download 1906 now! There’s no need to wait. And if you are considering Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, sign up for a free 90-day trial.

And be sure to look out for future blog posts with regular updates on features and releases throughout 2019!