Citrix have released a new version of Citrix XenDesktop 7.11 and XenApp 7.11 and is now available for download.
Citrix raises the bar of for user experience and new product release of following technologies
Virtual Delivery Agents 7.11 for ServerOS and ClientOS
Provisioning Services 7.11
Profile Management 5.5
License Server 11.14
Citrix Receiver 15.0 for Windows
HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.1.1 for Microsoft Skype® for Busines
Citrix SCOM Management Bundle for XenApp and XenDesktop (2016_08_24)
Linux Virtual Delivery Agent 1.4
Tech preview for HTML5 redirection
This release is an important release no matter if you are working daily with Office application such as Excel, Word or Browsers and even highend applications such as CAD. The features in 7.11 have important improved user experience from the VDA to the Receiver that improves dramtically the user experience. NVIDIA NVENC technology is now part of VDA and supports even multiple monitors. The admin can now monitor RTT within Director this feature have been something I have asked for very long time and now finally its in the product, customer will love this new feature so its fast to see where the issue is in a infrastructure with which users that have latency issues. Version 7.11 is the release that fully supports Microsoft Windows Server 2016 that is soon GA, this means you can install Delivery components on Windows Server 2016, VDA on Server 2016, use Azure N-series with support for Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Discrete Device Assignment (DDA) or you can use it onpremises with Hyper-V. Support for UWP is HUGE and I am very excited about this technology and this also used in Microsoft Hololens so cant wait to a Receiver for hololens so you can publish UWP apps to Hololens 😉 Imagine that. I can keep going on with all these new features lets dig in below and learn whats new, its incredible that Citrix raises the bar and comes with huge improvements and they this each 3 months 🙂 yes each 3months, you read it correct. If you dont have a plan for this in your company I highly recommend you build a strategy on how you upgrade you Citrix environment frequently to get these awesome new features.
Citrix released Feature Pack 2 for Citrix XenDesktop & Citrix XenApp.
What’s new in Feature Pack 2 for Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 and XenApp 7.6
The Feature Pack 2 release includes the following new and enhanced features.
StoreFront includes the following new features and enhancements.
Unified Receiver provides modern, centrally-managed and customizable user app selection experience across all user devices.
Google Chrome Support without NPAPI.
Delegating Authentication to XenApp and XenDesktop when there is no AD trust between sites.
Treat All Desktops as Applications to apply Workspace Control and group icons together.
Integrated Monitoring Service enables NetScaler to monitor StoreFront.
Extended Store Customization SDK for business logic.
Updated StoreFront management console
Support for the unified Receiver experience — StoreFront 3.0 delivers centralized customization and branding of your end users’ applications and desktop selection experience to Receiver users. Your company can customize the interface to reflect your logo, colors, and so forth. Some of the new Receiver and StoreFront features:
Simplified application organization — Familiar and consistent application selection experience for use.
Featured app groups. Administrator configured applications that are logically grouped and advertised to users in the applications selection experience.
Folder view of applications. Return of Web Interface functionality in StoreFront.
Favorites. Easily add or remove applications to Favorites for quick access.
Server-managed user experience — Application selection experience is server configured.
Change once, deploy everywhere. User application selection experience changes are made by the administrator on StoreFront server.
Consistent application selection experience for user. Any device running Receiver receives its application selection experience from the server as HTML5, providing for consistency as users move across smartphones, tablets, and desktop form factors.
Decouple the application selection experience from Receiver capabilities. Client upgrade without end user training or user experience impact; Support legacy user experience without legacy client cost.
Fit for purpose user experience customization options — You select the appropriate level of customization.
Updated out-of-the-box user experience. Modernized end user application selection look-and-feel.
Server-configured branding customizations. You brand with corporate logos, color, and featured application groups.
Deeper customization and branding options. CSS and script APIs available to enable deeper levels of customization.
Use the StoreFront management console to do the following Receiver related tasks:
Set Receiver for Web as the default for the store.
Create a Receiver for Web website.
Change website type.
Customize the website appearance.
See the Support for Receiver for Web article.
Featured app groups management — App groups are groups of applications that are related or fit in a specific category making them more easily discoverable. With Studio and the StoreFront management console you can define app groups using keywords, application names, or categories.
See the Create and manage featured apps article.
XML service-based authentication.
You can configure StoreFront to use the XenApp and XenDesktop XML Service to authenticate the user name and password credentials where a user explicitly provides a user name and password. Use PowerShell cmdlets to enable and disable this feature. For more information, see XML service-based authentication.
Support for HDX Real-Time Optimization Pack 1.8
HDX RealTime Optimization Pack includes the following new features and enhancements.
Support for the Microsoft Skype for Business client in Lync UI mode, the Microsoft Lync 2013 client, and the Microsoft Lync 2010 client.
Support for the Lync Server 2013 Autodiscover Service.
Call Park and Call Pick Up in Lync 2010 client.
Call forwarding and simultaneous ringing controls for Lync 2010 client
Support for Mac.
Plus (+) symbol in the dial pad.
Support for the Microsoft Windows 10 technical preview.
Session Recording includes the following new features and enhancements.
You can specify the connection credentials to the database when installing the Session Recording Database component.
You can test the connectivity of database during the installation of the Session Recording Database and Session Recording Server components and test the connectivity of the Session Recording Server during the installation of Session Recording Agent component.
Microsoft Shared Management Objects is no longer requirement for Session Recording Database installation.
You can now create Linux virtual desktops based on SUSE and Red Hat distributions. Prepare your Linux virtual machines, install the new Linux VDA software on them, configure your Delivery Controller, and then use Studio to make the desktops available to users. For more information, see the following documents.
Installation guide for SUSE
Installation guide for Red Hat
Framehawk Virtual Channel
Framehawk is a new ICA virtual channel that extends Citrix HDX technologies, a set of capabilities that work together to deliver a high-definition user experience of virtual desktops and applications.
The Framehawk virtual channel optimizes the delivery of virtual desktops and applications to users on broadband wireless connections. It is ideal for mobile devices under lossy network connections. With Framehawk integrated into the industry-leading HDX technology, Citrix provides a smooth and intuitive user experience in conditions where remote workspace users previously experienced poor interactivity, such as on wireless connections with high packet loss or congestion.
For more information, see the following document.
This version of Director supports the Framehawk virtual channel. You can display HDX graphics information, which lets you monitor and troubleshoot any session that uses the channel.
I am very excited to share this great news with you all. I did a webinar with fellow CTP Trond Eirik Håvarstein from XenAppBlog.com, and we had a special guest surprise Jeroen Van De Kamp CTP and CTO, LoginVSI announcing ground breaking stuff in the webinar. We had over 700 people signed up for the Webinar, if you was among the crowd that missed the opportunity to see the webinar here is your chance, the webinar is now available for everyone for free. There was a lot of Q/A and I will the next couple of days reply to all the Q/A and make them available in this article.
The webinar has been re-mastered and the audio & graphical demo videos is even better now than in the actual webinar, make sure to check it out now:
Summary of webinar product announcements from LoginVSI, Lakeside Software, Uberagent for Splunk.
LoginVSI upcoming new version support’s GPU benchmark…
LoginVSI is working on next version that will support benchmark, capacity planning, stress testing the “missing component in virtualization” GPU. If you are interested you can write to get access to the beta version of LoginVSI.
Here are some screen shots from the session…. watch it to here what Jeroen tells about the upcoming version
Note if you want to get more info on the next version of LoginVSI that supports GPU, write to email@example.com subject GFX
Another groundbreaking product announcement was from Lakeside Software, they are about to release version 7 of Systrack that will support NVIDIA GPU Monitoring/assessing.
Application Graphics Benchmarking
The transformation of an existing software portfolio first begins with the identification of all of the actively used software packages in the environment. The added complication in the case of a project to begin advanced application delivery is the need to understand multiple facets of usage: resource consumption, graphics utilization, frequency of use, user access habits, and mobility needs. Because the state of IT is already so complex it only becomes possible to fully understand and plan with a complete set of descriptive information that really characterizes the unique aspects of every environment. Of particular interest is the ability to first identify applications that have GPU demands, and then begin to segment them into tiers of utilization. SysTrack continually collects information about software packages as they’re used and normalizes all data points for cross platform comparison. One of the key performance parameters that’s identified in this process is a graphical intensity measure (Graphics Index) that provides a way to identify those applications in the portfolio that have higher GPU demands than others. With this critical information it becomes possible to segment the portfolio into groupings based on their requirements for specific resources. By tying a general sense of which applications have peak demand to total length of usage it becomes easier to start developing a portfolio made up of different combinations of usage styles. This includes separating applications that may be used by a small set of the population with intense requirements versus widely used applications with a smaller footprint. Of course, this also allows for much deeper analytics centering on the behaviors of users that is quite important in planning the GPU profiles in use in provisioning. Figure 1 displays this relationship in a bubble chart format, this format groups applications based on their similar characteristics presenting clusters of similar applications in larger bubbles. The vast majority of applications exist in the “low graphics demand – Low Time Active” area in the bottom left, while only a select few have either high graphics demand or high time active.
SysTrackTracks graphics usage frequency across on physical clients and allows you to group users based on graphics usage & frequency
A natural expansion of this is grouping users into distinct workload types to understand how best to configure the profile types and GPU assignments for users. Once the target applications and users have been characterized and a plan has been developed it’s critical to begin the process of sizing the environment. This includes determining the architecture, sizing the desktops and servers that will be worked with, and identifying resources that will be required to support the needs of the planned deployment.
Resource Modeling & Capacity Planning
NVIDIA Marketplace report from Systrack’sVirtual Machine Planner (VMP) outlines the number of users that fall into different use cases making it easier to forecast how many users per board can be allocated
With a complete portfolio plan it now becomes possible to move into the next phase and start creating a model for what resources will be required for a complete environment. Because each of the users have been fully characterized throughout the assessment data collection interval it’s possible to use SysTrack’s Virtual Machine Planner (VMP) for powerful mathematical analysis to provide deep insight into infrastructure provisioning. The first component of this involves using the profile information above to help develop a plan for what kind of solution will be provided to the end-users. By segmenting the population into different delivery strategies using Citrix FlexCast options as a guideline, a more complete and accurate picture of how the net new environment will operate can be created. An additional benefit of segmentation is the ability to take advantage of grouping by general graphics consumption to identify the number of GPUs required for the environment based on the user density information for each profile type
The NVIDIA MarketPlace report from VMP outlines the number of users that fall into the various use cases (e.g. “high” for a designer or higher end power user), making it much easier to forecast how many users per board can be allocated and in turn how many total boards may be needed
This information creates an easy to use design for a set of user profiles, both for the actual desktop delivery and for the vGPU assignment. By ensuring the best possible analysis of the environment prior to the actual deployment the end-user experience is much simpler to forecast and control. This results in higher end-user satisfaction and a shorter transition time.
User Experience Optimization
After the successful implementation of the solution the environment still requires observation to prevent interruption of service and the potential for productivity impact. The best way to ensure optimal end-user service quality is to have a real-time alerting and analytical engine to collect and report instantly on degradation of any aspect of the systems the users interact with. SysTrack provides this in the form of proactive alerting, detailed system analysis in Resolve, and aggregate trending through Enterprise and Site Visualizer. An even more interesting feature is vScape, a tool designed to examine utilization across multiple virtual machines and correlate resource consumption to concurrency of application utilization. vScape provides real-time updates of all of the application usage across all virtual platforms in an enterprise, including information about what applications are currently demanding GPU resources. It also provides insight into other resource demands as well, such as CPU, memory, and I/O. This can help automate the discovery of co-scheduled or highly concurrent applications to pinpoint the root cause of oversubscription issues much more quickly. It also provides key insight into guest health characteristics with trending to correlate precisely which events may lead to service degradation
Another key feature introduced in SysTrack version 7.0 is the result of close collaboration with NVIDIA to leverage APIs presented in the guest operating system. This allows the capture of detailed GPU performance metrics to correlate vGPU consumption to end-user service quality. Specifically, with NVIDIA drivers present in the guest OS or on a physical system, the GPU utilization and key metrics (see table 2 for a sample of selected metrics) from the graphics card can be captured and analyzed in the same way as CPU or other system metrics are currently in SysTrack.
In Systrack 7 after provisioning users in VDI environment the IT admins can monitors performance, which enables to optimize density over time.
This completes the set of KPIs used in SysTrack to calculate the end-user experience score, including categories like resource limitation, network configuration, latency, guest configuration, protocol specific data for ICA, and virtual infrastructure. With a complete set of relevant information the proactive and trending health analysis provided in SysTrack yields a thorough analysis in an easy to understand, quantitative score that summarizes performance on an environmental, group based, or individual system level.
NVIDIA GPU Monitoring/Assessing: (Works with all NVIDIA GPU) Quadro, Kepler, GRID
You will be able to look at following parameters:
Frame Buffer Usage
Memory Usage (Bytes and Percent)
# of Apps
Temperatures and Fan RPMS
Use this data to accurately plan and size GRID and HDX 3D Pro deployments based on actually observed usage and utilization.
Monitor users post-deployment to provide the best user experience
UberAgent 1.8 for Splunk adds GPU performance monitoring
Helge Klein have developed a new version of Splunk that now supports monitoring of GPU, this was a feature request I talked with Helge Klein about in 2013, and I am so happy to see the results what he have done with UberAgent for Splunk, lets dig in what it can do.
GPU compute usage per machine
GPU memory usage per machine
GPU compute usage per process
GPU memory usage per process
uberAgent shows memory usage separately for shared and dedicated memory (dedicated = on the GPU, shared = main system RAM)
uberAgent shows compute usage per GPU engine. The various GPU engines serve different functions, e.g. 2D acceleration, 3D acceleration, video decoding, etc.
You will see more upcoming blogs from me covering this topic. End User experience, assessments of GPU workload, scaling/sizing, benchmarking, hardware supported, GPU side by side experience, Hypervisor vs Bare metal with a GPU. Watch out for cool things….
Citrix have released a new version of Citrix VDI-in-a-box 5.4
VDI-in-a-Box 5.4 provides support for Windows 8.1 virtual desktops and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V. It also includes a range of enhancements that increase VDI-in-a-Box’s flexibility and a range of power tools for administrators. If you want to migrate your VDI-in-a-box platform to a XenDesktop 7 platform, there is now a wizard included in VDI-in-a-box 5.4, that lets you easy migrate your images, template configuration and user assignments.
Note !!! – Citrix VDI-in-a-Box does not support HDX3D Pro.
Whats new in Citrix VDI-in-a-box 5.4
Windows 8.1 virtual desktops Create Windows 8.1 desktops and run them on any supported hypervisor.
Windows Server 2012 R2 Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper V is now supported. You can also use Windows Server 2012 R2 desktops with HDX connections. Grids running on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper V and Windows Server 2012 Hyper V can use shared storage.
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 Hypervisor is now supported.
Built-in HTML5 device support Use devices running HTML5-capable browsers to access VDI-in-a-Box desktops without StoreFront. This allows devices such as Chromebook to access VDI-in-a-Box desktops without additional server components.
Multiple computer domains If you use Active Directory as a user database, you can place the computer objects for VDI-in-a-Box desktops in more than one domain. This allows you to separate your users into different domains and meet regulatory or compliance requirements in your organization. For more information, see Use VDI-in-a-Box with Active Directory.
StoreFront smart card support Users can log on using smart cards when accessing desktops through StoreFront from non-domain-joined Windows devices.
SSL certificate multiple host names You can specify multiple host names on a single SSL certificate, which is more cost-effective than using a wildcard certificate. This enables you to specify the grid IP FQDN as the common name and add subject alternate names for the FQDNs of the individual vdiManagers. For more information, see Manage SSL certificates.
Install existing SSL certificates Install existing SSL certificates through the Manage SSL Certificate wizard. For more information, see Manage SSL certificates.
Follow-me desktops Time-share user devices among multiple user names where each user name is shared by a group of users: in a classroom or lab environment, for example. In previous releases of VDI-in-a-Box this was achieved through setting your entire grid to generic user mode. You now have the flexibility to support shared user accounts and dedicated user accounts in the same VDI-in-a-Box grid just by clearing a check box on an individual template. For more information, see Configure shared user accounts.
Generic user mode is now reserved solely for avoiding user name verification after the user logs on to a desktop. For more information, see Configure generic user accounts.
Image save as You can save an existing image under a new name. This gives you the flexibility to easily create backups, or experiment with different image settings.
If you need to pilot a new version of an image for a pooled desktop, you can update an existing image, save it with a different name, then edit an existing template to use this image. When testing is complete it’s easy to either continue using the updated image, move back to the previous version, or create subsequent versions if you need to continue testing.
For more information, see Manage images.
Change images for pooled-desktop templates You can edit an existing template for pooled desktops and base it on a different image, provided the image is compatible with the template properties and existing desktops. This enables you to test new versions of images, as described above. For more information, see Manage templates.
Remote Assistance support Launch Windows Remote Assistance from the vdiManager console, enabling administrators or support staff to share users’ screens and shadow their sessions. For more information, see Manage user sessions.
Wizard-driven migration to Citrix XenDesktop If you need to move your entire VDI-in-a-Box deployment to XenDesktop, this easy-to-use wizard exports your images and generates PowerShell scripts that you can run to migrate all template configurations and user assignments to a XenDesktop deployment. For more information see http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136081.