Citrix XenDesktop 7

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in App-V, AppDNA, Branch Repeater, Citrix, CloudBridge, CloudGateway, Desktop Virtualization, Edgesight, GRID, HDX, HDX 3D Pro, Hyper-V, Merchandise, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Personal vDisk, Profile Management, Provisioning, SCCM, SCVVM, VGX, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008R2, Windows Server 2012, XenApp, XenClient, XenConvert, XenDesktop, XenServer

At Citrix Synergy 2013, Anaheim, CA, May. Citrix announced the availability of Citrix XenDesktop 7, the software is now available for download.

In this article i will cover whats new and how “XenApp” & “XenDesktop” merges into 1 product, XenApp is now using the Architecture XenDesktop was build around, and now Applications/Desktop gets delivered either from a Client operating system (Windows 7 or 8) or a Server operating system (Windows Server 2008R2 or Windows Server 2012)
Read more  “components in XenDesktop 7”

I have been waiting for this release to be available. Now XenApp in XenDesktop have all the cool new features such as deep compression codec “HDX 3D Pro” and higher frame rates, so your virtualized 2D/3D applications can run over strict bandwidth with high latency, before this was possible with XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro now XenApp can deliver the same, and the cool thing is XenApp is included in the delivery mechanism of XenDesktop 7. Merchandising and Provisioning Services are still alive and strong and released in a new software version. AppDNA is now included in the XenDesktop Platinum edition with a limited edition Hosted App P2V Analysis.

Components in XenDesktop 7

If you already have experience with a XenDesktop or XenApp environment, it will be helpful to you to identify the components introduced in this release and learn how they work and communicate with each other. Under the new architecture, XenDesktop and XenApp are unified, including management and delivery components, to give administrators a unified management experience.

This figure shows the key components in a typical deployment.

The core components of this release are:

Director — Director is a web-based tool that enables IT support and help desk teams to monitor an environment, troubleshoot issues before they become system-critical, and perform support tasks for end users. You can also view and interact with a user’s sessions using Microsoft Remote Assistance.

Receiver — Installed on user devices, Citrix Receiver provides users with quick, secure, self-service access to documents, applications, and desktops from any of the user’s devices including smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Receiver provides on-demand access to Windows, Web, and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

StoreFront — StoreFront authenticates users to sites hosting resources and manages stores of desktops and applications that users access.

Studio — Studio is the management console that enables you to configure and manage your deployment, eliminating the need for separate management consoles for managing delivery of applications and desktops. Studio provides various wizards to guide you through the process of setting up your environment, creating your workloads to host applications and desktops, and assigning applications and desktops to users.

Delivery Controller — Installed on servers in the data center, the Delivery Controller consists of services that communicate with the hypervisor to distribute applications and desktops, authenticate and manage user access, and broker connections between users and their virtual desktops and applications. The Controller manages the state of the desktops, starting and stopping them based on demand and administrative configuration. In some editions, the Controller allows you to install Profile management to manage user personalization settings in virtualized or physical Windows environments. Each site has one or more Delivery Controllers.

XenServer — XenServer is an enterprise-class virtual machine infrastructure solution that creates the foundation for delivering virtual desktops and offers advanced management features. Multiple VMs can run on XenServer, which takes advantage of the advanced virtualization features of the latest virtualization-enabled processors from Intel and AMD. For more information about XenServer, see the XenServer documentation in eDocs.

Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) — Installed on server or workstation operating systems, the VDA enables connections for desktops and apps. For Remote PC Access, install the VDA on the office PC.

Machine Creation Services (MCS) — A collection of services that work together to create virtual servers and desktops from a master image on demand, optimizing storage utilization and providing a pristine virtual machine to users every time they log on. Machine Creation Services is fully integrated and administrated in Citrix Studio.

Windows Server OS machines — VMs or physical machines based on Windows Server operating system used for delivering applications or hosted shared desktops to users.

Desktop OS machines — VMs or physical machines based on Windows Desktop operating system used for delivering personalized desktops to users, or applications from desktop operating systems.

Remote PC Access — User devices that are included on a whitelist, enabling users to access resources on their office PCs remotely, from any device running Citrix Receiver.

Additional components provide the following features:

Secure delivery — When users connect from outside the corporate firewall, this release can use Citrix NetScaler Gateway (formerly Access Gateway) technology to secure these connections with SSL. NetScaler Gateway or NetScaler VPX virtual appliance is an SSL VPN appliance that is deployed in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to provide a single secure point of access through the corporate firewall.

WAN optimization — In deployments where virtual desktops are delivered to users at remote locations such as branch offices, Citrix CloudBridge (formerly Citrix Branch Repeater or WANScaler) technology can be employed to optimize performance. Repeaters accelerate performance across wide-area networks, so with Repeaters in the network, users in the branch office experience LAN-like performance over the WAN. CloudBridge can prioritize different parts of the user experience so that, for example, the user experience does not degrade in the branch location when a large file or print job is sent over the network. HDX WAN Optimization with CloudBridge provides tokenized compression and data deduplication, dramatically reducing bandwidth requirements and improving performance. For more information, see the Citrix CloudBridge documentation.

License versions available in XenDesktop 7

The version comes in Evaluation, VDI edition, App Edition, Enterprise Edition and Platinum Edition.

In this topic i will cover which software editions you can download, and which software components are included you can use for each XenDesktop edition.

XenDesktop 7 – Evaluation Edition

Citrix XenDesktop evaluation edition have 99 licenses included and works for 90 days.
This release includes the core components Citrix XenDesktop 7 Core and Components + Receiver + XenServer

XenDesktop 7 – VDI Edition

This release includes the core components Citrix XenDesktop 7 Core and Components + Receiver + Provisioning Services 7 + XenServer + Merchandising Server

XenDesktop 7 – App Edition

This release includes the core components Citrix XenDesktop 7 Core and Components + Receiver + Provisioning Services 7 + XenServer + Merchandising Server

XenDesktop 7 – Enterprise Edition

This release includes the core components Citrix XenDesktop 7 Core and Components + Receiver + XenClient Enterprise + Provisioning Services 7 + XenServer + Merchandising Server

XenDesktop 7 – Platinum Edition

This release includes the core components Citrix XenDesktop 7 Core and Components + Receiver + Hosted App P2V Analysis (AppDNA) + CloudBridge (Branch Repeater) VPX + XenClient Enterprise + Provisioning Services 7 + XenServer + Merchandising Server

What’s new in XenDesktop 7

  • Machine Catalog Desktops and Applications
    • Desktops — Deliver managed desktops to multiple, simultaneously connected remote users. Server OS machine and Desktop OS machine desktops provide features such as SmoothRoaming, session reliability, license consumption, Receiver and Delivery Services authentication, and Desktop Viewer. This release introduces Windows Server OS machine catalogs and desktops as a cost-effective virtualization delivery solution because they provide a significant number of remote users per server and storage resource. This release also provides Remote PC desktops that let users access resources on their office PCs remotely, from any device running Citrix Receiver.
    • Applications — Integrate XenApp publishing capabilities within a deployment. Use this feature to deliver shared hosted applications to multiple, simultaneously-connected remote users.
  • HDX enhancements
    • Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 support — Deliver a high-definition user experience on Windows 8 virtual desktops and physical machines. HDX 3D Pro has also been upgraded to support Windows 8.
    • Desktop Composition Redirection — Extend the Aero Redirection feature introduced in XenDesktop 5.5 to provide users with a more fluid Windows 7 Aero or Windows 8 desktop experience by leveraging the graphics processing unit (GPU) or integrated graphics processor (IGP) on supported Windows user devices for local DirectX graphics rendering. This feature delivers rich multimedia applications to user devices, while maintaining high scalability on the server.
    • Windows Media client-side content fetching — Enable a user device to stream multimedia files directly from the source provider on the Internet or Intranet to improve network utilization and server scalability.
    • Multicast support — Reduce bandwidth consumption when streaming live video to branch offices. Multicast support enables a single Windows Media source transmission to support multiple users.
    • Real-time multimedia transcoding — Enable audio and video streaming to mobile devices, improving the way that Windows Media content is delivered. Host-based transcoding provides a seamless user experience, even in extreme network conditions. To improve server scalability, if the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) has a supported graphics processing unit (GPU) for hardware acceleration, transcoding is done in the GPU.
    • User Datagram Protocol (UDP) audio for Server OS machines — Extend support for audio delivery over UDP/RTP to Server OS machines. This feature delivers superior audio quality for real-time applications like video conferencing and streaming media, even in environments when there is packet loss or congestion.
    • Webcam video compression — Reduce bandwidth consumption to improve performance when using supported video conferencing applications.
    • HDX 3D Pro — Deliver applications with graphics processing units (GPUs) for hardware acceleration to the desktop. This includes 3D professional graphics applications based on OpenGL and DirectX.
    • Server-rendered Rich Graphics and Video — Deliver rich graphics (including Windows 8 or Windows Aero) to virtual desktop users on any client, platform, and bandwidth condition by rendering the content on the server. When users have the latest Citrix Receiver, they will also notice improved performance for server-rendered video.
    • Improved Flash Redirection — Determine when to redirect Adobe Flash content to the user device for local rendering based on the user’s network type and environment. Flash Redirection helps reduce server and network load, resulting in greater scalability while ensuring a high-definition user experience.
  • New installer — Use a single, streamlined installer to guide you through installing the core components (Delivery Controller, Studio, Director, StoreFront, and License Server) and VDAs.
  • Profile management — By default, Citrix Profile management 5.0 is installed silently on master images when you install the Virtual Delivery Agent, but you do not have to use Profile management as a profile solution.
  • Configuration Logging — Capture Site configuration changes and administrative activities to a Configuration Logging Database. You can view the log in Studio using a variety of filters and generate HTML and CSV reports.
  • Director — Monitor and troubleshoot deployments using Director’s redesigned user interface with integrated EdgeSight features:
    • A new help desk view offers an improved troubleshooting experience for help desk administrators, allowing user, machine, and application issues to be resolved quickly.
    • Full administrators have access to other views, including a newly designed Dashboard to provide a graphical summary of your deployment in a central location, and a Trends page to provide improved, in-depth, graphical monitoring and troubleshooting of the entire deployment with various time ranges.
    • EdgeSight performance management provides the historical retention and trend reporting. With historical retention of data versus the real-time assessment, administrators are able to create Trend reports, including capacity and health trending.
    • EdgeSight network analysis leverages HDX Insight to provide an application and desktop contextual view of the network. With this feature, Director provides advanced analytics of ICA traffic in their XenDesktop deployment.
  • Delegated Administration — Group objects into administrative scopes. This feature provides an enterprise-class administration model with role-based access control, custom roles with configurable permissions, and fine-grained, object-based control.
  • StoreFront replaces Web Interface — Create centralized enterprise stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device. This feature provides authentication and resource delivery services for Citrix Receiver.
  • Delivery Controller auto-update — Automatically notify Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) when Controllers are added to and removed from the Site. This feature helps prevent VDA rejection of sessions that are launched by unknown Controllers, and VDA startup delays or errors caused by invalid Controller information. For information about how to preserve the CNAME functionality, see CTX137960.
  • Client Folder Redirection — Change the way client-side files are accessible on the host-side session. When you enable only client drive mapping on the server, client-side full volumes are automatically mapped to host drive letters. When you enable client folder redirection on the server and then the user configures it on the user device, only the portion of the local volume that is specified by the user is redirected.
  • Improved Virtual Desktop Access Control Settings – Control user access to both Server OS Machines and Desktop OS Machines in a simple and unified way with a new, streamlined group of security settings.
  • Improved and integrated error reporting — Studio error reporting links directly to the Citrix Support website. When users encounter an error situation, choosing the Get Advice option submits information about the error to the Citrix website. The information is analyzed and the user is redirected to a Website containing remedial advice.
  • StoreFront enhancements
    • Desktop Appliance sites — Access Desktop Appliance sites through a website on the StoreFront store. The site is created automatically when a store is created. If, for example, the store has a path of path/Citrix/Store, the Desktop Appliance site path ispath/Citrix/StoreDesktopAppliance. Users can restart their virtual machine-hosted desktops on Desktop Appliance sites.
    • Database as a service — Write user subscription data for each store to the local disk on the StoreFront server by using the new subscription store service. The data is then propagated across the server group.
  • IPv6 support — Connect to clients and core components on IPv4, IPv6, or dual-stack (IPv4/IPv6) environments.
  • Personal vDisk — Personalize your virtual desktops. In addition, a dedicated storage disk is created, before logon, so that users can store their data on the desktop, including any applications they install.
  • Machine Creation Services (MCS) support for Microsoft Key Management System (KMS) activation — Each virtual machine (VM) created with MCS provides a unique activation for the Windows operating system and Office 2010, which enables the KMS system to record each VM as a separate machine.
  • Support for group policies configured in Citrix Mobility Pack — These policies for Citrix Receiver for mobile devices include Start menu redirection and removing common programs from the Start menu. For details, see Configure policies for mobility features.
  • Multi-touch support — Touch functionality is supported on multi-touch computers, including Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8 workstations and Windows Server 2012 for VDAs.
  • Remote PC Access — Automated administration of Remote PC Access is fully integrated into the core functionality of the XenDesktop Delivery Controller and Studio. One Remote PC machine catalog and one Remote PC Delivery Group are created automatically when you set up a Remote PC deployment; you can add more machine catalogs or Delivery Groups later using Studio. This process replaces the XML configuration file and PowerShell scripts used by Remote PC Access in XenDesktop 5.6 FP1. The current release also adds the ability to remotely access office PCs running Windows 8.
  • Support for Fast User Switching using RDP connections — This Microsoft Windows feature makes it possible for multiple users to share a desktop without closing programs or logging off existing users. Administrators can take advantage of this feature to troubleshoot problems and install updates, without interrupting tasks or programs in use by the logged on user, by initiating an RDP connection to the VDA.
  • Compatibility with AhnLab keyboard encryption used in Korea — This release is compatible with keyboard encryption that is installed on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) hosts.

Supported hypervisor

  • XenServer.
    • XenServer 6.2
    • XenServer 6.1
    • XenServer 6.0.2
  • VMware vSphere. No support is provided for vSphere vCenter Linked Mode operation.
    • VMware vSphere 5.1 Update 1
    • VMware vSphere 5.0 Update 2
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1, plus any version of Hyper-V that can register with those System Center Virtual Machine Manager versions.

Source

Download Citrix XenDesktop 7 here (require MyCitrix ID)

Admin Guide for Citrix XenDesktop 7

Install Guide for Citrix XenDesktop 7

Citrix XenClient Enterprise 4.5.1

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in Citrix, Synchronizer, XenClient

Citrix have released a new version of Citrix XenClient Enterprise 4.5.1, now this version is no more “technical preview” its a ready for production. So go ahead and start using this beautiful product.

Citrix XenClient Enterprise 4.5.1 fixes several things in the XenClient Enterprise + The Synchronizer

/Poppelgaard

Source

Read more about whats been fixed in 4.5.1 here

Download Citrix XenClient Enterprise 4.5.1 here (Require MyCitrix ID)

Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in Citrix, XenApp, XenClient, XenDesktop

Yes its final here, the long waited Project Avalon Excalibur, where XenApp and XenDesktop is unified and no more IMA and everything managed in one console, desktops and apps. I am going to implement this beauti in my lab and check out the difference with user experience. Citrix have released a new supercodec that should be amazing i cant wait to try this and experience it with my own eyes from any device. Keep in mind that XenServer 6.1 is not supported neither vSphere 5.1 in this release. XenClient Enterprise 4.5 Tech Preview is also a part of Avalon Excalibur, lets dig in whats new.

Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview is our next-generation, unified desktop and app virtualization technology that is reinventing the delivery of Windows apps and desktops for mobility in the cloud-era.  The availability of this tech preview will allow Citrix customers and partners to have a first-hand look at a new unified FlexCast infrastructure combining VDI and Hosted Shared desktops and apps from a single platform.

New features in Project Avalon Excalibur:

  • Simplified, unified, and expanded FlexCast 2.0 architecture
    New unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture combines simplified and integrated provisioning and personalization tools for both desktops and apps, delivered from either a desktop-based or server-based operating system.
  • Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8
    Host Windows 8 VDI desktops or VM hosted applications in addition to Windows Server 2012 server-based desktops and applications. This tech preview also supports Windows 2008R2/SP1 and Windows 7.
  • SuperCodec for Optimized Graphics
    New enhancements to HDX using Deep Compression Codec technology double the visual performance of desktops and apps to mobile devices dynamically adapting for device type, form factor and network connection while still leveraging the processing power of modern tablets and smartphones
  • Storefront for apps & data
    Create centralized enterprise app stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device, anywhere with the Citrix StoreFront.
  • Intelligent configuration tools
    New intelligent configuration tools for deploying desktops and apps that proactively check configuration errors in real time while streamlining the provisioning of profile management and storefront settings.
  • Delegated Administration
    Enterprise-class administration model includes role-based access, custom roles with configurable permissions, and fine-grained, object-based control.
  • Advanced Configuration Logging
    Capture site configuration changes and administrative activities within a single tool, Desktop Studio.  Use Desktop Studio to diagnose and troubleshoot problems after configuration changes are made, assist change management, track configurations, and report administration activity.
  • Personal vDisk Improvements
    Improve scalability with performance enhancements designed to optimize resource utilization, deliver updates faster with the newly enhanced personal vDisk update process, and experience how an improved architecture increases the number of apps compatible with personal vDisk technology.

Excalibur components

Under the Excalibur architecture, management and delivery components are shared between XenDesktop and XenApp to give administrators a unified management experience.

  • Receiver. Receiver provides users with self-service access to resources published on XenApp or XenDesktop servers. Receiver combines ease of deployment and use, and offers quick, secure access to hosted applications, desktops, and data. Receiver also provides on-demand access to Windows, Web, and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.
  • StoreFront. StoreFront authenticates users to XenDesktop sites and manages stores of desktops and applications that users access.
  • Studio. Studio enables you to configure and manage your XenDesktop deployment. Studio provides various wizards to guide you through the process of setting up your environment, creating your desktops, and assigning desktops to users.
  • Delivery Controller. The Delivery Controller is responsible for distributing applications and desktops, managing user access, and optimizing connections to applications. Each site has one or more delivery controllers.
  • Server OS Machines. VMs or physical machines based on Windows Server operating system used for delivering applications or hosted shared desktops to users.
  • Desktop OS Machines. VMs or physical machines based on Windows Desktop operating system used for delivering personalized desktops to users, or applications from desktop operating systems.

Key differences between XenApp and Excalibur

Citrix Studio instead of Delivery Services Console. In Excalibur, you use Studio to configure your environments and provide users with access to applications and desktops.

  • No IMA data store. Excalibur does not use the IMA data store as the central database in which to store configuration information. Instead, it uses a Microsoft SQL Server database as the data store for both configuration and session information. This means:
  • Database requirements are different: Microsoft Access and Oracle are no longer supported databases
  • Terminal Services (Remote Desktop Services) is no longer required on servers running the controller.
  • There is no dedicated zone master. In XenApp, there is a zone master or data collector responsible for user connection requests and communication with hypervisors. In this release, this function is distributed evenly across all controllers in the site.
  • If you require high availability or disaster recovery for Microsoft SQL Server you can configure clustering or mirroring, or deploy the database as a virtual machine and use your hypervisor’s high availability features instead. For more information about planning for high availability, see the topic “High availability planning” in the document Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview.
  • Delegated Administration. In XenApp, you can create custom administrators and assign them permissions based on folders and objects. In this release, you can create custom administrators whose permissions are based on role and scope pairs. A role represents a job function and has defined permissions associated with it. A scope represents a collection of objects. You use scope to group objects in a way that is relevant to your organization (for example, the set of desktop groups used by the Sales team). This release also offers several built-in administrator roles (other than the full administrator role), such as help desk, applications, hosting, and catalog. Each of these built-in roles includes specific management permissions. For more information, see the topic “Delegated administration” in the document Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview.
  • No Shadow Taskbar. To view and interact with other users’ sessions remotely, you use the shadow feature launched from Director console. For more information on Director and how it enables IT support, see the topic “About Director” in the document Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview.
  • Sites instead of Farms. In this release, the XenApp “farms” are known as “sites.”

Supported hypervisor:

  • XenServer 6.0.2. Check the Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview download page for the latest information about compatibility with XenServer 6.1, including details of any XenServer hotfixes.
  • VMware vSphere 5.0 (ESXi 5.0 and vCenter 5.0) and VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 1. No support is provided for vSphere vCenter Linked Mode operation. For vSphere system requirements, see the VMware documentation.
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Rollup 1. For System Center Virtual Machine Manager system requirements, see the Microsoft documentation.

 

Source

Download Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview here (Require MyCitrix ID)

Important Information for XenApp Administrators

Deployment Guide for Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview

Administrator’s Guide for Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview

Citrix XenClient XT 3

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in Citrix, Synchronizer, XenClient

Citrix have released a new version of the Secure Client Hypervisor – Citrix XenClient XT 3

Designed for organizations with extreme security requirements, including public sector customers, XenClient XT 3 delivers a multi-level client virtualization solution with the highest levels of isolation and security. Unprecedented scalability and performance provide an optimal experience for even the most demanding user types. The source code for the Open Source Software components used in the product is available for download below. Below are system configuration and compatible hardware for the components of Citrix XenClient.

New in release 3

As well as many new and updated technologies and features, the primary improvement in this release is inclusion of secure management support through Synchronizer for XenClient XT 3.

  • Synchronizer XT 3: Provides scalable management of XenClient XT 3 through a CLI interface. See the Citrix 3.0.0 SynchronizerSetupandUsageGuidefor details about installing and using Synchronizer XT 3. Synchronizer can manage devices and VMs on those devices.
  • Updateduserinterface:New features and enhancements in the user interface include: simplified setup, reducing the interactions with the CLI required, such as VM disk management (encryption and reset-on-boot), PCI passthrough, new design for easier use, boot process improvements, and support for branding extensions.
  • Xen4.1 Hypervisor:Provides more stable and modern virtualization software, including improved PCI-passthrough and better support for modern hardware.
  • UpdatedHCLincludingIvyBridgedevices:Please refer to Citrix Ready or contact Citrix for the list of supported devices in this release.
  • Improvednetworkisolationfeatures:Allows more than one driver VM for networking, to allow proper separation of networking across multiple VMs each on different physical networks. Also includes a more configurable and defined interface for working with networking, to allow future extensions and improve support for introspection and filtering VMs.

Source

Download Citrix XenClient XT 3 here (Require MyCitrix ID)

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Server 2016 Support

Thomas Poppelgaard

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Tobias K

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Note that on XenServer 7.1, installing VDA 7.13 also works to enable vGPUs running XenDesktop 7.11 even using the newer “NvFBCEnable.exe -enable -noreset” command. Tested with an M60 using various profiles.