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Citrix XenDesktop 7

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.


Download Citrix XenDesktop 7 here (require MyCitrix ID)

Admin Guide for Citrix XenDesktop 7

Install Guide for Citrix XenDesktop 7

Citrix AppDNA 6.2

Citrix have released a new version of AppDNA 6.2. This is a major software release and this versions contains many new features, lets dig in whats new:

What’s New in AppDNA 6.2

The AppDNA 6.2 release is focused on providing full support for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Internet Explorer 10, support for App-V 5 and System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) 2012, incremental loading of ConfigMgr data, Install Capture support for VMware vSphere 5.1, and reporting performance and usability improvements.

Full support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

The Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 reports now have full general acceptance (GA) release status. You can switch these reports on in the Configure Modules Wizard. If you used the early access support in AppDNA 6.1 SP1 and want to take advantage of the new and improved algorithms, you need to re-analyze your applications.

AppDNA now captures more information about digital signatures when you import applications. Some of the Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 algorithms use this additional DNA in conjunction with the operating system (OS) DNA, to identify applications that will not run on Windows 8 and Server 2012 because of certificate trust issues. To take advantage of these algorithms for applications that you have already imported into AppDNA, you need to re-import the applications (in order to capture the additional DNA) and then run the analysis. For more information about the digital signature DNA, see Digital Signatures.

Full support for Internet Explorer 10 and other Internet Explorer improvements

The Internet Explorer 10 algorithms now have full GA status. These algorithms are within the Internet Explorer (IE) report and you can turn them on in the Configure Modules Wizard.

Algorithms – There are a number of new Internet Explorer 9 algorithms, which also apply to Internet Explorer 10. For a list of the new and changed algorithms, see Algorithm Changes. If you want to take advantage of the new and improved algorithms, you need to re-analyze your web applications.

OS images – The Internet Explorer report includes a number of algorithms that check the OS image. For example, some of the ActiveX algorithms check whether a particular ActiveX control has been registered in the OS image. You can now analyze applications for IE compatibility against multiple OS families. This is useful, for example, when analyzing for compatibility with Internet Explorer 10, which is supported on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Support for App-V 5.0

AppDNA 6.2 extends the existing App-V support with support for App-V 5.0.

Direct import of App-V 5.0 packages – Direct Import can now handle App-V 5.0 .appv packages. This means that you can now import applications directly into AppDNA using their .appv packages, like you can for App-V 4.6 .sft files.

Algorithms – There is not a separate report for App-V 5.0 – if you want to analyze your applications for compatibility with App-V 5.0, run the Configure Modules Wizard and select App-V 5.

App-V 5.0 has a new feature that enables the virtualized application to have more entry points to the base OS. For example, this means that applications can register themselves as the default email client or as a custom URI handler on the OS. A new algorithm has been introduced to test for this scenario in earlier versions of App-V where it is not supported. In addition, additional algorithms have been introduced to test for newer versions of Microsoft Office applications that are unsupported or that require special sequencing. For a summary of these new algorithms, see Algorithm Changes. To take advantage of these new algorithms, you need to re-analyze your applications.

Execution profile – AppDNA 6.2 comes with a new execution profile called App-V 5.0 Sequencer, which can sequence applications for App-V 5.0. See App-V 5.0 Sequencer Execution Profile for more information.

Improved integration with ConfigMgr and AD and support for ConfigMgr 2012

Support for ConfigMgr 2012 – AppDNA 6.2 introduces the ability to integrate with System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) 2012 and supports the new ConfigMgr application model for deploying applications, in addition to the legacy ConfigMgr package model for deploying applications. AppDNA 6.2 retains support for ConfigMgr 2003 and ConfigMgr 2007, and can handle integration with multiple versions of ConfigMgr. This is useful if you are implementing a phased migration to ConfigMgr 2012 and have two versions of ConfigMgr running in parallel.

New data load wizard – AppDNA 6.2 introduces a completely new wizard for loading Active Directory (AD) and ConfigMgr data into AppDNA. Designed for scalability, this has several advantages over the old feature it replaces. It has a more streamlined and attractive user interface and provides options to load only ConfigMgr data that has changed since last time, or to select applications and packages individually or in batches, by date, for example. These features provide support for loading data into AppDNA from large ConfigMgr sites. Like the old Import Data feature, you can run the wizard from within AppDNA or remotely – for example, on the ConfigMgr server. See Loading AD and ConfigMgr Data for more information.

Improved loading of ConfigMgr data – AppDNA now extracts only data that is relevant to AppDNA from the ConfigMgr server. In addition, the actual loading of the data into the AppDNA database has been improved not only to support loading data in batches, but also to conserve data that has not changed and to remove data that has been deleted in ConfigMgr. When removing deleted ConfigMgr items from the AppDNA database, any associated applications that have been imported into AppDNA are retained, but their links with the deleted ConfigMgr entities are removed.

ConfigMgr connectivity – The option to connect to ConfigMgr through a direct connection with the ConfigMgr database has been removed in favor of Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), which is recommended by Microsoft. Using WMI requires Distributed COM (DCOM) to be enabled on the local computer. For step-by-step instructions for enabling it, see Troubleshooting Extracting AD and ConfigMgr Data.

Connection settings – When you enter the connection details in the wizard, AppDNA automatically stores them in the Settings dialog box. This means that you only need to enter the details again if they change.

Install Capture support for VMware vSphere 5.1

You can now use a VMware vSphere 5.1 virtual machine for Install Capture (and for Forward Path tasks that automate the Install Capture process). This requires access to a fully licensed installation of vSphere 5.1, a virtual machine for the exclusive use of Install Capture, and a vSphere user account that provides permissions for advanced virtual machine operations through web services. The virtual machine must be configured to allow remote desktop connections and must have the VMware Tools installed. See Setting up a vSphere VM for Install Capture for more information.

Reporting improvements

AppDNA 6.2 introduces a new internal report view architecture, which can more easily handle very large application portfolios. This means that the reporting results are now faster to display within both the AppDNA desktop client and the web client. The performance improvement is particularly noticeable when displaying the results for very large numbers of applications.

In addition, there have been a number cosmetic changes to the report views to improve usability, provide a more attractive experience, and continue the Citrix re-branding that was started in AppDNA 6.0.

As a result of these changes, the old “Allow paging” reporting setting has been replaced by a “Default page size” setting. In addition a new “Show counts in PDF exports” setting has been introduced. See Reporting Settings for more information.

Improvements to the Configure AppDNA Environment wizard

In order to simplify the initial configuration of AppDNA, there have been some changes to the AppDNA Web Site Credentials step in the Configure AppDNA Environment wizard. The wizard now provides an option to automatically create and configure a local service account. This change may not be apparent to existing users unless you use the option to create a new database. See Create a New AppDNA Database for more information.

In addition, when you use this wizard to reset the website credentials – for example, after a password change – it now automatically performs an IIS reset if this is necessary.

Execution profiles

Previous versions of AppDNA installed only the Snapshot execution profile. The other standard execution profiles had to be obtained separately. AppDNA 6.2 now installs all of the standard execution profiles. However, only Snapshot is activated by default. For a full list of the installed execution profiles and instructions for activating them, see Execution Profiles.

Multi-selection in the Application List

You can now select multiple adjacent and non-adjacent applications in the Application List screen and the Select Applications window in the Report Viewer. To do this, hold down CTRL and click the applications that you want to select (or click the first application and then hold down SHIFT and click the last application that you want to select). Then press CTRL+M to select those applications or CTRL+U to deselect them. (In the Application List, you can click the options on the Edit menu instead of pressing CTRL+M and CTRL+U.)

Language support

Although AppDNA 6.2 is not available in translated versions, it has been tested on Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and German local language versions of Windows and has been found to provide general support for the following:

  • Installing and running AppDNA on local language versions of Windows.
  • Running AppDNA with local language versions of the applications with which it interacts (such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader, and Microsoft SQL Server).
  • Importing, analyzing, and reporting on applications that have names in local languages.
  • Using path names that contain characters in local languages.

However, there are some known issues. See Known Issues for more information.


New Help system – AppDNA 6.2 comes with an improved Help system. This has a navigation pane that facilitates browsing the contents of the Help system and finding related topics. With one or two exceptions, the structure mirrors the structure of the AppDNA 6.2 documentation on the Citrix eDocs website (

Updates – Both the Help documentation and the documentation on the Citrix eDocs website have been updated for this release. In addition to the changes for the new and updated features, there have been a number of other improvements. For example, the following are new or significantly improved:

Requirements – The new Help system requires JavaScript to be enabled in Internet Explorer. JavaScript is disabled by default on Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008. If you have installed the AppDNA server on one of these platforms and the security policies in your enterprise do not allow JavaScript to be enabled on Windows Server machines, you need to access the Help system from an AppDNA client machine. Alternatively, go to the Citrix eDocs website (, where you can download a PDF of all or selected sections of the AppDNA 6.2 documentation.

In this section

Upgrading to AppDNA 6.2

Note: In the next version of AppDNA, Citrix intends to change the required version of the Microsoft .NET Framework to Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 for both the AppDNA server and desktop client. This means that you may need to install this framework before upgrading (depending on which version of Windows you are running).


Download Citrix AppDNA standard version here (Require MyCitrix ID)
Download Citrix AppDNA enterprise version here (Require MyCitrix ID)

VDI Smackdown v 2.0 available

Ruben Spruijt (CTP, MVP, vExpert) have updated the awesome whitepaper “VDI Smackdown” to version 2.0. I highly recommend to read this whitepaper if you have VDI or are looking at getting VDI. This is a great comparison.

About VDI Smackdown v.2.0 whitepaper

The latest solutions included in the feature matrix are: Citrix XenDesktop 5.6FP1, Citrix VDI-in-a-Box 5.2, Dell vWorkspace 7.6, Microsoft RDVH Windows8/Server 2012 and VMware View 5.2; The English whitepaper can be downloaded here. The Japanese version will be available as soon as possible.

Empowering the end-user by giving access to Windows, Web and Mobile applications so he can access data and information systems from both private and public datacenters regardless of the device or location is the ultimate strategic objective.
The delivery of the classic (Windows) desktop interface can be divided in two segments:

  • the classic desktop and laptop, running Windows, Linux or Mac OS X;
  • the virtual desktop running in the datacenter or local on the classic workstation.

In essence “desktop virtualization” is the de-coupling of the desktop, operating system and the applications from the underlying endpoint or device. This kind of virtualization can be subdivided into two types:

  • With the first type applications are executed remotely, server hosted, and presented at the endpoint via a remote display protocol.
  • With the second type applications are executed at the endpoint, client-side and presented locally.

Making Windows, Web and Mobile applications available to the end-user, regardless of the technology being used, is an important strategic objective of an advanced IT infrastructure. The Virtual Desktop (vDesktop) is an essential component in the range of Application and Desktop delivery solutions and in essence, it provides the following functions:

  • Flexibility: Detach the vDesktop from the endpoint; Several vDesktops can be used next to one another
  • BYO: enables delivery of applications and desktops for BYO scenario’s;
  • Access: vDesktop works independently of location, endpoint and network;
  • Security: Server Hosted – VDI; data in the computing center;
  • Freedom: Every user can have his own desktop with administrator privileges when needed;
  • Management: Centrally managed and hardware independent;
  • Legacy: It is simple to offer legacy applications on a state-of-the-art platform;
  • Sustainability: Power Management, handling the necessary resources in an efficient manner

The transition to a dynamic and optimized desktop is causing many IT organizations to reevaluate traditional IT operations, deployment, delivery, packaging, support, and management methods.
Desktop virtualization is a key component in the optimized desktop. It’s important to have a Vision and Strategy around application and desktop delivery and enterprise mobility. Designing, building, managing and maintaining the desktop virtualization infrastructure using the right Technologies, corresponding vendors and products is an important step. We see a lot organizations primarily focusing on products and vendors and lacking a clear and profound vision and strategy. This approach is fine for a point solutions but a proper vision and strategy is crucial for a vNext optimized desktop. How can the vision and strategy be successful? Success = Vision x Execution x Adoption!

The following discussions and corresponding topics should be part of the optimized desktop strategy:

  • What are the use-cases? Does the use-case require Desktop Virtualization?
  • VD-why, what do you want to achieve, a business enabler, overall cost of ownership (TCO) and cost reducer?
  • What is the business-case? What do you expect as a ROI?
  • How do you deliver applications to users in a Bring Your Own (BYO) or Choose Your Own (CYO) scenario?
  • What’s your desktop delivery and migration strategy for Windows 7/Windows 8?
  • What’s the user experience using Multimedia, Video/Voice, 2D/3D applications?
  • Is Unified Communications and VoIP functionality within VDI needed? Is it supported by the VDI and UC-vendor?
  • What are the user expectations of the vDesktop? Are users involved in a proof of concept and pilot? What are their acceptation criteria?
  • What endpoints do we support and facilitate and what is the role of these devices in the end-user experience? Are the endpoints managed by the IT organization?
  • Do you want to deliver windows and web applications to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones via VDI? What does the user wants? What is your enterprise mobility strategy?
  • What is the impact of Secure Access and Secure Networking solutions on mobile devices while connecting to the vDesktop? What is the user experience with these secure access solutions?
  • Is there a supported agent for the OS/endpoint? What is the User Experience with this agent? What is the feature and future roadmap of these agents? Is agentless via HTML(5) included and important?
  • Is image deployment and management part of the (virtual) Desktop Strategy?
  • How do you design and build the user’s profile and his ‘workspace’? Does Application virtualizationfit into this strategy? The ‘User Environment Management’ Smackdown can be helpful.
  • Do we need a vMachine based image management solution? How do we design, build and maintain the (golden) Image(s)?
  • Do you need context awareness? Based on user/role, device, location and various settings is access to application resources controlled and enforced when needed?
  • What is your application readiness assessment strategy? Are Windows 7, Windows 8, VDI, application virtualization and x64 included?
  • How are Windows applications delivered within the vDesktop? Unattended or manual installation, application virtualization or the applications are part of the (golden) image? What is the strategy?
  • Does the end-user needs the ability to install and update applications? Is User Installed Applicationsfunctionality needed? Does the user have the correct privileges to install or update software?
  • Do you need local or centralized storage? What storage optimization (IOPS/latency) technology is being used?
  • What is the VDI impact on storage and how does it affect the business case?
  • Do we focus on stateless (non-persistent) and/or stateful (hybrid/persistent) images? What is, for example, the impact on storage, manageability, security, legal and business-case?
  • Windows 8 or Windows 7 as core guest OS platform? x64 or x86?
  • How does the solution scale? What do we need from a scalability point of view? Is there a validated design?
  • What is the performance and bandwidth impact on the network infrastructure; LAN, WAN, WLAN, Mobile;
  • Licensing; VDI solution, guest and client operating system, Client Access Licenses and (Business) Applications.
  • Is Antivirus needed? Inside the VM or as layer on the Hypervisor? What is the real performance impactof Antivirus?
  • Is the VDI solution as a whole highly available? Is that built-in or are additional planning and solutions needed to get high availability? Is a highly available vDesktop needed?
  • Is the IT department able to adopt the technology with right knowledge and skills? What subject matter experts are needed to get and keep the VDI solution up and running in production environment? Is this expertise available? Who has overview of the complete VDI solution stack?
  • How does the desktop virtualization solution fit into existing deployment and management tools?

Bottom Line: What’s your current Enterprise Mobility and Desktop Delivery strategy?! 

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Citrix Project Thor Tech Preview 2

Citrix have released a new version of Project Thor Technical Preview 2.

There is lots of new improvement, lets dig in.


Whats new in Project Thor Tech Preview 2

  • Support for the new App-V 5 DT.
  • Numerous Tech Preview 1 customer issues (and “customer experience” issues) addressed.
  • Numerous visual supportability improvements to “hand-hold” the administrator through the initial configuration steps to make the first-use experience simple and delightful.
  • Highly simplified XenApp publishing experience for MSI DT based apps.
  • Full Command Line/Silent install support of the Connector.
  • High-availability built in.
  • Fully supports SCCM 2012 SP1.
  • Fully supports Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

What is Project Thor

Project Thor Technical Preview (XenApp Connector) extends the deployment capabilities of Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (Configuration Manager), delivering any application, to any user, on virtually any device.

XenApp Connector integration with Configuration Manager provides administrators with a single infrastructure and tool to manage all enterprise applications including on-demand XenApp applications. Use XenApp Connector with Configuration Manager to:

  • Deploy to XenApp servers, farms, and worker groups:
    • MSI-based applications
    • App-V sequences subsequently made available to users as XenApp published applications
    • XenApp published applications (using the XenApp deployment type that XenApp Connector adds to Configuration Manager, seamlessly extending the console)
  • Extend Configuration Manager’s rules-based delivery mechanism to choose the most appropriate deployment type based on the user’s environment.For example, an application might be best delivered as an MSI (installed locally) on a user’s primary device, but deployed virtually using the new XenApp deployment type to enable the same user to access the application from a non-Windows device such as an iPad.
  • Control how users access applications:
    • Configuration Manager Application Catalog
    • Citrix Receiver
    • Citrix Receiver for Web site or Citrix XenApp services site
  • Coordinate updates to XenApp vDisk imagesXenApp Connector fully integrates with Citrix Provisioning Services, allowing you to publish applications that are deployed to a base vDisk for a XenApp image.
  • Maintain high availabilityXenApp Connector uses the optional XenApp Power and Capacity Management Concentrator to manage the power states and load consolidation of XenApp servers when installing Configuration Manager applications or Windows Software Update Management (SUM) updates, with minimal disruption to user sessions.


The XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager 2012 consists of the following components:

  • XenApp Connector service
  • Configuration Manager console extension
  • XenApp Agent service
  • XenApp deployment type handler

The XenApp Connector interacts with these related components:

  • XenApp Group Policies
  • Provisioning Services (PVS) Agent
  • Power and Capacity Management (PCM) Concentrator and Agent
  • Citrix Receiver, Receiver for Web sites, and XenApp services sites

XenApp Connector architectural diagram

XenApp Connector Service

XenApp Connector service is the bridge between a XenApp farm and Configuration Manager and performs the following tasks:

  • Application publishingThe XenApp Connector service manages the association between XenApp servers, applications, and users by creating a published application in XenApp that end users can then install from the Application Catalog and access with Citrix Receiver.The XenApp Connector publishing task processes publishing items that are linked to a XenApp deployment type. Items published to a XenApp device collection appear under the Applications\ConfigMgr12 folder in the XenApp AppCenter console.By default, the Publishing task runs every hour. Use the XenApp Connector Configuration wizard to change the publishing interval. Use the Start menu shortcut (Run Publishing Task) to manually run the task.
  • Synchronization of farm and worker group device collectionsThe XenApp Connector service processes all worker groups in a XenApp farm (and all farms, in multi-farm environments) and creates or updates the corresponding device collections in Configuration Manager. By default, this task runs every 24 hours. Use the XenApp Connector Configuration wizard to change the synchronization interval and the maintenance schedule. Use the Start menu shortcut (Run Synchronization Task) to manually run the task.
  • Software OrchestrationXenApp Connector determines which application deployments are pending for the XenApp workers in the deployment device collection, and then uses the Power and Capacity Management feature to start draining users off the targeted servers.

Configuration Manager Console Extension

The Configuration Manager console extension enables the Configuration Manager console to work seamlessly with XenApp. Installing the console extension adds these items to the Configuration Manager console:

  • A Citrix XenApp Farms node under Assets and Compliance > Device Collections. After synchronizing data from a XenApp farm, XenApp Connector updates the Citrix XenApp Farms node with all XenApp farms, servers, and worker groups.
    • Device Collections > Citrix XenApp Farms > farms
    • Device Collections > Citrix XenApp Farms > farms > Worker Groups > groups
  • A XenApp Publications folder under Software Library > Application Management. Items in this folder are published to XenApp.
  • A Citrix XenApp Client Settings item in Administration > Client Settings, with a Computer Agent setting, Agent extensions manage the deployment of applications and software updates, enabled. That setting enables the Configuration Manager idle policy feature.
  • A Citrix XenApp entry in the Type drop-down menu in all Configuration Manager console pages where deployment types are selected, such as in the Create Deployment Type wizard.

XenApp Agent Service

The XenApp Agent service runs on each server in a XenApp farm. It coordinates application and software installation and updates, through integration with the following components:

  • The XenApp Power and Capacity Management feature. See the PCM Agent and PCM Connector component descriptions in this section for more information.
  • Citrix Provisioning Services. See the PVS Agent component description for more information.
  • The XenApp Agent service can work with the Configuration Manager idle policy feature to defer software installs, allowing the XenApp Agent service to trigger the installation of applications and software updates.

The XenApp Agent service runs at the next known maintenance window or at other times when users need to be notified in advance, such as when a forced logoff is pending.

XenApp Deployment Type Handler

The XenApp deployment type handler detects and manages publications associated with an application configured with a XenApp deployment type. The handler communicates with Receiver and the Self-Service Plug-in, enabling managed devices to subscribe to published applications that are installed by the user through the Application Catalog or that are pushed as a mandatory deployment.

XenApp Group Policies

Computer group policies configure how the XenApp Agent service handles items such as advanced warning messages, forced logoff messages, XenApp Agent service maintenance frequency, and Provisioning Services integration. For more information, see Managing XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager 2012.

Provisioning Services (PVS) Agent

The XenApp Agent service running on a production XenApp vDisk image detects when a new vDisk image is available and delivers the new image after Power and Capacity Management drains the server of user sessions. The PVS agent is required only for shared images and must be installed on the master XenApp image.

Power and Capacity Management (PCM) Concentrator and Agent

For XenApp servers managed by the optional Power and Capacity Management feature:

  • XenApp Connector uses the PCM Concentrator to coordinate the power states and load consolidation of farm servers when installing applications. The PCM Concentrator monitors and manages the XenApp servers in the PCM farm and interacts with the PCM Agent running on each XenApp server to get and set the PCM tier and PCM control mode.
  • The PCM Agent registers host XenApp servers with the PCM Concentrator and acts on requests issued by the PCM Concentrator.

Citrix Receiver for Windows, Receiver for Web sites, and XenApp services sites

After a user subscribes to XenApp deployment type applications using the Configuration Manager Application Catalog, icons for those applications appear in the user’s Start menu, on the Receiver for Windows home page (if Receiver is configured with StoreFront), and on Receiver for Web and XenApp services sites. When the user clicks the icon for a subscribed application, Receiver launches the application.

Note: Receiver for Web and XenApp services sites provide browser-based application access to users accessing applications from managed or unmanaged devices (mobile devices and Macs).



Download Citrix Project Thor Tech Preview 2 here (Require MyCitrix ID)


Scaling to 1,000 XenApp6 servers in a single farm


XenApp is an on-demand application delivery solution that enables any Windows application to be virtualized, centralized and managed in the datacenter and instantly delivered as a service to users anywhere on any device. This means subscribers can use whatever device they choose—laptop, tablet, smartphone—but still access familiar Windows desktops and business applications that the service provider manages. XenApp enables service providers to centrally manage a single instance of each application and deliver it to users for online and offline use, providing a high-definition experience. It delivers 99.999 percent application availability and is proven with 25 million applications in production and over 100 million users worldwide.

Citrix XenApp 6 introduces exciting new enhancements for advanced management and scalability, a rich multimedia experience over any network and self-service applications with universal device support from PC to Mac to smartphone. With full support for Windows Server® 2008 R2 and seamless integration with Microsoft® App-V, XenApp 6 provides session and application virtualization technologies that make it easy for service providers to centrally manage applications using any combination of local and hosted delivery to best fit their unique requirements.

This whitepaper examines the architecture and design of the Citrix XenApp solution and its ability to provide a scalable and high availability infrastructure while delivering on-demand access to applications (SaaS) and desktops (DaaS) from the cloud.

Download white paper here