Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.6

Citrix have released a new version of Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.6

This is a major release that contains new version of many new software components.

I have in this article included all new product releases to give you an overview what is released related to XenDesktop & XenApp 7.6 solution.

  • Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.6
  • Citrix Provisioning 7.6
  • Citrix AppDNA 7.6
  • Citrix License Server 11.12.1 for Windows
  • Citrix StoreFront 2.6
  • Citrix Connector 7.5 for System Center Configuration Manager 2012
  • Citrix Receiver 13.1 for Linux
  • Citrix Receiver 1.4 for Chrome
  • Citrix Receiver 1.4 for HTML5
  • Citrix HDX Real-Time Optimization Pack 1.5 for Microsoft Lync 2010 and 2013
  • New Virtual Channel SDK for Citrix Receiver for Windows, Linux and Mac
  • Citrix Receiver for Linux – Platform Optimization SDK

New in this Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.6

This product release includes the following new and enhanced features.

Session prelaunch and session linger

The session prelaunch and session linger features help users quickly access applications by starting sessions before they are requested (session prelaunch) and keeping application sessions active after a user closes all applications (session linger). These features are supported for Server OS machines only.

By default, session prelaunch and session linger are not used. A session starts (launches) when a user starts an application and remains active until the last open application in the session closes. You can enable the features for all users in a Delivery Group or only for specified users.

There are several ways to specify how long an unused session remains active if the user does not start an application: a configured timeout and two server load thresholds. You can configure all of them; the event that occurs first will cause the unused session to end.

Support for unauthenticated (anonymous) users

When creating or editing Delivery Groups containing Server OS machines, you can now allow users to access applications and desktops without presenting credentials to StoreFront or Citrix Receiver. For example, when users access applications through kiosks, the application may require credentials, but the Citrix access portal and tools do not.

When you configure the Delivery Group, you can grant access to authenticated users, unauthenticated users, or both. When you grant access to unauthenticated (anonymous) users, you must provide an unauthenticated StoreFront store.

Connection leasing

To ensure that the Site database is always available, Citrix recommends starting with a fault-tolerant SQL Server deployment by following high availability best practices from Microsoft. However, network issues and interruptions may prevent Delivery Controllers from accessing the database, resulting in users not being able to connect to their applications or desktop.

The connection leasing feature supplements the SQL Server high availability best practices by enabling users to connect and reconnect to their most recently used applications and desktops, even when the Site database is not available.

Although users may have a large number of published resources available, they often use only a few of them regularly. When you enable connection leasing, each Controller caches user connections to those recently used applications and desktops during normal operations (when the database is available). If the database becomes unavailable, the Controller enters leased connection mode and “replays” the cached operations when a user attempts to connect or reconnect to a recently used application or desktop from StoreFront.

Application folders

You can organize applications in folders, which makes it easier to administer large numbers of applications in Studio.

By default, applications in a Delivery Group appear in a single folder. From the Delivery Group display in Studio, you can create additional folders and move applications into them. Moving, nesting, and renaming folders are easy drag-and-drop operations; you can also use Actions menu items. Additionally, you can specify folder destinations and create new folders when you add applications to a Delivery Group.

XenApp 6.5 migration

The XenApp 6.5 migration process helps you more efficiently and quickly transition from a XenApp 6.5 farm to a Site running XenApp 7.6 (or a later supported release). This is helpful in deployments that contain large numbers of applications and Citrix group policies, lowering the risk of inadvertently introducing errors when manually moving applications and Citrix group policies to the new XenApp Site.

After you install the XenApp 7.6 core components and create a Site, the migration process follows this sequence:

  • Run the XenApp 7.6 installer on each XenApp 6.5 worker, which automatically upgrades it to a new Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Server OS for use in the new Site.
  • Run PowerShell export cmdlets on a XenApp 6.5 controller, which export application and Citrix policy settings to XML files.
  • Edit the XML files, if desired, to refine what you want to import to the new Site. By tailoring the files, you can import policy and application settings into your XenApp 7.6 Site in stages: some now and others later.
  • Run PowerShell import cmdlets on the new XenApp 7.6 Controller, which import settings from the XML files to the new XenApp Site.
  • Reconfigure the new Site as needed, and then test it.

For more information, see Migrate XenApp 6.5.

Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program

The Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) gives you the opportunity to contribute to the design and development of Citrix products. When you enroll in the program, Citrix collects anonymous information about your deployment, which is used to improve product quality, reliability, and performance.

It’s easy to enroll in the program after you create or upgrade a Site. You can also opt in or out of the program at any time by selecting Configuration in the Studio navigation pane and following the instructions.

Enhanced connection throttling settings

To improve performance, you can now specify the maximum number of simultaneous actions, simultaneous Personal Storage inventory updates, and actions per minute that can occur on a host connection.

Enhanced reporting in Studio

Studio displays more detailed status and error reporting when updating PvD images, and displays comprehensive licensing alerts when you are in the licensing node.

New features in Director

Licensing alerts making you aware of issues that may impact user connections. Director also displays a recommended action to correct the condition. Some of the conditions displayed in Director are:

  • All licenses have expired.
  • Licenses are about to expire.
  • Citrix license grace period has expired.
  • The Supplemental Grace Period is active, and all installed licenses are currently in use.

View hosted applications usage. You can select the Delivery Group and time period to view a graph displaying peak concurrent usage and a table displaying application-based usage. From the Application Based Usage table, you can choose a specific application to see details and a list of users who are using or have used the application.

Monitor hotfixes. You can view the hotfixes installed on a specific machine VDA (physical or VM) using the User Details or Machine Details view.

The filtering feature has been expanded. Filter data is clickable and leads to User Details, Machine Details, Endpoint Details, and Anonymous Sessions.

Director is compatible with XenApp 6.5. You can use Director to monitor your XenApp 6.5 deployments.

Citrix Provisioning Services 7.6

Whats new

  • Personal vDisks (PvD) test mode.
    Use the new Personal vDisks (PvD) test device to test vdisk updates for a device that uses personal vDisks within a test environment. Using the PvD production environment, you can then test for compatibilty with your actual environment.
  • Database support:
    • SQL Server 2014
    • SQL Always On for SQL Server 2012 and 2014
  • New Hypervisor support:
    • XenServer 6.5
  • Storage support for:
    • Load balancing across all available storage targets
    • Microsoft Storage Spaces
    • VMware vSAN
    • VMware Storage DRS

Citrix AppDNA 7.6

Citrix AppDNA accelerates the migration and transformation of desktop and web applications for new environments through rapid analysis, automated application remediation and packaging, and daily application management. AppDNA 7.6 includes a new Build Assessment solution that tests whether applications will work on additional builds of the same OS family. AppDNA 7.6 analysis enhancements now indicate whether required applications, application frameworks, and files are present, whether enabled GPOs will cause issues, and whether web applications are compatible with Citrix WorxWeb.

AppDNA 7.6 includes these new and enhanced features.

  • Build Assessment solution — The new Build Assessment solution lets you know whether applications will work on additional builds of the same OS family. Suppose that your reference build is Windows 8 and you need to know if the applications that work on it will also work on other Windows 8 builds, such as ones customized for call center employees. This solution performs a standard AppDNA analysis on the reference build, compares it to an analysis for each target build, and produces summary, comparison, and remediation reports.

    After you test applications, you can flag them in the Configure Build Assessment solution wizard so that AppDNA ignores potential issues on the reference and target builds.

  • Interoperability solution — The interoperability analysis previously included with standard reports is now provided through the new Interoperability solution. This change speeds analysis and reporting for standard modules and it allows you to choose the groups of applications to analyze rather than having to analyze all applications. As before, the interoperability analysis enables you to assess Window Installer packages (.MSI) for conflicts that might occur during an upgrade, repair, or uninstall.
  • Application dependency mapping — AppDNA 7.6 report algorithms analyze whether the applications, application frameworks, and files required by an application are present. The standard Application Remediation Report now includes any missing dependencies and the Application Issues Report compiles all dependent application RAGs.

    Suppose that for a suite of financial applications, App1 calls App2, which requires Microsoft Foundation Classes. AppDNA analyzes those application dependencies and allows you to create dependencies manually or based on suggestions that AppDNA derives by matching missing files or API calls to the runtimes that provide them. The built-in application dependency map includes common libraries and frameworks such as the Visual Studio C++ and Visual Basic run time libraries.

  • GPO algorithms — Desktop and server analysis and the new Build Assessment solution include Group Policy Object (GPO) algorithms to test applications issues resulting from enabled GPOs. Incompatibility with GPOs is one of the main reasons why an application might fail after it is moved to a different OS build. AppDNA checks about 23 GPOs, including policies that prevent access to 16-bit applications, prevent Control Panel applets from running, restrict internet communication, restrict or disable Windows installer, and prevent IIS installation.
  • Integrated 64-bit reporting — The 64-bit report is now integrated into the desktop and server reports when you import a 64-bit OS or when you target a 64-bit application to a 32-bit OS. The XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x Upgrade and Adoption solutions automatically detect whether an OS is 64-bit.
  • WorxWeb compatibility analysis — You can now test your web applications for compatibility with WorxWeb, a mobile app included with Citrix XenMobile. The WorxWeb report lets you know whether web applications that work in Internet Explorer will also work in WorxWeb on Android and iOS web browsers.
  • Enhanced reporting for .NET applications — AppDNA now detects and reports the same compatibility issues for .NET applications that it does for Windows 32-bit applications, such as when a driver cannot be written in .NET.
  • Additional support
    • The XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x Upgrade Adoption and solutions have been extended to include support for the latest 7.x releases.

    • AppDNA now supports Microsoft SQL Server 2014, including the Express version.
  • Streamlined operation — We removed or reduced support for some older and rarely used technologies.

    This diagram summarizes the support matrix for AppDNA 7.6 and indicates the versions no longer supported.

    Support matrix for AppDNA
    Note: Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 reports run only if you import a custom image.

    For more information, see System requirements for AppDNA.

    Support requirements for Install Capture have changed, as shown in this diagram.

    Support matrix for Install Capture

    Citrix simplified AppDNA in 7.6:

    • A single AppDNA installer works for both trial and production deployments. AppDNA handles the installation and database creation appropriately for the license type.
    • AppDNA no longer includes the XenApp 6 Profiler. The Snapshot execution profile is also removed, as that functionality is included in the Snapshot Extended profile.
    • The Estate View report now appears only in trial installations. In full installations, the By Error report shows data in the same way as the Estate View and includes more detail.
    • You now use groups to organize applications. Families and suites are no longer provided.
      Important: The upgrade removes existing families and suites and flattens the application list to its original form. Contact Citrix support before upgrading AppDNA if the removal of families and suites will cause issues.
    • AppDNA has two management roles: Administrator or User. The Importer and Editor roles are removed.
    • For retail licenses, AppDNA begins analyzing applications immediately after they are imported. For trial and evaluation licenses, you must continue to manually start an analysis. To change the Auto Analyze option, go to Import and Analyze Settings.
    • Reports with a large number of algorithm groups are more readable by default. The reports setting Show counts in PDF exports is no longer selected by default.
  • Default legacy OS images — The default legacy OS images used for analyzing application migration have changed. For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the default image is 32-bit. For Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2008, the default image is 64-bit. To change the default legacy OS, go to Edit > Settings > OS Image Configuration.

Citrix License Server 11.12.1

What’s new

  • License Server installation — The new enhanced License Server installer UI matches other Citrix product installers.
  • Clustering — This version of Licensing, updates and simplifies the installation for the Microsoft Failover Cluster environment.
  • Supplemental Grace Period — This feature enables users to connect to a product for a limited time even if all licenses are in use and gives administrators time to address the problem. The default Supplemental Grace Period is 15 days.
  • Licensing alerts in Citrix Studio — Studio now displays comprehensive licensing alerts when you are in the licensing node.
  • Licensing alerts in Citrix Director — Director now displays alerts making you aware of issues that might impact user connections. Director also displays a recommended action to correct the condition. Some of the conditions displayed in Director are:
    • All licenses have expired.
    • Licenses are about to expire.
    • Citrix license grace period has expired
    • The Supplemental Grace Period is active and all installed licenses are currently in use.

Considerations

License Server VPX is not supported with XenApp 7.6 and XenDesktop 7.6.

Citrix StoreFront 2.6

Simplified store configuration in the administration console. The updated StoreFront console simplifies the StoreFront configuration for the following features:

  • User subscriptions
  • Set session timeout for Receiver for Web
  • Show domains list in logon page

Receiver for Web My Apps Folder View. This new view displays the applications in a folder hierarchy and includes a breadcrumb path for unauthenticated and mandatory stores. This folder view can help your users move from Web Interface to Receiver for Web.

Kerberos constrained delegation for XenApp 6.5. StoreFront with Kerberos constrained delegation enables pass-through authentication, eliminating the need for the client and device to run Windows with Receiver.

Single Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) access. With this feature, you can provide access to resources internally and externally using a single FQDN.

XenApp Services Support smart card authentication. The StoreFront server authenticates using smart cards to XenApp Services Support sites and does not require specific versions of Receiver and operating systems.

Receiver for Android, iOS, and Linux smart card authentication. New versions of Receiver support local and remote use of smart cards for accessing apps and desktops.

Extensible authentication. Support for extensible authentication provides a single customization point for extension of StoreFront’s form-based authentication. Worx Home and Receiver for Web use it to authenticate with XenMobile and XenApp and XenDesktop for both internal (direct) and external (using NetScaler Gateway) access scenarios.

Citrix Connector 7.5 for System Center Configuration Manager 2012

Citrix Connector 7.5 provides a bridge between Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and XenApp or XenDesktop, enabling you to extend the use of Configuration Manager to your Citrix environments. Citrix Connector 7.5 support now includes the Platinum editions of XenApp 7.6 and XenDesktop 7.6.

The Connector enables you to use Configuration Manager to:

  • Synchronize XenApp or XenDesktop Machine Catalogs and Delivery Groups within Configuration Manager.
  • Deploy software to XenApp and XenDesktop machine catalogs.
  • Leverage MSI, App-V, and Script applications already defined in Configuration Manager.
  • Deploy applications to machine catalogs managed by Machine Creation Services (MCS) or Provisioning Services.
  • Track the status of application deployments.
  • Publish applications to Receiver on any user device supported by XenApp or XenDesktop.
  • Deploy Citrix hosted applications to the Configuration Manager Application Catalog or Software Center on devices managed by Configuration Manager.
  • Work side-by-side with the XenApp 6.5 Connector so you can target applications, create publishing items, and schedule maintenance windows to all server collections in the mixed environment — all from a Configuration Manager console that has Citrix Connector 7.5 installed.

Citrix Receiver for Chrome 1.4 and Citrix Receiver for HTML5 1.4

Receiver for Chrome enables users to access virtual desktops and hosted applications from devices running the Google Chrome operating system. Users access these resources through Receiver for Chrome, and their desktops and applications are displayed in a single window

Receiver for HTML5 is hosted on StoreFront servers and enables users to access virtual desktops and hosted applications from a web browser. Users can access desktops and applications within their web browsers without needing to install Citrix Receiver locally on their devices.

In this release, both these Receivers include the ability to convert documents to PDF from hosted applications or applications running on virtual desktops and view them on a local device or print to a locally attached printer; enhanced clipboard operations; end-user experience metrics; and the ability to track licence usage for hosted applications.

Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.1

Receiver for Linux enables users to access virtual desktops and hosted applications delivered by XenDesktop and XenApp from devices running the Linux operating system. Receiver for Linux is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.

New features in this release

  • Native Smartcard authentication to StoreFront
  • Session Reliability for robust HDX connection
  • SHA-2 encryption for enhanced security
  • Improved 64-bit packaging to enable access from 64-bit Linux distributions

Intended use

  • Thin clients with x86 and ARM architecture, repurposed PCs with supported Linux distributions
  • 64-bit support with 32-bit HDX engine, recommend using tar.gz package for installation on RedHat, CentOS, Fedora and Suse
  • Additional performance enhancements can be achieved using Platform Optimization SDK

Support for HDX Real-Time Optimization Pack 1.5 for Microsoft Lync 2010, 2013

HDX Real-Time Optimization Pack 1.5 for Microsoft Lync supports Lync-certified USB phones, mixed Lync 2010 client and Lync Server 2013 configuration, and asynchronous upgrades.

Citrix Virtual Channel SDK

A Citrix virtual channel is a bi-directional error-free connection used for the exchange of generalized packet data between a Citrix host for online delivery (XenApp or XenDesktop) and the Citrix Receiver online plug-in. For example: sound, graphics, client drive mapping, and printing are just a few of the virtual channels written by Citrix.

The Citrix Virtual Channel Software Development Kit (VCSDK) allows software engineers to write both host-side applications and receiver-side drivers to support additional virtual channels using the Citrix ICA protocol. The host-side virtual channel applications run on XenApp or XenDesktop, and the client-side portion of the virtual channel runs on the local device where Citrix Receiver resides. This SDK provides support for writing new virtual channels for the Win32 and Windows CE versions of the online plug-ins for Citrix Receiver.

Citrix Receiver for Linux – Platform Optimization SDK

Get the most out of your Linux device

As part of the HDX SoC initiative for Citrix Receiver for Linux, Citrix have come up with the ‘Platform optimization SDK’ for enabling an ecosystem of low cost, low power, high performance devices with innovative form factors.

The Platform Optimization SDK can be used by developers looking to improve the performance of Linux-based devices by allowing them to create plug-in extensions for the ICA engine component (wfica) of Citrix Receiver for Linux. Plugins are built as shareable libraries that are dynamically loaded by wfica. These plugins can help you optimize the performance of your Linux devices, enabling the following functions:

  • Provide accelerated decoding of JPEG and H.264 data used to draw the session image
  • Control the allocation of memory used to draw the session image
  • Improve performance by taking control of the low-level drawing of the session image
  • Provide graphics output and user input services for OS environments that do not support X11

Source

Download Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.6 here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix XenDesktop Migration Tool here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix XenApp Database Migration Script here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix Provisioning Services 7.6 here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix AppDNA 7.6 here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix StoreFront 2.6 here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix Licenses Server 11.12.1 for Windows here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix Receiver 1.4 for Chrome here

Download Citrix Receiver 1.4 for HTML5 here (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix Receiver 13.1 for Linux here

Download Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.5 for Microsoft Lync 2010 & 2013 (requires MyCitrix ID)

Download new Virtual Channel SDK for Citrix Receiver to Windows, Linux Mac here

Download Citrix Receiver for Linux – Platform Optimization SDK here

thomas poppelgaard CTP & MVP

Citrix technology professional – CTP, and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional MVP, Thomas Poppelgaard provides professional services. Write to me on my email thomas@poppelgaard.com or call on my cell +45 53540356

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