Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview

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

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