#Citrix #XenDesktop 7 – my notes from #CitrixSynergy

Citrix released the first part of the Project Avalon with the codename Excalibur at Citrix Synergy 2013 in Los Angeles. Project Avalon was announced as the Giant step into Cloud Transformation, so what is it really? Citrix invested heavily in their existing product infrastructure with the question: “What could  XenDesktop & XenApp look like if we re-imagined them for the cloud era?”. If Citrix started over, how would they design virtual apps & desktops for the mobile cloud era? The result of project Excalibur is Citrix XenDesktop 7. Let’s dig deeper into the phases:

1. Install

First of all Citrix XenDesktop 7 is the chosen architecture and platform, where they have consolidated the following products:

  • XenDesktop as the base platform
  • XenApp
  • StoreFront
  • Profile Manager
  • EdgeSight

In previous releases all components were installed and managed separately.

The installation integrates the following components which simplifies the way to get all components into place:

  • Delivery Controller
  • Citrix Studio
  • Citrix Director
  • License Server
  • StoreFront
  • Profile Manager
  • Personal vDisk

2. Configure

The goal was to minimize configuration/ setup errors.

At completion of:

  • Full deployment
  • creating a host, catalog, delivery group
  • Joining a site & more

3. Manage

a. Citrix Studio

  • Primary management console for administrators for
    • delegated admin & config, logging
    • apps & desktop publishing
    • user computer policies
    • licensing, StoreFront
  • Windows Server 2008R2/ 2012
  • MMC snap-in

b. One of the most impressive abstract concepts at Citrix Synergy was the new delegated administration in XenDesktop 7 which allows a granular administration by using roles & scopes:

  • Roles
    • Full admin
    • Host admin
    • Delivery group admin
    • Catalog
    • Read-only
    • Help desk admin
    • Custom admin
  • Scopes
    • Delivery groups
    • Machine catalog
    • Host connection
    • Application

c. The configuration logging allows two tiers: high level & detail task

  • High level logging summary + detailed resulting tasks
  • Integrates with director/ root analysis
  • Powerfull search feature
  • Reports available in HTML/ CSV format

d. The application & desktop delivery made simple & scalable

  • Deliver apps/ desktops from servers & desktops Os’es
  • MCS for server and desktop OS workloads
  • Publish 10’s of apps at one
  • Integrated App-V 5 support

4. Support

Use Citrix Director for troubleshooting & monitoring for your help desk.

  • Help Desk (today)
    • Help desk only
    • Real time troubleshooting
  • Troubleshooting/ Monitoring
    • day 2 operations
    • site health
    • end2end visibility
  • Performance Management
    • Auto baselining specific to customer environment
    • historical analytics
  • Advanced Analytics
    • Deep network analysis
    • capacity mgmt

Further features

  • Realtime monitoring assessment
  • Contextual troubleshooting
  • Logon performance
  • Load evaluation trends: Application server load and impact on users

Citrix Director offers a complete 360-view with network analysis in the Platinum edition:

  • ICA deep packet analysis
  • latency & bandwidth effects
  • application & desktop usage

5. End user

HDX goes mobile: Optimze for a mobile world

  • Designed for 3G/4G networks
  • Tablet and smartphone codec acceleration
  • Smooth, native touch experience
  • H.264-based compression algorithm
    • 2x increase in frame rate
    • Half the bandwidth
    • Up to 10x reduction in bit rate when playing HD videos over a low speed connection

Integrated PC Remote Access: Integrated remote access assignment of users to corporate PCs

HDX Seamless Local Apps: Seamless integration of local Windows apps

  • Citrix Receiver for nested apps
  • DVD burners
  • Non-secure web browsers
  • Cloud based video collaboration

6. Citrix XenDesktop App Edition/ XenApp 6.5 FP2

Citrix XenApp is transitioned into Citrix XenDesktop 7 App Edition. The XenDesktop App Edition deliver server-based apps & desktops:

  • Delivers server-hosted desktops & apps, VM-hosted apps from FMA architecture
  • Enables use of MCS to provisioning, deliver apps & desktops from Windows Server 2012 with latest HDX enhancements
  • Works along side existing XenApp-IMA deployment
  • Available to XenApp Enterprise and Platinum customers
  • Built for cloud

But Citrix did not discontinue XenApp as a stand-alone while introducing the Citrix XenDesktop 7 App Edition, instead announced the new feature pack 2 with new features:

  • Experience
    • Unified app store for desktops, apps, mobile & data (XenMobile & ShareFile)
    • New support for audio & video on mobile devices
  • Acceleration
    • OpenGL support
  • Compatibility
    • AppDNA usage
    • Lync 2013 optimization pack
    • XenApp connector SCCM 2012
    • Hyper-V support
    • XenDesktop 7 Apps edition
  • Performance
    • 4X faster downloads/uploads

7. XenDesktop/ XenApp changes

XenDesktop changes

  • Desktop dropped from components names
    • Desktop Delivery Controller = Delivery Controller
    • Desktop Studio = Studio
    • Desktop Director = Director
  • Windows Server 2012 & SMB 3.0 storage support
    • Enable CredSSP from Delivery Controllers to Hyper-V Hosts
  • StoreFront Services replaced web interface
    • Desktop Appliance Sites
    • Database as a Service
  • More granular delegated administration through roles and scopes
  • Configuration logging & monitoring data stored in site db by default
  • KMS support for MCS
  • Deprecated support for Windows XP & Vista

XenApp changes

  • IMA replaced FMA
    • Singel architecture for XA & XD
    • Farm concept replaced by sites
      • No more Zones
      • No more Zone Data Collectors
      • No more Local Host Cache
    • SQL Server DB only
    • Application publishing workflow
  • MCS for Windows Server OS
  • Remote Assistance for shadowing
  • StoreFront services replaces Web INterface
    • Access Gateway replaces Secure Gateway
  • Microsoft App-V 5 replaces Citrix Application Streaming
  • Smart Auditor replaced by Citrix Ready solutions
  • Single Sign-on – Windows 7 & Server 2008 R2 only

Those were my notes from Citrix Synergy session, check out more videos at Citrix TV.


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