Category Archives: CTA

Journey to The Nirvana Phone within the Workplace Part 1

Does it even actually exist? Truthfully it depends on how we as humans (employees) choose to consume the apps, data and network services on them for the purposes of personal and workplace usage.

In preparing to write this article I googled “The Nirvana Phone” the top search result is a Wikipedia entry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_Phone (huge smile) along with 3 YouTube videos and very very very familiar face followed by yet another huge smile + found memory flashback because its Citrix CTO of Emerging Technologies Chris Fleck demonstrating using an iPhone 4 running a Windows 7 VDI (DaaS) delivered by Citrix Receiver on iOS connected to a monitor with a Apple VGA adaptor and portable paired Bluetooth keyboard. This is actually a key subconscious moment for me that has had a profound affect on me, and how I approach and look at the world around me today. So when I first saw that video I immediately hunted among work colleagues and friends for that Apple VGA cable adaptor to test it out for myself with my iPhone 4 and oh boy I was NOT disappointed yes it still had a way to go but as a real world working prototype concept enabling anyone in the world who uses Citrix and is the owner of an Apple iPhone 4 to use it in such a way is mind blowing even now while also demonstrating the WOW effect that this gaming changing technology will have on the workplace, even today nearly a decade on I am using one of many Nirvana Phones out there in the market running Citrix Workspace app available from all major app stores to actively take full advantage of my iPhone XR “Nirvana Phone” as it was intended in Chris Flecks original video below to be flexible and adaptable between sandbox vs. native mobile apps, browser based SaaS web apps and of course Citrix virtual apps* & desktops** formerly known as XenApp* and XenDesktop**.

I mentioned earlier it was a “key subconscious moment” for me personally as it validated and meant to me that I can use a devices as such as the Apple iPad or iPhone as a work device this is super cool and practically appealing to me, even today at Citrix they are evolving this a reality of the “Nirvana Phone” with the Intelligent Experience – https://www.citrix.com/lp/intelligent-workspace.html by distilling the friction + complexity of apps into simple to consume actions and insights from Citrix Workspace app vs. web portal.

Lets go back in time to late 2012, I’ve joined Citrix and at Christmas I’m gifted with an Apple iPad Mini which I used a lot running and working from @WorkMail, @WorkWeb (inclusive of my iPhone) and occasionally I consume my Windows 7 VDI on my iPad Mini because I can’t find a Bluetooth enabled mouse that works with it but it does work great for tasks such as lengthily emails using the soft/digital keyboard while travelling to and from events around the world like Citrix Summit and ServTech likewise locally on trains tethered to my iPhone as train Wi-Fi does not really exist in the 2012.

Fast world to 2015 and Citrix releases a prototype Bluetooth enabled mouse called the “Citrix X1 Mouse” and who is back demoing this capability? Yes Chris Fleck is back again continuing to edge closer to the “The Nirvana Phone” workplace operating model. What most folks are not aware of I could not make Citrix Summit that year due to a family member whom was medical very unwell, yet one of the best humans I have ever had the privilege of working with in my professional working career is Caz and she brought me back an original X1 Mouse prototype because she knew its importance and value to me with my digital first nature with modern touch enabled devices like iPhone’s and iPad’s beyond today’s modern day typewriters which to be honest looking back I was held back by the technology interfaces of my time VGA to HDMI and finally entering into the main stream market late 2018 and into 2019 casting capabilities matching what we use at home Google Casting for example now coming into the Workplace like Click Share but for me they are still both a v1 they need to mature over time.

Fast forward later in May of 2015 and the final piece for me falls into place with the Citrix Workspace Hub prototype demonstrated again by Chris Fleck with the at current CEO Mark B Templeton.

Fast forward again now its 2018 and the Citrix Workspace Hub officially launches and is available through select thin client vendors that choose to be in the program. I get a Citrix WorkspaceHub device for my own personal usage from Citrix ServTech and the first thing I do when I get home is plug it in and start using it, you can see me demoing it the first time I used it at home in 2018 from my annual series of “How I worked in 20XN” obviously 2018 edition which is embedded below, fast forward to 2 minutes, 30 seconds to watch it.

Today its 2019 the current year of this post and well lets say I have totally shifted to using “The Nirvana Phone within the Workplace” because I choose to but more important the technology of my current time allows me to, and I’ve ditched the modern day typewriters up to 12-17% of my total workplace through-out 2019. You still need a larger screen and laptop for creator personna’s but for the consumer personna’s personally I don’t believe you do at a high level. You can read my journey over 2019 transferring to the “The Nirvana Phone” operating model in the workplace, starting with the original post in the series of “The Future of Work is Today NOT Tomorrow” – https://www.mycugc.org/blogs/lyndon-jon-martin/2019/03/17/the-future-of-work-is-today-not-tomorrow-part-1, followed by part 2 –https://www.mycugc.org/blogs/lyndon-jon-martin/2019/03/28/future-of-work-is-today-not-tomorrow-part-2 and part 3 – <coming>.

In closing part 2 series will focus on how to get started and work they way I do every working day at Citrix where ever I am.

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

HDX Offloading for Microsoft Teams within a Citrix Virtual Desktop

Consider this an evergreen article with *pro-active adds/moves/changes inclusive of errors/mistakes until I remove this statement.

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering Microsoft teams within a Citrix virtual desktop powered by Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops (CVAD) Service in Citrix Cloud prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
SKYPE FOR BUSINESS – skype4b
CITRIX VIRTUAL DESKTOP – cvd
CITRIX VIRTUAL APP & DESKTOP – cvad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
REALTIME MEDIA ENGINE – rtme
CITRIX WORKSPACE APP – cwa
MICROSOFT TEAMS – teams
CURRENT RELEASE – cr
LONG TERM SERVICE RELEASE – ltsr

Very Importantly Notice*
This feature depends on a future Microsoft Teams release. We will update this description as information about the version and release date become available.” referenced directly from – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/multimedia/opt-ms-teams.html#system-requirements.

Introduction
In May 2016 I published the following blog post entitled “Deploying Skype for Business 2015-16 (Offloaded) from a Citrix HDX Optimised Virtual App or Desktop” available at – https://axendatacentre.com/blog/2016/04/25/deploying-skype4b-2015-offloaded-from-a-citrix-hdx-virtual-app-or-desktop/. Suggested before you continue reading this post please read the “Optimization for Microsoft Teams” documentation on Citrix eDoc’s at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/multimedia/opt-ms-teams.html or study if you are pressed for time the below architecture diagram for ease of use, of the joint Citrix + Microsoft solution to offload the audio/video processing of Teams from a Citrix Virtual Desktop to the employees local endpoint that is required to run a supported OS + Citrix Workspace app + Real-Time Media Engine (RTME). I still encourage you to please read the documentation in full prior to continuing reading.

The Employee Experiences with Teams HDX Offloaded

Understanding a HDX Optimisation vs. Non-Optimised Deployment
Coming….

Pre-requisites & System Requirements
Coming…

Deploying the HDX Optimisation Pack for Microsoft Teams for a Citrix Virtual Desktop
Coming…

Suggested HDX Broadcast (Remote Graphics Mode) Policy for 7.15 Long Term Service Release (LTSR)
*Please be aware that Citrix eDocs is very clear when it states that Citrix does NOT support Teams HDX Offloading Optimisation for 7.15 Long Term Service Release (LTSR) as it is NOT listed as a supported CVAD platform, you still may wish however to test Microsoft Teams operationally e.g test out its impact on compute, I/O, user profile e.t.c and then purely for fallback failures aka NO HDX Offloading Optimisation BUT you will not be able to test the employee experience of HDX Offloading the audio/video traffic as it is NOT supported remember*). You’ll make use of your UAT 7.15 LTSR environment to be ready for a 2020-21 deployment on a supported CVAD release that supports HDX Offloading for Microsoft Teams, therefore use the built-in default HDX policy “Use video codec for compression” selecting  “Use video codec when preferred” which means the following “This is the default setting. No additional configuration is required. Keeping this setting as the default ensures that Thinwire is selected for all Citrix connections, and is optimized for scalability, bandwidth, and superior image quality for typical desktop workloads.” reference the 7.15 LTSR documentation at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/graphics/thinwire.html which will probably be ok for testing under the current release that you are consuming. Final Remember: CVAD formerly XAD 7.15 LTSR platform is NOT supported for Teams Optimisation. TIP: Definitions can change between CR vs. LTSR within the HDX stack which is consistently improving and being updated to offer better employee experiences all the time e.g introduction of net new H.264 standards so always be sure to check the differences between CR vs. LTSR and CR vs. CR versions.

UKI Field Example of an HDX Offloaded Teams Video Call
Pending…

Transitioning from Skype for Business to Teams
A number of few folks have asked the question can I mix and match Skype for Business and the Teams Optimisation Packs together? Its actually a complex answer but the immediate answer as of 03/08/2019 is below, BUT always be sure to circle back and review Citrix’s documentation for the latest supporting statements and interoperability at – https://docs.citrix.com around Teams Optimisation and when searching use “Teams Optimization”. Tip use American spelling for better results.

The response is complex and is as follows, answers received vary dependant upon your role Citrix vs. Skpye4B/Teams SysAdmin or Consultant. As I work at Citrix today (Aug 2019) lets focus on a Citrix based role to Teams response:

(1) Complete LOB app readiness of Teams including new HDX services/API’s to enable HDX Offloading within a the master image but hidden + unavailable using techniques like disabling the services for each (whatever you prefer), Citrix app layering, MSFT app masking e.t.c. TIP: Pay attention to understand the compute utilisation differences between Teams vs. Skype4B there is a difference.

(2) I still need to push out the required RTME to all employee end-points so I don’t want to break the employee experience while we transition to Teams. It is expected to have backwards compatible within Citrix Workspace app for older Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) versions check eDocs for the backwards compatibility.

(3) I only want to transition employees by AD or Citrix Delivery group (department, trusted test groups e.t.c) to Teams based upon point 2 and perform a staggered canary rollout like Citrix Cloud does for each of its services.

(4) The person(s) within the Skype for Business/Teams based role(s) need to setup/conf and then test the audio/video codecs prior to enabling Teams at a company wide scale, for me personally this point is actually the most critical because as you offloading the audio/video to the end-point when using HDX Offloading the back-end compute + network resources low aka aren’t taken any much of a real hit HOWEVER if the HDX Offloading fails then you really, really need to understand the impact of processing of the A/V within the Citrix session and what affect it will have on the employees experience so when he/she is completed there final tests, you should prior to a final rollout perform a test side by side two identical end-points one optimised and the other un-optimised and be sure to capture the compute + network requirements client and server side, including the network traffic and score the experience out of 10 for voice and video, the test should be done with wired (where possible today), wireless (Wi-Fi) and 4G internet connectivity in two separate locations an Office (think QoS) and at home (no QoS).

(5) Once you have the results from point 4 you may want to re-evaluate your existing HDX Broadcast policies (remote graphics mode e.t.c) and take into account a fall-back scenario if HDX Offloading fails whatever the reason, you may also prefer to leave it as is, however I would strongly suggest creating an emergency fallback HDX Broadcast policy stack but it should be DISABLED and only manually pushed out only if required. The fallback HDX Broadcast policy stack is to preserve the employee experience as best you can if something goes wrong and when I mean something goes wrong I mean a non-Citrix update breaks the optimisation somehow as in reality the Citrix components e.g VDA, HDX Services/API, RTME and Citrix Workspace app are less likely to change within a 12 month period.

Suggested “Balanced” HDX Broadcast (Remote Graphics Mode) Policy for Fallback
In 2016 I proposed the following HDX policy for remote graphics “Use video codec for compression” to be set to “For actively changing regions” to preserve the employee experience in a fallback scenario, its now 2019 and my Suggested HDX policy remains unchanged as long as the key goal is to preserve the employee experience to meet that HD experience and it will come at a back-end compute + network traffic spike, including increased network traffic between server and client to process the video H.264/H.265 streams.

Once upon a time I was a SysAdmin and still am at my core so I’ll have an emergency HDX policy in place BUT disabled I call it “HDX Adaptive Display v2 (Balanced)” you configure it as follows selecting the following HDX policies in Studio:

1.”Use video codec for compression” then select  “For actively changing regions
2. “Preferred color depth for simple graphics” then select “16 bits per pixel” and also try 24.
3. Select “Frames Per Second” and select the target FPS to circa 25 from the default which is 30.

NEW 11/10/2019 you could look to utilise “Progressive Mode” – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/graphics/thinwire.html#progressive-mode, I have not tested this myself yet however it may work for your organisation if you already have it in-place actively.

I wrote a myCUGC article entitled “HDX Leading Best Practices for your Modern Secure Workspace” at – https://www.mycugc.org/blogs/cugc-blogs/2017/09/15/hdx-leading-best-practices-for-your-modern-secure which has some interesting thoughts and insights from nearly 2 years ago which you may find useful and yes I will write an updated article this year time permitting to complete my testing which requires extensive field testing with different devices I don’t just use a lab + network at home, I base 95% of all my article suggestions of what/how to configure settings vs. practises from my personal lab hosted in AWS EC2 in N.Virginia to delivered to end-points in the City of and Greater London, England so its not definitely poppy cop its real world + life scenarios and use cases that I test.

Suggested “Preferred” HDX Broadcast/RealTime/MediaStream (Remote Graphics Mode, Audio and Video) Policy inclusive of Fallback
YES I am contradicting the above suggested HDX Broadcast fallback policy, which I have now renamed to “Balanced” from my initial post and why it still remains is that it will support organisations of any size vs. scale vs. deployment rollout vs. connected devices supporting a balance between video, audio and the remoted display so when an outage occurs and neither I nor will you know what its going to be impacted for example it could be 1x MPLS circuit failure (tip check out Citrix SD-WAN link bonding demo from Jan 2016 vs. case study vs. product page) vs. degradation of all internet circuits due to bad BGP route injections, you get the idea. I’m cautious being an ex-SysAdmin/Consultant and therefore I will summary the key differentiators from my own perspectives as follows in order:

1. How important is the employee experience? For me personally this is always #1 as today’s 2019 reality, employees want an HD 4K experience consistently therefore my personal advise is utilise the built-in default HDX policies within the Current Release (CR) typically minus 2/3 of current CVAD release with your desired HDX employee experience policy tweaks.
2. Once you understand how the humans (employees) within your organisation work using Skype for Business vs. Teams you will have better context as to the WHAT should be in your fallback policy for DR, business continuity or just individual employee devices going into fallback mode. For example understanding your employees is key lets take a look at a practical example by industry vertical, a call centre employee is more interested in better audio quality with customers vs. a clinician on a video call discussing a patients surgical/recovery plan looking at patient records.
3. Re-evaluate once every 3-4 months by asking, polling quick surveys and looking at the metrics made available in both Skype for Business vs. Teams as lets be honest its not a light switch its a journey from one to the other.

Now that you understand your humans (employees) keeping point 3 in mind and begin building out your HDX employee experience policy which most likely be the using the defaults in the 19XN releases as the HDX product management team have done an brilliant job working with engineering decreasing the amount of toggles and dials to tweak the HDX protocol and its now these days automatically adapting and adjusting to maintain the human (employee) experience.

1.”Use video codec for compression” then select  “Use video codec when preferred
2. Select “Frames Per Second” use the default which is 30 or increase up to a maximum of 60.
3. Select “Visual quality” set to “High” going beyond this will incur high network bandwidth utilisation, but going beyond this is ok but remember if you are having continual networking performance issues unrelated to Citrix or the HDX offloading capability and employee experience has decreased overall think about a micro change for the current window and then revert. An example of using “Always lossless” is the clinician use case described above.

What Supported Hardware Can I Use With Microsoft Teams?
Strongly suggested to only use Microsoft Teams certified headsets, speaker phones, conference phones, cameras e.t.c are listed and available at – https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/across-devices/devices. Are my existing Citrix Ready thin clients, headsets, cameras e.t.c using with Skype for Business using Citrix’s HDX Offloading capability compatible? You will need to check with your vendor for there support status with the new optimisation pack for Teams and Microsoft Teams as there have been changes made from both Citrix + Microsoft.

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Employee Personalisation Experience in Citrix Workspace

The Citrix Workspace experience always employees to personalise there workspace beyond the enterprise branding that IT may or may not enforce. So what can a use personalise?

The following options are currently available:

First Name
Last Name
Company Name (Optional)
Custom Avatar vs. Initials

The following shows the difference between with(out) an Avatar and does make a significant impact even as a Citrix employee that its my personalised workspace that I go to get work done.

How do you enable your own personal Avatar within your Citrix Workspace? I will be honest its not obvious and its driven by the Citrix Content Collaboration (ShareFile) platform.

1.Login into your Citrix Files (ShareFile) portal e.g https://axendatacentre.sharefile.eu or .com
2.Once you logged in you should be taken to “Dashboard” UI and in the middle of the web page at the top you’ll see your name e.g “Lyndon-Jon
3.Next to your name it will say “Add profile picture
4.It will then open up the “Edit Profile” web page and within the “Name and Company Details” area you’ll see parallel to your name “Profile picture” select “Upload” and browse to the picture that you will use and select it.?
5.Your picture will be upload and a green notification will appear above (right side) saying “Your profile picture has been updated.” which means your profile picture has been saved successfully.
6.Next login to your Citrix Workspace either the app or HTML5 portal and you’ll see your personalised Avatar appear instead of the standard initials Avatar. Note I did find that Citrix Workspace app across all my devices required either more than 1x refresh to propagate the new Avatar or sign-off/close Citrix Workspace app and re-login at the change propagated.

In closing you now have a personalised avatar within your Citrix Workspace available across all your devices as seen below, although I primarily use Apple devices you can see the experience persists from a HTML5 browser to the mobile and desktop apps for Citrix Workspace.

I have not checked what feature entitlement is required but considering that you personalise your Avatar in Content Collaboration its a little obvious at a glance, I will update this article in the future once I have fully investigate the entitlement required. This feature had positive impact on me that I believed a brief post about setting it up was a priority for me to share with the Citrix community.

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Apple FaceID Authentication for Citrix Workspace app on iOS Devices

I recently moved from iPhone 5S (Ja Ja or Yes Yes) to iPhone XR and thought I’d enable Apple FaceID as my primary authentication method for my corporate owned device vs. PIN/Passcode and … to unlock my device + Citrix Workspace.

I have to say I’m impressed thus far it’s a really super authentication method and defiantly not a gimmick! Example I setup notifications for Citrix Secure Mail with the Show Previews set to “When Unlocked (Default)” this means that when an unknown vs. family individual picks up my iPhone they’ll see a Secure Mail badge with just “Notification” as the message see below.

However when I pick up the iPhone I see something quiet different, as you’ll notice below. I now very quickly get the right vs. relevant context surrounding the email(s) content sent, therefore I am better informed to decide when to respond e.g right now, in a few minutes or later dependant upon the activity/task that I am busy with, within my current Citrix Workplace setting e.g Citrix Paddington office, London tube vs. bus, Train up north to Manchester e.t.c as at Citrix it’s recognised that work is not a place anymore.

Workplace setting? What’s that? 

Think about yourself, you’re probably consuming  1-2 LOB apps at least 2-3 times before arriving in your first workplace setting for the day for a meeting or attending an event? Take note you’ve already signed into WORK at what 06:00-30 if you have children or perhaps later. Did this behaviour exist 5 years ago for you?

Ok back to Apples FaceID.

I wanted to truly test, push the limits and capabilities of Apple FaceID as a primary authentication method for my Citrix Workspace + Workplaces going beyond what we all test it seems e.g different coloured lighting, in the dark, twilight, dusk, low vs. bright light and the list goes on and it all worked perfectly so great job Apple so far!

I wanted more, I wanted a sudden change in my face to truly push FaceID to its limits so as many men do in November I to pulled a Movember – https://uk.movember.com (perfectly timed) so I had a thickish but full beard + moustache which was timely for me testing its limits so I registered my face with both (yes it was passing the scratchy stage) so I then decided to leave it post Movember for 3 days to see if it was learning more about my face to better recognise me and then implement the dramatic change by shaving it all off clean and what do you think happened? Did Apple FaceID recognise me? Yes it did first time, great job again Apple!

So can you be confident in consuming FaceID for Citrix Workspace app or even for unlocking your iOS devices? Yes, if it’s a supported feature on your iOS device and obviously if your corporate IT policy allows for it by not blocking it through policy controls.

How-to Enable FaceID for Citrix Workspace app on iOS
Authenticate yourself within Citrix Workspace app for iOS e.g – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/citrix-workspace/id363501921?mt=8 using your current method e.g TouchID and or user/passwd/token e.t.c and then to enable it Apple FaceID navigate to the settings “Menu” tap your desired configured account or the default which is “Store”, next tap “Edit Account” and finally toggle the “FaceID” option to the ON or ENABLED position/state and then you are ready to begin consuming Apple FaceID as your primary authentication method to Citrix Workspace app on iOS.

Final Thoughts
I was not a fan of Apple FaceID initially when it launched as I wanted to do some homework + research it a bit more and see and hear what other peoples experiences where, but most of all wait for the technology to mature a little.

One thing I do keeping thinking about is that Apple FaceID lets you add up to 2x faces only on the iPhone XR*. I wonder if it needs to support up to 4x for family vs. 1x for business scenarios controlled by MDM/UEM polices?

I will continue my testing over time and circle back in a few months with a new blog post of simply update this and do more background research on Apple FaceID* but until then enjoy it, its worth enabling!

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix or Apple.

Upgrading to Citrix Workspace app not App at a glance

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Why this blog post?
I am excited its finally available in the Apple app store, and I’m an advocate of Citrix + IaaS + SDWAN technologies.

Getting the Citrix Workspace app
If you are looking to update/upgrade to Citrix Workspace it’s now available on Citrix.com at – https://www.citrix.com/downloads/workspace-app/ which contains download installers for PC, Mac, Linux, HTML5 (clientless) and hyperlinks to the app for each major app store e.g Chrome, Microsoft, Apple and Android vs. search for it in your app store using the search term “Citrix Workspace” from your smart device e.g for iOS https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/citrix-receiver/id363501921?mt=8.

Upgrading clients to Citrix Workspace app
Smart devices (Mobile)
The Citrix Receiver to Workspace upgrade on smart device(s) is simple, the app store of your chosen smart device e.g iPhone will notify you of any/all pending mobile app updates and you can simply tap to begin the upgrade as seen in the below short video. I’d like to point out this is my personal bring-your-own (BYO) device so it’s not enrolled into the corporate UEM solution as I consume + access corporate LOB apps when right vs. relevant in emergency scenario’s via my corporate Windows 10 Citrix virtual desktop (XenDesktop), Slack is for the Citrix Technology Advocate (CTA) and iGel Community channels and ShareFile Workflows, Citrix SSO is for testing purposes.

PC, Mac, Linux (Machines/Laptops/Devices)
Now lets take a look at traditional/current workplace end-points that we consume as when/how within our workspace. The example below depicts me as a Citrix SysAdmin (lets test this prior to a PROD rollout organisation wide) so download the Citrix Workspace app installer from – https://www.citrix.com/downloads/workspace-app/ for your choosen end-point, and be sure to visit eDocs at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app.html to check out the deployment configuration options for your organisations supported end-point(s) strategy e.g Thin Clients, CYO, BYO, Corporate issued.

What can I do with Citrix Workspace app?
Begin exploring the Citrix Workspace app web page at – https://www.citrix.com/products/workspace-app/ to learn about the business outcomes, transformation capabilities now enabled by IT (not just a cost centre anymore) and end-user value + benefits + experience. If you are short on time then watch the below embedded video which provides a brief overview in little over a minute, however if you do have time then please read this blog post entitled “Citrix Workspace App – Answers to Your Burning Questions” on Citrix.com – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/06/01/citrix-workspace-app-answers-to-your-burning-questions/ and be sure to read the comments section at the bottom of the blog post.

For Citrix SysAdmins, Consultants
Download the “Citrix Workspace App 1808 Feature Matrix” today at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-receiver-feature-matrix.pdf to learn what is vs. what isn’t available e.t.c.

Understanding the Citrix + ServiceNow Integration

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and deploying the ServiceNow ITSM Adapter (Connector) version 1.0.8 for Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop Service prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or leading best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
IT SERVICE MANAGEMENT – itsm
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
SERVICENOW – sn
CITRIX CLOUD – cc

Technology Introduction?
The Citrix ITSM Adapter (Connector) is now available in the SN App Store – https://store.servicenow.com/sn_appstore_store.do#!/store/application/bb5ca9a2db9bd700677d3437b996190f/. So what does this actually mean for you and your organisation? If you are a Citrix + ServiceNow customer the integration or rather release of the ITSM Connector allows for the automated provisioning of Citrix virtual apps & Citrix virtual desktops, including monitoring and management via the Citrix Cloud Connector. The offering includes defined roles and permissions for End-users (request new virtual apps, desktops or even reset there own sessions) vs. Administrators defined for Citrix (Consumer of ITSM, adds XAD and or Site Aggregation Service e.t.c ) vs. ServiceNow (Performs the integration).

Suggested read the following announcements “Introducing Citrix Integration with ServiceNow” – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/08/20/introducing-citrix-integration-with-servicenow/, “Citrix and ServiceNow Improve Workspace Automation and Employee Experience” – https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180820005155/en/Citrix-ServiceNow-Improve-Workspace-Automation-Employee-Experience. Finally relive/recap from Citrix Synergy 2018 surrounding the initial ServiceNow Integration announcement below.

Architecture Overview

The diagram (page3*) above is from the Citrix + ServiceNow documentation which deceits the follow of communication and traffic.

Brief Deployment Overview of the ServiceNow ITSM Adapter for Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops
1. I would strongly advise that you download, read the documentation below carefully in the following suggested order as well.

– CC ITSM Guide* – https://store.servicenow.com/appStoreAttachments.do?sys_id=3781a14ddbfb9b002b9ed040cf96197e
– Installation (Guide) of Citrix ITSM Connector** – https://store.servicenow.com/appStoreAttachments.do?sys_id=7381a14ddbfb9b002b9ed040cf96197f

2.1. If you have not already sign-up to CC following the on boarding process carefully for new vs. existing customers – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/signing-up-for-citrix-cloud/signing-up-for-citrix-cloud.html.
2.2. Refer to the ServiceNow documentation for on-boarding of new vs. existing customers – https://docs.servicenow.com/category/london.
3. You’ll need to obtain a “Client ID” and “Secret” from Citrix Cloud e.g https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/service/install-configure/cloud-connectors-install.html along with your AD user domain (You’ll know what that is).
4. Complete the setup & configuration of the Citrix ITSM connector with your organisations ServiceNow SysAdmin by installing the connector from the ServiceNow app store – https://store.servicenow.com/sn_appstore_store.do#!/store/application/bb5ca9a2db9bd700677d3437b996190f/.
5. Navigate to the newly provisioned connector in ServiceNow for Citrix select “Home” and complete the simple on-baording process which will take you to Citrix Cloud and you’ll see “IT Service Management Adapter” service available subscribe to it. Next return to ServiceNow.
6. Authenticate to Citrix Cloud from ServiceNow entering the pre-created “Client ID” and “Secret” and once authed its IMPORTANT select the CORRECT “Customer ID” and commit.
7. You can now utilise the available ServiceNow Sysadmin tools to configure your chosen XAD environment. See listed documentation links for details for configuring for XAD Service however for now I am going to focus on on-premises XAD environment integration which requires the use of the Site Aggregation feature available from Citrix Cloud – https://citrix.cloud.com/. To setup Site Aggregation following this eDocs article – “Add an on-premises Site to Citrix Workspace” – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/workspaces/add-on-premises-site.html, note you will need to install + deploy the Citrix Cloud Connector within your resource location to communicate with the XAD environment on-premsies e.g 7.x FMA Site (NOTE: Full XAD SysAdmin credentials are required!) which needs to be added under the IT Service Management Adapter Service in CC. You can now return to the ServiceNow Sysadmin tools for the Citrix ITSM and begin configuring for Citrix virtual apps & desktops as page 5 of the installation guide**

I’ll publish a more detailed blog post in a follow-up blog article or I may update this blog post so stay tuned folks.

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Citrix Workspace app is released Hello World

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Introduction
What is Citrix Workspace app? It brings together all your LOB tools which in todays modern world consists of (virtual/micro/installed/mobile) apps, SaaS, desktops & content. I’ve embedded a sample of what this actually looks like below.

Overview
The new Citrix Workspace app way more than purely an upgrade of Citrix Receiver e.g grey to blue icon and a skin change, this NEW Citrix client app release is simply extraordinary, working for Citrix I can be considered bias however once you actually begin to consume the Citrix Workspace app you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Citrix Workspace app is for me all about an experience, and that experience is extraordinarily AWESOME! As I begin consuming my LOB (Line of Business) tools wherever I am + want and in a setting/context that suites me (home, Paddington vs. partner offices, trains, taxi e.t.c) the chosen LOB tool delivered context can change dependant upon criteria (I won’t be covering this today) or how IT (say YES!) has chosen to deliver the LOB tool through Citrix Access Control Service – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/access-control/get-started.html.

I now have all my content available all in the same AWESOME app thank you Citrix Content & Collaboration aka ShareFile. I can upload, download and even favourite particular content e.g “L-J’s H1/2 Citrix Partner Tech Super Deck” which is then available directly from the home view/tab. In the below example I am uploading the LeasePlan Citrix SD-WAN case study – https://www.citrix.co.uk/customers/leaseplan-en.html and the actual video is available at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hq-yryxfS0 take a look and remember to listen to the outcomes Citrix SD-WAN provides LeasePlan.

How do I get started today?
Firstly I will do a more detail blog post on getting it all up and running with use cases time dependant of course.

1.Start by navigating to https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app.html and then goto Citrix.com and login with your access details, next navigate to https://www.citrix.com/downloads/workspace-app/ and download Citrix Workspace app for your chosen end-point. If you are running a TP of Citrix Workspace app code base please UNINSTALL it prior to installing the GA production code base as a few community individuals I know had issues upgrading from TP code base. I would like to state for the record I upgraded from PRODUCTION Citrix Receiver to the Citrix Workspace app for Mac 1808 on my Mac without ANY issues see below tweet.

2. Please carefully read the System Requirements for your chosen platform here is the link for Mac – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-mac/system-requirements.html and Windows https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-windows/system-requirements.html.

3. Review the installation guidance for Mac – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-mac/install-configure.html and Windows – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-windows/install.html.

4. Please carefully read the configuration of Workspace app for Mac – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-mac/configure.html
and Windows – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-windows/install.html e.t.c. for other platform and if you are looking for multi-monitor support or Mac – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-mac/improve-user-experience.html#using-multiple-monitors for Windows – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-windows/improve.html#multi-monitor-support, and securing communications between Workspace app and your StoreFront for Mac – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-mac/secure-communications.html and Windows – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-windows/secure-communication.html (Pay attention to deprecated cipher suites node) and finally if your are you a Smart Card user pay attention to the recitations at the bottom of both docs for Mac – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-mac/requirements-for-smartcard-authentication.html and for Windows – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-windows/authentication/config-smart-card.html and for WIF 5.4 (yes I know really however some of you still may need it while your upgrading to XAD 7.x platform) https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-workspace-app-for-windows/secure-communication/config-smart-card–for-web-interface.html.

5. Sign-up vs. Login to Citrix Cloud today and trial vs. acquire a Citrix Cloud service e.g ShareFile Service or the XAD Service and if you want to aggregate on-premises LOB apps into the new Citrix Workspace experience then setup “Site Aggregation” today. To learn how please read this CTXS blog post and watch the embedded YouTUBE video which provides a how-to overview at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/08/03/site-aggregation-for-citrix-workspace-is-now-ga/.

Thats all folks for now on the technical overview its brief I know so I will follow-up in future with more detailed overview + how-to e.t.c either here or on the https://www.mycugc.org website in the experts area.

Upgrading to Citrix Workspace from Citrix Receiver for smart devices

In Closing
I work for Citrix, I have been a Citrix + IaaS advocate for well over a decade (now SD-WAN swell) so I am mostly likely bias you’ll think however Citrix Workspace app is truly AWESOME and way more than what you see at a glance, I encourage you all to begin consuming it today to see for yourself just what I am talking about and why I personally say its “AWESOME“.

Citrix Innovation Award Finalists for #CitrixSynergy 2018

Its that time of the year where you Citrix customers, partners can vote for your favourite Citrix Innovation Award Finalist.

This year see’s a great mixture of customers in different markets all leveraging Citrix technologies as the enabler for transformation within there organisations to embrace a new way of working or #ThisIsHowTheFutureWorks powered by Citrix Networking, Workspace and Security & Platform Analytics from https://www.cloud.com/.

I would encourage you to watch all three videos describing there journey before casting your vote as there is some really great innovation happening within these Citrix customers and if you want to get started visit https://www.citrix.com or https://www.cloud.com/ today.

Beazley from the UK – Insurance

Quote “A new mindset to work wherever I am, because I have the tools that Citrix provides and Beazley…” – @dalesteggles

Health Choice Network, US – Healthcare

WAGO, Germany – Engineering

All the very best to this years Finalists.

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Citrix Ready WorkspaceHub Tech Preview (TP) Getting Started?

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and deploy the Tech Preview of the Citrix Ready WorkspaceHub using an Android Receiver on a mobile smart phone (April 2018) with XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6+ LTSR. The views, opinions, and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or leading best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
SECURITY – sec
NETSCALER – ns
NETSCALER GATEWAY SERVICE – nsg service
WINDOWS – win
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
WORKSPACEHUB – wh

Introduction
Citrix has recently announced the availability of the Tech Preview of the Citrix Ready WorkspaceHub at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/04/04/its-here-download-the-citrix-ready-workspace-hub-tech-preview-today/. So what exactly is it? Its a Raspberry Pi 3 platform at its core with Citrix technology + innovation built into it to provide a number of innovative capabilities for the Digital Workplace #thisishowthefutureworks. For me seeing is believing so the below embedded Tweet by Bas Stapelbroek – @hapster84 or https://twitter.com/hapster84 is a short video clip that demonstrates just one of the many powerful capabilities (sign-on to a thin client using a QR code while your virtual desktop still runs on your smart phone smooth roaming +++++ I like to say) available as part of the Citrix Ready Workspace Hub.

Full credit of the above goes out to Bas Stapelbroek – @hapster84 and thank you for allowing me to include it in my blog post.

You’re probably asking yourself how do you manage them you ask? You leverage Stratodesk NoTouch – https://www.stratodesk.com/products/workspace-hub/ whom work with our supported Citrix Ready Partners that provide the Citrix Ready WorkspaceHub for Internal or external you can use Citrix XenMobile+.

Please visit the StratoDesk webpages for nComputing – https://www.stratodesk.com/products/workspace-hub/ncomputing-rx-hdx-citrix/ and ViewSonic – https://www.stratodesk.com/products/workspace-hub/viewsonic-sc-t25-citrix-hdx-ready-pi/ for more details around the capabilities, specifications e.t.c of each platform.

You can put the device down and lock it but be sure to refer to *page 14 for helpful tips.

Pre-requitstes & System Requirements
You’ll need to sign-up to the Tech Preview program at – https://podio.com/webforms/20685654/1419376 however I urge you to please please please read through this Citrix Forum Discussions post at – https://discussions.citrix.com/topic/394304-welcome-to-the-tech-preview-of-the-citrix-ready-workspace-hub/ and finally you should before you get started once you have your h/w and have been accepted into the program read through the the TP documentation available at – * https://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/current-release/downloads/workspace-hub-preview-2018.pdf which is the below in more detail.

– Your require at a bare minimum XenApp 7.6 LTSR environment running 7.6 VDA for Windows Server (remember this is a Tech Preview ONLY as of April 2018)
– You require a physical Citrix Ready WorkspaceHub device – http://citrixreadyprogram.com/workspace-hub/ which currently includes thin client vendors in alphabetical order nComputing and ViewSonic. If you have had it for a while e.g 2017 firmware please read pages 2 (end)-3(top) for instructions on where to obtain the firmware updates. See page 2 for full h/w details.
– TP only supports Android Receiver 3.13.5 or later for Mobile devices + Bluetooth for
– Networking persecutive your require Android smart phone and WorkspaceHub to be on the same Wi-Fi network with the following open ports 55555, 55556 (default port for SSL connections) and ports 1494 and 8500 must not be blocked for Citrix Casting to work between the Android Receiver on Mobile Device <-> Citrix WorkspaceHub.
– Internal centralised management utilises Stratodesk https://www.stratodesk.com/kb/Main_Page to get started or for external management you can use XenMobile+ also on page 3.
– If you’re looking for Skype for Business support check out page 5
– Recommended HDX Graphics Mode and policy for the TP is to set and enable H.264 for fullscreen the policy is “Use video codec for compression” setting to “For the entire screen
– Setting up Receiver page 7 ensuring that you DO NOT SELECT e.g UNTICK “Add account type as Web Interface” and during the setup you’ve need to complete the Touch-Free mode for proximity authentication enabled vs. disabled page 8-9. Now test the proximity referring to page 10.
– Setting up the session roaming with a QR code, TLS/SSL (requires SHA256is covered in pages 11-15 with Stratodesk NoTouch
– Please please please read through thoroughly the known limitations within the TP on page 16 and finally there is Citrix Discussions Forum available for support during the TP at https://discussions.citrix.com/forum/1726-citrix-ready-workspace-hub-preview/.

In Closing
I hope you found this blog post useful as I have written it due to the number of people contacting me via social platforms, Slack and of course traditional communications like telephone calls, text/sms and yes email. A final thought, be sure to check out a short demonstration + talk on Citrix Casting and a lot more detail at – https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-workspace/iot.html.

Disclaimer
Please read the “Citrix Ready Workspace Hub PreviewDisclaimerCitrix Ready Workspace Hub Preview Citrix Ready Workspace Hub Preview” on page 1* and a note to Citrix Investors is listed at the bottom of the blog post announcement of the TP program of the Citrix Ready WorkspaceHub at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/04/04/its-here-download-the-citrix-ready-workspace-hub-tech-preview-today/.

Session Watermarking for App & Desktop Security by Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop 7.17 or #CitrixCloud

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and deploy Session Watermark policy feature with the XenApp & XenDesktop Service (April 2018) or XenApp & XenDesktop 7.17 on-premises prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or leading best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
SECURITY – sec
NETSCALER – ns
NETSCALER GATEWAY SERVICE – nsg service
WINDOWS – win
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad

Introduction to “Session Watermark”
The latest release of the XenApp & XenDesktop Service powered by Citrix Cloud or if you are performing a private cloud (on-premises) upgrade or net new installation of XenApp & XenDesktop 7.17 has some NEW features (another post brewing) and one that I have been waiting on for quiet sometime now has not finally arrived (WAHOO!) and its VERY VERY simple to configure and aids in improving your security posture (I believe) for delivery of apps & desktops powered by Citrix against e.g IP theft. In the below tweet can you see it?

The above is from my initial tests using a Windows Server 2016 VM hosted in Azure Northern Europe region running the 7.17 VDA configured to my Citrite #CitrixCloud XenApp & XenDesktop Service so I did not need to upgrade anything to get this new SHINY cool feature yes I said it SHINY. All I was required to do was deploy a new Windows Server 2016 VM from the Azure marketplace, domain join it, install the VDA and connect it to my Cloud Connector and I was ready in less than 25 minutes from initially deploying the VM from the marketplace.

Finally on a personal note for me Citrix SysAdmins enabling the “Session Watermark” feature obviously initally tested in a safe environment e.g UAT with a few users from a couple of departments and then rolling it out into production (as when/how your ready) will be making IT the modern “App & Desktop Security Heroes“. IT can apply and configure these new policies to be the most right vs. relevant for your organisations security needs while not hindering the end-users Rich HD eXperience.

Session Watermark Policies
You have 8 watermarking policies to apply with the 9th one enabling this security capability or feature set with the following list of quirks, suggested policy configuration and more available at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/current-release/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/session-watermark-policy-setting.html.

Before we get started it is worth mentioning that this feature does add an overhead to the compute on the backend (VDA side) and therefore it is suggested to enable up to two water marking features or items. In my overview of this feature I will wont cover off the cost of implementing this security policy as there are multiple variables to consider e.g HDX Graphics Mode and associated policies to provide the right vs. relevant end-user experience vs. how many watermark items do I apply? I have begun testing so bare with me and I’ll publish my findings either on my personal blog here or on https://www.mycugc.org under the “Expert Insights” area.

Enable session watermark
By default this feature is DISABLED as the default behaviour which I believe is the right approach considering its Citrix’s initial release of this #security feature (in my personal view) and secondly online documentation at eDocs suggested recommendations it to enable NOT more than two watermark text items. Finally * indicates that this policy is DISABLED by default when Session Watermark is enabled.

Include client IP address
* This is the IP addr of the device connecting to the virtual app & desktop.

Include connection time
* Utilises the following format yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm to display the users initial connection time to there virtual app or desktop.

Include logon user name
ENABLED by default when you enable Session Watermark as a policy and uses the following format USERNAME@DOMAINNAME is most optimise for 20 characters or less otherwise truncation might occur of the users logon username.

Include VDA host name
ENABLED by default when you enable Session Watermark as a policy and provides the VDA hostname e.g ne1vad01

Include VDA IP address
* Provides the internal IP addr that corresponding the VDA’s hostname e.g ne1vad01 = 10.1.0.7

Session watermark style
ENABLED by default using “Multiple e.g displays five watermark labels” when you enable Session Watermark as a policy or you can configure “Single e.g displays a single watermark label in the centre of the session“. TIP switching to SINGLE and sticking to two watermark text items for me in my initial tests is a good starting policy however time will tell as I continue to test out this new feature and its capabilities with different HDX Graphics Modes and associated tweaks.

Watermark custom text
* A unicode maximum of 25 characters is supported if you exceed this limit it will be truncated.

Watermark transparency
ENABLED by default set to “17 out of 100” when you enable Session Watermark as a policy, personally I think setting it to just 1 is fine in my initial tests as you want it to be not so in your face to the end-users to be bluntly honest.