Category Archives: HDX 3D Pro

2017 UKI #CitrixPartnerLove Challenge #6 Traffic Flows

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

You can download the image at https://lnkd.in/dN74-97 to print.

What’s New in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.13

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.13 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
SECURITY ASSERTION MARKUP LANGUAGE – saml
LOCAL HOST CACHE – lhc
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
WINDOWS – win
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM – ceip
VIRTUAL APPS – va
DATA TRANSPORT LAYER – edt
FIREWALL – f/w
ACCESS CONTROL LISTS – acl
ADVANCED MICRO DEVICE – amd

What’s New
A full and complete list of what’s new is avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/whats-new.html. I’ll start with one of my Citrix passions which is any and everything surrounding HDX technologies.

1. HDX Adaptive Transport is disabled by default in XAD 7.13* also referred to as EDT is a new HDX graphics mode that utilises both the UDP and TCP protocols with a fallback to TCP where UDP isn’t available. The HDX engineering team have engineered this new Citrix protocol called Enlightened Data Transport (EDT) which utilises the existing Citrix ports 1494 (ICA/HDX) and 2598 (Session Reliability) for both TCP and now new UDP so f/w ACL changes are near enough straight forward. To test this new graphics mode internally:

– Configure the ACL between your test end-point and through your internal network (over a VPN) VM running the 7.13 VDA to allow UDP and TCP for 1494, 2598
– Your test VM instance could be running in Azure (connected on-prem via a VPN) or on XenServer 7.1 and remember must be running the latest desktop or server VDA
– Your test end-point must be running the following min Citrix Receiver versions for Windows 4.7, Mac 12.4 and for iOS 7.2
– *In Studio create a machine catalogue, delivery group or use an existing one with your VDA upgraded from e.g 7.12 to 7.13 and then create a new HDX policy e.g HDX-TestofEDT and select the following HDX policy entitled “” and choose “Preferred“.

2. AMD Multiuser GPU (MxGPU e.g GPU Virtualization works with vSphere only) on the AMD FirePro S-series server cards for HDX 3D Pro workloads only e.g Desktop OSes ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/hdx/gpu-acceleration-desktop.html+ with support for up to 6 monitors, custom blanking & resolution, high frame rate and only GPU Pass-through is supported on the following hypervisors XenServer and Hyper-V. For further details please ref to the AMD website at – http://www.amd.com/en-us/solutions/professional/virtualization.

3. Intel Iris Pro (5-6th Gen Intel Xeon Processor E3) graphics processors supports H.264 h/w encoding for virtual apps & desktops, HDX 3D Pro support for up to 3x monitors (Ref to install options+), custom blanking & resolution, high frame rate. For further details and compatible Intel processors ref to – http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/servers/data-center-graphics.html

4. Other HDX enhancements include:

– Bidirectional content redirection – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/bidirectional-content-redirection.html
– Wacom tablets improvements & connection methods – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/hdx/usb.html and also see http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/usb-devices-policy-settings.html
– File copying performance enhancements for client drive mapping

5. StoreFront 3.9 support for the following below and for a closer look check out the following CTX blog article – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/02/24/whats-new-in-storefront-3-9/

– HDX Adaptive Display
– CEIP automatic enrollment by default. To disable please ref to http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/install-standard.html#par_anchortitle_8ea6
– Importing of NUG configurations (ZIP file or via PowerShell) into StoreFront to setup through the XAD Wizard using the latest NetScaler UG 11.1.51.21+ ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/integrate-with-netscaler-and-netscaler-gateway/import-netscaler-gateway.html to reduce and avoid misconfigurations.
– Not new but if you’re looking to security harden your StoreFront standalone or cluster ref to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/secure.html
– SAML auth through against your preferred Store with NetScaler Unified Gateway configured as your IdP – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/configure-authentication-and-delegation/configure-authentication-service.html#par_anchortitle_d712

5. The Connection Quality Indicator is not part of the XAD 7.13 release but an invaluable Citrix tool for Citrix SysAdmins check out its capabilities at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/02/22/citrix-connection-is-slow-not-really/ and you can download it from – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX220774 and it also inclues group policies for better SysAdmin controls to enable or disable the tool which is supported from XAD 7.6 LTSR and upwards ref the CTX220774 article. The below image is taken from a Window 10 virtual desktop powered by XenDesktop 7.x.

6. Linux Seamless published applications from a Linux supported OS using the 7.13 VDA – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/linux-virtual-delivery-agent/7-13/whats-new.html and also please read the publishing apps for Linux at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/linux-virtual-delivery-agent/1-4/suse/configuring/publish-apps.html for advanced tips and guidance on seamless mode vs. window manger configuration.
7. LHC in 7.13 introduces a new support feature for brokering operations for Citrix Cloud when the internet connection between the Citrix Cloud Connector and the Citrix Cloud control plane at – https://citrix.cloud.com/ is in a failed state or unavailable due to an ISP outage. You can also force an outage following the documentation available at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/manage-deployment/local-host-cache.html++ by creating and manually modifying the following registry entry “HKLM\Software\Citrix\DesktopServer\LHC with entry of OutageModeForced” set to the value in the documentation++ to force an outage for testing and or evaluation purposes prior to implmenting Local Host Cache. I’ve embedded below a simple architectural recap of LHC introdcued in XAD 7.12 and you can read in more depth detail about Local Host Cache from a previous blog post available at – http://axendatacentre.com/blog/2016/12/13/whats-new-in-xenapp-xendesktop-7-12/.

Finally LHC still provides support for brokering operations for traditional XAD Controller Site Database on-prem ref ++. I’d also recommend that you watch this TechTalks To Go covering LHC in XAD 7.12 release.

8. Provisioning Services 7.13 now supports Linux streaming and a brand new caching technique only available and supported on XenServer 7.1 called PVS-Accelerator. Check the following YouTube video from Citrix entitled “Introducing PVS-Accelerator, only available with XenServer!” via https://twitter.com/juancitrix/status/835202277317148672.

9. HDX Thinwire enhancements in 7.13 have resulted in up to 60% bandwidth savings. Take a look at the following CTX blog post at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/01/11/hdx-next-cuts-bandwidth-by-up-to-60-yes-sixty-percent/ which has some great high level LoginVSI 4.1.6 graphics comparing Thinwire in 7.12 vs. 7.13 on Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2016.
10. AppDNA what’s new ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/dna/7-13/whats-new.html now includes support for Windows 10 Anniversary Update (AU) and now defaultor analysis and reporting, Secure Web reports and finally improved importing to process to analysis OSes and apps. There are a few more to be sure to check out the whats news!

Deploying XenApp 7.13 for Evaluation & Testing Purposes
The fastest way to deploy and test the latest new features from Citrix XA 7.13 release with little to no effort is to deploy the “Citrix XenApp 7.13 Trial” from Microsoft Azure available and accessiable at – https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/citrix.citrix-xa?tab=Overview.

Removed from XenApp and XenDesktop 7.13
Please be sure to read and review the complete removed features and future removal features within XAD 7.x platform topics on Azure Classic, AppDisks, Desktop OS support and supported HDX Graphics Modes e.t.c –
https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/whats-new/removed-features.html.

Viso Stencils from Citrix’s Ask the Architect – https://twitter.com/djfeller for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.13.


Image credit: https://twitter.com/djfeller/status/836557405173477376

https://virtualfeller.com/2017/02/28/visioxenappxendesktop713/

HDX Thinwire “For actively changing regions” or HDX Adaptive Display v2

The following content is a brief and unofficial overview of the new HDX policy setting that enables HDX Adaptive Display v2. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessary conform to industry descriptions, best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENSERVER – xs
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
HDX ADAPTIVE DISPLAY V2 – hdxadv2

Introduction
The following capability is also referred to as Selective use of H.264, Selective H.264, HDX Adaptive Display v2 and Hybrid mode – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/28/hdx-graphics-gone-hybrid/ but in this blog post it’s referred to as “HDX Adaptive Display v2” but its technical accurate name from eDoc’s is “Selective use of a video codec (H.264) to compress graphics” as reffered to here – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_59c9.

Overview
In the release of XAD 7.11 (Seven11) a new Thinwire HDX policy was released which is part of the following policy Use video codec for compression” with the following option selected “For actively changing regions” which enables HDX Adaptive Display v2 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-kmnew.html#par_anchortitle_59c9 which blends the following Citrix HDX Graphics modes H.264 & Thinwire Compatible Mode together to offer the best UX but also to provide a balanced apporach by implementing the most right vs. relevant HDX graphics mode to offer the best rich & HD experience or near to local-like experience while balancing all compute, network resources between the server and or desktop VDA over the organisational network, internet to the users end-point.

The following CTX blog article – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/28/lossless-compression-lowering-the-cost-of-pixel-perfection/ most accurately describes the what, the how and the why? So be sure read it and watch the following YouTube video demonstration entitled “Citrix Desktop Master Class – Adaptive Display v2 Demo by Lee Bushen“.

Understanding Actively Changing Regions
If you take a look at the below example of a YouTube web page (rendered in HTML in Oct 2016) e.g delivered as a virtual app published internet browser or a virtual desktop and you access the above YouTube web page HDX Adaptive Display v2 will selectively utilise H.264, Thinwire and overlay lossless text.

To further understand this in greater details please refer to this Citrix blog article first and foremost https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/28/lossless-compression-lowering-the-cost-of-pixel-perfection/ and then watch
Citrix Desktop Master Class – What’s New in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.11 – Sept 2016available at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGHdTX202_U but scrub to 1:12:00 if you just want to understand HDX Adaptive Display v2 in greater detail.

Name of application e.g an Internet Browser
Organisation logo, banner of YouTube Channel
YouTube menu
YouTubeVideo  Title
Description 
YouTube Channels
Organisation Videos Library

YouTube Video Thumbnail YouTube Video Thumbnail YouTube Video Thumbnail YouTube Video Thumbnail YouTube Video Thumbnail YouTube Video Thumbnail
Title
Owner
Title
Owner
Title
Owner
Title
Owner
Title
Owner
Title
Owner
Start menu, taskbar and notification centre

What’s New and Understanding Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop 7.11 (Seven 11)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.11 (Seven 11) 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.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm or thinwire+
UNIVERSAL WINDOWS PLATFORM – uwp
FEDERAL INFORMATION PROCESSING STANDARD – fips
SELF-SERVICE PASSWORD RESET – sspr
PROVISIONING SERVER – pvs
MACHINE CREATION SERVICES – mcs
AZURE RESOURCE MANAGER – arm

What’s New
1. XAD 7.11 infrastructure support on Windows Server 2016 for the Controller, StoreFront, Studio, Director, Server VDA, Session Recording Server & Agent, Universal Print Server.
2. Self-Service Password Reset 1.0 (SSPR) is now part of the StoreFront 3.7 & XAD 7.11 (Platinum feature) release and can be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2 and 2016* and allows users to unlock or reset their AD passwords through a series of questions. For a detailed overview please read the CTX blog entitled “StoreFront 3.7 has been released!“- https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/14/storefront-3-7-has-been-released/

3. SQL Server 2014 Express is still installed by default when installing the XAD Controller which became the default in XAD 7.9 release ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_ddbe so be aware of the installation behavioural changes for SQL and SQL Server 2016 is now supported ref –http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/system-requirements.html#par_anchortitle_384a and for a full list of the supported databases for XAD please refer to http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX114501 which contains and up to date tablised view of XAD versions vs. SQL versions and which are and are’nt supported! Finally DB sizing can be found by referring to the LTSR release of XAD 7.6 at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/implementation_guides/database-sizing-guidance-for-xendesktop-7-6.html which has great guidance on database sizing for XAD 7.6+.

4. Publish URL’s, documents and media files from network shares (WAHOO!) is now available on as part of the XAD 7.11 release. It currently only supports publishing of content via PoSH cmdlets and all the examples can be found and a detaied overview of the feature is avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/install-configure/publish-content.html*.

Example Publishing a Word Document from Citrix eDoc’s*
New-BrokerApplication -Name ReadMe -PublishedName”ReadMe Document” -ApplicationType PublishedContent -CommandLineExecutable \\MyFolderShare\Documents\ReadMe.doc -DesktopGroup Content

5. Use of System Center Virtual Machine Manager to provision VMs used to create AppDisks. If you are unfamiliar with AppDisks the following YouTube video from the Citrix channel demonstrates how’s setup, create and assign your AppDisks to users virtual desktops. There is also a fantastic AppDisks FAQ avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/xenapp-xendesktop-7-8/downloads/AppDisk%20FAQ.pdf

6. Installation behavioural changes for CIS programs entitled “Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)” and “Citrix Call Home“. For more information please refer to and read – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/manage-deployment/cis.html.
7. New HDX enhancements include:

– A new HDX policy setting combining Thinwire Compatible Mode (ECM) and H.264 can be enabled by selecting the following policy Use video codec for compression and select For actively changing regions. If you do not then the default HDX graphics mode is used which is Use video codec for compression Use video codec when preferred. For a more detailed overview please check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/graphics-policy-settings.html.
– Up to 5% bandwidth reduction with the new behavioural enhancements for video content with Thinwire and requires XAD 7.11 with either Windows Receiver 4.5 or Linux 13.4.
– Support for USB generic mass storage devices for XenApp
TWAIN 2.0 scanning protocol support with Windows Receiver 4.5+
– New behavioural changes for the optimisation of client USB devices – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/usb-devices-policy-settings.html
– Support for publishing universal apps for Windows 10, Server 2016 using the Microsoft Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
– Support for H.264 hardware encoding with supported nVidia GPU cards (NVENC hardware encoding – https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-video-codec-sdk) and also to read the following entitled “Better Together: Citrix XenDesktop 7.11 + NVIDIA GRID” from – https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/09/14/citrix-xendesktop-nvidia-grid/!
Default VDA policy settings for XAD 7.11 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/policies-default-settings.html

8. StoreFront 3.7 includes SSRP 1.0 as mentioned above in point 2., UI support for small form factor devices improving the user’s overall experience when you configur the unified Citrix Receiver experience on StoreFront against your Store(s) which can be configured by reffering to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-7/manage-citrix-receiver-for-web-site/unified-receiver-experience.html so when connecting to from e.g Safari on an iPhone your end-users experience is way better try for yourself! Finally a great new addition or rather enhancement to Zones in StoreFront 3.7 & XAD 7.11 is that now client location based zone preference passes the zone information to the controller (required configuration – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/manage-deployment/zones.html#par_anchortitle_1db7) which in turn utilises this information to select the more appropriate workstation/server VDA’s that are closest in proximity to the user so when connecting to virtual apps & desktops there receive the best rich HD experience possible.
9. Windows Server 2016 analysis and reporting including Expanded security analysis with AppDNA 7.11 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/dna/7-11/whats-new.html.
10. Automate Director notifications with Citrix Octoblu – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/director/alerts-notifications.html#par_anchortitle_1d19. For a detailed overview and look at this integration be sure to read the blog post – http://horacegoesskiing.com/index.php/2016/09/16/using-xenappxendesktop-7-11-alert-policies-with-octoblu/.
11. Support for Windows Server 2016 as a server and a target platform for PVS 7.11 including an enhanced diagnostic model so much more so be sure to review the PVS 7.11 online documentation at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/provisioning/7-11.html.
12. Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 FIPS 140-2 Sample Deployments (Technically NOT new but very useful for Citrix customers and partners alike) – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/categories/public-sector/downloads/Citrix%20XenApp%207.6%20and%20XenDesktop%207.6%20FIPS%20140-2%20Sample%20Deployments.pdf
13. Provisioning Citrix workloads in Microsoft Azure using ARM is now available. For a detailed how-to read – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/install-configure/install-prepare/azure-rm.html but before deploying your VM’s be sure to read the following whitepaper entitled “The scalability and economics of delivering Citrix XenApp services from Microsoft Azure” available from – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/white-paper/xa711-scalability-azure-rm.pdf. To get started with deploying and using XenApp 7.x in Azure take a look at deploying the XenApp Trial in the Azure Marketplace at – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/marketplace/partners/citrix/citrix-xacitrix-xa-trial/ which will be you a complete XA 7.x enviromnent in Azure along with StoreFront, NetScaler and 2x VM’s to deliver a server virtual desktop and the other for delivery of just virtual apps.
14. Citrix Receiver 7.1 is ready for iOS 10 – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/15/citrix-receiver-ready-for-ios-10/.
15. Finally be sure to check out and be aware of the list of known issues with XAD 7.11 release at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new/known-issues.html

* Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is currently still in TP and is not officially released as of writing this blog post.

For a completely detailed summary of what is avaiable in XAD 7.11 (Seven 11) check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new.html.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x.n (As of this blog post its 7.11) Features
https://www.citrix.com/go/products/xendesktop/feature-matrix.html

Quick upgrade guide to XenApp 7.11 and XenDesktop 7.11 by #Citrix #CTP @ervik
http://www.ervik.as/quick-upgrade-guide-to-xenapp-7-11-and-xendesktop-7-11/

Upgrading My Azure XAD 7.9 environment to XAD 7.11
Coming…

Installing a XAD 7.11 PoC environment on Azure
I have testing installing XAD 7.11 (Seven 11) onto Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 or TP5 on Azure via the Azure Market Place – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/?term=Windows+Server+2016+TP5. The CLEAN installation that I performed did not have any issues or errors however the when creating the machine catalog for Windows Server 2016 TP5 even installing the Server DVA 7.11 it will revert to recommended VDA release of 7.8 only so you have been warned!

Once Microsoft releases Windows Server 2016 officially I will follow-up with an overview of setting up and configuring XAD 7.11 on Windows Server 2016 hosted on Microsoft Azure.

Scheduled & Coming…

What’s new in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.9

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.9 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.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm or thinwire+

What’s New THAT You Probably Missed!
So firstly I thought I’d start with what consultants, IT Professionals and most importantly CTX SysAdmins been an ex-one myself may miss with the latest XenApp & XenDesktop 7.9 release and then cover the what’s new e.g most commonly known as a blog article up.

1 – Windows 10 support under the XAD 7.6 Long Term Service Release (LTSRP) – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/06/13/a-sneak-peek-behind-the-scenes-of-the-long-term-service-release-ltsr/ but the detail about been compliant is avaiable at the following CTX article titled “CTX205549 XenApp and XenDesktop Servicing Options (LTSR) FAQ” – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX205549 and then search for How do I get a Windows 10 VDA that is 7.6 LTSR compliant? on the web page. The following Citrix LTSR Assistant tool note its “Tech Preview – v1.0.0.32” but has been updated as of 10 June 2016 and can be downloaded at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX209577 but its NOT recommended when using with a production enviroment so against your UAT enviroment to ensure that your actual Citrix XAD PROD enviroment is XAD 7.6 LTSR compliant. For more in-depth information check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6-long-term-service-release/xad-whats-new.html which provides a link to the Windows 10 statement for CTX205549.
2 – Support for Windows 10 in the HDX 3D Pro VDA
3 – Federated Authentication Service or FAS leverages a MS CA to dynamically issue certs to logon users as if they where using a smart card and extends Citrix authentication capabilities is must read for any real (CTX) SysAdmin and security experts – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/secure/federated-authentication-service.html.
4 – New default HDX graphics behaviour within XAD 7.9 is to support the use of Thinwire Compatible Mode or more commonly referred to as Thinwire+ and then to utilise “Use video codec for compression” when preferred e.g when playing a video which makes alot of sense to me so I am very happy to see this new default behaviours kudos to the HDX engineers that would on HDX Graphics Modes! Great job again 🙂
5 – HDX 3D Pro support for Intel CPUs with Intel Iris Pro graphics 5th & 6th Generation check out the following eDoc article for the full details – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/hdx/gpu-acceleration-desktop.html. For a good overview and demonstration of this new GPU support for XAD 7.9 powered by XenServer 7.0 yes that is correct XenServer 7.0 watch the following YouTube clip. Also please be sure to check out the latest XenServer 7.0 documentation at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenserver/xenserver-7-0.html there is some seriously new very cool stuff which I will cover in another up and comming Blog article time permitting between work and family life.

6 – The HTML5 Receiver 2.0 introduces a enhanced floating toolbar and you can now control its behaviour by completely hiding it or an individual icon only so check out the how-to at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/html5/2-0/about-this-release.html and after that it descirbes the new Client side appswitcher feature which also means CTX SysAdmins dont have to install the Client side appswitcher seperately on your VDAs.
7 – The following guides are for XAD 7.6+ and onwards although not actually classed as NEW they are often missed I find:

– Implementation and Configuration Guides – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/implementation_guides.html
– Design Guides – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/design_guides.html
– Reference Architectures – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/reference-architectures.html

8 – Securing your StoreFront deployment is a must read in my person view – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-6/secure.html. AppDNA now also introduces a compliance module – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/dna/7-9/whats-new.html which helps SysAdmins identity if any apps that are due to be rolled out into your virtual app eco-system may introduce secuirty vulnerabilities or more importantly risk(s).
9 – Provisioning nVidia vGPU enabled XenDesktop machines powered by GRID K1 and K2 cards – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/provisioning/7-9/xendesktop-setup-wizard-vgpu.html.
10 – Finally you should be aware of the new installation & upgrade default behaviour changes for XAD 7.9 so be sure to read/review the full and complete list of whats new at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/whats-new.html.

Delivering a Virtual Desktop with the Linux VDA 1.0-1

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test Linux VDA 1.1 (NOTE: The HDX 3D Pro video is a preview only from the Citrix YouTube channel) with XAD 7.3 FP3+ 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 necessary conform to industry descriptions or best practises.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
FEATURE PACK – fp
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
DISTRUBUTIONS – distro’s
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd

Preview of HDX 3D Pro with a Linux VDA
Please note that the following YouTUBE video represents a preview only of HDX 3D Pro with the Citrix Linux VDA.

An Introduction & Overview
Citrix released the Linux VDA 1.0 which enables and allows for the safe, secure delivery of Linux based virtual desktops that are controlled by Citrix Studio however VM provisioning and on-going image management is maintained by traditional Linux tools these include but are by no means limited to Puppet or Chef.

Currently only the SuSE Linux and Redhat Enterprise Linux distro’s are supported however numerous Citrix professionals around the global have successfully setup and delivered a Linux VD utilise CentOS following the steps based in the “Installation Guide for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 1.1” which is available at – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/xenapp-xendesktop-7-6/downloads/Linux%20Virtual%20Desktop%20Installation%20Guide%20for%20Redhat%20Enterprise%20Linux.pdf or for CentOS focused approach check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/08/25/installing-the-linux-vda-on-red-hat-or-centos-6/ written by Adrian Taylor – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/author/adriant2/.

As this is my first time writing about Citrix’s Linux support its worth noting and mentioning that Citrix provided a tech preview (TP) ref – https://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/aug-2014/citrix-offers-technology-preview-of-linux-virtual-apps-and-deskt.html prior to the official GA launch of the Linux VDA 1.0 which in my view received very positive feedback and comments in particular from with the UK/Ire Citrix partner community.

What’s New
1. Obviously my fav is “Support for Thinwire Compatible Mode” 🙂
2. The Linux VDA supports dual monitor out-of-the box with maximum resolution of 2560×1600 per monitor and can be configured to support up to 9 monitors.
3. Improved Active Directory and Centrify support*
4. Further extended OS support for Redhat and SuSE Linux enterprise editions. Please read the following for CTX blog article re support issues for other Linux OS disto’s at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/16/supporting-linux-distributions.
5. Linux XDPing which is available at –
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX202015.
6. Support for Linux Dedicated VDI Desktops which in the initial Linux VDA 1.0 released targeted a hosted shared VD approach as Linux is a multi-user OS.
7: * For a comprehensive overview of all the features in the Linux VDA 1.1 please check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/23/whats-new-in-linux-virtual-desktop-v1-1/.

Use Case(s)
Its essentially about providing customers with the choice and flexibility to delivery either a VD that is based upon Windows OS with Microsoft Office 20xn, 3rd party apps OR a supported Linux OS with OpenOffice/Libra Office, 3rd party apps.

Pre-requisites & System Requirements for Deploying the Linux VDA 1.1 (Draft + The Basic’s Only)
1: Download one or both Linux VDA’s for there Redhat or SuSE along with the script which is available at the Linux VDA download area – http://www.citrix.com/downloads/xenapp/components/linux-virtual-desktop-11.html.
2: The following Citrix Receivers are currently supported: Windows Receiver version v4.2+, Linux Receiver version v13.0+, Mac OSX Receiver v12+, Android Receiver v3.4+, iOS Receiver 5.9.4+, HTML5 Receiver 1.6 (via Access Gateway).
3:…..

More coming….

HDX Broadcast now with Thinwire Compatible Mode

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test HDX Broadcast now with Thinwire Compatible Mode with XAD 7.3 FP3+ 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 necessary conform to industry descriptions or best practises.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS – uc
MICROSOFT – ms
NETSCALER GATEWAY – ns(g)
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
FEATURE PACK – fp
NETSCALER UNIFIED GATEWAY – nug
NETSCALER GATEWAY – nsg
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
STOREFRONT SERVER – sfs
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – ecm

My Own View/Opinion
ThinWire Compatible Mode can be implemented to replace the Citrix SuperCodec (H.264) in my personal opinion for numerous use cases hOwEvEr based upon your organisations end-user use cases and or scenario’s by department and role you should always test which graphics mode/encoder(s) are most suitable within your environment by department or role to meet your end-user’s X1 UX expectations on a daily basis.

What is Thinwire Compatible Mode?
If your new to Citrix I’d suggest that before reading any further to get a better understanding of what Thinwire Compatible Mode (TCM) is and does i’d suggest that you read the following entitled “HDX technologies for optimizing application and desktop delivery” available at – http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-hdx-technologies.pdf. Its the latest graphics encoder/mode available within Citrix XAD 7.6 FP3 supported on the following OSes Windows 8.x, 10 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Use Cases for TCM
1. Lower powered endpoint devices that can support Receiver but do not support Citrix’s SuperCodec which requires an H.264 decoder
2. Delivery of virtual apps and desktops over low bandwidth networks e.g remote branch offices that have limited internet uplink capacity based upon there geographic location i.e. ISDN, 3/4G or low capacity ADSL.
3. Delivery of 3D apps over LAN networks offers a great X1 UX which a fuzzy-first approach as described at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-hdx-landing/thinwire-compatibility-mode.html search for “Build to lossless” on that web page. You should always thoroughly test between both TCM/H.264 graphics modes to ensure that your end-users X1 UX meets there expectations and requirements day to day.
4: Greater user density on Windows Server 2012 R2 for XenApp based workloads.

TCM Key Features
The following is just a short snippet into some of the features part of TCM below so be sure to check out and read the following CTX Blog article –
https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/09/a-big-leap-in-ica-protocol-innovation-for-citrix/ for a full list of all the details and more.

– Intelligent bitmap matching for a bitmap-only provider. As much as possible, previously sent bitmaps are reused resulting in lower bandwidth.
– Emulated 16-bit mode, further reducing bandwidth for typical workloads.
– Ultra-low server CPU usage, improving scalability.
– Designed for port to Linux (already used by the Citrix Linux VDA)
– …

Demonstration of Thinwire Compatible Mode
TBC…

Pre-requisites & System Requirements for Deploying a Basic/Intro Thinwire Compatible Mode policy (Draft + The Basic’s Only)
1: Download and install the latest component’s for XAD 7.6 FP3 within a test/poc environment and not in a PROD environment!
2: Currently the XAD 7.6 FP3 VDA’s provide support for TCM with the following Windows OSes Windows 8.x, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 R2 OSes.
3: Citrix Receiver You can utilise the latest or older Citrix Receiver’s including the HTML5 Receiver with Thinwire Compatible Mode encoder.
4: Create the following policy in Studio below to enable TCM within a ICA/HDX session:

– Create a new policy
– Search for the following policy entitled “Use video codec for compression” select it and set the following value – “Do not use Video codec” which will force the ICA/HDX session to utilise Thinwire Compatibility Mode.
– Assign the policy to your test “Delivery Group” with either a virtual desktop (Win 8.x, 10 or Server 2012 R2) and save the new policy.
– Login to ReceiverforWeb or Citrix Receiver and launch your virtual desktop ensure that your test user was assigned to the test delivery group which you assigned the TCM policy to/against.

Tuning Thinwire Compatible Mode
You can easily tune TCM to utilise less bandwidth with a single policy entitled “Preferred colour depth for simple graphics” but still delivery a really good eXperience 1st User eXperience for your end-users. Simply modify the TCM policy that your created earlier in this blog article and search for and add “Preferred colour depth for simple graphics” and select either “16 bits per pixel” or “24 bits per pixel” then click next and next again saving the policy. Now disconnect from your existing ICA/HDX session to your test virtual desktop and re-launch it and if you’ve opted for 16 bits per pixel in the policy above you’ll notice a difference straight away BUT the UX is still acceptable graphically for knowledge/task workers and more importantly its still as responsive and usable.

There are obviously many other policies that can be applied to make even more efficiencies so for a full list including detailed notes of what to configure please refer to and check out the following CTX article entitled “HDX Graphics Modes – Which Policies Apply to DCR/Thinwire/H.264 – An Overview for XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6 FP3” available at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX202687. I have embedded the basics into a simple HTML table below with how to explicitly enable ECM for testing purposes.

Policy Name Default Value Comment
Display memory limit 65536 KB http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX201696 – Support for Monitors Including 4K Resolution and Multi-Monitors
Dynamic window preview Enabled
Extra color compression Disabled Legacy Mode *
Moving image compression Enabled Legacy Mode
Preferred color depth for simple graphics 24 bits per pixel Legacy Mode **
Target frame rate 30 fps Legacy Mode
Target minimum framerate 10 fps
Visual quality Medium Legacy Mode
OPTIONAL Adjusted Policy Comments
Use video codec for compression Do not use Video codec Force ECM on explicitly by turning H.264 off (Testing)

Example of Tuning between 8 (red), 16(amber) and 24(green) Bit Modes of Thinwire Compatible Mode below but please note that the image is not in a high resolution JPEG format!

Useful Resources
A Big Leap in ICA Protocol Innovation for Citrix – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/09/a-big-leap-in-ica-protocol-innovation-for-citrix/.
Thinwire Compatibility Tuning: Lowering Your Bandwidth Even Further – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/23/thinwire-compatibility-tuning-lowering-your-bandwidth-even-further/.
Read Blog articles by this author Muhammad Dawood –
https://www.citrix.com/blogs/author/muhammadj/.

Supported Citrix Receivers
1: You can download either Receiver by visiting your OSes app store or navigating to – http://receiver.citrix.com for help download the correct Receiver for your platform.
2: The HTML5 Receiver is also supported.
3: The Citrix Receiver feature matrix is available at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-receiver-feature-matrix.pdf.

What’s new with XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack (FP3)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test XenApp, XenDesktop FP3 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 necessary conform to industry descriptions or best practises.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
STOREFRONT SERVER – sfs
FEATURE PACK – fp
THINWIRE PLUS – thinwire +
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE – thinwire c
USER EXPERIENCE – ux

What is new in FP3?
0: ++An absolutely MUST read entitled “HDX Graphics Modes – Which Policies Apply to DCR/Thinwire/H.264 – An Overview for XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6 FP3” which is available at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX202687 prior to implementing any of the new graphics mode/encoder(s) within XAD 7.6 FP3.
1: Support for Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, in the Standard VDA for Windows Desktop OSes.
2: HDX Broadcast updates include the following:

Framehawk (Admin guide – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/xenapp-xendesktop-7-6/downloads/Framehawk%20Administration%20Guide.pdf) virtual display channel is integrated into the standalone VDA package.
Thinwire Compatible Modehttp://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-hdx-landing/thinwire-compatibility-mode.html also referred to as Thinwire +/Plus is the very latest encoder to deliver a fantastic and rich X1 UX for virtual apps and desktops delivered from Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 and 10 powered by XAD 7.6 FP3. To learn more about check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/09/a-big-leap-in-ica-protocol-innovation-for-citrix/. Set the “Use video codec for compression” to “Do not use” which will force the use of Thinwire Compatibility Mode by default for user ICA/HDX sessions on XAD 7.6 FP3.

HDX Framehawk Performance in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 FP3

3: ++Updated Studio built-in policies ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-policies-article/xad-policies-templates.html which include the following:

– Very High Definition User Experience+
– High Server Scalability *+
– High Server Scalability-Legacy OS **
– Optimized for WAN *+
– Optimized for WAN-Legacy OS **
– Security and Control

+ New or adjusted to meet today’s new requirements
* Windows 8.1-10, Windows Server 2012 R2
** Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

4: Support for signature devices (Wacom) and drawing tablets which can be applied by adding the following USB device policy settings ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-policies-article/xad-policies-settings-wrapper/xad-policies-settings-ica/xad-policies-settings-usb.html.
5: The HDX 3D Pro VDA used to deliver HDX Rich Graphical apps now supports full-screen apps including 3D and gaming apps within single monitor for ICA sessions.
x: For a full and compete list with accurate descriptions and overviews please check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-whats-new.html.

What’s new with StoreFront 3.0.1?
This release contains a number of fixed issues ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3/sf-about-30/fixed-issues.html including support for TLS 1.0-1. Please beware that SSL 3.0 is NOT supported and Citrix strongly recommends that you do not use it.

HDX 3D Pro Master Class from July 2014

XenDesktop Master Class July 2014 – HDX 3D Pro with NVIDIA GRID
Although this was recorded in July 2014 there is a lot of useful knowledge and fundamentals in relation to HDX 3D Pro.