Category Archives: HDX Realtime

2017 UKI #CitrixPartnerLove Challenge #8 Find My Location

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

You can download the image at https://t.co/TutUZ9taVS to print.

2017 UKI #CitrixPartnerLove Challenge #7 Stop the Difference

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

You can download the image at https://t.co/nqooPlWElw to print.

Deploying a PoC with the Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) Apps & Desktop Service now Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop Service (Draft)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) – App’s & Desktop Service with a AWS EC2 resource location 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. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
AMAZON WEB SERVICES – aws
SECURITY GROUPS – sg
ELASTIC COMPUTE CLOUD – ec2
HYBRID CLOUD PROVISIONING – hcp
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
CITRIX WORKSPACE CLOUD CONNECTOR – cwc connector/agent
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE – iaas
CITRIX WORKSPACE CLOUD – cwc
CITRIX LIFECYCLE MANAGE

Video Citrix Workspace Cloud: How It Works

PoC Introduction & Overview (This is a Public Draft Blog Article & May Contain Some Errors)
In this particular instance I will be deploying a Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) PoC using the Apps & Desktop service which is Citrix online service and is essentially made up of five compoments in my personal view these are people (Users, Consultants & SysAdmins), the Control Plane which is hosted by Citrix and is high available and accessible at – https://workspace.cloud.com/, Resource Locations which could be private, public (IaaS) or hybrid clouds which host and run your actual CItrix workloads e.g servers or desktops OSes with the VDA’s installed and optionally StoreFront and or NetScaler Unified Gateway, Receiver for access to your published virtual apps & desktops and finally the CWC connector which makes everything just work safe & securely.

Please note that I will update this blog post with a how-to re deploying NS for remote access from AWS EC2.

Datasheet for Citrix Workspace Cloud
https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/explore-workspace-cloud-take-a-test-drive-or-trial.pdf

What you need
For this PoC I may refer to AWS and XenServer concepts as my home lab is deployed in a Hybrid Cloud model e.g some of my Citrix workloads are in hosted in AWS EC2 (N.Virgina) while others are running on a XenServer 6.5 SP1+ host at my house in London. You don’t have to use AWS like I am for your PoC you could use any IaaS provider e.g Azure, Rackspace, Peer1 or even on-prem with your own host(s) running XenServer, Hyper-V and of course vSphere :-).

1 – CWC trial account entitling you to the CWC Apps & Desktop Service and Identity & Access Management e.g for adding users from your domain and to download the CWC Connector.
2 – Your resource location of choice mine is AWS from here on in through-out this blog article.
3 – 1x Windows Server 2012 R2 I’ll call this VM WDC01 running AD, DNS at a minimum and the Citrix Receiver (http://receiver.citrix.com), CWC Connector downloaded on the desktop (explained later).
4 – 1x Windows Server 2012 R2 domain joined and I’ll call this VM CXA01 with the latest XA 7.8+ Server VDA (https://www.citrix.com/downloads.html which requires a valid Citrix.com customer/partner account with access details ) downloaded.
5 – AWS security groups (on-prem f/w ACL) to allow outbound traffic on TCP 443 (HTTPS) to the Internet, allow HTTPS/ICA/HDX/RDS traffic including HDX RealTime ports for audio and video between all VM’s within your chosen network.
6 – Some suggested test application examples could be Microsoft’s Office 2016 or OpenOffice, Notepad ++, The Gimp, Autodesk Viewer. WaRnInG!!! Disclaimer – Please refer to the ISV’s EULA for terms of usage prior to downloading, installing, configuring and publishing virtual apps to test and play with!.
7 – *Create friendly DNS entries to be used later for WDC01 e.g DNS entry of cwccontroller.axendatacentre.com or your could stick with host name.domainname format it’s your choice. Note: Be sure to setup and configure not just fwd. but also reverse DNS within resolution/look-up!

Setting up your Resource Location
1 – Login as the Domain Admin on WDC01 and navigate to https://workspace.cloud.com and sign in with your trial access details provided by Citrix.
2 – Select from the list on the very TOP left-hand corner Identity & Access Management next click the plus/+ sign and follow the onscreen prompts to download the CWC Connector/agent.
3 – Before installing the CWC Connector/Agent please be sure to read the following documenation – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/what-is-a-workspace-cloud-connector-/workspace-cloud-connector-technical-details.html. Once downloaded double click on the CWC Connector/agent and when prompted enter in your CWC trial access details and the installation will complete successfully if the access details provided are correct and if 443 HTTPS is enable outbound to the Internet from WDC01 to https://workspace.cloud.com.
4 – Take a short 1-3 min comfort break then refresh your web page for https://workspace.cloud.com and navigate back to Identity & Access Management and you should see your domain appear within the list, then you may proceed. If you don’t check your firewall ACL’s locally on the Windows server or virtual f/w at the edge of your VPC network and also check your AWS Security Groups are setup correctly to allow in/outbound access on HTTPS/443.

Note: If you turn off WDC01 you’ll receive and error at this page and manage & monitor tabs within the Apps & Desktop Service are NOT accessible until access is restored! Likewise if you only have 1x CWC Connector/agent then you may see an amber warning under domain within Identity & Access Management as you only have 1x CWC Connector/agent and it suggested even for a PoC to install 2x instead of 1x.

5 – Login as a Domain Admin on CXA01 and mount the XA 7.8+ VDA media by right clicking and left clicking on Mount then navigate to Windows Explorer and double click on D drive that has recently mounted with the XA 7.8 installation media and then proceed to select to install the Server VDA from the splash screen or if your downloaded the Server VDA *.exe (suggested & recommended) from Citrix.com then double click to install the VDA. In each case you’ll require 2x reboots as per normal like on-prem installations however now on CXA01 there is one exception at the controller step type in cwccontroller.axendatacente.com* or the hostname.domainname for WDC01 (Point to the CWC Connector/agent that you previously installed) and then continue with installation and once the installation is completed on CXA01, then verify that the VDA has registered and is communicating with WDC01 e.g cwccontroller.axendatacentre.com by reviewing CWC service or the event logs within Computer Management. Tip: Install to enabling remote connections initially to get your head around how the CWC Apps & Desktop Service actually works.
6 – You’ve now successfully completed setting up your XenApp worker for your chosen resource location in my case it’s an AWS EC2 located out of N.Virginia. If your curious about the CWC connector there is a tech overview avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/what-is-a-workspace-cloud-connector-/workspace-cloud-connector-technical-details.html be sure to review it.
7 – Now we need to continue with creating a machine catalog, delivery group in the hosted Studio and obviously publishing your virtual apps & desktop (server based).

Create a Machine Catalogue and Delivery Groups to publish Virtual apps & desktops
1 – Now go back to the homepage at https://workspace.cloud.com and to the right of the Apps & Desktop Service click “Manage” to launch the management interface which provides you with an Overview page (Scroll to the bottom to find out your cloud hosted StoreFront address. Tip: If you get an red bar with an error message check that your CWC Connector/agent at your resource location is up and available and showing as green for your domain at the Identity & Access Management tab!.
2 – Scroll to bottom of the overview web page to find out exactly what your cloud hosted StoreFront addr is. It should follow the following format https://{TENANT NAME}.xendesktop.net/Citrix/StoreWeb/. Right click on it to open a new tab and to remain at https://apps.cloud.com/. You should be able to login using your test AD security group. Tip: You won’t see any published virtual apps or desktops currently as you have not created a machine catalogue or delivery group.
3 – Go back to the Manage Apps & Desktops Service web page and click Manage or Monitor this will embed a custom, hardened published app version of Studio or Director using the HTML5 Receiver so please ensure that you are utilising an HTML5 compliant internet browser that supports the HTML5 Receiver.
4 – Assuming you’ve clicked on Manage firstly navigate to Hosting Connections create a connection to your chosen resource location either on-prem or cloud (Private or Public) details for setting up hosting connections are available at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-8/manage-deployment/connections.html. Once setup wait 1-2 min before proceeding you don’t have to by the way! I do.
5 – Click Machine Catalogue and create as per normal for detailed on how-to please refer to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-8/install-configure/machine-catalogs-create.html. Tip: I’d suggest as its your first time using the CWC Apps and Desktop service create your machine catalogue with a single VM with the VDA installed to allow remote connections as described earlier to allow you to get around how the CWC Apps and Desktops Service actually works. You don’t have to either it’s your choice.
6 – Click Delivery Groups and create as per normal aswell and please refer to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-8/install-configure/delivery-groups-create.html for guidance delivering virtual apps (Skype for Business 2015 also implment the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/01/12/citrix-and-microsoft-unveil-v2-solution-for-skype-for-business/ for more information) & desktops (Windows Server 2012 R2). TIP: The name you provide your Delivery Group filters through to the Workspaces at – https://workspace.cloud.com/workspaces and becomes the default name of your published virtual & desktops services that you will assign to your subscribers (users) workspace.
7 – You’ve now successfully setup a Machine Catalog and Delivery Group using the CWC Apps & Desktop Service to published a virtual apps & desktop, however prior to accessing your virtual apps & desktops you’ll need to create a Workspace and add subscribers (users) including which published resources your subscribers (users) are able to access otherwise they wont be able to login nor access any published resources.

You should have the Server VDA and CWC Connector now installed see the below example image below.

Create a Workspace to Delivery published virtual apps & desktops
1 – A workspace consists of a collection of services from CWC e.g Secure Documents (ShareFile), Apps & Desktop Service (XenApp/XenDesktop) and so forth that SysAdmins can combine together to form e.g a Pre-Sales workspace that may consist of a virtual apps e.g Skype for Business 2015 that is also offloaded with the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-about.html and a virtual desktop e.g a dedicated Windows 10 or 2012 R2 desktop. A workspace also consists of subscribers (users) who access the workspace which contains published resources created by Citrix SysAdmins. Please ref to http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/get-started/creating-and-publishing-a-workspace.html which explains how-to create a workspace, define subscribers and published resources.
2 – Once you have created a Workspace and assigned subscribers, resources then users can login at https://{TENANT}.xendesktop.net/Citrix/StoreWeb/ from there resource location and gain access to there virtual apps & desktops.
3 – Managing your newly created Workspace is easy following this useful online document from eDocs – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/get-started/manage-a-workspace.html.

Example of my virtual desktop (Server based) delivered by CWC using the XenApp 7.8 VDA. I also use the same theme for my complete XenApp 7.8 deployment in AWS yes I have both deployed and configured 🙂

A first for me
This is the first time I’ve written a blog post (primarily) completed in the air traveling from somewhere between London – England, Oslo – Norway and Stockholm – Sweden.

Disclaimer
This blog article should be considered to be a draft still and therefore may contain errors and I will be updating and adjusting it time permitting and adding in how-to front this CWC Apps & Desktop service deployment in my AWS EC2 resource location with NetScaler Unified Gateway – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT739UoR8d0.

Deploying Skype for Business 2015-16 (Offloaded) from a Citrix HDX Optimised Virtual App or Desktop

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering Skype for Business 2015 as a Citrix virtual app or an app within a virtual desktop powered by Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop 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
SKYPE FOR BUSINESS – skype4b
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
REALTIME MEDIA ENGINE – rtme
REALTIME CONNECTOR – rtc

Introduction
The following blog article provides a basic understanding of how to deploy Skype for Business 2015 with the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 within a Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop environment which offloads the audio and video to the users local end-point running Citrix Receiver and the HDX RealTime Media Engine on supported Windows, Mac or Linux OSes. This offloading capability is powered by latest v2 HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 architecture which can be found at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/01/12/citrix-and-microsoft-unveil-v2-solution-for-skype-for-business/ joint worked on between Citrix and Microsoft.

Why Customers Virtualize Skype for Business with Citrix

Understanding the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 vs. a Non-Optimised Deployment
The following is an oversimplified diagram which is also not intended to be 100% accurate but should provide you with a better understanding of the differences between an non-optimised vs. optimised delivery of a Skype4B virtual app from a Citrix environment.

Non-Optimised  Optimised with the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.x.n

VM
running Windows OS
VDA
7.x.n
Skype4B
Client + Media Engine
Internet
End-point
+ Citrix Receiver

VM
running Windows OS

VDA 7.x.n
ICA/HDX Virtual Channel* 

 ↓
Skype4B
Client
HDX
RealTime Connector powered by HDX Optimisation Pack 2.x.n

Internet  ↑
 ↓

End-point
+ Citrix Receiver (Windows, Mac or Linux) *
HDX
RealTime Media Engine (RTME) powered by HDX Optimisation Pack 2.x.n

Pre-requisites & System Requirements
0. The following UDP Ports 16500-16509 required for HDX RealTime in addition to the following TCP ports 443, 1494, 2598 for ICA/HDX. Please be sure to reivew the firewall considerations and requirements for Lync/Skype edge servers at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-configure-firewall.html
1. You’ll require a Skype for Business 2015 server, Microsoft Skype for Business Online* or Microsoft Lync 2013 back-end server with the Skype for Business 2015 client. You you will also require one of the following supported operating systems (Desktops) Microsoft Windows 10, 8.1, 7 or (Servers) Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2 and along with supported version of XenApp, XenDesktop which you can verify which versions are supported at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-system-requirements.html.
2. Download HDX Optimisation Pack 2.x.n – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-system-requirements.html
3. Upgrade your Citrix Receiver and install the HDX RealTime Media Engine 2.x.n – http://www.citrix.com/downloads/citrix-receiver/additional-client-software/hdx-realtime-media-engine-201.html. You can now also download the latest Citrix Receiver 4.4 and HDX RealTime Media Engine 2.0 for Windows in one installation package which can be downloaded at – https://www.citrix.com/downloads/citrix-receiver/additional-client-software/hdx-realtime-media-engine-20.html.
4. If you are going to be your testing from a thin client instead of a laptop, netbook or workstation then ensure that you review the latest Citrix Ready classification for Thin clients avaiable at – https://citrixready.citrix.com/info/thin-clients.html however I would recommend that you review the Thin Client whitepaper first and focus on page 4 which you can download and view at – https://citrixready.citrix.com/content/dam/ready/assets/thin-clients/thin-clients-features.pdf. If your looking for Skype for Business compatible hardware please ref to – http://partnersolutions.skypeforbusiness.com/solutionscatalog#/locale=en-us&categoryid=2&sortby=3&subcategoryid=3,5&filter=&manufacture=&version=&isQualified=&region=&language=&page=1&apptype=&tags=.
5. If your intending to deploy a test/poc Skype for Business 2015 environment then be sure to check out these technical diagrams avaiable at – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn594589.aspx which contains some great diagrams depicting traffic flows and ensuring Call Quality Methodology (CQM).
6. Skype for Business and Lync Delivery Feature Matrix – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200279.
7. Finding a suitable HDX Ready thin client please check out – https://citrixready.citrix.com/content/dam/ready/assets/thin-clients/thin-clients-features.pdf of use any smart device that supports Receiver with the RTME for Windows, Linux & Mac.

Deploying the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 for Skype for Business 2015 for XenApp/XenDesktop
0. Initiate a video call using Skype for Business from your PC using Skype for Business as a published virtual app on its own or in a virtual desktop between yourself and another individual with Skype4B installed locally on their PC or Mac. Open task manager locally and on the XenApp server or virtual desktop and watch the CPU, memory and bandwidth consumption during your video call and remember to adjust screen size during the call between small, medium and full screen.
1. Install Skype for Business 2015 client within your virtual desktop (*server or desktop Windows OS).
2. Publish the Skype4B 2015 virtual app or the virtual desktop that contains app.
3. Connect to the virtual app or desktop and verify that you can open and login to your Skype4B and ensure that its functioning as normal obviously it’s not optimized but will still perform video/audio calls thanks to the HDX technologies.
4. Close Skype4B 2015 and now install the HDX RealTime Connector e.g HDX_RealTime_Connector_2.0_for_Skype_For_Business.msi downloaded from Citrix.com.
5. Disconnect from the virtual desktop*.
6. Close any ICA/HDX sessions and close Citrix Receiver
7 Next install the HDX RealTime media engine HDX_RealTime_MediaEngine_2.0_for_Windows.msi downloaded from Citrix.com.
8. Start Citrix Receiver and reconnect to your published virtual Skype4B app or virtual desktop with Skype for Business 2015 installed and you should see the HDX RealTime Connector stating “Optimised.
9. Re-initiate your video call to the same user as in step 1 above and you’ll notice the difference immediately as the video will be crisp and sharp and again open task manager and repeat the same process and you’ll see the CPU, memory and bandwidth are low on the back-end but locally on your end-point the CPU, Memory and bandwidth increases to medium as the audio and video is now been processed locally on your end-point thanks to the RTME.

Deploying the HDX Optimization Pack 2.1 for Skype4B 2016
Follow the all the steps above BUT for use with the Skype for Business 2016 you need to use the “Click-to-Run” installer and adjust the configuration.xml file for the installation to use “current” switch for the default installation behavior as Office 365 ProPlus default installation behaviour is to use “Deferred for Office 365 ProPlus. To learn how-to reconfigure the XML file in greater detail please refer to – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219426.aspx for help.

The min supported Microsoft Skype for Business 2016 version is 16.0.7341.2032 or later for HDX Opt Pack 2.1 ref http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-1/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-system-requirements.html using the O365 “Click-to-Run” installer, for an overview of the Click-to-Run method of Office 365 please refer to the following Technet article at – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/jj219427.aspx.

Example of an HDX Offloaded Skype4B 2015 Video Call
The following picture depicts a Skype for Business 2015 video call HDX Offloaded using the HDX Optimization Pack 2.x.n between two Windows 10 virtual desktops hosted in different locations in the EU delivered to myself and a Citrite colleague in different locations within London. I myself was at partners customer event in the City using public Wi-fi that 200+ other people were connected to and using, he was at home in SW London connected to the internet over his home internet connection.

Suggested HDX Policy for Fallback
In the unlikely event the RTME fails you want a fallback scenario to preserve the UX as best you can so could implement “Selective use of a video codec (H.264) to compress graphics” – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_59c9 by applying the following HDX policy “Use video codec for compression” with the following setting applied “For actively changing regions“. You can find out more about this NEW graphics mode in XenApp, XenDesktop 7.11 (Seven11) at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/graphics-policy-settings.html and scroll to or search for the web page for “Allows use of a video codec (H.264) to compress graphics“.

Troubleshooting Basic’s
1. Check the obvious ACL’s of your f/w(s) – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-1/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-configure-firewall.html and remember that external Lync/Skype for Business users connect to the Skyp4B/Lync Edge server which is critical component of Skype for Business/Lync Server infrastructure.
2. Resolving poor quaility video, sound issues, collection thin client logs for Dell Wyse terminals and much more – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-1/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-troubleshooting.html.

Deliverying Microsoft Skype for Business and Lync to XenApp and XenDesktop Users
https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/delivering-microsoft-lync-to-xenapp-and-xendesktop-users.pdf

Microsoft on the Optimization Pack v2 Architecture
I’d suggest watching the following broadcast on YouTube entitled “SfB Video Broadcast: Ep 9. VDI” from the Skype for Business team providing a Microsoft perspective on the offloading capabilities for Skype4B with the Citrix Optimisation Pack 2.0. As a final thought discovery more about Skype4B at there YouTube channel which is accessiable at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfL-WUXlvFjLsUs4UCpPrsA.

Office 365 client update channel releases – Version 1608 (Build 7341.2032)
“Citrix support: Support for Citrix-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments, along with Citrix HDX Real Time Optimization Pack 2.1.” from – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/mt465751?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396

HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0 for Skype for Business with XenApp/XenDesktop

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0 with XAD 7.7+ 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 XENDESKTOP – xad
REALTIME MEDIA ENGINE – rtme
REALTIME CONNECTOR – rtc
USER INTERFACE – ui
UNIFIED COMMUNICATION – uc
HIGH DEFEINTION EXPERIENCE – hdx
SKYPE FOR BUSINESS – skype4b

What is HDX RealTime?
It’s a component of the Citrix HDX technology stack aimed at enhancing the UX for UC e.g Lync, Skype for Business. To better understand implementing Unified Communications with XenApp and XenDesktop check out- https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/unified-communications-with-xendesktop-solutions-overview.pdf for an introduction overview. If you aren’t familiar with HDX technologies then perhaps its best to review the HDX introduction whitepaper entitled “HDX technologies for optimizing the virtualization experience” available at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-hdx-technologies.pdf prior to proceeding with the implementing of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack within your Citrix environment.

What’s New
1: Native Skype for Business 2015 UI supported.
2: Authentication and SIP signalling handled exclusively by the Skype for Business client
3: Fallback mode is controlled by a registry entry at the following location “Key: HKLM\Software\Citrix\HDXRTConnector or HKCU\Software\Citrix\HDXRTConnector Value: DWORD DisableFallback” but please ref to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/about.html for what value needs to be inserted and be sure to read the Registry WaRniNg notification.
3: Improved audio-video quality (resilience to packet loss, echo cancelation)
4: Call and video call buttons added to the contact card
5: Automatically join meeting audio controls
6: Adheres to the Skype for Business Server settings surrounding making audio, video calls from endpoints.
7: Web proxy support with limitation as described at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-about.html#par_richtext_3
8: ….*

A full and detailed list* is available at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/about.html and a technical key features overview is available at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-about.html#par_richtext_1 covering support codecs, resolutions, webcams and limitations within this release.

Example of an Offloaded Skype for Business 2015 Published Citrix Virtual Desktop
The below is an example of the HDX Optimization Pack 2.0 implemented with Skype for Business 2015 client using and the latest Citrix Receiver and HDX RealTime media engine on my end-point which is a Dell Latitude E6420 running Windows 8.1. My initial test results within my IaaS home lab have been very good and I’m currently doing more testing with a few colleagues and will update this blog update as when/how time permitting with the feedback and results.

An Introduction & System Requirements (Basic’s)
The Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack consists of client and server component’s and requires the following system requirements between Citrix
Receiver for Windows 4.x; Receiver for Mac 12.x; Receiver for Linux 13.x; Skype for Business 2015 Server, Business Online or Lync 2013 Server; XenDesktop 7, 7.5, 7.6 Feature Pack 1, Feature Pack 2, and Feature Pack 3. XenDesktop 7.7; ◦XenApp 6.0, 6.5, 6.5 Feature Pack 1, and 6.5 Feature Pack 2 and Feature Pack 3 , XenApp 7.5, 7.6 Feature Pack 1, Feature Pack 2, and Feature Pack 3, XenApp 7.7 with a full detailed list and overview available at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-system-requirements.html.

Why Use The Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync Performance Comparison

What XAD Licensing
Please refer to the XAD features list – https://www.citrix.com/go/products/xendesktop/feature-matrix.html to identity what XAD edition is required in order to utilise the HDX Optimization Pack.

Client Side
The Citrix HDX RealTime Media Engine is a component that integrates within the Citrix Receiver thus providing a wide range of support device types (Windows, Mac and Linux) and offloading capabilities thus improving the UX for end-users while also improving bandwidth consumption and the density of XenApp (RDS) workloads.

Server Side
The Citrix HDX RealTime Connector (RTC) is installed alongside the Microsoft Skype for Business within a virtual desktop which allows for communication (signalling) through an Citrix ICA virtual channel between the virtual desktop and the users end-point running Citrix Receiver (RTME).

Skype for Business and Lync Delivery Feature Matrix
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200279

Download, Installation & Troubleshooting Overview
You can download from – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-download.html for both XenApp and XenDesktop. You can find a Basic installation overview of your chosen end-point(s) at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-install.html and you can utilise the following deployment guide entitled “Delivering Microsoft Skype for Business and Lync to XenApp and XenDesktop Users” available at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/delivering-microsoft-lync-to-xenapp-and-xendesktop-users.pdf.

If you have any issues POST your deployment initially first verify that the RealTime Connector connectivity status which should state Connected indicating that there is a connection over the ICA virtual channel and that both client and server side components match. For a more in-depth view and images alongs with other useful troubleshooting info please check out –
http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-troubleshooting.html
and if not appears to help be sure to read the limitations node in eDocs and the feature matrix as described earlier in this blog article.

Skype for Business Broadcast Series
I’d suggested that you begin with watching the SfB Video Broadcast: Ep 9. VDI archive from the Skype for Business YouTUBE channel at – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfL-WUXlvFjLsUs4UCpPrsA before watching the rest of the broadcast recordings in the archive if your looking to understand more about deploying Skype for Business on XenApp, XenDesktop with the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0.

HDX Realtime and Microsoft Lync 2013

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test Lync 2013 with XAD 7.6 and the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.7-8.x.n for Microsoft Lync 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)
ACCESS GATEWAY – AG

Summarising your Lync 2010, 2013 Deployment Options on Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x
The following Lync deployment methods are supported by Citrix including utilising Lync Online and Office 365 ref – http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/04/03/deployment-guide-for-microsoft-lync-2013-in-vdi-environment/.

Generic HDX Realtime *
Pure ICA/HDX between two end-points and the infrastructure.

HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync® *
Optimised softphone with offloading of the media engine by Citrix Receiver at end-points.

Microsoft® Lync® VDI Plug-in
Optimised softphone with offloading of the media engine by Microsoft however this approach does require Windows end-points.

Local App Access *
XAD policy applied to utilise (preferred) the locally installed Lync app over delivered Lync app.

* Please refer to eDocs or CTX200279 for the Lync Delivery Feature Matrix http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200279. For HDX Realtime Licensing Q&A please check out – http://www.citrix.com/go/products/xendesktop/feature-matrix.html.

Deployment Guides
1: Delivering Microsoft Lync to XenApp and XenDesktop Users – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/delivering-microsoft-lync-to-xenapp-and-xendesktop-users.pdf
2: Microsoft Office 365 for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x – http://www.citrixandmicrosoft.com/Documents/Deployment%20Guide%20-%20Office%20365%20for%20XenApp%20and%20XenDesktop.pdf

HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.8
The latest released optimisation pack 1.8 supports the Lync Server 2013 Autodiscover Service and Microsoft Skype for Business client in Lync UI mode, the Microsoft Lync 2013 client, and the Microsoft Lync 2010 client (Call Park, Call Pick Up & Call forwarding and simultaneous ringing controls). There is also now support for Mac with support for the Microsoft Windows 10 technical preview, for more information check out the official documentation at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/1-8.html and what’s new in XAD FP2 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-whats-new.html.

HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.7
HDX RealTime Optimization Pack consists of two component’s the client (media engine is integrated into Citrix Receiver) and server (HDX Realtime connector). A technical overview of how the optimisation pack works and helps to improve the users over all experience with Lync 2013 can be found at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-about-17.html including a network diagram. Citrix have also recently released at the time of writing this blog article a great CTX article entitled “Remote Access with Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack” available at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX201116 explaining how-to and where to deploy NS(G) for Lync 2013.

The below is an embedded Citrix TV video entitled – Ask the Architect “Citrix Optimisation Pack for Microsoft Lync”:

Microsoft Lync 2013 VDI Plug-in
As stated at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17/lync-realtime-optimization-pack-17.html Citrix recommends the Microsoft Lync 2013 VDI Plug-in for customers using Lync 2013 with Windows devices. For information about this solution, see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj204683.aspx and http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX138408.