A Workspace technology that enabled Flexible Working styles 30+ years with a continuous Vision focused on the Current vs. Future of Work Acumen I decided to put together my second blended doodle together to better explain Citrix Workspace + Citrix Modern Networking, how it works in a visual illustration format to have more meaningful conversations and discussions. I picture can tell a thousand micro stories and the big picture here depicts a simple story which tells you the IT + Business value unlocking your organisations potential using Citrix on Citrix, including the why and why now. A Citrix Workspace supports legacy, traditional and very forward thinking ways of working that prior to the COVID-19 world wide pandemic would take a while to get going however today organisations can leap at pace within there Transformation journeys by unlocking ready to consume Citrix as a Service operating models inclusive BUT also well beyond virtualisation to a world where you can swipe left or right vs. enter in up to 3-5 fields and tap submit/approve to achieve an business and human outcomes within seconds.
The stark truth is that a Citrix Workspace for Citrites is “AWESOME” and the productivity time I get back routinely using our own technologies inspires me more with each day, it allows me to accelerate ‘economics of time I get back’ or take a well deserved break when I need it on my own terms.
Understanding Citrix Workspace + Citrix Modern Networking“Best Together” The following links below will help you better understand the different Citrix service offering capabilities, terminology, strategy and business + technical acumen (>).
Introduction I smile consistently these days hearing how organisations are keeping the UK economic moving forward, pivoting day 1 of the UK COVID-19 lockdown to full-time frictionless secure remote flexible working styles with minimal IT effort + friction powered by Citrix technologies.
I hear many unconsidered benefits from my customers, examples include keeping businesses operating helping their customers and supporting them during the height of the lock down to leap frogging competitors gaining significant market share through to winning new business because operationally they where available and ready with a Citrix powered securely centralised hybrid multi-cloud delivery strategy, when backed with a robust and annually tested Business Continuity Plan (BCP) set them up for instance successful shifting from day one of the UK COVID-19 lockdown to full-time work from home without any major hiccups.
For organisations that weren’t fully Citrix and had a hybrid strategy achieved full work from home swiftly swell using one or more of the following strategies:
1. Many existing hybrid Citrix customers scaled up licensing and re-framed physical workstations sat in the office through Citrix Workspace app to employees now sat at home using a browser on a personal device at home. To the employee everything is where it should be within there virtual desktop, for many this has now fundamentally changed perceptions of why they need to sat in an office for 5 working days in a post COVID-19 non-lockdown world. 2. Scaling up CVAD usage by optimising existing workloads or unlocking dark capacity turned off and deallocated ready within the data centre wherever they choose that to be. 3. The most popular one was to extend into one or multiple public clouds (AWS, Azure) to supporting elastic Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops (CVAD) workloads whilst remaining in control of public cloud cost economics utilising Citrix AutoScale – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops-service/manage-deployment/autoscale.html which is part of the CVAD Service.
Finally organisations shifted to focusing on strengthening security within 1-2 weeks, implementing contextual device security powered by Citrix Smart Control and Smart Access technologies beyond IT non-managed devices, as not every employee could take a device home, they didn’t have a device they could use or they just didn’t have the physical space for it at home as you just don’t know your employees WFH requirements, needs and including @home personal circumstances behind closed doors.
In these many organisations hearing all these great stories I noticed a common theme reoccurring in lock down months 1-2. I have a percentage of employees and its all abeit random across the entire organisation encountering good vs. fair vs. poor experiences. Due to the random nature pin pointing the issue was a huge challenge as by the time IT investigated the problem it was largely self-resolved if by magic? My response have you heard about and or deployed and are running Citrix Application Delivery Management (ADM)? A resounding NO 95% of the time. The below diagram 1 visualises the traffic flow of where I am vs. where my delivered Citrix Virtual Desktop is run out of, it likewise can visualise to IT the overhaul traffic, load demand, security & infrastructure health status ref diagram 2.
“Not visualising the employees “Workspace” traffic flow, is where the value of Citrix and ANY Workspace solution is LOST in IT Service delivery. Citrix Application Delivery Management (ADM) is a key enabler in helping remediate employee experience issues, whilst providing a crucial IT Employee Experience Scorecard.” Lyndon-Jon Martin June 2020
The Business IT Value of Citrix ADM A modern flexible platform with two unique halves much like our human brains with left vs. right hemispheres connected by a nervous system, however in this case ADM has analytical vs. management hemispheres providing fleet management with different roles vs. function; employee, security & infrastructure insights supported by a hybrid multi-cloud architectural strategy enabling less IT Ops friction and complexity on a daily basis. ADM’s centralised management + sense architecture provide simple and or advanced operational experience scorecards for auditors (PCI/DSS/ISO27001 with RBAC for read-only access), security + network teams, IT and Citrix System Administrators alike from a single framed lens who’s nervous system is connected to a hybrid multi-cloud fabric providing unconsidered insights and visibility into capacity, strengthened security posture through monitoring change control and config drifts incl automated fleet management which can be executed across multiple instances in ANY cloud simultaneously or on your own terms. ADM gives IT back the right level of “Control” enabling the less friction shifting workloads with true licensing flexibility + agility to the most commercially attractive vs. the most innovate cloud platform which suites IT and their business demands.
Having had the privilege of working with world class engineers in the past helping a single customer to process a £1 million pounds per minute through a payment gateway beyond typical web, app traffic of a front door of there website. I learnt that you always require something that you as the MSP or your customer can “Control” in an ANY Cloud + Services architecture for Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and sound IT Operational excellence so you can make better decisions at pace from more accurate data insights visualised. Placing your “Eggs” aka IT Business platform into a single supplier framework even the most trusted IaaS provider and enforcing that your preferred IaaS region is properly fault tolerant and highly-available is equally expensive in cost and complexity much like on-premises, do not be fooled. The IT Complexity Index increases significantly when consuming for example IaaS native site recovery services to enable near to real-time failover in another region when your primary region experience’s an (planned) outage or degraded performance, these services help to keep-a-live those existing “Sticky” connections which will eventually complete a transaction of some kind e.g credit card donation.
I’m all for public cloud in fact two operating styles “Native” vs. “Managed” Public Clouds strategies. I’ve ran my personal lab in AWS EC2 since 2016, easily amortised £1000 over these past 4 years with plenty of cashflow free. Really? How? Having a strong background + experience in the MSP world on the edge of the City of London and working with “Managed” Public Clouds platform I began to respect + understand how all IaaS providers operate inclusive of the full lifecycle management of workloads + the data centre platform itself which is to not leave everything on like you do at home or in a traditional managed colocation data centre. In a native vs. managed IaaS world you’ll turn off and deallocate capacity if you don’t require it and scale it up as you equally require it with little to no friction. I’ve digressed enough back to the IT Employees Experience Scorecard.
A number of my customers have overcome that randomness or pockets of employees complaining about a poor experience post deploying Citrix ADM as the issue can now be identified and remediated pretty efficiently. The solution is simple, deploy and run Citrix ADM for up to a week continuing as is, no changes and then run a report similar to the above and in parallel visualise all those support cases from your service desk platform and marry up employee names and you’ll quickly notice a pattern forming between employees with poor experiences vs. support cases + the number of them.
I suggested to organisations survey those employees and ask them a few simple questions the best ones “Who is your home broadband provider?” and the second “How many devices are connected in the house to the internet and number of people?”. The first question revealed what I expected its the employees consumer ISP and the suggested remediation could well be provide them a “stipend” exclusively for mobile data onto personal contracts or ship them a 4G mobile hub/dongle to use instead and the problem vanishes over night almost every time and video conferencing platforms perform better as a net result equating to happier employees with a better experience.
I’ve noticed a number of folks asking what do as my existing Citrix AutoScale + Power and Capacity Management policies aren’t powering on my public cloud workloads any more, especially when they need it most!? What is happening? Firstly “this is not a Citrix issue” it’s a public cloud capacity issue in all the major players by selective “POPULAR” instance types for commonly used workloads like delivering virtual apps & desktops and its affecting by indvidiual regions e.g UK and not the whole public cloud providers capacity world wide to be clear and transparent.
If you make use of Citrix AutoScale and Power Capacity Management for mission critical CVAD workloads for better P&L management vs. capacity peaks then please DISABLE IT for those Delivery Groups (DG) within the CVAD Service temporarily to maintain business operations and internal SLA’s for service delivery of CVAD workloads to employees WFH during CVOD-19. Disabling AutoScale is strategically very important during these current times, it enforces that identified mission critical workloads by Delivery Group are always on-demand 24/7 to meet operational business demands. Its important to highlight this applies to any vendors and even in-house vs. community built power and capacity management tooling platforms should also be DISABLED for all business mission critical workloads so that daily business operations are not impacted.
Why do organisations use Citrix AutoScale and Power Capacity Management? Its for a couple of scenarios, usecases which I will collectively sum up as follows below:
1. Save money not running VM instances in public clouds 24/7 when they aren’t required, therefore saving you a substantial amount of money when looking to better manage your P&L. 2. Your employees typically work 21 business days within a month (30 days) the rest is made up of time off e.g weekends, so why keep all that capacity powered on and consuming more money unnecessarily including carbon emissions. On that note how many of you leave your data centres fully powered on or even home labs when you they aren’t required? Our world needs us to make smarter and better decisions to lets act and save our world for our future unborn grand children. 3. Support spikes/peaks in virtual app & desktop consumption with a capacity buffer.
Why your should DISABLE it! COVID-19 is a world wide pandemic and hopefully a once in life time vs. century event. The number of employees now Working from Home (WFH) world wide is incredible, it’s placed a macro burden on many consumer services where some are in a degraded state or have intentionally degraded themselves to free up more bandwidth capacity over the internet in Europe for example Netflix – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51968302. Its equally true for IT business services e.g virtual meetings and of course public cloud providers whom have run out of capacity for popular VM instance types in Europe, and this is why you want to disable AutoScale so that your mission critical workloads are not stopped + deallocated and then returned the public cloud provider pool where they will be consumed by someone else and keep up 24/7, other organisation’s may have paid upfront to reverse a number of instance types for a period of 30/60/90 days and this is achieved by holding back any/all returned capacity and finally likely redistributed to critical government agencies and department for example in the UK the National Health Service (NHS) to keep health workers productive managing COVID-19 and supporting patients.
Act & Think of Others Please be responsible and make sustainable choices and only keep mission critical workloads on-demand 24/7 that are essential to daily business operations. Finally a personal ask if you are an IT Professional who’s home lab partially runs in a public cloud as its extended from on-premises please be respectful, mindful and aware that if your region is experiencing capacity issues PLEASE turn off and deallocate those VM instances types so that capacity can be returned to the public cloud pool during working days of the week to support businesses whom need it vs. government agencies and or health departments supporting people in-need of help and support medical and or otherwise.
The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.
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.
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 – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops-service.html in Citrix Cloud prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment. The views, opinions and concepts expressed here are those by the author only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions nor leading 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
Understanding a HDX Optimised vs. Non-Optimised CVAD Deployment The following HTML diagram depicts the differences between (un)optimised, I’ve also included a few suggested considerations as well.
Optimised for HDX Teams Offloading
Teams app 1.2.00.31357
End-point + Citrix Workspace app (CWa)
Windows OS VDA YYMM
ICA/HDX Virtual Channel*
Teams app 1.2.00.31357
HDX Teams Services
End-point + Citrix Workspace app (CWa) – Windows 1911*
A/V Traffic to other End-Point
HDX Embedded Media Engine
1. It’s very important to recognise that employees will find themselves in a situation where the connected end-point is unoptimised during work from home scenario e.g COVID-19 and therefore you should plan for these scenarios by implementing the right vs. relevant HDX policy strategy “Balanced” vs. “Preferred” see below guidance. 2. Educate employees when using a non corporate device e.g personal device at home during to COVID-19 they will likely be consuming an un-optimised version of Teams in CVAD, its important to set a exception to avoid unnecessary help desk tickets/calls. 3. Any and all exchanged IM’s and documents live within the CVAD lens meaning that your IP + Pii in any documents lives within the employees CVAD resource e.g Virtual Desktops when they exported it from a IM’s vs. channel(s) in Teams. It is also important to recognise that those same IMs’ vs. channel(s) originate and are available in Microsoft Teams on any device as the source, so if employees re-frame teams outside of your Citrix virtual desktop your IP + Pii in documents could be exfiltrated if the employee device(s) are not properly managed by IT e.g MEM, UEM, MAM, Secure SaaS check out – https://www.mycugc.org/blogs/lyndon-jon-martin/2020/03/27/secure-saas-on-zero-trusted-vs-earned-trusted-devi for more information.
LTSR vs. CR Strategy for HDX Offloading of Microsoft Teams? It’s worth understanding that if your CVAD deployment strategy is to use the Long Term Service Release (LTSR) then you will not receive any new features only bug fixes this thinking keeps inline with the current CVAD strategy between CR vs. LTSR (stability and long-term – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/1912-ltsr.html) release cycles. Consuming a CR branch means that you can unlock new features as they become available by upgrading your CVAD on-premises of upgrade the CVAD Service components within your Resource Locations (RL).
1. You will require the following MSFT teams version “1.2.00.31357” in order to be able to take advantage off the HDX Offloading capabilities within a supported CVAD environment. The following Citrix Workspace app (CWa) versions are the suggested vs. minimal versions that will be required to HDX offload Teams A/V traffic onto the employees endpoint:
Suggested HDX Broadcast (Remote Graphics Mode) Policyfor 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.
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.
We only support windows CWA at the moment, which can coexist with RTME. A Mac CWA will be simply not load Teams in optimized VDI mode so we fall back to server side rendering.
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.
Managing Employee Experience when Teams HDX Offloading is NOT available Most folks are not aware that you can control what happens when Microsoft Teams is NOT been HDX offloaded also referred to as Optimised in a Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops session. You can achieve or rather control the following when “Fallback Mode” occurs either when a the employees connects from an unsupported endpoint + CWa version e.g CWa for HTML5 or they switch from a IT managed endpoint to a BYO endpoint with the incorrect CWa installed (older and unsupported) or IT has not updated the VDA stack within the master image within the Citrix Cloud Resource Location or preferred cloud data centre type.
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.
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.
Tech Insight – Microsoft Teams Optimisation with Citrix
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.
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.
I’m often asked why Citrix? The answer can be a simple vs. complex one, therefore I choose to demonstrate why Citrix through proactive evangelism by recording myself using my Citrix Workspace actively through-out the year, which initially began in 2016 and lead to the original How vs. where I worked from in 2017 video available at – https://twitter.com/lyndonjonmartin/status/949316537021812736.
The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.
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.
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.
IT SERVICE MANAGEMENT – itsm
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
SERVICENOW – sn
CITRIX CLOUD – cc
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).
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.
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.