Category Archives: Skype for Business

I’ll be presenting at UCDay 2017 and why you should consider attending yourself!

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

This year I am honoured to be presenting at UCDay 2017 (founded by MVP Andrew J. Price) which is described as being the UK’s Premier Microsoft Community Conference (check out the speakers for a starters!) which is to be held on 9th October at National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, UK with this years sessions key focus on Microsoft Azure, Skype for Business, Office365, Exchange & Cloud. Personally I’ll be delivering the following community session entitled “Deploying Citrix (Cloud) Workloads in Azure and Beyond ARA” details about my session are available at – http://www.ucday.co.uk/timetable/event/deploying-citrix-cloud-workloads-in-azure-and-beyond-ara/ and if you have any asks vs. requests for me to cover during my session please feel free to DM on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/lyndonjonmartin or LinkedIn @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyndonjonmartin.

On a personal note I am seriously keen myself to take the opportunity to learn, network, connect with my peers and attend some of the other knock out sessions (when its NOT my session), so be sure to check out all the sessions at – http://www.ucday.co.uk/schedule/#not-set:all delivered by community IT Pro’s focused on EUC, UEM, Workspaces, Public Cloud (Azure), UC & Collaboration and more and then get registered for a ticket at – http://www.ucday.co.uk. For me attending UCDay is an absolutely MUST weather you’re a customer vs. partner vs. consultant vs. vendor (think Microsoft eco-system) and it will enable you to gain invaluable insights from industry experts focused on the above topics and more from around the globe YES thats right not just the UK! Check out the speakers bios at – http://www.ucday.co.uk/ourspeakers/.

As I published this blog post it got me thinking as this is my very first UCDay I’d like to understand the origins of UCDay, how as a presenter vs. attendee on the day I can benefit from attending this great event. So I posed the following questions to the Founder of UC and Cloud Day Andrew J. Price http://lyncme.co.uk (Personal Site) whom is also an Office Servers and Services MVP.

1. How has UCDay changed vs. evolved since you first founded it and delivered that first opening keynote?

UC Day has evolved from a dedicated Microsoft UC Event into a leading Community Conference focusing on all the whole Microsoft 365 stack. When I originally started this journey I never expected it to grow as much as its done over the past 3 years. There is a lot of work happening in the background to continue the growth of this event to becoming a leading EMEA region conference that is free for all to attend.

2. What can attendees expect from the day based upon your experience?

Attendees can expect an action pack day full of networking with sponsors, peers and industry leaders in all things Microsoft Cloud related. UC and Cloud Day is a perfect platform for like minded invidiuduals to learn and grow as IT Professional and create new partnerships with our sponsors.

3. What are the key takeaways for attendees about the day vs. sessions?

Attendees will be able to take away knowledge from real world scenarios that our speakers encounter during their engagements with customers, as well new professional contacts that may assist with existing or future projects.

4. You are a MVP for Office Servers and Services what is it and how many other MVP’s will be at UCDay?

MVP Status is given to community leaders who go above and beyond the call of duty to share their experience with the Microsoft Community. I am recognised as Office Servers and Service MVP for my work within the Office 365 and Skype for Business communities. This year we will have over 20 MVPS across multiple award categories from around the global.

5. Any hints for what you’ll be discussing in your keynote at UCDay this year?

I will be talking about the “evolution” of UC Day and handing over to Microsoft who will be delivering the latest message about the “evolving” marketspace.


I hope to see you at UCDay this year.

All the best,
L-J

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 #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.

My Best of #CitrixSynergy 2017

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

Shortened Names
CITRIX USER GROUP COMMUNITY – cugc
HYPER CONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE – hci

Introduction
Its my 5th #CitrixSynergy and this is def one of the best Synergy’s I have ever had the privilege of watching virtually from London, England. Why not in person? I prefer to watch virtually as I am to consume more content faster and translate that into content to update Citrix partners/customers in a timely manner at high level and tech deep dive where required in particular areas or topics. Finally this blog post will most likely change over the next 2-3 weeks as I consume all of the Synergy 2017 content as when/how I can.

My Highlights of the Key Notes
Vision Keynote

– 4:45 Citrix User Group Community – https://www.mycugc.org THANK YOU! Join the community today its powered by some of the most passionate Citrix and Technology advocates from around the global!
– 11:00 Red Bull Racing I’m not going to say anything you need to watch it!
– 21:45 Cloud powers the world
– 27:00 Digital Frontier Companies
– 39:00 Citrix Secure Digital Workspace with a software-defined preimeter
– 40:57 Citrix Workspace Services and a brief demonstration by Citrix’s CEO
– 42:25 SD-WAN / Gateway / WebApp Firewall / DDoS (NS 12+) as a Service
– 47:35 Citrix Analytics Service
– 1:01:00 “Better Together” and video message from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
– 1:12:25 Citrix + Google Chromebook (Skype for Business, Office365 and much more…)
– 1:18:00 Healthcare customer story “Partners Healthcare”

Technology Keynote

– 22:00 Unified Workspace (its Adaptive and Contextual by device/location and it changes the users published resources and its access type!) which brings together some of the most crucial aspects of todays modern apps, desktops, data & your location in a single view with casting capabilities but not demoed as instead instead*
– 29:00 *Workspace IoT (SmartSpaces) demonstration with a users own mobile phone enables an auto login to a Win 10 VD at guest location including welcoming the user based upon his/her smart phone used as there identity. Security people feel free or you will be going nuts right now!
– 32:30 Its all about layering you guessed it Citrix App Layer enabling IT to say YES! Note demo was demoed using a Samsung DEX check it out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/03/29/instant-desktop-computing-from-the-new-samsung-galaxy-s8-smartphone/
– 39:40 Workspace Appliance Program e.g HCI
– 42:35 Protect against Zero day attacks with XenServer and BitDefender which is available but is something which Citrix announced on 21/06/2016 yes thats right 2016 entitled “A Revolutionary Approach to Advanced Malware Protection” – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/06/21/a-revolutionary-approach-to-advanced-malware-protection/ 21/06/2016 yes 2016!
– 47:00 Brad Anderson Corporate Vice President of the Enterprise Client & Mobility @Microsoft discusses shortly and then prefers to demonstrates our joint Citrix + Microsoft “Better Together” capabilities in Mobility, Virtualisation delivery from Azure and more.
– 1:01:38 Digital Jungle discussion its def worth your time if you about security and managing the experiences of your users workspace!
– 1:47:25 Vision of how the Digital Workspace is going to evolve

Citrix Synergy TV Breakout Sessions
The following are my current top sessions to watch in no particular order that I believe you’ll gain a lot of value out of watching BUT note that this may change as I continue to consume more of the on-demand content from Synergy 2017.

– SYN318 A to Z: best practices for delivering XenApp, XenDesktop – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnnZTKBy18c&feature=youtu.be

– SYN111 – What’s new with Citrix Cloud and what’s to come – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-UunHGKqLY

– SYN120 – NetScaler SD-WAN updates – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdqIkCb86uU

– SYN103 – Citrix App Layering – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBYoVeAYnSA

– SYN118 – What’s new with NetScaler ADC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMefjGwRMeU

– SYN121 – What’s new with NetScaler Unified Gateway – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ovb4TIb5JY&t=28s

– SYN115 – Why should I use ShareFile if I already have Office 365? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kESgKT7_mJw

Innovation Super Session
Awaiting for the on-demand video publication but for now I will leave you with the following Tweet as a thought or rather a reminder to make sure that you watch it if you missed it!

Synergy 2017 Advocates Blog Posts
Citrix Synergy 2017 – It’s a Wrap – See all the most important announcements listed here! By Christiaan Brinkhoff. – https://blog.infrashare.net/2017/05/29/citrix-synergy-2017-its-a-wrap-see-all-the-most-important-announcements-listed-here/

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/

Top 10 Suggested Unified Experience Tips for Citrix Users 2016

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

Shortened Names
XENDESKTOP – xd
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
XENAPP – xa
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm or thinwire+
SELF-SERVICE PASSWORD RESET – sspr
VIRTUAL GPU – vgpu
PROOF OF CONCEPT – poc

Suggested Top 10 for 2016
This is numbered 1 through 10 but in reality is in no particular order!

1. E-mail discovery for Citrix Receiver using DNS SRV records – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/windows/4-3/receiver-windows-install-wrapper/receiver-windows-cfg-command-line-42.html internally and externally on the Gateway – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler-gateway/10-1/ng-xa-xd-integration-edocs-landing/ng-clg-integration-wrapper-con/ng-clg-session-policies-overview-con/ng-clg-storefront-policies-con/ng-clg-storefront-email-discovery-tsk.html.
2. Implement SplitDNS or more technically correct “split-horizon DNS” – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-horizon_DNS my favourite personally over email based discovery :-)!
3. Brand your NetScalers (Unified) Gateway – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler-gateway/11-1/vpn-user-config/custom-portal.html and App Store (StoreFront) – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-7/manage-citrix-receiver-for-web-site/unified-receiver-experience.html to match and keep it clear, clean and simple!

4. Implement HDX Adaptive Display v2 available in 7.11+ – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/graphics-policy-settings.html as your default Graphics Mode and if you can’t then Thinwire Compatible Mode – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/hdx/thinwire.html.

5. If using Skype for Business 2015 or 2016 implement the HDX RealTime Optimisation Pack 2.x.n http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-1/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-overview.html to offload the video/audio to the local end-points (Windows, Mac and Linux) saving on backend compute and density loss for XenApp.*

6. Implement domain pass-through for internal users – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-7/plan/user-authentication.html.
7. Deploy the (latest) HTML5 Receiver for remote access – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/html5/2-2/user-experience.html.

8. When using Citrix Receiver for Windows (with HDX engine 14.4), the GPU can be used for H.264 decoding wherever it is available at the client – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/windows/4-5/improve.html.
9. Deploy Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR) – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/self-service-password-reset/1-0.html.

10. The most difficult to justify probably re the cost(s) but assigning a low end vGPU GRID profile or utilising the Intel Iris Pro Graphics with XenServer 7 to provide enough/suitable GPU capacity to all virtual apps & desktops (oldISH and modern) provides a much better experience so setup a PoC to see and try if for yourself and finally NVidia now supports H.264 offloading onto there GRID Cards in 7.11 🙂 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_59c9.

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.