Tag Archives: Adaptive Transport

What’s New with HDX (3D Pro) Technologies in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.16

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test accessing secure by design virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 prior to deploying a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or leading best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names

Introduction what is HDX?
High Definition eXperience (HDX) is a set of technologies that provides a near to HD local like experience of a remoted virtual app, desktop or both to users anywhere in the world on any device even without installing anything on that device all you need is a modern widely used (supported) HTML5 compliant internet browser e.g Chrome, Safari (try it on your iOS devices :-)), Firefox, Internet Explorer you get the picture.

HDX is simple yet so powerful and has three founding principles which are intelligent redirection, adaptive compression, and data de-duplication like wise it has three principles it performs when you connect to there virtual resources which is Inspect the VM (Server vs. Desktop) what does it have e.g vGPU, Inspect the network what its like and can I use UDP for adaptive transport or should I fallback to TCP to remote the display + multimedia and finally it inspects the end-point what is there and can I use it? An example is the HDX Optimisation Pack available to offload audio/video for my Skype for Business sessions or shall I utilise generic HDX fallbacks?

I’m not going in great detail in this introduction so if your new to HDX or even an HDX Xen Master I’d still encourage you read the white paper published by Citrix on HDX Technologies at –
https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/white-paper/citrix-hdx-technologies.pdf. Also be sure to check out the HDX resources page on Citrix.com at – https://www.citrix.co.uk/products/xenapp-xendesktop/hdx-technologies.html.

Finally you can find all the latest about XAD 7.16 and not just whats new with HDX in this release at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/current-release/whats-new.html and you’ll notice that it’s not a 7.16 URL but refers to current release or CR.

HDX RealTime
Skype for Business to Teams β€œWe are committed…” read all about it in Dereks blog post on Citrix.com – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/11/08/the-big-news-about-microsoft-teams. The big announcement is that HDX RealTime Optimisation Pack now has an LTSR release version 2.4 which is available and you can learn more product lifecycle information at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-4-ltsr.html. Its also worth noting that this LTSR does NOT support any version of Microsofts Teams only Skype for Business 2015, 2016 you can learn more by reviewing the System Requirements for the client vs. server side at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-4-ltsr/system-requirements.html.

– HDX RealTime Media Engine for the Citrix Ready workspace hub (formerly known as HDX Ready Pi) is only supported for ViewSonic – https://citrixready.citrix.com/viewsonic/viewsonic-sc-t25.html or NComputing – https://citrixready.citrix.com/ncomputing/ncomputing-rx-hdx-thin-client.html Pi’s only. You can also get management of these devices from Stratodesk check out – https://www.stratodesk.com/products/raspberry-pi-thin-client.
– Behavioural changes in the way audio is handled in fallback mode when CPU is busy is to disable Echo Cancellation via the RTME as the generic HDX RealTime will handle this capability until returning to expected behaviour and lower CPU load.
– Enhancements to the microphone to provide better insights into whom is speaking.

The full list of what’s new in this LTSR is available at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-4-ltsr/whats-new.html.

HDX Broadcast
– The release of XAD 7.16 introduces a great new VDA installation behaviour change πŸ™‚ whereby it will automatic set the HDX mode to be standard (Server OS) vs. HDX 3DPro mode (Desktop OS if it meets the requirements for HDX 3DPro e.g the Desktop OS includes a vGPU or GPU) which I believe is setup in the right direction and simplifying overall CTX Admin overhead e.g another syntax option to remember vs. I forget to configure the correct parameter.
– Now by default the new HDX Graphics mode is enabled is adaptive transport or EDT and is set to Preferred. Don’t worry if your a Citrix Admin as you’ve maybe already realised I didn’t enable UDP for this to work! Remember is an adaptive remote display protocol so it will fallback to TCP by default using the default Citrix HDX ports. Its also worth mentioning that when (Preferred) is set then SR is enabled for both UDP vs. TCP connections and client connections (Receiver check supported versions e.g Win min 4.10; Mac 12.8) are attempted in parallel during the initial connection, for SR reconnections and finally auto client reconnects aswell.
– Browser Content Redirection – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/current-release/multimedia/browser-content-redirection.html redirects the contents to the local device running an embedded browser within the HDX session which allows for offloading of content, network traffic, graphics from the VDA running in the resource location to the users end-point enhancing the UX significantly.
– Not strictly something new but HTML5 Redirection – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/current-release/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/multimedia-policy-settings.html which is still currently only available for internal usage as you’ll read from the eDocs article but this is 100% something an Citrix Admin & Architects should begin testing today as HTML5 begins in my personal view to supersede Flash based websites as we move forward towards 2020.
– Auto DI Scaling for Multi-Monitor
– H.265 encoding support running on the latest end-points which supported a GPU that supports H.265 decoding and if its not available it will by default fall-back to H.264 decoding. The net result of moving to H.265 from H.264 which is a Platinum only feature results in significant bandwidth savings and much better UX. I have seen the net results with a few of our engineering customers that develop vehicles with teams spread out across the world and the results as awesome!
– Strictly speaking this is not agnostic or exclusive to the HDX technology stack but the Windows Continuum is quiet important for a great user experience and its powered by primarily at a the hypervisor level and its currently only supported on Citrix XenServer. Visit – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/current-release/technical-overview/hdx.html for how-to configure it today if your running XenServer.

– High definition webcam streaming for Windows Server with resolutions up to 1920×1080 – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/current-release/technical-overview/hdx.html#hd-webcam
– “Session Watermark” with custom text which you learn to setup and configure using the following CTX article – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX230054 and was originally part of the XenApp Secure Browser and its deployment guide is available at – https://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/workspace-cloud/downloads/Secure%20Browser%20-%20Deployment%20Guide.pdf.

In Closing
I be covering off some HDX topics in more detail in up and coming blog posts either here or in “Expert Insights” at myCUGC website at – https://www.mycugc.org/. Finally if you want to take part in my challenge for 2018 you can learn more about it at – https://www.mycugc.org/blog/a-2018-challenge-for-the-mycugc-community.

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

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 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 –

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