Tag Archives: H.264

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 “We 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 🙂 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 and Understanding Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop 7.11 (Seven 11)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.11 (Seven 11) prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or best practises.

Shortened Names
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm or thinwire+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x.n (As of this blog post its 7.11) Features

Quick upgrade guide to XenApp 7.11 and XenDesktop 7.11 by #Citrix #CTP @ervik

Upgrading My Azure XAD 7.9 environment to XAD 7.11

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

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

Scheduled & Coming…