Tag Archives: vGPU

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.

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

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.

vGPU for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 powered by nVidia GRID K1, K2 Cards on XenServer 6.2 SP1, 6.5

“The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test vGPU technology using XenServer 6.2 SP2+ or XenServer 6.5, XenDesktop 7.6, nVidia GRID K1 or K2 cards and a supported server from either the Citrix or nVidia HCL prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names

What’s New
1. vGPU for XenApp is now supported ref the following blog article published entitled “Citrix supports NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU™ for XenApp!” – http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/11/25/citrix-supports-nvidia-grid-vgpu-for-xenapp/.
2. XenServer 6.5 can now support up to 3x nVidia GRID cards scaling up to 96 VM’s with a vGPU assigned in a GRID enabled/compatible supported server hardware.
3. nVidia have certified new GRID profiles all of which are Q certified check them out at – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-virtual-gpus-uk.html.
4. The latest GRID card datasheet is avaiable at – http://images.nvidia.com/content/grid/pdf/188270-NVIDIA-Grid-Datasheet-A4-fnl-Web.pdf.

What is vGPU?
It is a logical portion of a physical GPU assigned to a VM to deliver rich graphical applications from either a multi-user or desktop OSes. It is currently only supported with either nVidia GRID K1/K2 cards, compatible HCL server running either XenServer 6.2 SP+ or XenServer 6.5+ with XenApp or XenDesktop 7.6. The GPU resources (Frame buffer) + access time that is allocated to a vGPU assigned to the VM is managed with the help of a vGPU profile e.g K120Q which manages the GPU resources + time in conjunction with the vGPU manager which is installed within Dom0 of the XenServer 6.2 SP1+ or 6.5 host which intern allows for any VM assigned a vGPU to handle and delivery graphical intensive applications e.g AutoCAD Map 3D or Adobe Photoshop CS. For more technical information and an alternative description and overview including a diagram checkout – http://www.nvidia.com/object/virtual-gpus.html on the nVidia website.

GRID Card History
The first generation of GRID cards were called K1, K2 Cards and made use of the “Kepler” architecture, technical details can be found on the datasheet here – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/content/cloud-computing/pdf/nvidia-grid-datasheet-k1-k2.pdf.

The second generation of nVidia GRID cards are called TESLA which make use of the “Maxwell” architecture which includes 3x offerings TESLA M10 (Rack Servers), TESLA M6 (MXM Blade Servers) and TESLA M60 (Rack Servers)

Overview of Citrix HDX vs. HDX 3D Pro
HDX stands of High Definition eXperience and is built upon the ICA protocol which is developed, owned and maintained by Citrix. HDX automatically and dynamically adapts to any changes within the users ICA session end-2-end to ensure that the users experience always comes first and foremost. HDX inspects the computing resources within the data centre e.g. the VM or physical server that the desktop or server VDA is install on, the network and the end-point device to see what computing resources can be leveraged to offload onto to further enhance the users experience. For a technical overview to Citrix’s HDX technologies and policies in XAD 7.6 check out – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-hdx-landing.html. Citrix has published document entitled “What is HDX? / Citrix HDX technologies for optimizing the virtualization experience” available at – http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-hdx-technologies.pdf which provides a great introduction into HDX technologies.

vGPU Pre-requites & System Requirements
1. Start by reviewing http://www.citrix.com/go/vgpu.
2. Hardware requirements can be found at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/go/vgpu-tech-preview-hardware-requirements.pdf and to purchase a GRID enabled server please visit – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/buy-nvidia-grid-uk.html.
3. I would suggest downloading and reviewing the guide entitled “Part 1: XenServer GPU Pass-through” available at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/go/reviewers-guide-remote-3d-graphics-apps-part-1-xenserver-gpu-passthrough.pdf prior to starting as this will cover off the installation of a GRID card into a Dell R720 Server which will be useful to review if your about to embark on deploying your first GRID K1/2 card in a compatible supported server.
4. The following guide entitled “Part 3: XenServer GPU Virtualization (vGPU)” covers off the full deployment from installing and configuring XenServer 6.2 SP1+ to preparing the VM and assigning a vGPU through to the installation and configuration of the nVidia GRID drivers, XenTools and the Desktop OS VDA. The guide is available at – *https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/go/reviewers-guide-remote-3d-graphics-apps-part-3-xenserver-vgpu.pdf.
5. Encoding method suggested is H.264 although you do need more power server h/w as this protocol type does require more computing power but uses less bandwidth and you’ll also require an end point capable of decoding the H.264 stream.

Installation & Configuration
1. http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX140603 or refer to point 4 in the above “vGPU Pre-requites & System Requirements” section.
2. NVIDIA GRID Configuration Checks by Jason Southern at nVidia

HDX 3D Pro Policy or Policies
1. I would strongly recommend when you begin your testing of a vGPU VM(s) that you create a new custom policy in Studio and perhaps title it “vGPU HDX 3D Pro” and apply the following sUgGeStEd vGPU HDX 3D Pro policy as described in this nVidia GRID forum article available at – https://gridforums.nvidia.com/default/topic/254/xendesktop-with-nvidia-grid/hdx-policy-for-grid-accelerated-applications/. Why not use my current HDX policy? Firstly this policy is a sUgGeStEd and should be considered as an initial base line to begin testing from and its based off real world field experience from an EMEA nVidia GRID Architecture based in the UK.
2. The following XenDesktop master class from July 2014 will provide you with a great insight into HDX 3D Pro with nVidia GRID cards. This master class is a must if your looking at deploying an HDX 3D Pro with a customers environment to enable the deliver of HDX Rich Graphics to users within LAN and WAN scenarios.

HDX or HDX 3D Pro Thin Clients
1. If your looking for HDX or HDX 3D Pro verified thin clients then please check out the Citrix Ready website at – http://www.citrix.com/ready/en/.
2. HDX Search results –
https://citrixready.citrix.com/category-results.html?category=c1-endpoints/c2-thin-clients&lang=en_us&filter=c1-endpoints/c2-thin-clients/g-hdx-levels/f-hdx-ready&sortby=product-asc and for HDX Ready Chrome Device – https://citrixready.citrix.com/category-results.html?category=c1-endpoints/c2-chrome-devices&lang=en_us&filter=c1-endpoints/c2-chrome-devices/g-hdx-levels/f-hdx-ready&sortby=product-asc.
3. HDX Premium search results – https://citrixready.citrix.com/category-results.html?category=c1-endpoints/c2-thin-clients&lang=en_us&filter=c1-endpoints/c2-thin-clients/g-hdx-levels/f-hdx-premium&sortby=product-asc
4. HDX 3D Pro search results – https://citrixready.citrix.com/category-results.html?category=c1-endpoints/c2-thin-clients&lang=en_us&filter=c1-endpoints/c2-thin-clients/g-hdx-levels/f-hdx-3d-pro&sortby=product-asc.

Customer Stories
1. Story | – https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/11/02/ngca-perspective-how-nvidia-empowers-education-through-grid/.
2. Case Study | Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/content/grid/resources/case-study-daewooshipbuilding.pdf.
3. Success Story | Bell Helicopter Elevating The Design and Manufacturing of World-Class Helicopters – http://www.nvidia.com/object/enterprise-virtualization-case-study-bell-helicopter.html
4. Success Story | PSA Peugeot Citroen Accelerating Automotive Design with NVIDIA GRID – http://www.nvidia.com/object/enterprise-virtualization-case-study-peugeot.html.

nVidia GRID Forums
1. Drivers – https://gridforums.nvidia.com/default/board/128/nvidia-grid-drivers/.
2. GRID cards – https://gridforums.nvidia.com/default/board/129/grid-boards/.
3. XenApp – https://gridforums.nvidia.com/default/board/127/xenapp-with-nvidia-grid/.
4. XenDesktop – https://gridforums.nvidia.com/default/board/126/xendesktop-with-nvidia-grid/.
5. Announcements – https://gridforums.nvidia.com/default/board/120/announcements/.

Citrix XenServer 6.5

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test XenServer 6.5 with XAD 7.6 including HDX 3D Pro with a supported server from either the Citrix or nVidia HCL 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

What’s New
1: Dom0 is now x64
2: vGPU scalability from 64 to 96 vGPU’s sessions per host with the correctly supported HCL server h/w which can support up to 3x nVidia GRID cards.
3: In-memory read-caching enables XS to take advantage of storing a golden image build in the hosts RAM which means guest VM’s boot 3x faster hello faster XAD 7.6 workloads and use cases.
4: Storage improvements include LiVE LUN expansion, tapdisk3 support, device mapper multi-path (updated).
5: Workload Balancing (WLB) is back take a look at – http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/01/29/workload-balancing-wlb-xendesktop-and-xenapp-use-cases/ and http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/01/22/citrix-xenserver-workload-balancing-wlb-why-xendesktop-and-xenapp-customers-really-should-take-note/.
6: For a complete overview checkout – http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/01/13/xenserver-v6-5-whats-new-and-why-you-should-check-it-out/, http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/01/13/xenserver-6-5/.
7: Don’t forget to read through the release notes which is available at – http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/38334-102-714582/XenServer-6.5.0-releasenotes.pdf.

Pre-requites & System Requirements
Coming soon…

Installation & Configuration
Coming soon…

XenApp 7.6 XenDesktop 7.6 including Feature Pack (FP) 1

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test XenApp 7.6, XernDesktop 7.6 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

What’s New now with Feature Pack 1 (FP1)
0: If you are new to XenDesktop 7.x, XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5, 7.6 then I would suggest that you begin by reading and reviewing the Technical Overview of XAD 7.6 – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-architecture-article.html and follow on by understanding the System Requirements for XAD 7.6 at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-system-requirements-76.html.
1: XenApp – http://www.citrix.com/products/xenapp/whats-new.html.

2: XenDesktop – http://www.citrix.com/products/xendesktop/whats-new.html. 3: How to setup and configure session pre-launch and lingers for XAD 7.6 – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-dg-manage-sessions.html#xad-dg-manage-sessions__prelaunch-linger including a video from Citrix TV is embedded below. 4: Connection Leasing (Previously or rather similar to Local Host Cache (LHC) under XenApp 6.x and downwards) provides the ability to allow end-users within your organisation the ability to continue to access Citrix published desktops, applications even if your MS SQL highly available database is offline using the new feature in XAD 7.6. Please note that you should always still have a H/A SQL database environment in-place and connection leasing does require the 7.6 VDA. For more information please read and review – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-connection-leasing.html#xad-connection-leasing. 5: How-to perform a XenApp 6.5 migration – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-xamigrate.html#xad-xamigrate and the general eDocs node that covers off migrations from previous versions of XenApp 6.x and XenDesktop 4.x, 5.x are covered at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-upgrade-existing-environment.html. 6: Overview & Understanding High Definition eXperience (HDX) under XAD 7.6 including Flash and USB/Drive redirection, GPU Sharing and Network traffic priorities – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-hdx-landing.html. 7: For a complete and full list of what’s new in XenApp 7.6 and XenDesktop 7.6 take a look at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-whats-new.html. 8: What’s new in the XAD 7.6 FP1? Check out http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-whats-new-7-6fp1.html for a list of the full details. I’ve provided summary below of what it includes: – Session Recording which/was formerly Smart Auditor. – Updated Citrix Licensing. – Updated Director which includes enable/disable session recording for the detail check out http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX142260. – HDX Real-Time Optimization Pack 1.7 for Microsoft Lync 2013 the details here at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17/lync-realtime-optimization-pack-17.html. Detailed How-to Upgrade to Citrix Receiver 4.2.x.n 1: Learn what is required in order to perform an upgrade of your existing Citrix Receiver 3.4 implementation to to 4.2.100 by download this handy and useful PDF best practises guide at – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/en-us/receiver/windows/4-2/downloads/Receiver_for_Windows_4.2_Upgrade_Best_Practice_Guide.pdf. 2: It is also worth mentioning that the current new Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.2.x.n now supports TLS 1.1, 1.2, Start menu integration & shortcut management, USB 3.0 and so much more please check out – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/receiver-windows-42/receiver-windows-42-about.html#receiver-windows-42-about for more information so upgrading does and will provide numerous useful benefits for CTX SysAdmins and there end-users. Upgrading & Migration
1: XenApp 7.5 Migration Guide – http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/xenapp-75-migration-guide.pdf.
2: Upgrading & Migration Microsite for XenApp 6.x to XenApp 7.5 – http://www.citrix.com/products/xenapp/tech-info/upgrade.html.
3: Introduction to XenApp 7.6 Upgrade Planning recorded GoToWebcast from 07/102014 available at – https://citrix.webcasts.com/viewer/event.jsp?ei=1040823. If you would any overview please read the orginal events web page at – http://www.citrix.com/events/introduction-to-xenapp-76-upgrade-planning.html. Citrix Education
1: CXA-104 Citrix XenApp 7.6: Overview – – http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=925. 2: CXA-105 Getting Started with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 – http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=973 3: CXA-208 Moving to XenApp 7.6 – http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=1096. 4: CXD-105 Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop Help Desk Support – http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=1011. GUI Installation & Overview for XenApp 7.6, XenDesktop 7.6
1: XenApp 7.6 Reviewers Guide provides a simple installation overview which can be downloaded at https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/oth/xenapp-reviewers-guide.pdf and the XenDesktop 7.6 equivalent can be found at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/xendesktop-reviewers-guide.pdf. Unattended Installation of XAD 7.6 Infrastructure Components & The VDA
1: The installation executable is located at x64\XenDesktop Setup\XenDesktopServerSetup.exe within the installation media path. The below is an example and simply replace x with mounted ISO, CD/DVD drive letter or the UNC path to the XAD7.5-6 installation media. If you do not include the /xenapp switch it will automatically install XenDesktop.

x:\x64\XenDesktop Setup\XenDesktopServerSetup.exe /xenapp /components controller,desktopstudio /configure_firewall

2: Sample installation code to insert into a batch script from Citrix eDocs that will install the VDA on Desktop OS as a master image and it will include Citrix Receiver.

x:\x64\XenDesktop Setup\XenDesktopVdaSetup.exe /quiet /components
vda,plugins /controllers “Contr-Main.mydomain.local” /enable_hdx_ports /optimize
/masterimage /baseimage /enable_remote_assistance

If you are looking for how-to install the VDA for groups of machines in AD the please checkout this eDocs node the batch script that will allow you to install/configure or even remove the VDA – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-install-vda-adscript.html.
3: For more detailed information check out – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-install-command.html.

High-Definition user eXperience (HDX) 1: So what is HDX? That’s a very good question an introduction whitepaper to your questions can be found at – http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-hdx-technologies.pdf. 2: Now that you’ve read through the whitepaper you will want to begin configuring and testing some of the HDX policies in Studio to test out HDX capabilities. Start with reading through the HDX eDocs node at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-hdx-landing.html. If your more interested in HDX 3D Pro which leverages GPU cards installed on workstations, servers within the data centre then I would suggest to start by reviewing – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-hdx3dpro-intro.html. For a visual aid surrounding of how GPU technologies with work XenApp & XenDesktop take a look at how GPU pass-through works at – http://www.nvidia.com/object/xenapp.html for with XenApp and for a vGPU works for XenDesktop check out – http://www.nvidia.com/object/virtual-gpus.html. 3: High Definition User Experience template policy in Studio explained and feedback requested – http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/11/13/citrix-studio-templates-help-needed-out-of-the-box-configuration-for-xendesktop-and-xenapp/. Citrix Unveils New Version of Market Leading Third-Generation Unified Platform for Application and Desktop Virtualization
http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/aug-2014/citrix-unveils-new-version-of-market-leading-third-generation-un.html Citrix Offers Technology Preview of Linux Virtual Apps and Desktops Delivered from XenApp and XenDesktop

http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/aug-2014/citrix-offers-technology-preview-of-linux-virtual-apps-and-deskt.html Deploying Unified Communications (UC) Lync 2010/2013 1: Lync Feature Matrix is available at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200279 which is very useful for understanding what is and what isn’t supported and whether you need to deploy either the HDX Optimisation Pack of the Microsoft VDI Plug-in. 2: Delivery options for deploying Microsoft Lync for XenApp 7.6 or XenDesktop 7.6 explained in detail at – http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/10/23/delivering-lync-from-xenapp-and-xendesktop/. I’ve summarised your options below: – Generic HDX Realtime * Pure ICA/HDX between two end-points and the infrastructure. – HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync® * Optimised softphone with offloading of the media engine by Citrix Note: 1.6 is for Lync 2010 and 1.7 is for Lync 2013 check out 1.7 – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-17/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-about-17.html which is compatible with Lync Server 2013, Lync Server 2010, and Lync Online (Office 365). – Microsoft® Lync® VDI Plug-in * Optimised softphone with offloading of the media engine by Microsoft check out the CTX article for a how-to at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX138408. – Local App Access utilises a * XAD policy applied to users to utilise the locally installed Lync app over published Lync app from XenApp. If you want to under more about how-to enable this XAD feature please review – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-laa-intro.html. * Please refer to eDocs or CTX200279 3: UC with XenApp and XenDesktop Solutions Brief – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/unified-communications-with-xendesktop-solutions-overview.pdf.

XenDesktop 7.1

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test XenDesktop 7.1 prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry.

Shortened Names

Coming Soon!
In the interim I have selected a few links from Citrix eDocs which you may find to be useful relating to this new version of XenDesktop 7.1.

Deploy XenDesktop in a multiple forest Active Directory environment

XenDesktop 7.1 VDA, Controller Platform Supportability

Enable High Availability If Delivery Controller Fails
Firstly you need to adjust two registry entries within either the Windows Server or Desktop OSes to enable the VDA to be in high availability mode – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/cds-plan-high-avail-vda-rho.html thereafter you will need to create custom *.ica file – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX127392 to connect to VDA(s) installed on a Windows Server or Desktop OS to access your resources e.g Hosted Shared Desktop.

nVidia & Citrix Announcement at Synergy 2013
If you did not watch the LiVE announcement here is the 20 minute discussion and demonstration on stage streamed LiVE across the internet of the very latest in virtual Graphics Processing Unit (vGPU) technology delivered using a nVidia GRID K2 card, XenServer 6.2 + hot-fixes on XenDesktop 7.1 < a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwuPXT8jrv4">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwuPXT8jrv4.

How to setup and configure nVidia Virtual GPU (vGPU) in XenDesktop 7.1 DRAFT & MAY CONTAIN ERROR(S)
1: Check out – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-virtual-gpus-uk.html which explains the technology and provides a table of the maximum capable screen resolution, virtual GPU profile, number of supported monitors and users per nVidia GRID K1 or K2 card.
2: It is also worth reading this newly published HDX Technology white paper – http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/citrix-hdx-technologies.pdf if your new to delivering hosted shared desktops (XenApp 6.5, XenDesktop 7.x), VDI desktops (XenDesktop 7.x) or just a generalised refresh surrounding HDX which is built on the strength of Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) protocol – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Computing_Architecture.
3: What server hardware is supported for nVidia GRID K1, K2 cards – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/buy-nvidia-grid-uk.html and here is where you can find the current specifications for the card themselves – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-vdi-graphics-cards-uk.html.
4: Review and understand the system requirements for HDX 3D Pro which is required in order to deliver the whole solution – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/hdx-sys-reqs.html.
5: Explore, understand and review the GPU Acceleration for Windows Desktop OS’s in eDocs – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/hd-3d-plan.html and it is also worth reading through GPU Acceleration for Windows Server OS’s as well at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/hd-3d-gpu-acceleration-win-server-os.html.
6:Assuming you have not acquired a nVidia GRID K1, K2 card you should ensure that you download the latest possible and stable driver(s) – http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us and if you require assistance also make use of nVidia’s support – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/page/support.html. I would also recommend reviewing or contacting manufacture to ensure that you have the latest and or best supported BIOS to support the whole solution end to end.
7: Download print out the following Reviewers guide to getting started – http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/go/reviewers-guide-remote-3d-graphics-apps-part-3-xenserver-vgpu.pdf. If your new to Citrix XenDesktop 7.1 and what to get started quickly follow on with this great Reviewers guide – http://www.citrix.com/wsdm/restServe/skb/attachments/RDY8316/XenDesktop%207.1%20Reviewer%27s%20Guide.pdf which is referenced from – http://www.citrix.com/skb/articles/RDY8316.
8: Install the K1 or K2 GPU cards into your chooses server h/w platform, download the XenServer 6.2 ISO burn it to CD and also download the required hot-fixes and service packs (SP) if required to enable vGPU. Insert the CD into the host and power and install XenServer 6.2 and install the latest version of XenCenter on your desktop and connect it to your successful installed XenServer 6.2 host. Note you should always ensure when setting a PoC or pilot that you keep in-line with your organisations best practises and polices.
9: Complete hot-fixes packing process and also install the nVidia GRID Manager into Domain0 (Dom0) as instructed in the reviewers guide.
10: Create your VM in XS and remember to add the vGPU, then power on the VM to install and configure the OS -> once the installation is completed install and enable the nVidia GRID drivers – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/hd-3d-manage.html and then reboot the VM -> install Xen tools and reboot -> login install and configure as required your intensive 3D, graphical intensive applications -> join to your organisations domain and change the host name if required and reboot -> mount the XenDesktop 7.1 ISO to the VM and install the VDA (Decisions make a master images or enable R/A) and reboot -> Open Studio for XenDesktop 7.1 on your desktop and create machine catalogue and delivery group following the best practises of the reviewers guides mentioned above -> Open Citrix Receiver which can be downloaded at – and login and search for your newly created VDI desktop with vGPU and launch the resource and access one of your installed 3D or graphical intensive applications and begin testing and playing with different policies in XenDesktop 7.1 and tweaking your h/w as required to gain the maximin possible performance.
11: You can/could also test and try using – http://www.ozone3d.net/gpushark/#techdata although I have not tested this utility with a VDI desktop which is vGPU ready and enabled.

nVidia GRID Technologies
Shared GPU for bare metal Windows Server running XenApp 6.5 for delivering RDS Workloads – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-xenapp-uk.html
Dedicated GPU for Virtual Machines on either a VMWare ESXi or XenServer 6.2 (hotfixes) hosts – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/dedicated-grid-gpus-uk.html.
vGPU for Virtual Machines on a XenServer 6.2 (hotfixes) host – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-virtual-gpus-uk.htm

Infrastructure Considerations & Planning
Often individuals ask themselves how do I use my current or planned network, h/w infrastructure requirements to ensure support XenDesktop 7.0, 7.1 for VDI, RDS workloads?

1: Always refer to eDocs, CTX articles or white papers published by Citrix for the correct system requirements and best practises.
2: Citrix’s Project Accelerator http://project.citrix.com
3: Sizing XenDesktop 7 App Edition VMs – http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/10/31/sizing-xendesktop-7-app-edition-vms/
4: Go SuperSonic with XenDesktop 7.x Bandwidth SuperCodecs – http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/11/06/go-supersonic-with-xendesktop-7-x-bandwidth-supercodecs/
5: Storage and IOPS guidance for App delivery with XenDesktop 7 – http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/11/14/storage-and-iops-guidance-for-app-delivery-with-xendesktop-7/

XenDesktop 7

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test XenDesktop 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

What is and does it do?
Citrix XenDesktop 7 allows you to deliver Remote Desktop Services (RDS), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) workloads and secure remote access to an existing PC estate by installing the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) into those existing PC’s. All this capability is enabled from one single common architecture – FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA). If you are a Citrix XenApp 5.0, 6.5 Administrator I would encourage you to read through the following Citrix eDoc article – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-7/cds-overview-info-previous-xa-customers.html and follow on with this free Citrix 2 hour long course covering XenDesktop 7 weather your sales, pre-sales, sysadmin or engineer its useful in getting your mindset ready for XenDesktop 7 – http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=595.

Citrix TV & YouTube Videos To Watch
SYN320: XenDesktop 7: What You Should Know About FlexCast Management and XenApp Migration
Citrix XenDesktop 7 3D Pro Demonstration – http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/9008.
XenDesktop 7 Masterclass – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSFJ0xx7ztY.

XenDesktop 7 Handbook
Check out the blog article announcement – http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/10/10/new-xendesktop-7-handbook-published. You download the XenDesktop 7 Handbook directly at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX139331 and the XenDesktop 5.x Handbook at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136546.

Components of XenDesktop 7 Explained
1: Studio is allows you to design and build your RDS, VDI workloads.
2: Director allows you to support and monitor your organisations XenDesktop 7 virtual machines, user sessions via MS RemoteAssistance, historical trending & metrics, network analytic’s if you have a NetScaler.
3: Delivery Controller is responsible for brokering the connections to your servers (ICA/RDS), virtual machines (VDI) or existing workstation PC’s.
4: Citrix Licensing Server is responsible for checking in/out of your FlexCast licenses. XenDesktop 7 requires CLS 11.11.
5: StoreFront provides users with a self-serve AppStore to tab to click to add your Windows hosted apps, hosted shared desktops (Windows Server 2008 R2) or VDI desktops (Windows 7,8).
6: Machine Creation Services (MCS) is built into XenDesktop 7 which enables as allows you to provision virtual machines from your master VM images. All you need to do to configure it is to input either XenServer, Hyper-V (Requires SCVMM) or ESX (Remember to trust the root certificate) hypervisor FQDN and the access details.
7: Provisioning Services (PVS)
8: User Profile Manager 5 (UPM) is built into XenDesktop 7 and provide Citrix’s profile management solution.
9: MS SQL is required to store configuration information and details about your XenDesktop 7 site. MS SQL express, standard, enterprise and data center* editions are supported and for H/A configuration options please visit this eDocs article at – *http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-7/cds-sys-requirements.html.
10: Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) is responsible for delivering a hosted shared desktop, windows hosted app and VDI desktop to users brokered via the Delivery Controller.

What Editions Are Available? VDI, App (XenApp capabilities e.g delivery of RDS workloads) , Enterprise and Platinum. To compare the feature sets of edition please check out – http://www.citrix.com/go/products/xendesktop/feature-matrix.html. At the time of writing this post you are required to login to Citrix.com with your access details.

Setup & Configure nVidia GRID VIRTUAL GPU (vGPU) on Citrix XenDesktop 7.1
To learn how-to setup and configure a test demo or PoC environment to leverage the vGPU capabilities of XenServer 6.2 and XenDesktop 7.1 Tech Preview check out – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-virtual-gpus-uk.html. You can download the XenDesktop 7.1 Tech Preview at – and the system requirements can be found at – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop/cds-xendesktop-71-landing-page.htm and the HDX system requirements please check out – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/hdx-enhance-ux-xd.html.

NVidia Resources
XenApp 6.5 GPU Sharing – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-xenapp-uk.html.
XenDesktop vGPU – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/grid-xen-desktop-uk.html.

Multi-Site Configurations & High Availability
Coming soon! I will cover multiple data centres and sites and how-to enable and ensure H/A access to your published resources if you lost/lose communication with your XenDesktop 7 delivery controller(s) and the pitfalls. I would strongly recommend your environment is N+1 and with VM’s common these days setting and configuring an N+1 environment should be best practise for H/A, business continuity and DR.

How-to Enable Local App Access
Coming soon! However in the mean time please refer to http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-7/laa-configure-enable.html#laa-enable.dita.

XenDesktop Introduction Training Course CXD-102
Citrix training offers a 2 hour introduction course to XenDesktop 7 for free. The course is available at – http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=595.

Howto Configure Email Based Discovery& Why It’s Important
Configuration of email based discovery using SRV records is simple and greatly enhances the users login experiences as they all know there email addr and domain password much like logging into Facebook, Twitter e.t.c so offering the same login user experience weather users are in or outside or the organisation means they don’t need to remember logging in with the following format domain\username and domain password they can simple use there corporate email addr and domain password.

There is a great Citrix blog article that covers covers configuration of e-mail based discovery in and outside of your organisation leveraging a NetScaler Gateway check out – http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/04/01/configuring-email-based-account-discovery-for-citrix-receiver/.

The process below is for configuration of SRV records within a trusted corporate environment. If you would like to know more about what else you can configure in terms of SRV records check out – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SRV_record, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc961719.aspx (A Windows 2000 article but will get you thinking if your new to SRV records) and howto add other resources records into your organisations DNS – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc772362.aspx.

1: Launch your Microsoft DNS management console
2: Right click on your organisations Forward Lookup Zone that contains the StoreFront FQDN
3: Click “Other New Records”
4: Scroll down and select “Service Locaiton (SRV)” and click “Create Record”
5: Your organisations domain should already be pre-populated e.g citrix.lab or axendatacentre.com
6: Type in “_citrixreceiver” in the Service feild
7: Type in “_tcp” in the Protocol field
8: Type in “443” in the Port number field or 80 if you don’t use 443 internally
9: Type in “storefront.domain” in the Hosting offering this service e.g storefront.axendatacentre.com or storefront.axendc.local
10: Save/Commit the changes and close the current active window in DNS
11: Navigate to physical or virtual machine install and launch Citrix Receiver when prompted enter in your email addr and password when prompted.

Open up a Windows Command prompt and execute these two commands below and for more information in validating your SRV records check out – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816587.

1: Type in “ipconfig /flushdns”
2: Type in “nslookup”
3: Type in “set type=srv”
4: Type in “_citrixreceiver._tcp.domain” e.g _citrixreceiver._tcp.axendatacentre.com

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 & Windows 8 Support

More coming soon!
In the mean time check out https://www.citrix.com/products/xendesktop/overview.html and Design Guide: Mobilising Windows Apps (Requires Form Input From Citrix)