On-prem and on-cloud

What’s new in XenApp and XenDesktop LTSR 7.15

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XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR is essentially a field-proven, hardened version of XenApp and XenDesktop 2017 releases, with a variety of fixes and updates based on internal testing and customer feedback. It also includes broad OS platform support from Server 2008R2 to 2016 and Windows 7 to 10. Unlike the first LTSR, which was retroactively declared, this LTSR and future LTSRs will use a dedicated version number and LTSR designation. This makes it easier to identify LTSR sites over time. However, this LTSR should be adopted by all customers including those of you who are on the Current Release path given that this 7.15 LTSR contains fixes and updates for the 7.14 CR as well.

As mentioned above, the three main focus areas for XenApp and XenDesktop are security, flexibility, and user experience. Let us now delve into the plot further by covering the key points for each below which have culminated from the past few 7.x releases into this 7.15 LTSR.

More details can be found at Citrix blog post: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/08/15/xenapp-xendesktop-7-15-ltsr-the-blockbuster-release-of-the-summer/ 

Also a great collection of articles can be found in the following Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR FAQ: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/09/07/xenapp-and-xendesktop-q3-2017-faq-from-the-whats-new-webinar/

and https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX205549

What’s Changed with this LTSR?

There are a few additional, notable updates that Citrix provides on its blog:

  • For the first time ever, Citrix Cloud will support LTSR benefits by combining the XenApp and XenDesktop Service with on-premises 7.15 LTSR VDAs.
  • The product lifecycle for all XenApp and XenDesktop Current Releases and LTSRs have been updated. Please review the latest information on the Citrix Product Lifecycle Support Policy and related pages.
  • With the retirement of Subscription Advantage, LTSR benefits are an entitlement of Customer Success Services only.

 

Citrix Receiver

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A tedious but important task for any Citrix admin is to keep track of their customer’s Citrix Receiver client versions. You can grab the latest CR version from https://receiver.citrix.com and http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver.html for all supported devices. The latest LTSR version can be found at https://www.citrix.com/downloads/citrix-receiver/windows-ltsr/ .

You can make use of Citrix Receiver Group Policy scripts for automatic mass deployment/upgrades in an Active Directory domain.

Always test before deploying in production, The known issues and fixed issues for each version of Citrix Receiver must always be checked thoroughly in the release notes section of Citrix Docs.

An exciting new feature is the auto-update feature in version 4.9. New Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.9 (LTSR) includes the Citrix Receiver updates capability, which enables updating it directly from Citrix, instead of manually downloading and installing it.

You can update to the new Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.9 (LTSR) automatically if you have installed Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.8 on your device, which has the capability to check for updates. In addition to the Citrix Receiver, you can get automatic updates to Real Time Media Engine for Skype for business (RTME) on your device, so now you can always be on the latest and greatest version of Citrix Receiver and RTME!

Citrix Connection Quality Indicator

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In complex environments, where distributed applications are deployed across the network utilizing numerous physical servers and workstations, connectivity can be reduced in general and/or per session basis. Citrix Connection Quality Indicator is a tool which provides feedback to the user when the network has been reduced to the point that the user’s experience is degraded. Displaying this information to the end user will improve overall user experience and reduce the number of calls to our customers’ help desks for network related user experience issues.

Sometimes end users complain that their Citrix applications or desktops are “slow today.” Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop are usually the first suspects when the user experience is not on par with expectations. This results in a higher than usual number of calls for the IT team, who then have to investigate Citrix environments, as well as their network, hardware, and so on. In most cases, the problem is caused by something other than Citrix.

Citrix Workspace Services – Supportability Team has introduced the end user-facing Citrix Connection Quality Indicator that gives users a better understanding of what is happening with their connection to a Citrix environment. As a result, they are able to adjust their expectations based on the notifications provided by the tool. Even when a device shows a strong network connection (e.g. all 5 bars on WiFi), that may not be a true representation of what is happening between the user’s device and the Citrix environment. The Connection Quality Indicator shows the correct indication of the connection strength to Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop.

The Connection Quality Indicator is an independent package that can be downloaded from Citrix Knowledge Base article CTX220774.
It needs to be installed on the Windows machine where the VDA is installed. The indicator shows notifications to the user when there is a change in the connection quality, for applications and desktops delivered by XenApp and XenDesktop.

CQI-high

CQI-Weak

cqi-poor

Source: Citrix Blogs and Citrix Support pages

XenDesktop 7.13 is out

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This release marks a major milestone with significant enhancements to HDX. With new Adaptive Transport Technology, users benefit from faster, more responsive sessions across all functions by up to 10x — even over challenging network conditions. Furthermore, overall bandwidth consumption is reduced by up to 60% using the default graphics settings. Performance and scalability is improved when running on Intel graphics platforms and expanded USB tablet integration opens up new possibilities. Admins benefit with simplified setup of NetScaler Gateway, quick identification of inactive sessions and expanded Linux support. Also PVS now supports Linux desktop streaming.

More details can be found at:

XenApp and XenDesktop Director 7.12 features

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As 2016 draws towards a close and people start planning for the holiday season, Citrix announced availability of Director 7.12 – a feature-packed release that will make a XenApp/XenDesktop administrator’s job simpler and less time-consuming. The list of new features and enhancements with this release includes the ability to mine the monitoring database with custom reporting, context-specific troubleshooting tips, a surprise gift for customers with Enterprises licenses, alerts via SNMP and more. Read on for details.

Director 7.12: A Citrix Holiday Gift to XenApp & XenDesktop Administrators

 

Citrix XenApp server reboot framework

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As the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop FMA architecture does not include sophisticated reboot functionality by design, the use of a reboot script comes in very handy. There are two versions of the Citrix reboot framework, which introduce a great level of granularity when it comes to scheduling the reboot of Citrix session machines (workers).

The first version of the Citrix reboot framework can be found at: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/16/xenapp-and-xendesktop-7-x-server-os-vda-staggered-reboot/

The first version of the Citrix reboot framework can be found at: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/20/xenapp-and-xendesktop-7-x-server-os-vda-staggered-reboot-framework-v2/

Despite slightly different configuration parameters, the main difference between the first and the second version of the framework is the support of all provisioning methods offered by XenApp and XenDesktop. While the first version has no support for Machine Creation Services (MCS), the second version now has support for all provisioning methods including MCS.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12 is here!

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XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12 ensures site accessibility with newly improved Local Host Cache technology, improved Azure integration, granular control for app and desktop publishing and intelligent server maintenance. Platinum Edition now contains enhanced monitoring with custom reporting and alert integration. It is the best platform to-date for app and desktop delivery – whether starting new, upgrading from a previous 7.x version or especially if migrating from XenApp 6.5.

A detailed matrix of the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12 features can be found at:

https://www.citrix.com/content/citrix/en_us/go/products/xendesktop/feature-matrix.html

A handy presentation of what’s new in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12 can be found at:

https://citrixpartner.gosavo.com/Document/Index/37757868?id=37757868&view=

 

XenAPp 7.x reboot schedules

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Citrix server reboot schedules will be required in most cases in a XenApp environment, in order to cleanup files residing in RAM and prevent issues arising from the session machines being up and running for a long period of time. Citrix UPM files and other files are writen periodically which can cause a clutter if they remain on the server for a long time. It is high recommended to evaluate your company’s session machine reboot schedule to address various issues. After you agree on a reboot schedule with your customers, you can go ahead and either utilize the XenApp inherent functionality or make use of scripts provided by Citrix, which enable enhanced server reboot schedule functionality.

Main references for designing and implementing your reboot schedule can be the following:

  1. http://www.basvankaam.com/2014/08/19/rebooting-your-xendesktop-7-x-application-servers-whats-up-with-the-build-in-restart-schedule/ (main article)
  2. Script 1
  3. Script 2

XenApp/XenDesktop Long Term Service Release (LTSR)

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As a benefit of Software Maintenance, Long Term Service Releases (LTSR) of XenApp and XenDesktop enable enterprises to retain a particular release for an extended period of time while receiving minor updates that provide fixes, typically void of new functionality. This provides customers with greater predictability and simplified on-going maintenance. Citrix has announced the first-ever Long Term Service Release of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 available for download on Citrix.com. The following diagram shows the evolution of XenApp/XenDesktop releases over the course of the past 3 years.

Timeline

Instead of using the LTSR release, service provider wishing to apply all the latest features and technologies can make use of the Current Release (CR). More details on the LTSR vs. the CR releases can be found in the following links:

 

Netscaler Live events

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NetScaler Live is Citrix’s partner deep dive event delivering world class training, updates on the latest trends and developments in the application delivery market provided by our Systems Engineers, Ecosystem partners and customers by way of live demonstrations and shared content.

More details and registration form for the events can be found at: http://www.netscalerlive.com/

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