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Whats new with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6

By 14 oktober 2014 No Comments

Whats new with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6

Citrix released there newest build 7.6 on September 30th. I my opinion is a really nice release of there of there Flexcast Management Architecture.

This update introduces a few features that where removed during the transition of IMA (Independent Management Architecture) to FMA (Flexcast Management Architecture) as we have seen with the introduction of XenDesktop 7.1 and 7.5

All of the new features can be found in the following link.

http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-whats-new.html

Furthermore, other products are also upgraded.

 

  • Citrix AppDNA 7.6
  • Citrix StoreFront 2.6
  • Citrix License Server 11.12.1
  • Citrix Provisioning Server 7.6
  • Citrix Connector 7.5 for System Center Configuration Manager 2012
  • Citrix Receiver 13.1 for Linux
  • Citrix Receiver 1.4 for Chrome
  • Citrix Receiver 1.4 for HTML5
  • Citrix HDX Real-Time Optimization Pack 1.5 for MS lync 2010 and 2013

 

I would like to pick out some of these new features and go in to some detail.

Connection Leasing

 In older versions of XenApp, there was a thing called Local Host Cache, users where able to enumerate and connect to applications even when there was no database available or no connectivity. With the release of FMA architecture a database outage meant that users lost this ability. Citrix resolved this problem with the introduction of 7.6 release.

How this works

Normal Operations

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  1. User authenticates to StoreFront
  2. StoreFront forwards credentials
  3. Controller authenticates users and enumerates resources via the DB
  4. Receiver receives response and starts session
  5. Controller logs resource access in local XML file (Default Lease period: 14 Days)

 

During Database Outage

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  1. User authenticates to StoreFront
  2. StoreFront forwards credentials
  3. Controller authenticates user and fails to enumerate resources as DB is offline
  4. Controller accesses local XML file and enumerates resources
  5. Citrix Receiver receives response and starts sessions

 

There are some considerations regarding Connection Leasing:

  • Requirements: Controller and VDA 7.6
  • This is enabled by default and disabled via PoSH
  • When in leased connection state, Workspace Control, Director console will not be available
  • When in leased connection state, session roaming wil not be available

 

Some PowerShell Commands that can be used.

 

PowerShell Command What does it do
Set-BrokerSite -ConnectionLeasingEnabled $true|$false Turns leasing on or off
Get-BrokerServiceAddedCapability Outputs “ConnectionLeasing” for local Controller
Get-BrokerLease Retrieves either all or a filtered set of current leases
Remove-BrokerLease Marks either one or a filtered set of leases for deletion
Update-BrokerLeaseCache Updates connection leasing cache on local Controller

 

 

Instant App Access

 Instant app access is the new and improved version of Pre-Launch and Session Linger.

Lets take a closer look to understand the value of this. We need to understand how the login processed. If we take a look at the logon process we can break this down in some segments.

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Some of these can take a long time to process. For instance if a user has a large user profile or maybe a large amount of printers or drives. What if there is a long login script enforced. All of the above are part of the login process and directly impacts how long it takes to start an application. In some scenarios in the users perspective this takes to long.

This can be resolved with pre-login users.

How it works:

  1. When a user logs in, Citrix Receiver starts a XenApp session with an “dummy” application.
  2. This session remains until times has expired or the load is to high
  3. When a user starts an app this will immediately start in the same session

The benefits of this solution are that this eliminates the logon time for approximant 90%. No more users complaining about logon duration. Users experiences instantaneously application launches

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Application Linger

An other substantial part of the solution in other to create faster user logons, is when a user closes their last running application in the session. Often you will see that a users closes the application and starts a new one. Normally this will invoke a brand new session and a new logon.

How it works:

  1. When a user closes the last app in a session, the session remains active
  2. Session remains until time expires or load is to high

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Unauthenticated Users (Anonymous)

When creating or editing Delivery Groups containing Server OS machines, you can now allow users to access applications and desktops without presenting credentials to StoreFront or Citrix Receiver. For example, when users access applications through kiosks, the application may require credentials, but the Citrix access portal and tools do not. This could be popular among health care or public schools, library.

How it works:

  1. Creating a StoreFront store for unauthenticated users
  2. Publishing unauthenticated apps and deskops in XenApp

Administrators can use Citrix Director to troubleshoot these anonymous sessions via machine name.

Anonymous accounts are created as needed. So no more necessity to pre –create accounts.

 

Director Improvements

Director is build into every edition of XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6, and simplifies monitoring and application support.

  • App Usage Reporting. Now you can gains insights into published applications usage through access to detailed reports that tracks application access by user. For instance, time spent, most frequently used apps, etc… (Only available in Platinum)
  • Real-time License Alerts, provides license usage alerts, so admins should be proactively notified before an issue occurs
  • HotFix inventory, provides a list of all applied hot fixes 
  • Monitoring of anonymous users. 
  • Machine Details, with a single click on a machine name information is displayed

 

Remote PC Access Improvements

  • Icon Memory Location.

This enhancement ans usability request so that a when a user has a lot of icons on their desktop, those icons are not “squished” when logging back in to the locally. After logging in from an device with a smaller resolution.

  • Remote Session Control.

This is a major enhancement, so that a remote user can control who disconnects their remote session, when someone local tries to logon with CTRL + ALT + DEL.

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Upgrade and Migration to XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6

 

From Path to XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6
XenApp/XenDesktop 7.5 In place upgrade
XenApp/XenDesktop 7.0 & 7.1 In place upgrade
XenApp/XenDesktop 5.x In place upgrade
Xen Desktop 4 Xen Desktop Migration Tool
Xen App 6.5 XenApp migration script