Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 Whats New
The new release of XenApp and XenDesktop is focused on three major categories:
- Innovation (New feautures )
- Better Together (Integrate offerings from Microsoft)
- Adoption (Ensuring the FMA Platform meets the need for current IMA customers to help to get them to FMA.
Microsoft Server 2016 Support
With this version Windows 2016 is now fully supported. Not only the ability to install for instance a Delivery Controller but also utilize the operating system to host applications and server based desktops
Azure Resource Manager Support for provisioning VDA’s
This new feature is able to support Microsoft next generation of Azure provisioning capabilities. The feature previously released in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.7 is to support Azure Classis. This Azure Classic has some limitations. For instance, 40 VM’s and not able to create VM’s based on a template.
- Thinwire Cache Bypass,
Thinwire can now bypass caching of server-rendered video content
5 % reduction in bandwidth
Enabled by default
Requires Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.5
- Selective Use of H.264 in Thinwire
This feature combines the use of a video codec with HDX Thinwire so that areas on the users screen with active content will use the video codec and still image compression and bitmap caching to be used for text-based data.
- 264 Encoding on GPU
VDA’s configured for HDX 3D Pro with the latest Citrix Receivers can use hardware encoding of a video codec where available. In this release this is available NVIDIA GPU’s that support NVENC (NVIDIA Video Codec) hardware encoding. This will lower CPU usage and will deliver higher server scalability in Xen Desktop environments using GPU’s for 3D graphics rendering
- GPU for Win10
In previous versions of the VDA the WDDM driver was not included so when Windows 10 was released. This release adds GPU acceleration for all DirectX 9, 10 and 11 apps. For windows 10 operating systems. This feature is not enabled by default. There are 2 batch files available in the ICAService folder. Enable and Disable.
App-V Isolation Groups
App-V Isolation Groups provide an easier method to maintain the App-V packages by separating the application out into their own entities. But then bring them together. This idea is very useful with applications which are dependent of each other. The following components are used to create an Isolation Group
- Citrix Studio
- Delivery Controller
Zone Preference Enhancements
Zone Preferences where created in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.7 so admins could separate resources out for instance for organizational purposes. Unfortunately there was no option to manage manage the brokering connections. In XenApp/XenDesktop 7.11, admins will now be able to define the preferred zone for applications and users. Remember IMA, so this will close the gap a little bit further.
The Broker Service on the Delivery Controller takes care of the zone selection process. The users location can be identified during the launch of an application or desktop. Assuming they have latest release of StoreFront and Netscaler. When a request is made threw Storefront. There are 3 new possibilities;
- Application Home Zone
- User Home Zone
- User Location Zone
The broker will pick one of these zones and when the session is launched, reconnection is made to that zone. Off course if now resource is available the broker will fall-back to another zone.
User Profile Management
With this new version a new GPO-ADM template is included. The new GPO template contains the recommended Profile Management exclusions. Which are enabled by default.
In this new version the NTUSER.DAT is always backupped. Policy is enabled by default.
Citrix Director comes with Resource Utilization Reporting which will provide insight in historical trends for CPU and memory usage for each VDI. This will enable admins to size the environment accordingly.
Another enhancement in this release of Director is that it provides new alerting rules for ICA RTT and Logon Duration thresholds.
New technology has been added to Citrix Director to successfully export large reports…
Call Home Enhancements
Data collection with Call Home and Citrix Scout are slowly being integrated together. This will allow the support team to quickly upload traces from a single location. In addition, new parameters have been added to XA/XD components. So if you have a large environment, Citrix Insight Services will be able to group the machines into the same Site. Also it is now possible to collect HDX and Microsoft log’s with a single command.
With the release of XenApp/XenDesktop there is also a new version of Citrix License Server, version 11.14.
For security reasons this versions of the License server enforce the use of TLS 1.1 and 1.2. This means that older versions of XenApp / XenDesktop are not compatible. To make sure it is compatible there should be a so called “Licensing Admin Powershell SnapIn”. Furthermore, also older version of Director is not compatible with this new License Server, and therefore needs to be upgraded to the latest version 7.11
- The License Server can now run a check for the existence of availability SA renewal license and notify the Administrator an gives and option to download the new file. These notifications will be available in Studio and Director. Be aware that this feature can be configured during the install of standalone License Server. But will be disabled by default if installed as a part during installation of XenApp/XenDesktop.
- In older versions of the License Server, historical data was stored in c:/program files (x86)/Citrix/Licensing/LS/Resource/History…. There should be *.bin files. With the new version this has changed in using a serverless SQLite data files with the *.dat extension. In the same location.
- License Management Service, which is a service that enables Administrators to enhance their environment with tiering their licenses, and also in Disaster Recovery situations.
REFERENCE MATERIALS USED: CITRIX.COM, SUPPORT.CITRIX.COM AND THE E-DOCS WEBSITE.