Geo Maps for HDX Insight (NS Insight Center 11) – Overview and Configuration

NS Insight Center 11 was released earlier this month, and with this release Geo Maps is now available for HDX Insight. It was earlier available for Web Insight only. For those of you not familiar with HDX Insight, it is a tool from Citrix that provides end to end visibility from an end user experience perspective for ICA connections that are proxied through the Netscaler. So for instance, if a user reported a slow Citrix session, HDX Insight would help you determine if it is a client side issue (workstation/ISP etc), server issue, application issue, network issue etc. It also provides breakdown on how the bandwidth consumption within the ICA channel (printing/usb/screescrapes). More information on HDX Insight can be found here.

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With the 11.x release of NS Insight center, a new feature called Geo Maps has been added to HDX Insight. Geo maps as the name suggests provides a pictoral representation of all the locations from where users are connecting from. By click on any location, you get a summary of the end user experience metrics for that region. This helps you identify performance issues isolated to a specific region quite easily. In addition you can also quickly determine if users are connecting from regions that you dont expect and thereby potentially mitigate a security threat. Geo Maps is an extremely neat addition to HDX Insight and a feature that will greatly benefit customers, specially customers with employees spread across the globe!

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Installation and Configuration

My focus in this blog is the configuration of Geo Maps. For basic instructions on how to install Netscaler Insight Center, please refer to this edoc

With regards to Geo Maps. Below are the steps that you need to follow:

Download maxmind “GeoLite City” data base (http://dev.maxmind.com/geoip/legacy/geolite/)

2015-07-28_15-50-14Upload database to NS Insight Center (dat file) under Configuration –>Netscaler Insight Center –> Geo Database Files

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Also, you need to check “Enable Geo data collection for Web and HDX Insight”  for the Device added in the inventory.

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Once you’ve followed the steps above, reboot Insight Center and you should be all set. I am yet to test whether Geo Maps shows up under Director as well. Will update the post once I have more information on that. Hope this helps!

 

Chromebook + Citrix Receiver For The Win!

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The IT landscape has changed a lot the past 5 years. Security is the top concern of most enterprises that I deal with, some being constantly attacked/hacked on a daily basis. IP theft is a major concern with executives and top engineers travelling around the world with highly sensitive data. Up until recently, the options were pretty limited. Typically IT departments provide travelling users encrypted laptops that are fairly locked down, and users leverage VPN to access enterprise applications.The data  still resides on these laptops. In a scenario that the laptop is compromised, not only could there be IP theft, but with the VPN access, a malicious user could connect back to the corporate network and cause havoc. There have been a number of incidents in foreign countries where laptops have been stolen and data breached.

A Chromebook running Citrix Receiver is a great option to solve this problem.

Chromebooks are secure by design

First off, Chromebooks are inherently secure due to the following reasons:

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Sandboxing

Since each application on a chromebook runs in a restricted sandboxed environment, if that application is compromised for whatever reason, it cannot affect other applications that are running or the base OS in any way. The threat is effectively contained.

Verified Boot

When a chromebook boots, it does a check to make sure the system has not been tampered and that there is no corruption of any sort. If it detects either of the two, it will try to self heal and if that fails, the system wont boot.

Data Encryption

While you don’t typically store data on Chromebooks. they still have built in TPM chips which ensure that any data that is cached on the device (browser cookies, temp files etc) are fully encrypted and protected

Device Management

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Another benefit of using Chromebooks is that they can be fully managed via the Chrome Management platform. Every OS feature and every Chrome browser function can completely controlled and locked down.

Citrix Receiver for Chrome

I purchased my first chromebook about 18 months ago and remember feeling so underwhelmed back then with the device. I didn’t like the fact that offline capabilities were very limited. The display options were not that great compared to a regular ultra-book. When it came to accessing enterprise applications using Citrix Receiver, again there were some limitations in terms of capabilities as compared to Windows/Mac/Linux.

Chromebooks have certainly come a long way since then, In addition to having addressed display and other hardware limitations and being extremely secure as discussed above, they are also enterprise ready by enabling end users to be productive, thanks to Citrix Receiver for Chrome.

Citrix Receiver allows users to securely access all their enterprise applications running in the datacenter. In addition, users can be subjected to various posture assessments prior to providing them access to the resources thanks to the Netscaler, which acts as a secure reverse proxy for all Citrix traffic. Depending on the results of the posture assessment, granular controls can be applied, for instance an authenticated user connecting from a trusted device (appropriate av definitions/service packs etc) and a trusted network can be allowed to print and map drives while a user who fails the assessment can be provided a read only environment with no ability to print/clipboard/map drives.

While we’ve had HTML5 Receiver for Chrome for a while now, the latest version (1.7) is extremely feature rich including USB redirection, file upload and download, access to google drive, bi directional audio, h264 video rendering, clipboarding, printing. These features provide users the same experience that they are used to on a desktop/laptop while providing a much more secure and mobile platform.

All in all, I strongly believe Chromebooks running Citrix Receiver is the perfect solution for enterprises trying to find the most secure and mobile solution for their travelling users. If you havent yet tested a Chromebook, I highly recommend you do! The Toshiba CB35 is a great choice!

 

 

Synergy 2015 – A condensed recap of everything you need to know!

For those of you who were not able to attend Citrix Synergy this year & dont have the time to sit through the key note recordings, I decided to put together a condensed version of some of the key announcements. So here goes!

Citrix Workspace Cloud

  • Citrix hosted control plane that enables customers to deliver a comprehensive mobile workspace to end users.
  • Gives customers the flexibility to host workloads on premises, in public or private clouds.
  • Control plane also provides end to end monitoring of user connections.
  • Evergreen infrastructure since Citrix maintains all core infrastructure components.
  • Workspace Cloud Connector installed on premises on a Win 2k12 server that establishes SSL communication between control plane and customer environment. Used to talk to infrastructure components like Active Directory and hypervisors hosting workload
  • General Availability in Q3

I wrote a blog on CWC and the value proposition a month back that you can find here.

SYN 217 –  Workspace Cloud – Technical Overview [Video]

 

Citrix Lifecycle Management

  • Comprehensive cloud based service that can be used to design, deploy and manage both Citrix and other enterprise applications.
  • Based on the ScaleXtreme technology.
  • Lifecycle Management enables customers/partners to deploy infrastructure not only on premises but also public/private clouds (resource locations)
  • Customers/Partners have the ability to create blueprints to automate infrastructure deployments end to end. Examples of blueprints include a XD deployment for instance where you could not only install all the XD infrastructure but also automate the installation of all supporting infrastructure like Active Directory, SQL etc.
  • Vendors have the ability to create blueprints as well that can then be consumed by customers and partners alike.
  • Customers/Partners also have the ability to incorporate scripts (new/existing) into the deployment.
  • Once a blueprint is developed, its added to a library. Any resource within the library can then be deployed to a resource location (on premises, public/private cloud)
  • Another key benefit of the Lifecycle Management technology is the ability to automate application upgrades.
  • General Availability in Q3

X1 Mouse

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  • Citrix announced the X1 mouse at Synergy which allows users to pair a mouse with Citrix receiver on an iOS device, works with any XA/XD app/desktop.
  • iPad paired with an X1 mouse and a bluetooth keyboard offers users a complete mobile workspace.
  • X1 mouse available now

XenApp/XenDesktop

  • Xenapp 6.5 maintenance extended till end of 2017, EOL extended till 06/2018. Details here
  • New Feature Pack for XA 6.5 (enhance storage performance, Lync support enhancements, UPM enhancements, Director “Help Desk” troubleshooting”, Storefront 3.0, Receiver.next)
  • XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 FP2  (End of Q2)
    • New Receiver X1
    • Lync 2013 on Mac
    • Touch ID Support
    • HDX with Framehawk
    • Native Receiver for Linux
    • Linux Apps and Desktops (Redhat and SUSE support)
    • Desktop Player for Mac 2.0 (June)
    • Desktop Player for Windows (Tech Preview)

SYN 233 – Whats new in XenApp and XenDesktop [Video]

SYN 319 – Tech Update for XenApp and XenDesktop  [Video]

Receiver X1

  • Single Enteprise App Store from Windows, Mobile, Web and SaaS apps
  • UX lives on a server, you decide when, and if, it changes. Citrix will still release new versions of the client (bug fixes etc), but customer is always in charge of the UI across clients on ALL platforms with a consistent look and feel.
  • Customer logos and color schemes – but also deeper changes like
  • Click-through dialogs or messages of the day; integration with back end approval systems or links to your service status dashboards.
  • Ensure that certain applications are hidden, highlighted or float to the top of search results. All of these things are possible, and many remarkably straightforward. Changes will apply to receiver on all platforms.
  • App Categories: Grouping of applications based on business units with custom skin and showcased on home screen. Applications grouped based on keywords within Studio.

Citrix Receiver and Storefront Demo from Keynote [Video]

SYN 321 – Whats new in Receiver [Video]

HDX

  • Realtime collaboration with HTML 5 and Chromebook – WebRTC technology, H264 encoding (H2, 2015)
  • New graphics stack for HDX, new algorithm,  20% more users/server, 30% lower bandwidth (based on tests conducted with LoginVSI medium workload)

Keynote Demo – HDX [Video]

SYN 230 – HDX Update: Whats New [Video]

SYN 324 – HDX: Refresh you basic and advanced knowledge [Video]

AppDisks

  • Layered disk with apps for both XA/XD
  • AppDNA is integrated for compatibility checks with different delivery groups (Server and Desktop OS)
  • Integrated into Studio for easy management
  • Limited Tech Preview in Q2, Beta in Q3.

XenServer 6.5 SP1

  • Pricing
    • USD 625 Std/socket
    • USD 1250 Enterprise/socket
  • Double density – 1000 VM/host
  • CoreOS and Win 10
  • Docker containers support
  • Best in class graphics
  • GPU config via UI
  • GPU pass through for Linux VMs
  • In-memory read cache usage visibility within XenCenter
  • Supplement pack installs from Xencenter

SYN 219 –  Whats new in XenServer 6.5 [Video]

Netscaler/Cloudbridge

  • Cloudbridge Virtual WAN  – increase bandwidth, reduce costs, allows you to aggregate an internet broadband link and MPLS link to create a low cost active active WAN network. Failover from one link to another possible in <1msec
  • Internet Broadband 5% or less cost compared to MPLS
  • Netscaler Control Center – OpenStack, CloudPlatform, Vmware, ACI, OpenAPI
  • Netscaler Unified Gateway (Feature of Netscaler 11)
    • Single URL for all forms of access
    • Each logon point can be fully customized
    • SmartControl – SmartAccess controls on NS as opposed to various farms
    • Consolidate Gateway SSL VPN infrastructure
      • Web Apps
      • SaaS
      • VPN
      • VDI
      • Client/Server
      • SmartPhones
  • Netscaler 11 to be released end of Q2

SYN 212 – Software Defined Networking delivered by Citrix and Cisco [Video]

SYN 309 – Whats new with Netscaler Gateway in 11.0 [Video]

SYN 210 – Scale WAN bandwidth while increasing reliability with Cloudbridge Virtual WAN solution

XenMobile

  • MDX App Updates
    • Containerized SalesForce App
    • WorxTasks – Outlook task synchronization
    • WorxChat – Containerized Lync client, first release will have instant messaging and presence. Future releases will incorporate audio/video capabilities.
    • Slidestream – Mobile presentations from iphone with controls from iwatch
  • Dynamic Containerization – Containerize any application available in the App Store dynamically. No need to obtain ipa/apk and wrap via MDX wrapping tool.

Video demonstrating Dynamic Containerization

SYN 304 – Managing Corporate and Employee Devices with XenMobile [Video]

Sharefile

  • Restricted Storage Zones – Customer keeps encryption keys, metadata and file encryption
  • Sharefile Platinum Edition(June)  – Includes RightSignature, Unlimited Data Storage
  • Office 365 Integration – Open Sharefile documents right within Office apps and save to Sharefile.
  • iWatch integration – Dictate speaker notes and present
  • DLP Integration – Symantec DLP

SYN 201 – Data Loss Prevention and Enterprise File Sync and Sharing [Video]

Mark T announcing Sharefile Platinum Edition

 GoToMeeting

  • Free Edition for upto 3 users
  • Instant Join via HTML 5
  • Active Directory Integration & Single Sign On

Citrix Melio

  • Clustered File system, Non-blocking storage, allows concurrent read/write access from two or more servers to one or more storage pools at block level
  • Active/Active Storage Access
  • Block level mirroring between nodes as opposed to asynchronous replication
  • Continuous availability of data without replication
  • Core technology behind Workspace POD
  • Storage agnostic – any disk
  • Workload aware QoS
  • Geo clustering in a Multi Nodal architecture
  • Product Editions (Available now)
    • VDI edition
    • Enterprise Edition – Geo distributed and HA for Citrix PVS

Citrix Concierge

  • Real time communication with a person right within an app (video/audio/chat)
  • CoPilot
    • Enable Agents and Customer to interact in 4 diff ways
      • Share real time contents of your mobile screen with agents
      • Provide agent dynamic info of device (network info, battery level, OS info etc)
      • Share camera
  • Tech Preview Available today (iOS and Android).
  • Concierge integrated into upcoming GTM version (GTM with mobile screen sharing) which allows screen sharing from iOS device.

Citrix Concierge Desktop and Concierge Pilot [Video]

Citrix GoToMeeting with Mobile Screensharing [Video]

Workspace Automation

  • Cloud hosted
  • “Leveraging the power of IoT for a better workspace experience”
  • IoT enables IoE (Integration of Everything)
  • Project Octoblu can run on very small devices, completely self contained. Can also run behind a firewall or in the cloud.
  • Can talk to physical devices, sensors, apps, business processes etc.
  • “Flow designer” – Graphical – shows in step by step how a flow should work.

SYN 222: Meet Octoblu: A new IoT Platform from Citrix

Workspace Hub

  • Single Stick with VGA and HDMI connectors, dual WiFi and low energy Bluetooth chips
  • Workspace hub takes video feed from mobile device and output that to connected screen. It also connects workspace to local printers and other attached devices. When the mobile device leaves premises, the workspace is transferred back to the device away from the workspace hub.
  • When user with mobile device walks into a room with a Workspace hub, the hug advertises itself and mobile device can connect to hub.

Citrix Workspace Hub [Video]

Citrix Workspace Office [Video]

Citrix Workspace Pod

There was not a whole lot of new announcements around Workspace Pod other than what was announced at Summit. However the hardware vendors that are part of this ecosystem has expanded. For those of you who are not familiar with this offering from Citrix, Dane Young wrote an excellent blog on Workspace Pod that is a must read! The video below provides a great overview of the technology as well.

SYN 322 – Technology, Architecture and Solutions Design [Video]

Citrix Newsletter – April ’15

General Announcements

Citrix Offers Customers the Key to Securing Their Confidential Information

Citrix announced it is simplifying the way sensitive documents are shared. Citrix ShareFile customers can now send encrypted emails from Microsoft Outlook to secure the content of messages in compliance with industry regulations such as HIPAA. Since the capability works from within the inbox, emails can be securely exchanged with clients and vendors without disrupting current processes. The capability, tailored for small and medium-sized organizations today, joins data protection innovations like ShareFile Restricted StorageZones for enterprises in a portfolio of Citrix solutions designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes – from small to large.

Citrix Powers “Always-On” Branch Workspaces

Citrix announced the CloudBridge Virtual WAN Edition, which reduces the cost of delivering applications, documents and IT services to branch offices by up to 80 percent, while ensuring nearly 100 percent application availability. The new CloudBridge Virtual WAN solution provides businesses with the flexibility to employ multiple cost-effective WAN technologies, offering the ability to scale WAN bandwidth at dramatically lower cost than traditional approaches. The solution also ensures the best possible user experience by securely sending mission-critical, delay-sensitive data over the highest performing path. The new CloudBridge Virtual WAN solution extends the CloudBridge platform and its integration with the company’s HDX and application acceleration technologies, to offer the most cost effective and highest performance solutions for securely delivering mobile workspaces with the applications, documents and IT services people need to work better in remote and branch offices.

Citrix Sponsors OpenStack Foundation To Help Drive Cloud Interoperability Standards

Citrix announced that it has become a Corporate Sponsor of the OpenStack Foundation. By joining the foundation’s community of contributors, Citrix demonstrates its continued commitment towards driving interoperability among standards-based cloud platforms and meeting the increasing demand for choice and flexibility in private, public and hybrid cloud solutions. NetScaler™ and XenServer™ solutions from Citrix are used as core infrastructure for some of the largest cloud infrastructure providers in the world, and this announcement brings the power of these products to customers choosing to build their clouds on OpenStack.

Feature Pack 1 for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 is Now Available

Citrix continues to add more functionality to our feature-rich, industry-leading XenApp and XenDesktop product lines with the release of Feature Pack 1, which is now available for download on Citrix.com.

While efforts for Feature Pack 1 were publically announced at Citrix Summit, our annual channel partner conference in January, today XenApp and XenDesktop customers with active Subscription Advantage (SA) or Software Maintenance (SWM) as of March 25, 2015 will be eligible to enhance their existing app and desktop virtualization solution

Citrix Expands vGPU Hypervisor Support

A large user base of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop continues to be successfully deployed and officially supported on VMware’s popular vSphere hypervisor for non-graphics workloads. Citrix will offer the same level of quality support to customers who deploy XenApp or XenDesktop for NVIDIA GRID vGPU, starting from day one that VMware vSphere 6 is generally available (March 12, 2015) with the capability.

Announcing the DesktopPlayer for Windows and Mac Tech Previews!

After Citrix released DesktopPlayer for Mac last year, one of the major capabilities customers asked for was support for Windows devices, which would allow users to run DesktopPlayer on MacBooks and Windows laptops and PCs.

This customer feedback reinforced our vision for client virtualization and, as a result, we accelerated development of extending the functionality of DesktopPlayer for Mac to Windows devices. At Citrix Summit 2015, we announced and demonstrated a forthcoming preview of this solution with the DesktopPlayer for Windows Tech Preview. Today, we are excited to announce the availability of the DesktopPlayer for Windows Tech Preview!

This Tech Preview adds Windows platform support to DesktopPlayer by enabling users to access a local virtual desktop on their Windows laptop or PC, regardless of wireless network conditions – or even if no network connection is available. Moreover, the Tech Preview preserves existing user data, apps, and settings with an easy, non-disruptive install. Users can also switch between local (DesktopPlayer) and hosted (XenDesktop) virtual desktops with ongoing synchronization of data and profiles for a seamless experience on any device.

VCE Announces a new VDI Integration Service for Citrix that Accelerates Mobile Workspace Deployments

VCE announced a new VDI integration service for Citrix that accelerates mobile workspace deployments by combining app and desktop delivery from Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop with the power of NetScaler SDX. With this announcement, VCE and Citrix are drawing upon our industry leadership and strong partnership to offer our mutual customers a simple rapid path to app and virtual desktop delivery via private or hybrid cloud, with users enjoying an unmatched experience with the freedom to work from anywhere.

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

An Introduction To Session Recording (XA/XD 7.6 Feature Pack 1) – Installation, Configuration and User Experience 

On March 31st, Citrix released the much anticipated XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 1. Among the goodies included, one of the new additions in terms of functionality is Session Recording. For those of you who are new to what session recording is, I recommend this blog by Paul Murray. At a high level, session recording allows organizations to record on-screen activity within a published application or hosted shared desktop. While the benefits are fairly obvious, some of the most common use cases for auditing purposes, troubleshooting application issues, understanding workflow within an application and potentially improve processes and lastly compliance purposes. What I am covering in this blog is how to get your feet wet with the product by setting up a single server session recording environment and test functionality. I will not address HA, scalability and other design considerations in this article. Please review edocs for details on these.

Citrix Director Tool: Automated Daily and Weekly Custom Report Emails

This post, we details how you can send custom reports as email in addition to built-in reports available in the Director Trends page.

Citrix XenApp vs VMware Horizon – User Experience

Have you ever been running late for a meeting, but you first needed to modify a PowerPoint, print a document or transfer a file to a USB device? Every second that passes feels like an eternity. But even without the pressure of being late, a system that lets you complete your work faster is perceived as better and has a higher user acceptance.

NetScaler Troubleshooting with Citrix Insight Services

Citrix has developed tools and online analysis capabilities to help you collect environment information, analyze that information and receive tailored recommendations based on your Citrix environment and configuration.The tools are focused on a single mission–data collection–and their impact to your environment is minimal in terms of disk space, prerequisites and performance impact during the data collection process. Citrix Insight Services analyzes the data captured in the support bundle and provides you with Tailored Recommendations, specific to your environment. To leverage Citrix Insight Services, you’ll need to harvest a NetScaler tech support bundle.

Taking DaaS to the Next Level: A New Cisco-Validated Design for Citrix-Based DaaS

Deploying and scaling a business-ready Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) environment can become time-consuming and complex, particularly across multiple datacenters and clouds. Citrix and Cisco understand that management scale and simplicity is critical to the service provider business model, and have teamed to develop a new DaaS solution architecture as a Cisco Validated Design (CVD) titled “Desktop-as-a-Service for Service Provider 2000-Seat Virtual Desktop Infrastructure”. The complete CVD for Citrix Service Providers is available here. It gives service providers an excellent starting point for implementing a comprehensive DaaS solution. This blog summarizes the solution architecture, its components, and the testing performed to provision tenants and subscribers.

Now Available: The XenMobile 10 MDM Migration Tool!

Citrix released the migration tool to move from XenMobile version 9 to version 10. This is now available for download at MyCitrix.com. The Migration tool is embedded in the XenMobile 10 Server and the option can be selected during theFirst Time Use configuration.

Now LIVE! The Citrix XenApp Migration Web Service Beta

Designed to simplify the XenApp migration experience, Project Serenity is an easy-to-use web service you can use to help your existing XenApp 6 or 6.5 customers extract their current farm configurations (settings and policies) and select the specific configurations they would like to import into a new XenApp 7.6 site using their MyAccount credentials.

Spring Forward to Receiver for Windows 4.2.100

Citrix billed Receiver for Windows 4.2 as the best ever Receiver for Windows due all the great new features we were able to add.  Since the release of Receiver for Windows 4.2, we on the Citrix Receiver team have listened to your feedback and have worked on making further improvements, so that more of you can take advantage of its advanced features. Citrix is pleased to announce that Receiver for Windows 4.2.100 is now available with more than 45 fixes and enhancements to help you get the most out of your Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop experience.

XenMobile Timeouts: How Do They Work?

This blog focuses on WHY we would configure timeouts one way or another to get the balance between user experience and security that we are after.

Smart Card Configuration Guidance

A 237 page Smart Card configuration document, entitled “Configuring Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 and NetScaler Gateway 10.5 with PIV Smart Card Authentication” has been published and is now available as PDF on Citrix.com. The guide’s intent is to describe how to configure a smart card “test environment” from beginning to end. It covers smart card configuration with XenApp, XenDesktop and NetScaler Gateway.  The document includes an introduction to the problem set and marches its way through detailed configuration guidance including certificate management and numerous screen shots of configuration settings.

What’s in a Name? (The Art of Renaming a Site Database)

Ever wondered if it’s possible to rename your existing FMA Site Database without making a complete mess of your environment? No?? It turns out it’s a relatively simple matter, but one that requires a few more steps then you might initially think…

XenApp/XenDesktop Site Design (v2015)

In this blog, the author talks about FMA Site Design, which applies to both XenApp & XenDesktop 7.x, which use the FMA architecture. The author tries to shed some light on some interesting designs we’re doing in the field when there is more than one data center.

Guide for Microsoft Lync 2013 in VDI environment

With the release of the Feature Pack 1 for Citrix XenDesktop 7.6, we now support audio and video optimization for Microsoft Lync 2013 Client and Server deployments using the Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Lync. This level of Lync optimization is unique in the market. While the optimization pack is the best way to deliver Lync to end-users in most scenarios, XenApp and XenDesktop also provide additional options which should be considered as part of the project planning phase. This deployment guide discusses all options in detail, provides best practice recommendations and step-by-step installation instructions.

UDP Audio Through A NetScaler Gateway

Citrix Receiver can now use User Datagram Protocol (UDP) to support audio remoting of a XenDesktop session through a Netscaler Gateway. This blog details some of the configuration specifics.

Support Articles/Bug Fixes

Upcoming Events

Feb 19 – Jun 23 Seminar Series: Managing the Unmanageable: How to Secure the Enterprise

Join us at this live security-focused seminar series to learn about how to secure sensitive data on managed and under-managed devices, measures that enforce security across unmanaged apps and network, models that control access to sensitive data, specific to application usage and access, and how to develop and enforce policies to “manage the unmanageable.”

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Mar – May 7 In-person Master Class Seminar Series: Protect Your Mission Critical Web Apps With Citrix NetScaler

Join us for this in-person master class. We will demo and discuss best practices to secure your network and apps against threats.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Tuesdays, Thursdays) Weekly Deminars: Citrix Workspace Suite

Take a close look at the capabilities of Citrix Workspace Suite in these twice weekly technically-focused, demo-led webinars.
Register Now  |  Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Wednesdays) Weekly Deminars: NetScaler

Join us to understand how Citrix NetScaler can empower your organization with the most comprehensive set of application security, acceleration, load balancing, and monitoring tools.

Register Now Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Wednesdays) Weekly Deminars: Empowering Mobility with XenMobile and ShareFile

See how Citrix can empower your organizations to provide secure, remote access to company resources through mobile app and device management as well as data sharing.

Register Now Contact for More Info

On Demand Webinars

Solution Webinar: Move From Cisco ACE to a Software Defined World

Solution Webinar: Discover the Power of Application Centric Infrastructure

Master Class: How to Upgrade from XenApp 6.5 to XenApp 7.6

Solution Webinar: How to Effectively Replace BlackBerry Devices and Gain User Acceptance

Master Class: NetScaler VPX. Spotlight: Admin Partitions

Solution Webinar: Mobile Workspace Delivery – Any App, Any Device, Any Network, Any Cloud

Solution Webinar: Top Use Cases for App Virtualization

Solution Webinar: How to Build a Solid BYO Policy and Mitigate Security Risks

Solution Webinar: Don’t Settle for “Good Enough” Email for Mobile Employees

Solution Webinar: Managing the Unmanageable: The Network Security Perspective

Solution Webinar: One Company’s Journey to Mobilize Their Workforce with Enterprise Mobility Management

Master Class: NetScaler Deployment Modes and Server Load Balancing

 Master Class: What’s New in Citrix XenMobile 10.0

Solution Webinar: Enable SDN and Dev Ops with Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler

 Desktop Master Class: Deliver Microsoft Lync with XenApp and XenDesktop

 Solution Webinar: 5 Things VMware Doesn’t Want You to Know About Horizon View

 

An Introduction To Session Recording (XA/XD 7.6 Feature Pack 1) – Installation, Configuration and User Experience

Introduction

On March 31st, Citrix released the much anticipated XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 1. Among the goodies included, one of the new additions in terms of functionality is Session Recording. For those of you who are new to what session recording is, I recommend this blog by Paul Murray. At a high level, session recording allows organizations to record on-screen activity within a published application or hosted shared desktop. While the benefits are fairly obvious, some of the most common use cases for auditing purposes, troubleshooting application issues, understanding workflow within an application and potentially improve processes and lastly compliance purposes. What I am covering in this blog is how to get your feet wet with the product by setting up a single server session recording environment and test functionality. I will not address HA, scalability and other design considerations in this article. Please review edocs for details on these.

Components: The Nuts and Bolts

So what makes up the session recording infrastructure? There are essentially six components:

  • Session Recording Agent – This piece needs to be installed on every Server OS machine that is used to publish applications and hosted shared desktops. The session recording agent is the component responsible for capturing the on screen activity, recording it and transferring the content to the recording server.
  • Session Recording Server – There are two components that make up the session recording server namely the broker and the storage manager. The broker is responsible interacts with the session recording player and handles requests for files, search queries etc and also interacts with the session recording policy console to make sure the appropriate recording policies are enforced for every XA/XD session. The storage manager as the name suggests is responsible for managing the recorded session files received from the recording agents.
  • Session Recording Player – This is a windows player that allows authorized users to view recorded sessions. Users also have the ability to search for sessions via the recording server and play them back.
  • Session Recording Database – SQL database that stores the recorded data.
  • Session Recording Policy Console – The policy console allows an administrator to define policies governing the sessions that are recorded and the ones that are not and also whether the users are informed when the session is recorded. You can filter based on server, user groups etc.
  • Session Recording Authorization Console – The session recording authorization console allows administrators to enable Role Based Access Controls. For instance, you can specify who is allowed to view recordings, who can modify policies etc.

Installation: So how do we get this thing to work!

After having gone through the process of installing and configuring session recording, I have to admit that its not the typical next -> next -> next process. You have to pay attention to the instructions and make sure all the pre-requisites are in place. Else you will be going back and forth a number of times. All the installation components are available as a single zip file via MyCitrix under the XA/XD FP1 download section. Once you extract the zip file you will find three folders as shown below. I will walk you through the installation of each of these components.

sessionrecording1

 

 Session Recording Administration Components

Under the Session Recording Administration Components, you will find two files, “SessionRecordingAdministrationx64″ and “Broker_Powershellsnapin_x64″. You can choose to install all the session recording administration components on a single server or split them up. I installed all the components on a single Windows Server 2012 VM in my environment. I believe you can install these components on Server 2008 R2 as well.

The Broker powershell snap-in allows you to script various parameters of session recording and configure options via command line. Its a straightforward installer with nothing to configure as part of the install process.

“SessionRecordingAdministrationx64″ installer is what installs the core infrastructure and there are a number of gotchas that you have to take care of prior to running the installer:

  • On the windows server you plan to install the administration components, make sure the following Windows server components are installed:

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 1.06.16 AM

  • Make sure you have access to a SQL server (Express, 2014, 2012, 2008 R2) and make sure the NT Authority\System account has sysadmin SQL server role permissions. I used SQL 2012 Express Edition and I installed it on the same server.
  • Having SQL Management studio installed really helps as well!.
  • If you install SQL server on a stand alone server you need to make sure SQL Server Browser service is running and that the TCP/IP protocol is enabled under the SQL server Network Protocol configuration.
  • You need to download and install certain components from the  SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 Feature pack namely SharedManagementObjects and CLR Types. You can find the download here
  • Make sure a valid computer certificate is present on the server. The recording server uses SSL/HTTPS by default for communication (and rightly so)

Once you’ve got these pieces installed (I really wish these were documented better as I had to waste a lot of time during the configuration process) you are all set to run the installer. Some screenshots below:

Once all the components are installed, you need to run the Session Recording Server Properties executable which allows you to configure a number of parameters such as the folder where the recordings are stored, which certificate to use for encryption, file threshold parameters and session duration, allow playback of live sessions and what notifications (if any) is sent to the user when a session is being recorded. Below are the screenshots.

sessionrecording10

sessionrecording3 sessionrecording4 sessionrecording5 sessionrecording6 sessionrecording7

 

The next step is to run the Session Recording Authorization Console and make sure the appropriate users are given access to administer the environment.

sessionrecording9

 

Now, run the session recording policy console and define the appropriate policies to filter what server/user sessions are recorded, whether they are notified and which sessions are not recorded.

sessionrecording11 sessionrecording12

 

And with that, the server components are installed and configured!

Session Recording Agent

As mentioned earlier, the session recording agent needs to be installed on your server workloads that are used to publish applications and desktops. In my case I used a server 2012 machine with the XD 7.6 VDA installed that was a template for my server workload deliver group. You need to install ASP.NET and the Microsoft Message Queuing (including subcomponents) features prior to installing the agent. Once the agent is installed, launch Session Recording Agent properties and specify the recording server name/ip address and the port that is used by the recording server.

agent2

Session Recording Player

The player needs to be installed on a desktop OS, Windows 7 in my case. No special configuration is required while running the installer. Once the installation is complete, you need to launch the session recording player and go into Tools –>Options to specify the recording server info. Once this is configured, an authorized user can search for user sessions and play back recorded sessions.

player1 player2 player3 Player4 Player5 Player6 Player7 Player8 Player9 Player10

 

User Experience

If notification is turned on via policy, the user will notice a warning message (customizable) every time they launch an app or hosted shared desktop. This obviously can be disabled.

 

user1

Director Integration

Director

Session Recording can also be integrated with Citrix Desktop Director whereby recording can be turned on or off for a specific user session. To enable this integration, run the following command on the server running Director and specify the session recording server and protocol information.

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\tools\DirectorConfig.exe /configsessionrecording

Conclusion

While the installation process was a little tedious, once its up and running, it is an extremely useful tool with minimal configuration moving forward. I have installed the agent in my Server workload template and control whether a session is recorded or not via policy. Works like a charm! I would highly encourage everyone to try out this functionality and provide feedback.

Citrix Workspace Cloud – Forget the sausage making process, just eat it!

If you think back how managing a Citrix environment used to be about 10 years ago, a typical Citrix administrator had one product to worry about – Metaframe/Presentation Server. Even with that single product, administrators found it difficult to maintain Citrix environments due to the effort it required. Fast forward to 2015 and now the infrastructure supporting our Mobile Workspaces has many moving parts (XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, Sharefile, Netscaler). Planning and completing infrastructure upgrades in large organizations can take months and sometimes years.

Wouldnt it be nice if someone could magically make all of the Citrix infrastructure a black box so to speak that you didnt have to worry about so your valuable resources can start focusing on the things that mattered to the business as opposed to working on mundane operational tasks. In addition, wouldnt it be nice to always be evergreen and have the latest and greatest features at your disposal as opposed to waiting and figuring out how to upgrade your environment. These challenges are exactly what Citrix plans on solving with Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC).

CWC is a hosted control plane that is fully supported end to end by Citrix. It includes all the infrastructure components required to deliver a mobile workspace to the end user. An IT admin would be able to launch a web based management console and provision a workspace that encompasses windows apps, mobile apps, windows desktops, data and manage their mobile devices all from a single pane of glass. The customer would still maintain the supporting infrastructure such as Active Directory, DNS etc thereby maintaining the security boundary that most require. Additionally there is no requirement for a VPN tunnel between the Citrix Control Plane and the customer’s data center. Instead the Workspace Cloud Connector is installed on a Windows server in the customer data center that communicates via SSL with the Citrix Control Plane. Citrix will also handle lifecycle management which will help customers automate the entire infrastructure deployment by providing you blueprints that follow industry best practices. The solution will also include end to end monitoring capabilities for your infrastructure and provide you true visibility into how resources are being consumed.

CWC makes total sense for an SMB customer or a mid-market customer with limited resources to administer their IT environment and probably have limited infrastructure to host these solutions. Such customers typically prefer an on demand hosted model where they pay based on consumption, which is exactly what CWC is! But how about Enterprise customers who have large dedicated Citrix teams who have very defined processes and workflows. I would argue that there is a place for CWC even in that space. Most enterprise customers have multiple Citrix farms/sites, some of mine having upwards of 30 XA/XD farms/sites. Now if you want to design a totally redundant and highly available infrastructure, think of the number of servers involved and the operational challenges on a month to month basis. With CWC the IT organization would be able to reduce their data center footprint and reduce OpX significantly.

CWC can also be looked at as a great DR solution. Many of my customers today spend millions on hot standy DR data centers that are rarely actually utilized. What if you could setup the barebones DR infrastructure leveraging CWC and then spin up additional capacity only in a true DR scenario. This could lead to significant CapX and OpX savings.

I have always been a proponent of new technology solutions, but only when it makes business sense to my customers. I believe CWC is promising in that regard and for that reason I am truly excited for what the future holds!

If you plan on attending Citrix Synergy 2015, be sure to take a look at my recommended sessions this year. There are some great sessions by Joe Vaccarro, Harsh Gupta and the rest of the CWC team covering the solution in depth. Watch out for some awesome announcements too!!!

– George

Citrix Newsletter – March ’15

General Announcements

Citrix Joins Microsoft Cloud Storage Partner Program to Extend Productivity Across Organizational Boundaries

“Citrix announced it is an inaugural member of the new Microsoft Cloud Storage Partner Program. Citrix and Microsoft’s longtime partnership of more than 25 years is enhanced by this alliance agreement, enabling new ways to work for their joint customers. Work is increasingly done by virtual teams spanning employees, contractors, vendors, partners and customers. By joining the program to integrate Citrix ShareFile with Office Online, Citrix and Microsoft are facilitating easier collaboration across organizational and geographic boundaries, increasing cross-team collaboration, productivity and operational efficiency.”

Citrix and Google Enhance Enterprise Security and Management of Android Devices

“Citrix today announced an extension of its long-standing collaboration with Google by providing XenMobile support for Android for Work. This announcement builds on the multi-year collaboration between Citrix and Google that includes virtual app and desktop delivery on Chrome devices and existing enterprise mobility management (EMM) support for Android smartphones and tablets. Together, Citrix and Google empower both businesses and government institutions with a secure, scalable, app-centric, mobility solution that delivers exceptional user experience, providing people with new ways to work better.”

BYOD: Fragments and silos are the new norm

“Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, phones, tablets… and the list goes on. It’s safe to say we’ve all come to accept that the modern business is a multi-device, multi-OS world. But something we’re perhaps slower to recognise is that the same diversity we see in the above list, also applies to our data. As BYOD becomes the norm, so too does the fragmentation of data and it’s now time we accept this and consider what it actually means for business.”

Citrix Expands vGPU Support

“A large user base of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop continues to be successfully deployed and officially supported on VMware’s popular vSphere hypervisor for non-graphics workloads. Citrix will offer the same level of quality support to customers who deploy XenApp or XenDesktop for NVIDIA GRID vGPU, starting from day one that VMware vSphere 6 is generally available (March 12, 2015) with the capability.”

Five Ways Virtualization is Changing Enterprise Business Models

“Virtualization is leaving its mark on more than just the IT department.First virtualization hit the data center, changing how servers are operated and making today’s cloud computing possible. More than 70 percent of x86 server workloads are virtualized today, according to Gartner research, and virtualization hardly counts as an enterprise trend any longer since everyone is using it. Now its impact is being felt outside of the IT department, as the technology of virtualization enables new business models and fundamentally changes how business is done.”

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

Citrix Synergy 2015: Sessions that you should not miss!

“Having attended quite a few conferences, I know how frustrating it can be when you attend a session with high hopes, only to find out that the content was not what you expected. With this in mind, I spent some time this year going through the Citrix Synergy session catalog and picking the ones that I feel are most relevant to attendees”

Making the case for a heterogeneous hypervisor strategy in the datacenter

“When it comes to server virtualization in the datacenter, most customers tend to standardize on a single hypervisor platform, and VMware today clearly has the market share. The most common reasons for standardization are ease of support and skill set of resources. However for certain workloads, it can be argued that you do not need all of the bells and whistles offered by the main hypervisor platform and you could be overpaying significantly.”

Securing XenApp and XenDesktop Environments

“When deploying Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop within large organizations and government environments, security standards are an important consideration. The Security Standards and Deployment Scenarios document addresses common issues related to such environments, and Citrix products offer a wide range of features for securing a XenApp and XenDesktop system.”

Welcome to Receiver X1

“This is the first of a series of blogs explaining what X1 is, and in particular how you can customize it.”

Monitor Citrix PVS Cache In RAM Using Powershell

” I’m a firm advocate of Provisioning Services ‘Cache in RAM with overflow on hard disk’ leveraging operating system RAM for write-cache. This results in better response times and a greater number of IOPS for the write-Cache than using traditional SAN or Local storage. However, careful planning and monitoring of the size of this cache is imperative as a breach in the available RAM will cause an overflow to the assigned slower disk which dramatically reduces performance. Much speculation has surrounded how to monitor the write-cache with some relying on the Target Device System Tray data but this only reflects the amount of physical cache used. I wanted to be able to monitor the amount of Ram Used so that a typical usage baseline at a customer of mine could be taken. Buried away in the Citrix eDocs (as most things are!) is reference to the actual metric that gives an indication of how much cache in Ram is in use. This can be done by checking the Pool Nonpaged Memory and is shown in the task manager.”

When to use Outlook Cached Exchange Mode on XenApp and XenDesktop

“The other day, I was in my workshop building a new desk for my wife when one of my kids came in asking me about the different tools I had scattered all over the room.  I said “this is a radial arm saw, this is a circular saw, this is a band saw and this is a scroll saw”.  Of course they asked “Why do you have so many saws?”.  I replied “Because each saw does something really well and if I use the wrong one for the job, we will have big problems.” Your IT toolkit will also contain many different tools, but it is important to understand when to use which tool.”

Citrix WorkspacePod, an HP Moonshot Architect’s Perspective

“The genesis of Citrix WorkspacePod originated with Citrix’s acquisition of a company called Solid Instance along with the founder and CEO Tyrone Pike. I’ve already gave away the big secret, Citrix WorkspacePod is all about bundling, but what exactly is included? Putting marketing buzz words like “ultra-converged infrastructure” aside, there are some really unique elements to look at here.”

How to force users to use the Citrix Receiver app on mobile devices using NetScaler

“You can tell your users to install Citrix Receiver on their mobile devices, yet they still continue to open Receiver for Web in a mobile browser to launch their apps and desktops because that’s what they do on their PCs at work. It’s tough to get them to understand there are 2 ways to access their apps while on a PC, using the Citrix Receiver OR Receiver for Web in their browser. But on a mobile device, they should use Citrix Receiver only for the best possible touch friendly experience.”

How To Setup Citrix XenMobile 10 (including configuring Netscaler)

“On February 17th, Citrix released the long awaited XenMobile 10. The big difference with its previous versions is that XenMobile 10 now consists of just one component, the XenMobile Server, so no longer a XenMobile MDM installation on a Windows server and configuring a separate App Controller.”

Netscaler Insight Center Deployment and Sizing Guide

“In today’s Application centric market the visibility challenges are being realized and its significance is growing as the data is increasing day by day. Most of the enterprise Apps has a common & basic requirement of being load balanced and providing optimized data delivery, thus ADCs like NetScaler become the central node through which all application data traverses. This is where technology like AppFlow comes in picture. AppFlow is the standard for fetching the visibility information through NetScaler and forwarding to NetScaler Insight Center. NetScaler Insight Center collects the AppFlow records, analyzes them and brings precise analytical reports for administrator’s consumption.”

Citrix Profile Management – User Store Revealed

“One of the biggest problem in Application or Desktop Virtualization is end user experience and consistency of user profile and customizations. Luckily there is a bunch of tools available on the market that help solve that problem. One of them is Citrix Profile Management intended as a profile solution for XenApp servers, virtual desktops created with XenDesktop, and physical desktops.”

Making the Citrix License Server (Truly) Highly Available

“I’ll begin by saying that this solution is certainly not for everyone.  It adds complexity.  It creates additional management overhead.  It requires NetScaler integration and mildly advanced networking skills.  We have never publicly documented the solution before this week.  But it is absolutely the only bulletproof solution for making our License Server (LS) truly highly available in an active/active fashion without any downtime.”

XenServer 6.5 Performance Comparison

“I love to go fast.  I love fast cars and I love fast software.  In fact, earlier in my career I used to specialize in software performance. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been so excited by the performance improvements in the recently released XenServer 6.5.  You can read my last blogon the features of XenServer 6.5 for more details on the speed improvements.  While it’s great to do your own measurements to track improvement over time, it’s even more fun and rewarding to see others validate your results for you.”

Support Articles/Bug Fixes

Upcoming Events

Mar 31 Solution Webinar: Mobility Dream Team Citrix, Google and Samsung Offer New Ways to Work Better

Find out how you can easily secure, manage and deliver enterprise, web and mobile apps and data to the latest Samsung Chromebooks and Android-based smartphones and tablets using mobile workspace solutions from Citrix.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Mar 31 On-demand Solution Webinar: End-to-end Visibility for XenApp and XenDesktop

Join us for a deep-dive discussion on HDX Insight for NetScaler and CloudBridge.

It is the only solution that provides unmatched visibility for XenApp and XenDesktop.

Watch Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Apr 1 Master Class: High availability and content switching

Live technical webinars to learn about the most critical elements of cloud infrastructures and enterprise datacenter architectures.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Feb 19 – Jun 23 Seminar Series: Managing the Unmanageable: How to Secure the Enterprise

Join us at this live security-focused seminar series to learn about how to secure sensitive data on managed and under-managed devices, measures that enforce security across unmanaged apps and network, models that control access to sensitive data, specific to application usage and access, and how to develop and enforce policies to “manage the unmanageable.”

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Mar – May 7 In-person Master Class Seminar Series: Protect Your Mission Critical Web Apps With Citrix NetScaler

Join us for this in-person master class. We will demo and discuss best practices to secure your network and apps against threats.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Tuesdays, Thursdays) Weekly Deminars: Citrix Workspace Suite

Take a close look at the capabilities of Citrix Workspace Suite in these twice weekly technically-focused, demo-led webinars.
Register Now  |  Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Wednesdays) Weekly Deminars: NetScaler

Join us to understand how Citrix NetScaler can empower your organization with the most comprehensive set of application security, acceleration, load balancing, and monitoring tools.

Register Now Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Wednesdays) Weekly Deminars: Empowering Mobility with XenMobile and ShareFile

See how Citrix can empower your organizations to provide secure, remote access to company resources through mobile app and device management as well as data sharing.

Register Now Contact for More Info

On Demand Webinars

Solution Webinar: Move From Cisco ACE to a Software Defined World

Solution Webinar: Discover the Power of Application Centric Infrastructure

Master Class: How to Upgrade from XenApp 6.5 to XenApp 7.6

Solution Webinar: How to Effectively Replace BlackBerry Devices and Gain User Acceptance

Master Class: NetScaler VPX. Spotlight: Admin Partitions

Solution Webinar: Mobile Workspace Delivery – Any App, Any Device, Any Network, Any Cloud

Solution Webinar: Top Use Cases for App Virtualization

Solution Webinar: How to Build a Solid BYO Policy and Mitigate Security Risks

Solution Webinar: Don’t Settle for “Good Enough” Email for Mobile Employees

Solution Webinar: Managing the Unmanageable: The Network Security Perspective

Solution Webinar: One Company’s Journey to Mobilize Their Workforce with Enterprise Mobility Management

Master Class: NetScaler Deployment Modes and Server Load Balancing

 Master Class: What’s New in Citrix XenMobile 10.0

Solution Webinar: Enable SDN and Dev Ops with Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler

 Desktop Master Class: Deliver Microsoft Lync with XenApp and XenDesktop

 Solution Webinar: 5 Things VMware Doesn’t Want You to Know About Horizon View

 

Citrix Synergy 2015 – Sessions that you should not miss!

Synergy

 

 

 

 

 

Having attended quite a few conferences, I know how frustrating it can be when you attend a session with high hopes, only to find out that the content was not what you expected. With this in mind, I spent some time this year going through the Citrix Synergy session catalog and picking the ones that I feel are most relevant to attendees and then separating them into three tracks:

  • Management/Leadership
  • Virtualization
  • Mobility/Networking/Cloud

My hope is that this helps attendees make better decisions as they build their Synergy schedules. I will try and update this if more sessions are added to the catalog. For now, here are my picks arranged by day. All the sessions are hyperlinked for further info.

May 12th Management/Leadership

SYN105: Leverage Citrix Workspace Cloud for your enterprise IT needs

May 12th, 2:00-2:45pm

Joe Vaccaro

SYN112: How Nationstar Mortgage saved $1.3 million on desktop virtualization by changing their approach to storage and disaster recovery

May 12th, 2:00-2:45pm

Josiah Foster

SYN311: Citrix on Citrix: the internal Smart Workplace

May 12th, 2:00-2:45pm

Paul Martine

SYN102: Best practices for a successful BYOD, CYOD, or COPE program

May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Matt Brooks

SYN103: Using mobile workspaces to deliver business mobility

May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Natalie Lambert

SYN106: 2020 technology landscape from the CTO Council

May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Martin Duursma

SYN117: The state of Citrix-based DaaS – going hosted or hybrid? You get to choose

May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Ken Oestreich, Penny Gralewski

SYN231: Cost and complexity: myth or fact?

May 12th, 4:00-4:45pm

Stuart Moore

SYN201: Data loss prevention and enterprise file sync and sharing: is your data safe?

May 12th, 5:00-5:45pm

Jay Tomlin

May 12th Technical (Virtualization)

SYN105: Leverage Citrix Workspace Cloud for your enterprise IT needs

May 12th, 2:00-2:45pm

Joe Vaccaro

SYN502: I’ve got 99 problems, and folder redirection is every one of them

May 12th, 2:00-2:45pm

Shawn Bass, Aaron Parker, Helge Klein

SYN503: Getting the most out of NetScaler Gateway

May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Anton Van Pelt, Thorsten Rood

SYN218: Agile delivery and lifecycle management of Citrix workloads across multiple clouds with Workspace Cloud

May 12th, 4:00-4:45pm

Jie Feng, Kalias Jawadekar

SYN417: StoreFront PowerShell documentation deep dive

May 12th, 4:00-4:45pm

Sam Jacobs

SYN230: HDX update: what’s new

May 12th, 5:00-5:45pm

Derek Thorslund

SYN319: Tech update for XenApp and XenDesktop—May 2015 edition

May 12th, 5:00-5:45pm

Dan Feller

SYN505: The anatomy of a high-performance, GPU-enabled virtual desktop

May 12th, 5:00-5:45pm

Dane Young, Thomas Poppelgaard

May 12th Technical (Networking/Mobility/Cloud)

SYN105: Leverage Citrix Workspace Cloud for your enterprise IT needs

May 12th, 2:00-2:45pm

Joe Vaccaro

SYN117: The state of Citrix-based DaaS – going hosted or hybrid? You get to choose

May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Ken Oestreich, Penny Gralewski

SYN214: What’s new with NetScaler

May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Graham Melville

SYN208: CloudBridge: what’s new and what’s hot

May 12th, 4:00-4:45pm

Gopinaith Durairaj

SYN218: Agile delivery and lifecycle management of Citrix workloads across multiple clouds with Workspace Cloud

May 12th, 4:00-4:45pm

Jie Feng, Kalias Jawadekar

SYN201: Data loss prevention and enterprise file sync and sharing: is your data safe?

May 12th, 5:00-5:45pm

Jay Tomlin

May 13th Management/Leadership

SYN244: The a-ha! moment: what to do when your business finally “gets it”

May 13th 1:30-2:15 pm

Jeff Lung (American Family Insurance)

SYN310: Choose the right cloud model and accelerate time-to-value with Workspace Cloud

May 13, 1:30-2:15pm

Alex Balcanquall

SYN201: Data loss prevention and enterprise file sync and sharing: is your data safe?

May 13th 2:30-3:15pm

Jay Tomlin

SYN241: Enabling apps, desktops and data as a service with Workspace Cloud

May 13th 2:30pm-3:15pm

Harsh Gupta

SYN238: Next-generation security: the inside story

May 13th 3:30-4:15pm

Joe Nord

SYN222: Meet Octoblu – A new IoT platform from Citrix

May 13th, 4:30-5:15pm

Chris Matthieu

SYN304: Managing employee and corporate devices

May 13th 4:30pm – 5:15pm

Nick Nintalan

SYN325: Introduction to Citrix Melio (formerly Sanbolic)

May 13th, 4:30-5:15pm (W314B)

Andy Melmed

May 13th Technical (Virtualization)

SYN239: Professional graphics delivery with HDX 3D Pro—performance and best practices

11:00-11:45am – May 13th

Rachel Berry

SYN318: Terminal Server versus VDI: 2015 edition

11:00-11:45am – May 13th

Brian Madden

SYN234: Delivering Lync and other audio-video applications

1:30-2:15pm – May 13th

Derek Thorslund

SYN319: Tech update for XenApp and XenDesktop—May 2015 edition

May 13, 1:30-2:15pm

Dan Feller

SYN410: Maximizing XenDesktop high availability with a pod architecture

May 13, 1:30pm – 2:15pm

Dan Allen

SYN507: The Citrix 7X experience

May 13, 1:30-2:15pm

Thomas Koetzig

SYN241: Enabling apps, desktops and data as a service with Workspace Cloud

May 13th 2:30pm-3:15pm

Harsh Gupta

SYN324: HDX: refresh your basic and advanced knowledge

May 13, 2:30-3:15pm

Marcel Calef

SYN238: Next-generation security: the inside story

May 13th 3:30-4:15pm

Joe Nord

SYN509: How Group Policy impacts logon performance

May 13th 3:30 – 4:15pm

Helge Klein

SYN217: Workspace Cloud for enterprises: a technical overview

May 13th 4:30-5:15pm

Alex Balcanquall, John Cattaneo

SYN325: Introduction to Citrix Melio (formerly Sanbolic)

May 13th, 4:30-5:15pm

Andy Melmed

SNY501: Geek Speak Tonight!:

May 13th, 5:30-7:30pm

Steve Greenberg, Joe Shonk

May 13th Technical (Networking/Mobility/Cloud)

SYN101: Learn why companies are choosing ShareFile with StorageZones to balance mobility and collaboration needs with data security requirements

11:00-11:45 – May 13th

Bill Carovano

SYN310: Choose the right cloud model and accelerate time-to-value with Workspace Cloud

May 13, 1:30-2:15pm (

Alex Balcanquall

SYN201: Data loss prevention and enterprise file sync and sharing: is your data safe?

May 13th 2:30-3:15pm

Jay Tomlin

SYN403: Troubleshooting common issues with XenMobile WorxMail

May 13th, 2:30-3:15pm

Juan Zevallos

SYN210: Scale WAN bandwidth while increasing reliability with CloudBridge virtual WAN solution

May 13th 3:30-4:15pm

Karl Brown

SYN238: Next-generation security: the inside story

May 13th 3:30-4:15pm

Joe Nord

SYN222: Meet Octoblu – A new IoT platform from Citrix

May 13th, 4:30-5:15pm

Chris Matthieu

SYN304: Managing employee and corporate devices

May 13th 4:30pm – 5:15pm

Nick Nintalan

SNY501: Geek Speak Tonight!:

May 13th, 5:30-7:30pm

Steve Greenberg, Joe Shonk

May 14th Management/Leadership

SYN110: How well do you know your end users?

May 14th, 8:30-10:15, 10:30-12:15pm

Renee Flores, Adam Miller

SYN225: Best practices for configuring Citrix products to meet security objectives

May 14th, 10:30-11:15am

Jon Spallone

SYN236: Revolutionize remote access to existing physical desktops using XenDesktop

May 14th, 10:30 – 11:15am

SYN401: Top ten ShareFile enterprise features IT teams can’t live without

May 14th, 10:30-11:15am

Peter Schultz

SYN219: What’s new in XenServer 6.5: performance, scalability and TCO reduction

May 14th, 11:30am – 12:15am

Marc Trouard-Riolle

SYN240: Centrally manage and secure local virtual desktops on Macs and PCs with DesktopPlayer

May 14th, 11:30am – 12:15am

SYN102: Best practices for a successful BYOD, CYOD, or COPE program

May 14th, 2:30pm – 3:15am/May 12th, 3:00-3:45pm

Matt Brooks

SYN108: Your desktop in their cloud—choosing a DaaS partner

May 14th, 2:30pm – 3:15am

Simon Bramfitt

SYN220: Exploring GPU virtualization technologies and where to use them

May 14th, 3:30-4:15pm

David Cottingham

SYN105: Leverage Citrix Workspace Cloud for your enterprise IT needs

May 14th, 4:30-5:15pm

Joe Vaccaro

May 14th Technical (Virtualization)

SYN232: Get the most out of AppDNA for app migrations and updates

May 14th, 8:30-9:15am

Sheldon Lachambre

SYN409: Dissecting the XenApp/XenDesktop logon process

May 14th, 8:30-9:15am

Helge Klein

SYN320: Never let me down again: the future of XenApp and XenDesktop upgrades

May 14th, 9:30am – 10:15am

Dan Feller

SYN406: Architecting Citrix for Google Compute Cloud

May 14th, 9:30-10:15am

SYN225: Best practices for configuring Citrix products to meet security objectives

May 14th, 10:30-11:15am

Jon Spallone

SYN236: Revolutionize remote access to existing physical desktops using XenDesktop

May 14th, 10:30 – 11:15am

Gabe Carrejo

SYN405: Architecting innovation with Cisco and Citrix (best practices)

May 14th, 10:30am – 11:15am

Robert Briggs

SYN513: Working with XenDesktop and HP Moonshot: field experience

May 14th, 10:30am – 11:15am

Carl Webster

SYN240: Centrally manage and secure local virtual desktops on Macs and PCs with DesktopPlayer

May 14th, 11:30am – 12:15am

SYN323: The golden image: provisioning and image management update

May 14th, 11:30am – 12:15am

Stuart Moore

SYN228: Getting more out of XenApp and XenDesktop monitoring services

May 14th, 2:30-3:15pm

Jarian Gibson

SYN220: Exploring GPU virtualization technologies and where to use them

May 14th, 3:30-4:15pm

David Cottingham

SYN314: Lessons learned on the way to 50,000 users

May 14th, 3:30-4:15pm

Paul Stansel

SYN315: Application layering for XenApp single Image management

May 14th, 3:30-4:15pm

Douglas Brown

SYN321: Technical deep dive on Receiver

May 14th, 3:30-4:15pm

Manu Chauhan

SYN404: NetScaler Gateway with Citrix desktops and apps: the ultimate how-to guide for successful deployments

May 14th, 3:30-4:15pm

Lucas Araujo

SYN412: Faster deployments: XenDesktop Setup Wizard (XDSW) and the Streamed VM Setup Wizard

May 14th, 4:30-5:15pm

Rahul Davila

SYN414: Architecting Citrix on Microsoft Azure

May 14th, 4:30-5:15pm

Loay Schlbat

SYN514: Turn XenApp and XenDesktop into capacity on demand with Provisioning Services automation

May 14th, 11:30am – 12:15am

Paul Stansel

May 14th Technical (Networking/Mobility/Cloud)

SYN307: Performance of a NetScaler in a combined XenDesktop and XenMobile environment

May 14th, 8:30-9:15am

Kirk Manzer, James Richards

SYN511: Notes from the field: XenMobile deep dive and demo

May 14th, 8:30 – 9:15am

Thorsten Rood

SYN209: Optimize XenDesktop and enterprise apps across a virtualized WAN with CloudBridge

May 14th, 9:30-10:15am

Steve Schall

SYN303: Best practices for deploying end-to-end management with XenMobile

May 14th, 9:30-10:15am

Raghu Govindaswamy

SYN406: Architecting Citrix for Google Compute Cloud

May 14th, 9:30-10:15am

SYN512: How to implement XenMobile 10: tips from the field

May 14th, 9:30-10:15am

Anton Van Pelt

SYN305: Reference architecture for Workspace Suite

May 14th, 10:30-11:15am

Kirk Manzer

SYN402: Choosing the right email client and understanding mail flow

May 14th, 11:30am – 12:15am

Roberto Moreno

SYN108: Your desktop in their cloud—choosing a DaaS partner

May 14th, 2:30pm – 3:15am

Simon Bramfitt

SYN105: Leverage Citrix Workspace Cloud for your enterprise IT needs

May 12th, 2:00-2:45pm/May 14th, 4:30-5:15pm

Joe Vaccaro

SYN218: Agile delivery and lifecycle management of Citrix workloads across multiple clouds with Workspace Cloud

May 14th, 4:30-5:15pm

Jie Feng, Kalias Jawadekar

 

 

Making The Case For A Heterogeneous Hypervisor Strategy In The Datacenter

When it comes to server virtualization in the datacenter, most customers tend to standardize on a single hypervisor platform, and VMware today clearly has the market share. The most common reasons for standardization are ease of support and skill set of resources. However for certain workloads, it can be argued that you do not need all of the bells and whistles offered by the main hypervisor platform and you could be overpaying significantly. An example of this would be a dev/test environment, where you might not necessarily have the same requirements for DR/HA as compared to your Tier 1 Mission Critical applications. In addition you could be limiting yourself from taking advantage of certain features and functions that could potentially help increase user productivity, protect intellectual property and drive innovation. An example of this would be VDI workloads. vSphere does not natively support in memory caching (Content Based Read Cache) for XenDesktop whereas XenServer 6.5 does. Another example of this would be high end graphics workloads, where there are definitely feature gaps between hypervisor platforms. And with regards to ease of support and skill set of resources, the top 3 hypervisors in the market – vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer have matured to the point where supportability is not as complex as it used to be.

If you are a vSphere customer today or a EUC partner & if you haven’t already looked into XenServer 6.5, I recommend you do. The 6.5 release is the first version of XenServer that is 64bit through and through. At a high level, this means much higher user density/scalability and tremendous improvement in performance compared to XS 6.2. Below are some key features/improvements  that I want to highlight:

  • 300% improvement in Storage Read Throughput with In Memory Read Caching that can help you eliminate boot storms and improve VM boot times by nearly 300%.
  • 96 vGPU’s per host for high end graphics workloads – If you are not familiar with HDX 3D Pro and virtual GPUs with the NVIDIA GRID Technology. I recommend you review this blog. With the 6.5 release, each XenServer host can support upto 96 vGPUs and as a result, enterprises can deliver high end workloads to users at a much lower cost/user while guaranteeing the highest performance.
  • 700% improvement in Network Throughput (when compared to XenServer 6.2)
  • Simple, Intuitive and Comprehensive monitoring and alerting of your XenServer hosts and workloads
  • Workload Balancing (WLB) is better than ever and helps maintain performance thresholds and automate your workloads intelligently based on parameters you define. In addition, a ton of additional reports have been added that provide detailed insight into how your environment is performing. For more on WLB, review this blog by Rachel Berry.
  • Simplification of product packaging and reduction in cost – XenServer now comes in two flavors: Standard and Enterprise and is licensed on a per socket basis and the cost for XenServer Enterprise which includes in memory caching, distributed virtual switch, workload balancing among others is only $1250/socket.
  • Xendesktop Enterprise and Platinum customers own XenServer – Most XenDesktop customers run XD on vSphere even though they are entitled to run XenServer. With the improved performance and scalability and the new features added in XenServer 6.5, now is the time to move your XA and XD workloads to XenServer! It is important to keep in mind that as new features are added to XA and XD they are typically made available initially on XenServer. Moreover customers would have a single, integrated stack for desktop and app virtualization supported end to end by Citrix. You can find out more about licensing here.

To summarize, I believe a heterogeneous hypervisor strategy is something every enterprise should look into in order to reduce costs and to help create solutions optimized for use-case specific workloads, such as high end graphics, desktop and cloud workloads. With Xenserver 6.5, Citrix has proven its commitment towards server virtualization and will continue to innovate! For those interested in learning more about XenServer 6.5, be sure to attend the Master Class on Feb 10th!

Reference Links:

 

 

Why the X1 Prototype Mouse from Citrix makes perfect sense!

Citrix-X1-Mouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Summit 2015, Mark Templeton announced the prototype of a mouse named code named “X1″. The mouse is specifically designed for the iOS platform. As many of you probably know, Apple does not support pairing a bluetooth mouse with iOS devices. The X1 mouse bypasses this limitation by allowing users to pair the mouse with the Citrix Receiver app thereby enabling them to use the device with published applications, VDI and Hosted Shared Desktops.

If you look at the enterprise landscape, iOS still dominates the mobile market. While it has always been possible to access Windows applications and desktops via Citrix Receiver, its debatable whether the users are actually productive. With the mobility pack, desktops can be re-skinned to suit the form factor, but it was still not quite where it needed to be in terms of productivity. Not to mention, most native windows applications that have not been customized for the mobile form factor were generally not very usable other than viewing data. Thanks to these limitations, most of us generally had to carry a laptop in addition to our mobile device to get real work done.

The X1 mouse has fundamentally solved these problems. Users can now be fully productive on iOS devices  as they can not only view data, but can also quite easily edit and manipulate data. windows applications and desktops (both VDI and hosted shared) are a lot more usable and functional.  Walking around with just a tablet is now a reality. I really believe that the X1 mouse will encourage mobility and help move forward Citrix’s vision of a Software Defined Workspace!

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