Archive of ‘Technology’ category

Is Samsung Chromebook Plus The Perfect Chromebook?

Over the past couple of years I’ve been collecting a lot of chromebooks. As of the 13th of Feb, I now own 6, mostly Acer and Samsung devices. As much as I love the concept of a low cost, ultra portable and secure thin client with excellent battery life & then leveraging Citrix for my enterprise apps, it always felt like there was something missing. Some of the common complaints were display resolution, build quality, lack of offline access and lack of a good touch screen model under $500.

Needless to say I was extremely intrigued when Samsung announced the 12 inch Chromebook Plus and the price point. I pre-ordered the device and got mine earlier this week. My experience so far has been terrific. Lets look into why I feel this device is close to perfect.

Design

The Samsung Chromebook Pro is a  12.3-inch laptop that also converts into a tablet. It is powered by an OP1 Hexa-core (Dual A72, Quad A53) ARM processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It comes with two USB Type-C ports and a microSD slot. It has various display modes, very similar to the Lenovo Yoga. It has a full metal design that weighs just 2.4 pounds. It comes with a stylus that pops out of the right side of the system, letting you take notes with Google Keep and other apps and smart enough to recognize characters, allowing you to search through your handwritten notes afterwords.

Display Resolution

Resolution has been one of my biggest gripes with chromebooks so far. And boy does this device address that issue. The Chromebook pro comes with a quad HD (2400 x 1600) pixel screen made with Gorilla Glass 3. with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The high resolution means my Citrix VDI instance looks absolutely spectacular on this device. Lots of real estate too!

Battery Time

Based on my testing so far, the battery time of the Chromebook Plus is on par every other chromebook I own. I’m getting approximately 9-10 hrs. Keep in mind that the resolution for this device is also one of the best. So that the battery time extremely impressive.

Android Apps!

This to me is a GAME CHANGER!! As you know, Google announced support for Android apps on chromebooks last yr. The challenge was that just a handful of devices were actually supported, and even among the ones where it was supported there was only one that had a touch screen. Personally I believe Android app support is pointless if there is no touch screen. Thankfully the Chromebook plus does have one! The combination of android app support, great resolution and touch screen makes it the perfect device. I now have a number of key productivity apps, many of which I can use offline. Some of my favorites so far are Citrix Secure Mail, Secure Web, Sharefile (Enterprise File Share and Sync), Slack and Skype for Business to name a few.

Touch Screen

The touch screen is extremely responsive. No lags whatsoever. Works great in tablet mode. Also great when using Android apps. All chromebooks moving forward need to be touch enabled IMHO. You cannot effectively use Android apps without touch!

Stylus!

The Chromebook Plus comes with a pressure sensitive stylus that is on par with others like the Surfacebook. Is it perfect? No. But its quite good. I can totally see myself using this device to do a white board or sketch a design while I am at customers. Very handy!!

Final Thoughts

Today was my first day out on the road with just the chromebook pro. I honestly did not miss my XPS 13. I accessed my Citrix VDI instance the entire time and the experience has never been this good on any of the other chromebooks I own. I also used a number of android apps including Skype for Business, Sharefile, Secure Web and others. The combination of VDI, chrome browser and native mobile apps is quite amazing. I used the the system for around 5 hrs and did not run into any issues during that time.

At $449, this device is a steal! If you are looking for a chromebook today, this should be in the list of favs! If I were to change one thing, I would add more memory to this device. Android apps can eat up memory fast!

Kudos to Samsung for a job well done!

Citrix Appdisks How To Guide – Administration Basics and Gotchas

AppDisk, an application layering solution was part of XenApp/XenDesktop 7.8 released in late February this year. This post is not meant to cover the basics of application layering or image management as a whole. You can refer to my blog for a quick overview. My goal in this post is to cover the administrative aspects of application layering using Citrix AppDisks. With that said, lets dig right in!

Creating an AppDisk

There are couple of approaches to creating an AppDisk. The first method is to manually create it at the hypervisor level and then import it within studio. The second approach is to create and assign the AppDisk right from within Studio. You can read more about both approaches here.

To create an AppDisk from within Studio:

Click on the AppDisks node within Studio and then select “Create AppDisk” from the Actions menu.

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On the next screen, select the size of the disk. There are predefined options of 3, 20 or 100 GB or you could pick a custom size. This is also where you would import an existing AppDisk that you have created manually. Keep in mind that on a 3GB AppDisk a good chunk of the space is already used up and you would most likely get less than 1 GB for any new applications you are looking to install into that layer. 

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Next, you select the machine catalog you would use for the VM used to install applications into this AppDisk. Only the compatible options will be made available. For instance in the screenshot below, the only two options available are the NonPersistentVDI catalog and the Win 7 Pool. Reasons are provided as to why the remaining machine catalogs are not made available. Also worth noting that AppDisks can only be assigned random pool catalogs. The machine catalog should have at least one available VM for the AppDisk creation to work.

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Next, give the AppDisk a name and the AppDisk creation process initiates. In my lab, I have seen anywhere from 10 minutes for a 3GB disk and under 20 minutes for a 20GB AppDisk (SATA storage). Creation of these disks on SSD storage was about 30% faster.

Once the AppDisk is created, you can install the required applications.

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Installing Applications within an AppDisk

Within Studio, click on the newly created AppDisk. It should say “Ready to Install Applications”. Under the details section for the AppDisk, the preparation machine information is provided. Within the hypervisor management console, login to the preparation machine and install the required applications.

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Once you have installed the applications, within studio, highlight the AppDisk and under the Actions pane, select “Seal AppDisk”. This starts the sealing process and once that is completed, you can run AppDNA compatibility analysis for that AppDisk.

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Keep in mind that AppDisk Layering cannot be used for applications that have file system drivers and services.  AppDisk does not include application isolation. App-V or Turbo.net provides that functionality. 

Configuring AppDNA and Analyzing an AppDisk for Compatibility Issues

The main differentiator between AppDisk and the other layering technologies out there is the integration with AppDNA for Delivery group compatibility analysis. For instance, once we create an AppDisk we can test compatibility against multiple XenApp Images or a pooled Windows 10 delivery group as examples. This gives the administrator the assurance that the AppDisk is going to work with that delivery group without having to go through extensive regression testing. When you have multiple AppDisks assigned to a delivery group, the AppDNA compatibility analysis also makes sure that all the AppDisks play well together and reorders the AppDIsk assignment if need be based on the analysis. AppDNA integration is a XenApp/XenDesktop Platinum Only feature. 

Before you can run any compatibility analysis, AppDNA needs to be configured within Studio. Click on the AppDNA section under configuration and specify the AppDNA connection settings. Make sure the connection test passes.

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Getting back to where we were in the AppDisk creation, we had just started the sealing process. Once this process is complete, the AppDNA compatibility analysis will automatically kick in if AppDNA connection settings are configured. The compatibility analysis is done against the machine catalog that the preparation machine belongs to. When you assign an AppDisk to a delivery group, compatibility analysis is carried out automatically against that delivery group. If there are multiple AppDisks assigned, then the AppDisks will be reordered if needed based on the analysis. There is an option to “Auto Order” the AppDisks when you assign an AppDisk to a delivery group. 

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To view the report, click on “View Report” next to the AppDisk that you just sealed.

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You can also view the reports from within the AppDNA console under the reports section. Here you have various views including the Application Issues, Application Actions, Issue View and Action View.

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Assigning an AppDisk to a Delivery Group/Groups

To assign an application to a delivery group, click on Delivery Groups within Studio, highlight the Delivery Group that you want to assign the AppDisk to. Under the Actions pane, select “Manage AppDisks”.

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The next screen shows you the currently assigned AppDisks and gives you the ability to add AppDisks. Once you assign your AppDisk, select Auto Order.

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You can then select the rollout strategy. You can either reboot all the machines within that Delivery Group immediately or you can assign the AppDisk at the next machine reboot. You can then review the configuration and then click Finish. This initiates an AppDNA compability analysis if you have XenApp or XenDesktop Platinum entitlement and have configured your AppDNA server within Studio.

You can assign an AppDisk created with one OS to delivery groups running other OS’s as well so long as the application is compatible with the target OS. Within my lab, I tested assigning two AppDisks created with a Win2k12 preparation VM to a Win 7 random pool.

To assign an AppDisk to a delivery group, that delivery group needs to using the same storage. To assign an AppDisk to a delivery group on different storage, you would have to create a new VM at the hypervisor level tied to the target storage, clone and associate the AppDisk to the new VM and the reimport it within Studio. I am hoping this process will be simplified in upcoming releases of the product.

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Updating an AppDisk

Currently there is no version management built into AppDisk. This means that each time you need to make an update, you are essentially cloning the existing AppDisk, making changes to it and then reassigning the new AppDisk to the Delivery Groups. It is also worth noting that you CANNOT resize an AppDisk when creating a new version.  

To update an AppDisk, click on the AppDisk node within Studio, highlight the AppDisk you would like to update and select “Create New Version” from the Action pane.

On the next screen, select the Pooled Random machine catalog that you would like to use for the preparation VM. Again a VM needs to be available within that Machine Catalog to perform the update.

You then name the AppDisk with version information and click “Create New Version”. This kicks off the AppDisk creation process as detailed earlier. AppDNA compatibility analysis will be carried out against the preparation VM machine catalog once the new version of the AppDisk is created.

Once the new version is ready, you can assign the AppDisk to the required delivery groups and unassign the old version. This will once again kick off the AppDNA compatibility analysis.

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Resizing an AppDisk

There are no options to resize an AppDisk from within studio today. You would have to resize at the hypervisor level and then reimport and reassign the AppDisk. I am hoping that this is addressed in the near future.

Deleting an AppDisk

To delete an AppDisk within Studio, click on AppDisks, highlight the AppDisk you would like to delete and select “Delete AppDisk” from the Action pane.

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Final Thoughts

As I described in my previous blog on Image Management, AppDisk takes us one step further in simplifying Image Management. However App Layering is not a one size fits all solution and should be used in conjunction with other solutions like application isolation and the likes. I am quite impressed with AppDisks for a v1 product. The performance has been very good considering I conducted most of my testing in my lab using SATA storage. However, I do hope that certain administrative tasks (like AppDisk resizing and versioning) improve in the near future.

Citrix Monthly Newsletter – February ’16

General Announcement and News

XenApp 7.8 & XenDesktop 7.8 Available for Download

Customers with active Software Maintenance (SWM) or Subscription Advantage (SA)–effective February 17, 2016–can download XenApp 7.8 and XenDesktop 7.8 on Citrix.com. The XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 release greatly simplifies application management, delivering a 90% time savings over traditional methods. It enhances the user experience, while introducing scalability improvements, enabling a 40% memory reduction and a 20% increase in CPU efficiency for select behavior. Plus new features strengthen security and compliance.

Citrix Improves the Economics of Managing Mobile Traffic

Citrix announced the availability of the new NetScaler T1000 series which integrates proven ByteMobile optimization technology with the highly scalable, higher performance NetScaler platform architecture. This innovative Citrix solution vastly improves the economics of mobile traffic handling.

Now Playing! XenApp & XenDesktop in “The Citrix Supportability Pack

The Supportability Pack is a collection of support utilities developed by Citrix engineers to help diagnose and troubleshoot XenDesktop and XenApp on the Microsoft Windows platform.

Address 3 Business Impacts of Windows 10 with App & Desktop Virtualization

The latest release of Windows introduces another level of complexity for IT. Although the new Windows 10 OS promises consumers many improved features, it also means that managing a controlled migration is no longer in the hands of IT.  This shift has potential business impacts that enterprise IT teams must address, and app and desktop virtualization offers a reliable solution for maintaining a seamless, “business as usual” transition.

Can the Raspberry Pi Disrupt the Thin Client Market.. And the PC Industry

The Raspberry Pi (with Citrix HDX ) has created the opportunity to disrupt the Thin Client and Business PC market.

Welcome CTP–Citrix Technology Professional–Class of 2016!!

The Citrix Technology Professionals (CTP) Program award recognizes the contributions of individuals who have invested significant  time and resources to become experts in Citrix products and solutions.

Secure Web & SaaS Apps with XenApp Secure Browser

Browsers, despite their ascendance have historically been one of the most vulnerable pieces of software on any endpoint. The security concerns with browsers are legendary and involve complex settings, third-party plugins, active content, Flash, Java and other components that must be kept under strict control.

Announcing Storefront 3.5

Citrix announced the general availability of StoreFront 3.5. This release significantly revamps the administration console and PowerShell SDK, which makes the administration of StoreFront much easier.

Share Sensitive Documents—Anywhere—with Citrix Sharefile!

ShareFile facilitates the safe exchange of confidential financial documents between employees and with customers. Individual files and folders can be securely downloaded via a custom-branded client vault or through email. Employees can access, sync and securely share files within the organization, across lines of business and with third parties and clients, on any device via any network and repository, including existing network file drives and SharePoint sites.

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

Director Load Balancing using NS 11

Carl Stallhood walks through how the Netscaler can be used to load balance Citrix Director instances in this blog.

Framehawk Guide for XA/XD 7.8

The Framehawk virtual channel optimizes the delivery of virtual desktops and applications to users on broadband wireless and lossy long-haul broadband network connections, when high packet loss or congestion occurs. You can use Citrix policies to implement either Framehawk or Thinwire for a set of users in a way that is appropriate for your network characteristics, and is aligned with overall scalability and performance expectations.

Remote Display Analyzer

Use Remote Display Analyzer to easily analyze the result of your configuration and change settings on the fly to assess the best possible end user experience for every user, on every device on every location

Netscaler and Traffic Flow Explained

In this blog, Marius Sandbu attempts to explain Netscaler basics and traffic flows.

Configuration Notes on n-factor

nFactor authentication gives administrators an easy, flexible way to authenticate users, based on different kinds of user access, credentials provided or application demands.

Troubleshooting XenDeskop Slow Logons with HDX Data

The updated script presented in this blog, now covers the entire logon process, from the moment the user clicks on the published resource until the Desktop is available. The new module works by querying the XenDesktop Monitor service via OData API. The Windows session ID is translated to a XenDesktop SessionKey which is used in the OData API query.

Deploying Citrix Apps & Desktops: Resource Location Blueprint

How to deploy the Citrix Lifecycle Management Apps & Desktops: Resource Location & Service Setup Blueprint to create a Resource Location in your Amazon Web Services account for use with Citrix Workspace Cloud Apps & Desktops service.

Application Virtualization vs Application Layering

Marius covers the difference between two very popular solutions for application deployment, namely application virtualization and application layering.

Whats New in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8

A quick guide detailing the new features introduced in XA/XD 7.8

Support Articles/Security Bulletins

Events/Webinars

Mar 2 Master Class: Back to basics: Server Load Balancing on NetScaler and Admin partitions
Live technical webinars to learn about the most critical elements of cloud infrastructures and enterprise datacenter architectures.

Register Now 

Mar 8 Solution Webinar: What’s New in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.7 and 7.8

Join us as we dive into the latest updates to see how we are simplifying application management, expanding our Microsoft Integration, and improving the user experience.

Register Now 

Mar 9 Master Class: EMM for Windows 10 and the latest Citrix XenMobile MDX features

Please join our technology experts for another deep-dive session on XenMobile as they cover Windows 10 MDM/MAM, shared devices and shared apps, MDX containerization, MDX app integrations using the SDK, working with MDX app policies and SSO capabilities with MDX.

Register Now 

Oct 2015 – Mar 2016 Seminars: From vulnerable to secure: Strategies to mitigate mobile security threats

Join us at a city near you for a mobile and virtualization security focused complimentary luncheon, filled with use case scenarios and live demos, to learn how you can protect apps and data and mitigate security threats with Citrix.

Register in a city near you

Mar – Apr 2016 Seminars: Q1 NetScaler Master Class Seminar Series

Join us at a city near you for an in-person master class covering best practices for installing and securing your website with Citrix NetScaler and a deep dive on the role that NetScaler plays in SDN.

Register in a city near you

Mar – May 2016 Seminars: Cisco on the Road (Formerly Cisco Live Local Edition; Cisco Tech Days)

One day educational and training event, organized by Cisco Enterprise, Commercial and Public Sector Teams. Customer attendance rate ranges from 100-500 attendees per event, in which 80% are Technical Contributors and the rest 20% are in IT Management, Sr. Management and Executives

Register in a city near you

DEMINARS

Every Tuesday and Thursday Deminars: Intro to Citrix Mobile Workspaces

Join us for an interactive, technical session on the benefits and capabilities of Citrix Workspace Suite in these demo-focused webinars.  Each session will begin with a valuable use case review that you do not want to miss! Register now to select the date that works best for you.
Register Now: Tuesday SessionThursday Session  |  Contact for More Info

Every Wednesday Deminars: Intro to Citrix NetScaler

Join us for an interactive, technical session on the benefits and capabilities of Citrix NetScaler in these demo-focused webinars.  Register now to select the date that works best for you.
Register Now: Wednesday Session  |  Contact for More Info

On Demand  |  Year to date

Jan 12 Solution Webinar: Secure Remote Access to Windows, Web and SaaS Apps

Register Now 

Jan 14 SDN Update: Customer Strategies for Software Defined Everything

Register Now 

Jan 20 Desktop Master Class: What’s New with XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7

Register Now 

Jan 22 Live Stream Webinar: Citrix Networking Field Day 11

Register Now 

Jan 27 Mobility Master Class: What’s New in Citrix XenMobile

Register Now 

Feb 3 Master Class: Back to basics: setting up your first NetScaler + NetScaler 11: New feature release

Register Now 

Feb 18 Solution Webinar: How SD-WAN helps with application delivery

Register Now 

 

 

 

 

 

Step by step guide on configuring the Rasperry Pi to deliver Citrix Apps and Desktops to your End Users!

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Why The Raspberry Pi?

In working with my customers over the years, end point management is something most struggle with to this day. Some choose to still provide their end users with fat clients, having to figure out how to manage the operating system and applications while making sure the device is secure. This tends to be a daunting challenge both from an operational and financial perspective. Others choose to leverage thin clients when possible but struggle in deciding what the right device is from a price and functionality pespective. A lot of times, they spend upwards of $500 on these thin clients, which still run a Windows Embedded OS that still needs to be managed and in some ways defeats the purpose of a thin client. While this is not true in every case, I would say that the end point management dillema is one of the biggest factors in virtualization initiatives stalling at my enterprise customers.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been taking a closer look at the Rapsberry Pi. For those of you not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, I would highly recommend you check this out. While the use cases for the Pi are immense, what peaked my curiosity were recent blogs by Martin Rowan and Trond Eirik Haavarstein around how they leveraged the Pi as a thin client replacement for Citrix workloads.

Now before we go further, its important to understand why this was interest to me. First off, the device can be made highly secure by running stripped down Linux OS. Secondly, a Raspberry Pi 2 costs roughly $35. Tack on a case and adequate storage, the device is still under $50. So if there was a way to effectively deliver Citrix workloads leveraging this device, this would be the cheapest thin client out there! Not to mention a simple support and maintenance strategy, GET A NEW ONE! 🙂

How Does One Get Started?

I decided to get myself a Raspberry Pi 2 and give it a test run. I ordered the Vilros Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit off of Amazon for around $55 (its around $70 now but price fluctuates). I would highly recommend going for a starter kit, either the one I got or the even more popular Canakit as these include everything you’ll need including wi fi adapter, case, hdmi cable, heat sinks, storage, power adapter etc. I also ordered a couple of additional micro SD cards. I wanted to have different OS builds on each of the cards, making it easy for me to showcase different solutions by just switching the micro SD cards on the Pi.

I looked at ThinLinx, Raspian Jessie and the Raspberry Pi Thin Client Project as potential options, but decided to start with ThinLinx and Raspbian Jessie. Before you get started, I highly recommend you read the this blog by Eric on Running Citrix workloads on ThinLinx and this blog by Martin Rowan on configuring and optimizing Citrix Receiver on Raspbian Jessie.

Approach 1: ThinLinx

Lets start with the ThinLinx build. ThinLinx OS (TLXOS) helps make effective thin clients out of old PC’s, Intel Compute Stick, Intel NUC and Raspberry Pi. TLXOS supports various protocols including Citrix HDX, RemoteFX 8.1, RDP. Intel showcased their NUC devices running ThinLinx at Citrix Summit this year. Check out the video. In addition Rachel Berry wrote an excellent blog about how Citrix leveraged Intel NUCs running ThinLinx for our Demos and Labs at Citrix Synergy 2015.

The process is as follows:

  • Go to this website and download the TLXOS Installer for Raspberry Pi.
  • Connect your micro SD card to your PC and run the TLXOS installer. This will format your micro SD card and copy the TLXOS image on the card.
  • From the same website mentioned above, download the ThinLinx Management Software (TMS) and install the software on a windows test machine. This is fairly lightweight software and can run on a VM as well.
  • Insert the micro SD card with TLXOS into the Raspberry PI and start it up.
  • Run the TMS app on your PC, which will detect the PI running TLXOS. You can configure the PI running through the management software.
  • In my case, I used TMS to make sure Citrix HDX is selected under the “Protocol” section. You could also choose “Web” and run in Kiosk mode if you’d like user to connect in that manner. You can also speficy a name for the device, upgrade software on the device, push SSL certs (required if your backend resources are running internal certs) etc.
  • On the PI, specify the Native Receiver URL. You will then be prompted for your credentials. Once thats set, you are good to go! You should see your apps and desktops, which you can then launch.

Video showcasing Citrix on a Raspberry Pi 2 running TLXOS

My Thoughts on the ThinLinx Option.

ThinLinx adds about $10 to the cost of the solution, bringing it to $69 in my case. However that is still a lot cheaper than your main stream thin clients. In addition, you get complete management capabilities which is absolutely necessary in an Enterprise environment. TLXOS was extremely easy to get going and the functionality was superb both for regular compute and for multimedia. The Citrix HDX protocol on TLXOS supports H264 decode upto 30 fps at 1080p resolution. There was no tinkering to get receiver to work. It just worked! I did notice some artifacts with the mouse cursor (as you might notice in the video) but not all the time. Overall I was very pleased with the simplicity of the solution and the overall performance of Citrix Workloads on TLXOS.

Approach 2: Raspbian Jessie

Raspbian OS is based off of Debian Linux. Jessie is the current version. There are two versions available for the PI – a full desktop image and a minimal image. I went with the full image for my tests. The Raspbian Jessie solution that I tested was unmanaged, unlike ThinLinx. So I had to install the OS, install receiver, tweak parameters to optimize performance etc. Nonetheless, the end result was a great performing thin client. I followed Martin Rowan’s blog for the various tweaks. I will try and outline them once again but wanted to call out that the tweaks were from his blog. So here are the steps:

  • Download the Raspbian Jessie full desktop image from this link.
  • Download Win32DiskImager and install on your system
  • Extract the Raspbian Jessie Image from the zip file
  • Connect your micro SD card to your PC
  • Run Win32DiskImager and use the extracted image as your source and the micro SD as your destination. This will format and copy the Raspian Jessie image on the SD card.
  • At this point, remove the SD card from your PC and plug it into the Pi and boot the Pi.
  • Run the following optimization commands in Raspbian Jessie. Once again, read Martin’s blog for more details.
    • Expand Filesystem
      • Run sudo raspi-config and select option “1 Expand Filesystem“. Reboot the Pi.
    • Run sudo raspi-config and select option “4 Wait for Network at Boot“, then select the option for “Slow Wait for network connection before completing boot“.
  • Install Citrix Receiver for ARM
    • Download Citrix Receiver for ARM (ARMHF) from the following link (under Debian packages)
    • Also download the USB Support package (ARMHF)
    • Install the Receiver: sudo gdebi icaclient_13.2.0.322243_armhf.deb
    • Install the USB Support package: sudo gdebi ctxusb_2.5.322243_armhf.deb
    • Further Optimizations (Optional)
      • Increase Frame Buffer – Section 2.1 in Martin’s blog
      • Switch to using libjpeg62-turbo – Section 2.2 in Martin’s blog
      • Disable H264 Graphics – Section 2.3 in Martin’s blog
      • Disable Mulimedia (HDX Mediastream redirection) – Section 2.4 on Martin’s blog.
      • Overclock your Pi – Run raspi-config to overclock your Pi and get some additional juice.
    • Start Receiver and specify URL to connect to your Citrix Storefront server. At this point you will be prompted for credentials.
    • Now you will have access to your desktops and apps.
  • I did run into an issue with Audio being routed over HDMI and not the headphone jack. To switch this back to the headphone jack, follow the instructions here

Video showcasing Citrix on a Raspberry Pi 2 running Raspian Jessie

Thoughts on Raspbian Jessie

My experience so far with Raspbian Jessie has been good. A little more tweaking and hacking as compared to ThinLinx, which worked out of the box. You get to install the latest receiver though. General performance for productivity apps was great and on par with ThinLinx. The boot was a lot faster than ThinLinx (<10 seconds).

Final thoughts based on testing so far

Is the Rasperry Pi a good solution for all use cases at the moment? Probably not. Does it fit a majority of the use cases? I would say so based on the testing so far. There are definitely some gaps, like having a power button perhaps (hopefully in Raspberry Pi 3), multi montor support to name a couple. Another major requirement for most organizations out there is Unified Communications, and in most cases, its Skype For Business. Citrix has excelled in supporting Lync and now Skype for Business in a virtualized environment while offering a native-like user experience with out of band peer to peer communication as far as voice and video traffic goes. Watch this video which compares the native vs optimized user experience side by side. One of the pieces that makes this possible is the Real Time Media Engine (RTME) which is installed on the client. Today, there is no RTME client for the ARM processor. You can still support Sype but all the processing will occur on the backend servers. I am sure an ARM based RTME client is on the list of good to have’s for Citrix and its probably just a matter of time, especially with the rapid popularity of ARM based devices like the Pi and Intel Compute Sticks. Hoping my friend and fellow citrite Scott Lane will work some magic to make this happen 🙂 Read this blog by Chris Fleck on why he believes the Raspberry Pi could totally disrupt the PC industry. I tend to agree with Chris.

Whats Next?

I will soon be testing the Raspberry Pi Thin Client Project, specifically the 1.99 release which has Citrix Receiver 13.3 bundled in. I hope to have a follow up blog on this. On the fun side, I plan to build an Arcade Machine for my kids based on the Pi and perhaps even a media center, although I really love my Roku 🙂 Check out some of the fun projects out there based on the Pi. As always I look forward to everyone’s feedback and do comment if you have ideas on future blog topics.

More soon..

George

Citrix Monthly Newsletter – January ’16

General Announcements and News

Citrix Appoints Kirill Tatarinov as President and CEO

Citrix announced that Kirill Tatarinov has been appointed President and CEO, effective January 25, 2016. A veteran Microsoft executive, Mr. Tatarinov will also join the Citrix Board as a director at that time.

Citrix Acquires Comtrade’s SCOM Management Packs IP

The acquisition of Comtrade’s management packs for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) provides Citrix users with comprehensive, end-to-end monitoring, delivering single pane of glass visibility into the entire Citrix desktop virtualization, network and mobility environment. Customers can proactively monitor the quality of the Citrix end user experience and infrastructure health performance across market-leading products, such as XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile and NetScaler, all while leveraging the existing monitoring platform.

Citrix and Microsoft Unveil “v2” Solution for Skype for Business

HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0 delivers a truly native Skype for Business UI experience. And it adds numerous features to what was previously available in version 1.8. HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0 is more than just a technology solution. Citrix and Microsoft provide a joint support model for this solution. And each vendor can open trouble tickets with the other vendor as needed.

Our Best Platinum Edition for XenApp and XenDeskop Yet!

This blog post focuses on rolling up today’s keynote announcements that specifically add new value to XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum editions – and by extension, the Citrix Workspace Suite. Collectively, they raise the bar even higher on simplifying the management and delivery of apps, and monitoring and optimizing app, desktop and user performance, and provide compelling reasons to upgrade to our most value-packed edition ever.

Citrix Makes XenApp/XenDesktop & Workspace Cloud Annoucements

Citrix has made several announcements at the company’s Summit, all of which are focused on their XenApp/XenDesktop and Workspace Cloud product lines, offering new features and packages for large enterprises and channel partners.

Mobile payments will account for a third of consumer-to-business transactions in 2016, says Citrix

In a series of predictions for 2016 Mikko Disini, director Product Marketing at Citrix, examines the pace of change in network functions virtualisation (NFV), security and mobile payments.

Chalan Aras Explains Why Company is Uniquely Positioned for SD-WAN

This year should see the mass-market adoption of SD-WAN, a technology that meets the needs of today’s applications by providing large and reliable bandwidth. Citrix has a unique slant on all this, Aras said, given it has offerings and expertise both on the enterprise application front and in terms of Layer 4 through 7 networking products.

Collaboration: With Citrix ShareFile & Microsoft Office Online, It’s Simple

Citrix ShareFile is always looking for new ways to integrate with the intention of increasing the value we bring to our customers. In today’s world, collaboration is the key to getting many tasks done. Citrix recognizes this, and that’s why many Citrix ShareFile customers are taking advantage of the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents directly from the web application through our Microsoft Office Online integration, announced earlier this year (part of Microsoft’s Cloud Storage Partner Program).

Citrix Call Home Technology Preview

Citrix introduced the Call Home (v1) technology in the XenApp 7.6.300 VDA in Sep 2015 to collect a core set of diagnostic data for troubleshooting. This version required manual interaction to upload information to the Citrix Insight Services. Manually interacting with each VDA does not scale for large deployments and forces administrators to develop their own strategies to trigger uploads. This Tech Preview release offers automated scheduled uploads to alleviate this pain-point.

A Running Start for XenServer in 2016

The year started with a significant XenServer product release (v6.5) containing, amongst other things, new product editions, some new features and a raft of performance and scalability improvements. XenApp customers (license holders) were also, for the first time, entitled to use XenServer features without needing a XenDesktop license. Now, all Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop customers have access to licensed and supported XenServer features as a part of their existing Citrix license agreements.

Citrix Workspace Cloud: Broader Reach, New Pricing, Updated Packages

Citrix Workspace Cloud offers the simplest, fastest, and most flexible way to deliver secure mobile workspaces on the market today. Customers offered feedback in how we can improve our pricing and package options. So later in Q1 you’ll see Citrix decrease the annual subscription price for ourVirtual Apps and Desktops package, as well as a reduced price to our Integrated Apps and Data Suite package.

Citrix NetScaler CPX a Lightweight Alternative for Cloud Providers

Citrix NetScaler, a full-fledged application delivery controller (ADC) has recently introduced a new, lighter version of itself. Made to fit in small-scale cloud applications and container-style deployments, the new CPX is a micro-form of NetScaler.

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

Deep Dive: XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 Zones

One of the new features of the 7.7 release of XenApp and XenDesktop is the ability to define ‘zones’ in a site and to place elements from the site into different zones. The motivation behind this feature is described in a separate blog, but this article goes a little deeper into how this all works and what the implications are when you put items such as controllers, hypervisor connections and catalogs into zones.

Deploying NetScaler Gateway in ICA Proxy Mode

This document takes the user through the steps of configuring a NetScaler Gateway and Storefront for a XenApp/XenDesktop VDI solution. The document first describes the steps for configuring the NetScaler Gateway component and then, for configuring the Storefront.

Desktop Notification Tool For Citrix XenDesktop

With Director 7.7, XenDesktop administrators have the capability of configuring policies and conditions that will alert administrators when the configured threshold has reached in the XenDesktop 7.7 environment.

Setting up XenDesktop 7.7 against Microsoft Azure

Setting up integration between XenDesktop and Microsoft Azure  is now a supported integration in 7.7. This integration allow us to provision virtual machines directly from Studio.

How to Deploy Skype for Business & Lync 2013 in VDI Environment

With the release of the Feature Pack 2 for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6, we now support audio and video optimization for Microsoft Skype for Business and 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. The latest revision of the Optimization Pack adds support for MAC endpoints in addition to our support for Windows endpoints and 32 bit Linux endpoints.

Integrating Citrix XenMobile with Azure Active Directory

With the release of Citrix XenMobile 10.3, we are providing integration with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to modernize enterprise mobility on Windows 10. With this integration, we are simplifying the MDM enrollment flow for Windows 10 devices. When a user joins their Windows 10 device to Azure AD, it will automatically be enrolled with a management server (i.e. Citrix XenMobile).

SSO to Office365 with NetScaler Unified Gateway

This blogpost shows you how-to configure Office365 as a SaaS Application in a Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway. We will also make use of a SAML Based Authentication to realize a Single Sign-On experience. To get this working it is necessary that your Office365 Account is configured as a SAML Service Provider.

Director 7.7: Managing and Configuring Alerts & Notifications Using Powershell

With Director 7.7, you have the capability of configuring policies and conditions that will alert you when the configured threshold is breached in a XenDesktop 7.7 environment. This post will help you configure your proactive alerts and notifications using the POSH cmdlets.

Proactive Troubleshooting & Predictive Trending with Director 7.7

It may be difficult for admins to constantly monitor the Director console for issues, but it’s important, as problems can arise at any point in time. So, what can we do? Using the Proactive Notifications and Alerts feature, not only an administrator can be notified when an issue arises, he can proactively look for warning signs by configuring thresholds and severity against conditions.

XenMobile Security Considerations

Over the course of the last year or so, I have been hearing IT organizations of all shapes and sizes focused more and more on one key concept … SECURITY! If your organization is like many of those we have been working with lately, you are probably wondering which of those knobs to turn and checkboxes to select so that your XenMobile deployment is ‘secure’. Or maybe you just want to know what other customers are doing on this front and what you should be thinking about.

Turbo Charging Performance with PVS 7.7

We snuck something into the 7.7 code that can really improve target device streaming.  And it’s not like streaming performance was poor before, it’s just better now. Why? The key PVS driver, which takes over after the bootstrap, is now optimized for multi-core systems.

SCOM Alerts in Citrix Director

With Director 7.7, you can view the alerts from SCOM server for various management packs on director. This will help the XenDesktop admins to manage the infrastructure on which the XenDesktop is built upon without needing to go to another console like operations manager console.

Support Articles/Security Bulletins

XenApp and XenDesktop Servicing Options (LTSR) FAQ
Lync/Skype Autodiscovery Support – HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.8
How to Install XenDesktop/XenApp 7.x Controller Hotfixes
XenApp Servers Do Not Start Automatically After Disabling Maintenance Mode on Delivery Group
XenMobile Enterprise set up in double-hop DMZ deployment.
XenMobile 10.3: How can VPP apps be installed on devices without having Apple id configured.
Webcams Not Working in XenDesktop, Being Redirected as Optimized USB
FAQ: Connection Leasing in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6
How do I Configure HDX Insight?
How-To Configure NetScaler to do Content Switching to LoadBalance DNS Requests to different DNS Servers based on Domain Name’s
How to Configure LDAP Authentication on NetScaler
How to Create a New Citrix Account ID/Org ID

Upcoming Events

2016 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition (Mar 29 – Apr 4, 2016) – Register Now
Citrix TechEdge (May 23, 2016) – Register Now
Chicago User Group Community (Feb 4, 2016) – Register Now
Netscaler Master Class (Feb 3rd, 2016) – Register Now
5 Things VMware Doesn’t Want You to Know About Horizon View…(Feb 11, 2016) – Register Now
XenApp and XenDesktop Tech Update (Feb 17, 2016) – Register Now
Delivering Apps as a Service Courtesy of Central IT (Feb 25, 2016) – Register Now
Secure Remote Access to Windows, Web and SaaS Apps (Recorded) – Register Now
Desktop and Apps Master Class – January (Recorded) – Register Now
SDN Update: Customer Strategies for Software Defined Everything (Recorded) – Register Now

Citrix Newsletter – September ’15

General Announcements

Citrix Unveils Free Cloud-based Service to Migrate VMware Horizon View Customers to Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop

For VMware customers under pressure to improve their app and desktop  experience, gain greater infrastructure flexibility and simplify end user computing management, Citrix is introducing a free cloud-based service to migrate VMware Horizon View virtual app and desktop deployments to XenApp and XenDesktop. Powered by the new Citrix Lifecycle Management Service – now available from Citrix Workspace Cloud – the new service enables administrators to do an in-place migration in less than 15 minutes by easily exporting application and desktop settings from Horizon View into the Citrix app and desktop delivery solution. The creation of the migration service addresses numerous requests Citrix has received to salvage failed, stalled and small VMware VDI deployments.

Citrix Delivers Cloud Simplicity without Sacrificing IT Control

At Synergy, Citrix previewed Citrix Workspace Cloud, showing the first cloud platform that will enable IT to cope with the increasing pressure to provide IT resources on demand to their user community. Citrix Workspace Cloud enables business productivity by providing IT with the fastest and easiest way to manage and securely deliver apps and data from their choice of cloud or hybrid infrastructure. After enabling thousands of channel partners and customers to test-drive the product, and after providing early access to trial customers, Citrix is making Workspace Cloud generally available with service packages available for production deployments.

Citrix Lifecycle Management: A step by step walk through of an automated deployment on ANY cloud! 

Citrix Lifecycle Management (CLM) provides customers and partners alike an orchestration and automation engine that they can use to build an end to end infrastructure that meets industry and their own best practices on ANY cloud.It also helps you manage and monitor the environment as well as conduct operational tasks and upgrades.

What is truly great about this solution is that CLM is not limited to deploying Citrix infrastructure. It can be used to deploy Microsoft infrastructure (AD, SQL etc), partner solutions (Atlantis USX, LoginVSI, Xangati etc) in addition to Citrix infrastructure (XenApp/XenDesktop/Netscaler/Storefront etc). There are various blueprints that are already pre populated and the list will continue to grow. In addition customers and partners can create their own blueprints based on their own best practice. Because blueprints are leveraged, deployments are easily reproducible and error free. For instance, a senior architect could develop a complex blueprint and then once complete, hand off to a junior resource who could very easily deploy the same blueprint anywhere he pleases with consistent results. From a partner perspective, this makes deployment of solutions extremely simple and consulting engagements and proof of concepts should end up being much more successful and predictable.

Citrix Named a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing Market

Citrix announced that Gartner, Inc. has positioned Citrix in the leaders’ quadrant of the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) report1 for the second year in a row for its EFSS ShareFile® product solution. ShareFile’s integration with other products in the Citrix portfolio, provides flexibility and security via Restricted StorageZones, as well as extensive support for back-end integration which enables a hybrid EFSS architecture.

Citrix Accelerates Windows 10 Adoption and Simplifies Migrations for Microsoft Customers

Citrix announced products and tools to help Microsoft customers accelerate the adoption of Windows 10 and simplify migrations to the new operating system. As people start using personal or corporate Windows 10 laptops and tablets for work, they will need to access core Windows business applications. Citrix app and desktop virtualization software and migration tools enable partners and IT organizations to deliver immediate access to core business applications on new Windows 10 PCs and tablets, simplify the rollout of Windows 10 desktops and streamline the business app migration process. Operating system upgrades like Windows 10 serve as an ideal time to embrace app and desktop virtualization as a long-term strategy to improve the management, security and performance of Windows apps and desktops.

Citrix Named a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management for the Fourth Consecutive Year

Citrix today announced that Gartner, Inc. has positioned Citrix in the Leaders quadrant of the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Suites report[1] for the fourth consecutive year. The report evaluated XenMobile® enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution, the most comprehensive and flexible solution for managing apps, data and devices with a broad set of business optimized mobile apps.

Nutanix Verified as Citrix Ready for Citrix Workspace Cloud!

Citrix and Nutanix have many joint customers already that are using XenApp and XenDesktop with Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure. Citrix Ready for Workspace Cloud extends that capability to enable customers to use the management service in Workspace Cloud to design, deploy and manage apps and desktops that are running in their datacenters on Nutanix. This will help accelerate customer time to value, and drive even greater efficiencies and success with app and desktop delivery projects.

Citrix Offers Digital Badges to Distinguish Certified Citrix Professionals

Citrix Education continues to be a leader in the IT certification space, bringing to market new and innovative ways to measure relevant and in-demand skills, while connecting talents with opportunities and businesses with the talents they need. Our track record dates back to 2003 when we debuted one of the most innovative hands-on certification exams: the CCIA 612 lab exam. Today, we take another step forward by offering our certification holders with a new, in-demand and highly valuable service for free.

We are pleased to announce the official launch of the Citrix certification digital badging initiative, a project we piloted with success earlier this year.

Delivering Cloud Workspaces: Choice Matters

Today, we must demand of our software vendors that they support true, multi-platform hybrid clouds. And conversely, we must question why an ISV like VMware would claim all you need is “one cloud” Why? Citrix believes customers and partners want to support any application, available on any device, delivered from any cloud or even any infrastructure. After all, the ability to support multiple cloud  fulfills on the promise of hybrid cloud and multicloud computing. And at Citrix, this degree of choice and flexibility is core to our philosophy.

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

Citrix Workspace Cloud Browser Apps Service: Remote Access Without Compromise

Citrix introduced its first Workspace Cloud Labs service, the Workspace Cloud Browser Apps Service which offers a simple, secure, way to deliver high performance remote access to any internal or external web application. The Browser Apps Service offers secure remote access without compromise and is the fastest way to securely deliver Web and SaaS apps to end users.

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).

Using Content Switching Policies with NetScaler Gateway for Legacy Citrix Clients

They age-old problem of Legacy Citrix Receiver client access through a common NetScaler Gateway has now been solved! Starting with NetScaler 10.5 Build 51.1017.e+, you can now can create and bind Content Switching Policies directly to NetScaler Gateway VServers. Connections destined for the Gateway are terminated and processed as normal, but before any actions are invoked on the session, the policy engine checks to see if any Content Switching policies are bound which may apply. If the conditions defined in the policy are satisfied, connections are sent to the target Load Balancing VServers defined in the applicable Content Switching Policy action.

Installing the Linux VDA on Red Hat or CentOS 6

This is a step-by-step guide to setting up a machine on which to install the Linux VDA, and aimed at helping existing Windows admins with no Linux experience get up and running quickly.

How to Enable/Disable HDX Session Idle & Disconnect Timers on Linux VDA

The Linux VDA supports idle timers for controlling how long a HDX session can remain idle before being disconnected, and disconnect timers for controlling how long a session can remain disconnected before being terminated. When an idle timer expires for a session, due to no user interaction with that session, the user will receive a warning dialog informing them that they are going to be disconnected in five minutes.These timers are not enabled by default, implying sessions can remain in the idle or disconnected state indefinitely. We’re going to talk about how to enable, configure and disable idle/disconnect timers on the Linux VDA.

Citrix Customization Cookbook

This blog by Richard Hayton is a ‘cookbook’ of customization queries and requests that he’s had since the release of StoreFront 3.0, together with some worked examples.  For each question, he has provided some explaination together with some javascript and/or css examples. The javascript should always be added to the custom\script.js file – for example.

Global Server Load Balancing: Part 1

In this two-part blog post, Chris Zhang from Citrix Consulting Services will talk about the Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) feature provided by the NetScaler. In Part 1, he examines DNS name resolution process, as GSLB is DNS based load balancing. In Part 2, he will take a look at implementation details on the NetScaler.

Radically Simplify Management of Citrix Workloads and Enterprise Application Lifecycles

IT administrators are realizing that application deployments are getting more complex and error-prone than ever before. Additionally, the deployment of Citrix workloads and enterprise applications is only the first step in the lifecycle of applications. Once the workloads are deployed, IT administrators must continuously monitor the health of the workloads to ensure they are running at optimum performance, can scale efficiently to meet changing demands and are always available to end users even in case of application component or environment failures. What if there were an integrated application service lifecycle management solution that empowers IT to streamline design, deployment and management of a broad array of application workloads across hypervisor or cloud environments, all through a single integrated console? Now there is! We are excited to announce the General Availability of Citrix Lifecycle Management!

Accurately checking the Citrix PVS “cache in Ram, Overflow to disk” RAM cache size

Andrew Morgan (CTP) details a method to determine the cache in RAM size consumed in a PVS deployment

New Use Cases for Framehawk

The recently released NetScaler Gateway 11 Maintenance Release 1 (11.0-62.10) not only offers valuable quality improvements, it adds support for the new UDP-based Framehawk virtual channel.

Got Framehawk? We’ve Got Remote Access Tips and Tricks!

Framehawk support was recently extended to remote mobile users with the release of NetScaler Gateway 11.0.62, and the new 6.0 release of Citrix Receiver for iOS added Framehawk support. Framehawk uses UDP for executing much of its magic, which works a bit differently from the TCP. This blog is a collection of some of the quick and dirty tips and tricks learned in the field, to help accelerate Framehawk proof-of-concept tests.

Utilizing the Power of Citrix Workspace Suite on vSphere 6

To help you get started with a new deployment of Citrix Workspace Suite, the Citrix Solutions Lab has created a starter guide called the “Citrix Workspace Suite Reference Architecture” on vSphere 6 that is detailed in this blog.

Using Octoblu to Enable the Storefront Workflow Approval Process

This is going to be more of a general overview of the process and a high level How-To technical article so we can show you how to get up and running with the Storefront/Octoblu integration. The scenario is that we have a set of applications, that we would like to display to all users but, only grant access when the user requests the application. A typical approval workflow that workflow engines handle.

How to Deploy Skype for Business & Lync 2013 in VDI Environment

With the release of the Feature Pack 2 for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6, we now support audio and video optimization for Microsoft Skype for Business and 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. The latest revision of the Optimization Pack adds support for MAC endpoints in addition to our support for Windows endpoints and 32 bit Linux endpoints.

Support Articles/Security Bulletins

Worker Groups Not Updating from Active Directory Organizational Unit

How to Install XenDesktop/XenApp 7.x Controller Hotfixes

Session Timeout are Not Applied on StoreFront Servers

WorxWeb Prompts for Authentication Credentials When Worx PIN and SSO are Enabled

IMA and Zone Data Collector Communication

Accessing ICA RTT Metrics for Citrix HDX and XenDesktop and XenApp

How to have a new XenApp 6.5 imaged or provisioned server automatically join an exisiting farm

Nested Group Support for LDAP Search Filters

Troubleshooting Outlook Disconnection Issue Through NetScaler

When Load Balancing StoreFront on NetScaler all Connections Go to One Server in NetScaler Gateway Set Up

FAQ: Differentiate Between Two Configurations on a NetScaler

Citrix Receiver for iOS common settings reference

How to Set up an Automated Action to Notify User When Available Storage Space on Device is Less than X GB

FAQ: Poodle Vulnerability and its Impact on Secure Gateway

Hotfix XA650R06W2K8R2X64001 – For Citrix XenApp 6.5 for Windows Server 2008 R2 – English

Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.3 (14.3.1.1)

HDX MediaStream Hotfix HDXFlash1520WX64001 – For Citrix XenApp 7.6

Hotfix XS65ESP1010 – For XenServer 6.5.0 Service Pack 1

Upcoming Events

Aug 26 Solution Webinar: Innovative Enterprises Put Citrix XenApp and Google Chromebooks to Work

Join us for this webinar as we discuss innovative use cases and the continuing momentum of a Chrome and Citrix XenApp solution in a variety of organizations of any size.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Sept 4 Master Class: NetScaler 11. MR 1: The next installment, Receiver X1 and StoreFront, and Hardware Security modules

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

Product promoted: Citrix NetScaler

Feb – Sept 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

Product promoted: Citrix NetScaler, Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenMobile

 Jun – Sept Synergy Unplugged Event Series

Lunch and learn events that recap what was presented at Synergy including XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, Sharefile, Netscaler and more. See Register Now link for locations and dates.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Product promoted: Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop, XenMobile, Sharefile, NetScaler, Cloud

 July 29 – Sept What’s new with NetScaler Seminar Series

Lunch and learn events targeting networking professionals about the latest updates to our Citrix NetScaler product line including the top new features in NetScaler 11, Unified Gateway, and HDX Insight. Click the “register now” link for locations and dates.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Ongoing (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 (Every other Wednesday) 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 (Every other Wednesday) 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

 

 

 

 

Citrix Lifecycle Management: A step by step walk through of an automated deployment on ANY cloud!

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Citrix released Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) earlier this week. Most people I talk to agree that CWC is one of the most innovative solutions in the industry right now. You can read more about my thoughts on CWC here.

In this post, I want to focus on one of the components of CWC namely Citrix Lifecycle Management (CLM). CLM provides customers and partners alike an orchestration and automation engine that they can use to build an end to end infrastructure that meets industry and their own best practices on ANY cloud.It also helps you manage and monitor the environment as well as conduct operational tasks and upgrades.

What is truly great about this solution is that CLM is not limited to deploying Citrix infrastructure. It can be used to deploy Microsoft infrastructure (AD, SQL etc), partner solutions (Atlantis USX, LoginVSI, Xangati etc) in addition to Citrix infrastructure (XenApp/XenDesktop/Netscaler/Storefront etc). There are various blueprints that are already pre populated and the list will continue to grow. In addition customers and partners can create their own blueprints based on their own best practice. Because blueprints are leveraged, deployments are easily reproducible and error free. For instance, a senior architect could develop a complex blueprint and then once complete, hand off to a junior resource who could very easily deploy the same blueprint anywhere he pleases with consistent results. From a partner perspective, this makes deployment of solutions extremely simple and consulting engagements and proof of concepts should end up being much more successful and predictable.

In the next part of the blog, I would like to walk through an on premises deployment of an on premises XenDesktop POC that I built leveraging CLM.

Once you log into CLM. The first thing you want to do is to go ahead and define your resource zones. Today CLM supports the resource zones listed below. In my case, I leveraged an on premises XenServer 6.5 host.

Resource Zones

The next step in the process is to install the CLM connector on Windows Server 2012 R2 server. This is similar to a CWC deployment. The connector is what facilitates communication between the CLM orchestration engine and your resource zone. Once the connector is installed, you define the connection details for your host and you are all set. As you can see from the screenshots below, I defined two resource zones in my lab, both XenServers.

connector install

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 9.34.37 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 9.35.01 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 9.35.06 AM

Now that we have our resource zones, the next step is to go through the blueprint catalog and pick the one we want to deploy. As mentioned earlier, there is a pretty good list of blueprints already available and this list will continue to grow over time. Once you know the blueprint you’d like to use, you click the “+” symbol to add the blueprint to your library.

 

blueprint catalog For the purposes of my test, I used the XenApp and XenDesktop Proof of Concept Blueprint and added it to my library. The blueprints that I choose will show up under the “Design and Deploy” tab. Within “Design and Deploy” you now click on “Actions” next to the selected blueprint and choose “Deploy”. Note that you have the ability to edit, clone or share the blueprint if you want to. This will allow you to customize the blueprint as you please.

Design and Deploy

Once you hit “Deploy”, you are provided a description of the blueprint along with the various infrastructure components. After reviewing the details, click “Start Deployment Setup” and give the deployment a name. You can also choose an existing deployment profile if you’ve gone through this process before.

Deployment Overview

Deployment Name
As part of the template I chose, I have some additional options like providing a KMS Server address, configure a Netscaler, create a server VDI instance etc. I have stuck to the defaults for the test. I also specified the resource zone that I would like the solution to be deployed on.

Deployment-2

Next, you’ll see a pre deployment checklist based on the resource zone you selected. Review this carefully!! One of the key pieces to having this work properly is to make sure you have a Windows Server 2012 R2 template ready on your XS host. Below are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the image is sysprepped with the /generalize /shutdown /unattend options. Use the unattend file to provide login credentials among other things. A sample unattend file can be found here.
  • Make sure RDP access is enabled in the template
  • Make sure the Windows Firewall allows outbound connections on port 443
  • Install the latest XenServer tools and reboot the machine as many times as needed to ensure the process is complete.

Pre Deployment checklist

On the next screen, hit edit on each of the VMs and define the various parameters. Some of the key things you need to make sure include selecting the right VM template, NIC and providing the correct credentials. I have included screenshots for one of the VMs below.

vm1

vm2

vm3

vm4

vm5

 

After going through the configuration for each of the VM’s hit “Next” and provide additional configuration parameters in relation to the domain, XenDesktop and computer names. You can also import a config file to fill these parameters. Once complete, give the deployment profile a name and description.

Additional Parametes

profile name

On the next screen, review the configuration and hit “Deploy”. This starts the deployment process. If you look at your hypervisor host you will notice that VM’s being to get created.

Final Deploy Screen

Next click on the “Manage” tab and click on your current deployment to check the progress of the deployment. You will obtain a detailed breakdown of each step of the process.

Deployment progress

Deployment progress2You will also be notified via email as each VM is successfully created and also when the whole deployment is complete.

email1

 

email2

The entire process in my case took about 2 hours on really old hardware. I will be redoing this test in the coming weeks on much faster SSD drives to see how much time I can shave off.

In addition to allowing you to deploy solutions, CLM also has inbuilt monitoring and alerting. You get a snapshot of how the VMs are performing and you can also set thresholds for the alerts.

Monitoring

CLM also allows you to define operational tasks such as installing updates, running certain scripts etc right from within the CLM engine. These tasks can also be scheduled.

OPerations

You can also define rules for dynamically tearing down, scaling up and also failover/fallback rules with the CLM engine. In the future I plan to play around with these a little more.

Scale and Redundancy

Final Thoughts

I am truly excited about the potential this platform holds and the value it brings to customers and partners. CLM helps automate the deployment, manage and monitor the environment and tear down whether you want to deploy just within your datacenter, a public cloud, private cloud or a hybrid cloud. In other words it helps through the entire lifecycle of a deployment. The simplicity of the platform along with the blueprints ensures that you dont need to have expert level skills on any of the solutions to deploy the blueprints. I would encourage everyone to try it out. I am sure if you do, you will end up being just as impressed as I am today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chromebook + Citrix Receiver For The Win!

chrome1

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:

chrome-security

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

Chrome_Management

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

 

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