March 2016 archive

Citrix Monthly Newsletter – March ’16

General Announcement and News

Synergy Session Catalog Is Live

“Citrix Synergy is the premier industry conference on digital business transformation. Synergy provides attendees with the tools and confidence they need to say yes to workforce mobility, security and compliance, BYO, workplace redesign, hybrid cloud infrastructure—and whatever comes next. This year Synergy is in Las Vegas from May 24th-26th. Find out more about the various sessions, keynotes and hands on lab by reviewing our session catalog which is now live at citrixsynergy.com”

Driving Digital Transformation – Kirill Tatarinov, Citrix CEO

“Citrix is an enabler of digital transformation, helping customers in all industries to unlock their business potential. It has been terrific to hear resounding support for this mission in my many conversations with our customers and people around the world.”

Shelton Public Schools Saves Two Million Dollars Using Citrix Technology

“One of the most influential trends in education today is differentiated learning, whereby educators provide students with different pathways to learning in the same classroom. Shelton Public Schools, a K-12 school district in Western Connecticut, has addressed this trend by using Citrix technology to support the Google Chromebox computers that mount on the back of a monitor and retail for less than $200 – a fraction of the nearly $500 per device Shelton Public Schools would have had to spend on desktop computers for its classroom learning centers. ”

Citrix Radically Simplifies the Secure Delivery of Browser-based Apps

Citrix Secure Browser product family provides a quick, simple way for any IT organization – even those that have never used a Citrix product – to securely deliver web and SaaS applications to any modern browser. In minutes, an administrator can set up any web application to be securely delivered to any device, even internally hosted web apps, without intrusively installing anything on an employee’s device.”

Hospital CTO finds virtualization and security in Citrix

“As associate vice president and chief technology officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Sean Updegrove works to make sure his physicians get their patients’ health data safely, quickly and conveniently whether they’re on hospital rounds, at home or in the clinic. For this task, he chose Citrix technology for virtualization and security of the physician portals and workflows that transport data from Children’s Cerner Corp. EHR to clinicians as they move around the hospital.”

Biggest EMM Trends of 2015

” Serving as the “invisible middleman,” enterprise mobility management (EMM) gives IT and employees the tools and confidence they need to just say yes to workforce mobility. With empowering employees to work and collaborate the way they prefer as a baseline (hearkening back to today’s trend for organizations to adopt BYOD policies to let people use their own PCs and mobile devices for work), Citrix recently polled customers that deployed EMM in the cloud using XenMobile last year.”

iOS 9.3 – What’s In It For the Enterprise?

XenMobile provided same-day platform support for the release of iOS 9.3. With every new iOS release I’m always curious to see what’s in it for the enterprise and 9.3 doesn’t disappoint.

Citrix Unleashes Industry-First Integrated Platform for SD-WAN

Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) offers the reliability, visibility, control and flexibility businesses need today to address the demands placed by new bandwidth intensive applications on their wide area networks—and in 2016 there is strong momentum toward mainstream adoption. Citrix unveiled a complete solution for enterprises on this path: CloudBridge Enterprise Edition, a single platform with fully integrated WAN virtualization, WAN Optimization, enterprise-grade security, and end-to-end visibility.”

The Fastest PoC in the Cloud – XenApp in the Azure Marketplace

“I am pleased to announce that you can now try XenApp 7.8 in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. This offering is the latest addition to our already existing portfolio in the Azure Marketplace, which includes NetScaler VPX (BYOL) and ShareFile StorageZones Controller.”

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

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. My goal in this post is to cover the administrative aspects of application layering using Citrix AppDisks.

Remote PC Access for XenDesktop: Not Flashy, Just Fantastic

“With over 1,500+ customers and 500,000 systems actively enrolled and using Remote PC Access, it is gaining visibility everywhere as a valuable standard in deploying XenDesktop. And who wouldn’t adopt it? Combining the power of HDX, energy cost savings with Wake on LAN (WOL) and security provided by NetScaler, its simple deployment model appeals to every vertical and every customer size.”

Session Recording in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.8 Ensures Compliance & Productivity

“Session Recording, available in XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum Editions, allows administrators to record on-screen user session activity and play it back at a later time as required. It has been available for server-based desktops and published applications for some time, and now, VDI desktops are supported as well. Policy control and notification options provide flexibility to meet environment requirements and regulations.”

Configuring XenMobile Unified Gateway

“Where remote users needed to access their SaaS and Enterprise apps along with XenApp/XenDesktop published apps via their web browser, they used to launch the NetScaler Gateway’s URL. Post authentication if the AppController was integrated with StoreFront, they get access to apps published by AppController and StoreFront. Unified Gateway is integrated into NetScaler 11.0 release. When configured, Unified Gateway provides consolidation via one URL to access multiple secured services.”

Updated Guidance on PVS Ports and Threads

“Recently, I had a chance to talk with our PVS Sr. Architect Jeff Pinter-Parsons who led me to believe that we need to reevaluate the details surrounding this leading practice. Per our discussion, PVS is actually not using a standard threading model where each client gets it own port/thread much like a TFTP server does. Instead PVS has a listener for each port that receives a request and dumps it on a port specific thread pool. The threads in the pool process each request, one per thread. If there are more threads than cores, the leftover threads simply block. Adding more threads than CPU logical core is not going to help on performance.”

StoreFront Message Customization

“This is a newer version of a customization I wrote about last year. This version will work with StoreFront 3.0 and up. (Previous version StoreFront 3.0 Message Customization)”

Delete Local User Profile Folders on StoreFront Servers

“As many of you might be aware, the Citrix StoreFront authentication service provides an option for users to change their passwords when they expire. By default, this option is disabled when the authentication service is created, which prevents users from changing their passwords even if the passwords have expired. If you decide to enable this option in Citrix Receiver for Web, keep in mind that StoreFront creates a local user profile to check whether a user’s password is about to expire. Hence, sufficient disk space is required on the local disk of the StoreFront servers.”

Machine Learning with Octoblu and Microsoft Azure

Octoblu enables companies to create IoT services with secure realtime exchange of data. The services are built on open communications and management platform that supports a variety of protocols for physical devices to communicate seamlessly with each other, people, legacy applications, and cloud services. Through public, private, or hybrid clouds users can connect, design, process, and analyze the flow of information. All services have been designed to operate over a robust security and right management architecture.”

Support Articles/Security Bulletins

Events/Webinars

Webinars

Mar 30 Solution Webinar: Who’s driving your Windows 10 migration – employees or IT?

Join Citrix and Windows IT Pro contributor Theresa Miller to learn how to support employees on Windows 10 devices, cut the time and effort of application migration to a fraction of past projects, rollout standardized Windows 10 that’s easier to manage and update and measure your OS migration in hours (not months and even years).

Register Now 

Mar 30 Solution Webinar: What’s Your Biggest Worry with Windows 10 Migration?

Join us as we take a technical deep-dive into the tools built into XenApp and XenDesktop that you can use today to make this your best Windows migration ever and avoid the headaches of the past.

Register Now 

Seminars

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

Apr — June 2016 Seminars: Technical Demo Days

Join us in a city near you for a demo-driven, interactive technical seminar showcasing the entire Citrix story through dynamic “day in the life” end-to-end demonstrations across a range of devices.

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  

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

On Demand

Mar 2 Master Class: Back to basics: Server Load Balancing on NetScaler and Admin partitions

Register Now 

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

Register Now 

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

Register Now 

Mar 15 Solution Webinar: Deploying Skype for Business with Citrix NetScaler

Register Now 

Mar 23 Desktop Master Class: Browser Apps, Better Management and Brilliant Graphics

Register Now 

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

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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

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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