Category: Technology

Sites vs Zones in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x – Design Considerations When Choosing Between The Two

Introduction

Zones, a key design element that administrators and architects have learned to love in XenApp 6.5 was reintroduced in Xenapp and XenDesktop 7.7 FMA architecture. Prior to 7.7, building multiple sites was generally recommended when spanning multiple data centers or regions but now customers  now have the option of leveraging Zones. While Zones is a potential option, it might not always be the right option based on your situation. In this post, my goal is to review basic concepts around Sites and Zones and dig into design considerations to help choose between the two.

Primer on Sites and Zones

Sites

A site is what you define when you deploy XenApp or XenDesktop under the FMA architecture. It acts as a logical boundary with all objects defined being part of that site. It is also an administrative boundary. Each site has one or more delivery controllers and requires its own site configuration database. A site always have one primary zone defined by default. Sites can span multiple data centers and regions but there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration and we will review these a little later.

Zones

Zones are defined within a site to keep applications and desktops close to the user location while also simplifying administration by leveraging a single instance of Studio, Director and configuration database regardless of the number of zones. With zones, users in remote regions can get to their resources without having to traverse the WAN.

There are two types of zones – Primary zones and Satellite zones. Primary zones typically have two or more controllers and have the site configuration database locally whereas satellite zones can have a single controller or more. While similar, zones in the new FMA architecture in 7.x is not the same as XenApp 6.5. For instance, the concept of a zone data collector no longer exists.

With the introduction of Zone preference in conjunction with Optimal Gateway Routing, users can be homed to a specific zone when accessing their apps and desktops based on predefined conditions and rules. This greatly improves the user experience. Disaster recovery can also be handled intelligently.

For detailed information on Zones and Zone preference I would recommend you review the official documentation. Carl Stalhood has a very good blog on this topic as well.

There is also a great overview of Zone Preference in the XenDesktop 7.11 Master Class starting at the 58 minute mark.

When to use Sites

While zones simplifies overall administrative overheard and potentially infrastructure requirements, leveraging sites is a more prudent choice in certain scenarios. Lets look into these:

Latency

Latency will impact user performance. Latency and concurrent user requests should be taken into consideration and tested before deciding to use zones. See the chart above for different scenarios tested. There are two great blogs, one by Chris Gilbert and another by William Charnell on how latency affects brokering performance from satellite zones in XA/XD 7.7 where they collect metrics under various latency conditions. Definitely worth a read. However these metrics have improved significantly in 7.11 and above. In fact, 250 ms latency, XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 outperforms the 7.7 code at 90 ms. With 7.11 or later, users experience quicker brokering of resources, even with latency between a broker and the SQL server. The official citrix documentation covers latency and the impact on zones, registration storm impact and how this can be tuned in great detail.

Fault Domains

When we talk about large deployments with greater than 5000 users, it is best practice to break the environment down into smaller PODs. This helps split the enviroment into multiple fault domains such that when any of the pods are affected, only a small set of users are impacted if any. Even when all users connect in to a single datacenter, it is still beneficial to break the infrastructure down to multiple sites and PODs. Here are the slides from a great session at Synergy 2015 that covered the benefits of a POD based architecture. This blog is also worth a read.

Administrative Boundaries/Regulatory Compliance

For environments that require complete administrative isolation between different regions or business units, going with separate sites is recommended. While Role Based Access Control is available, it does not meet the needs of every customer. In addition I have worked with customers that have gone with multiple sites so as to isolate environments to meet compliance requirements such as PCI or regulated environments where upgrades are not as frequent.

While multiple sites requires additional infrastructure, the resources from the various PODs can be aggregated from a user access perspective. Monitoring and troubleshooting can also be simplified as Director can manage multiple sites. A number of the tasks can also be automated by leveraging script. Image management can be greatly simplified by leveraging PVS.

When to use Zones

When designing a XenApp/XenDesktop infrastructure for an environment with multiple datacenters with latency being a non factor (within acceptable limits), zones can certainly be an option. The number of users per satellite zone can play a factor when making that determination as discussed earlier. Fault tolerance should also be taken into account as all the zones share one common site configuration database and connectivity issues could impact all the users. The resources that users connect to can be controlled based on zone preference and failover. 

Using a combination of Sites and Zones is also an option. For instance if a customer environment is spread across the globe but also has multiple datacenters within each region, they could use Sites for each region and the leverage Zones for the datacenters within each region assuming low latency between the datacenters. This would help reduce the overall complexity and administrative overheard when compared to deploying a site per datacenter.

From The Field

Here is some feedback from Jason Samuel, one of our CTP‘s based on his experience.

“Most of my customers completed their migrations from 6.5 to 7.x when either zones weren’t available in FMA yet or was still new.  They went with a site per data center.  My bigger customers embraced localized pods within each datacenter itself.  This is often self contained pods built on HCI as the backend.  Application and image management is controlled through PowerShell scripts to help with administration of multiple sites.  Since these customers have been using this model for a few years now and it is a mature process for them, they continue with this approach.  My customers that are doing greenfield 7.x deployments are the ones that really consider zones vs. doing individual sites.”

Ryan Mcclure, Senior Architect at Citrix Systems had this to say: 

“So armed with this data and information, what should you do? Stick to multiple sites? Design with zones wherever possible? Some scenarios just beg for zones, while others are obvious use cases for sites/pods, but more commonly, both are technically viable and it is a matter of weighing the pros and cons. If your workload is mission critical and your deployment lives in one or two datacenters, multiple sites are probably a good option for you. They provide additional fault tolerance, shrink failure domains and increase flexibility during upgrades. If, on the other hand, you have a number of semi-well connected locations where application back-ends reside, one site per location may prove prohibitive from an administrative perspective. These sorts of deployments are where zones should really be considered. The combination of sites and zones also shouldn’t be overlooked. The geographic distribution cited above is one example, but sites and zones can also be combined to strike a balance between manageability and availability. Rather than all VDAs in a zone mapping to a single primary site, multiple primary sites can be deployed.

When the decision isn’t obvious, our most successful customers ask the same question:

“What are other customers in similar situations doing?”

The strategy around sites and zones definitely isn’t one size fits all, but up until now, most of our large enterprise customers have gravitated towards separate sites. Many do so based on their desire to shrink failure domains and minimize risk wherever possible. You may have even heard recommendations to skip zones because sites have been available longer in the FMA world. At the time, this recommendation may have made sense, but the IT space is as dynamic as ever and leading practices need to be updated with the times. Over the last few months, this trend around steering clear of zones has started to shift, and more customers are taking a hard look at how zones can help simplify environment management. In most scenarios, zones shouldn’t be viewed as a total replacement for sites, but if your deployment can be simplified and/or management streamlined by implementing zones where the make sense, now is the time to give them a good look.”

Final Thoughts

Zones in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.9+ is a welcome addition and offers greater flexibility when planning out deployments. However, it is not necessarily the solution for every use case as discussed above. Latency, number of users/location, concurrent logins etc need to be carefully considered before deciding whether to go with multiple sites or leverage zones instead.

 

 

 

Which Sessions Should I Attend at Citrix Synergy 2017? A Q&A approach!

 

Over the last couple of years I have been compiling a list of recommended synergy sessions  that I encourage my customers to attend. Since most attendees come with different objectives, coming up with a top 10 list didnt seem logical. So this year I decided to take a different approach and organize my picks based on the reasons why customers and partners have decided to attend Synergy.

My Top Picks Overall (In no specific order):

  • SYN301: XenApp and XenDesktop Tech Update: May 2017 edition

  • SYN134: Citrix Workspace User Experience

  • SYN412: StoreFront: top 10 lessons learned from the field

  • SYN102: Is it Time to Upgrade to XenApp 7.x?

  • SYN321: XenMobile Deployments

  • SYN330: Optimize and scale your XenApp and XenDesktop platform the CTP way

  • SYN303: Independent Citrix experts’ deep dive on Remote Graphics, user experience and GPUs

  • SYN316: Increase your security posture with Sharefile Enterprise

  • SYN115: Why should I use ShareFile if I already have Office 365?

  • SYN318: A to Z: best practices for delivering XenApp and XenDesktop from Microsoft Azure using Citrix Cloud

  • SYN103: XenApp and XenDesktop App Layering

  • SYN107: XenServer Tech Update

  • SYN111: What’s new with Citrix Cloud and what’s to come

  • SYN123: SD-WAN case study: How a XenApp customer improved application delivery to the branch

  • SYN118: What’s new with NetScaler ADC

  • SYN310: Powering the digital workspace using Citrix Cloud: a deep dive into architecture and configuration

  • SYN319: Securing devices, apps and data with XenMobile

  • SYN312: Authentication: deep dive on Citrix solutions

  • SYN712: Analysis of a hack: how to defend and protect with Citrix

  • SYN131: Citrix Workspace IoT

  • SYN127: Introducing Smart Tools for the Xen product family; faster POCs and efficient operations on-premises or in the cloud

  • SYN325: Automating NetScaler: talking NITRO with PowerShell

For existing XenApp/XenDesktop customers looking to optimize their environments and/or learn whats new:

  • SYN301: XenApp and XenDesktop Tech Update: May 2017 edition
  • SYN709: Monitoring the Citrix virtual workspace
  • SYN412: StoreFront: top 10 lessons learned from the field
  • SYN104: XenApp and XenDesktop: What’s new and roadmap
  • SYN103: XenApp and XenDesktop App Layering
  • SYN106: Fantastic four: the do’s, don’ts and lessons learned of Citrix implementations
  • SYN312: Authentication: deep dive on Citrix solutions
  • SYN111: What’s new with Citrix Cloud and what’s to come
  • SYN302: Keys to a successful XenApp and XenDesktop user experience
  • SYN102: Is it Time to Upgrade to XenApp 7.x?
  • SYN330: Optimize and scale your XenApp and XenDesktop platform the CTP way
    SYN706: Build a XenApp real-time session monitoring dashboard
  • SYN409: Overcoming challenges in a double-hop XenApp session
  • LAB609: Deploying Workspace Environment Management for XenApp and XenDesktop
  • LAB613: Configuring ShareFile in a Citrix environment
  • SYN303: Independent Citrix experts’ deep dive on Remote Graphics, user experience and GPUs
  • LAB610: Gain end-to-end insight and control with NetScaler Management & Analytics System

For attendees curious about how Citrix complements Microsoft Azure and O365:

  • SYN115: Why should I use ShareFile if I already have Office 365?
  • SYN318: A to Z: best practices for delivering XenApp and XenDesktop from Microsoft Azure using Citrix Cloud

For Microsoft Intune customers looking to see how XenMobile can complement their existing solution:

  • SYN415: XenMobile Essentials for Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • SYN116: Admin and end user experience with XenMobile Essentials for Enterprise Mobility Suite

For attendees who would like to learn more about Sharefile, and how it compares with other solutions:

  • SYN316: Increase your security posture: deep dive on ShareFile security and compliance
  • SYN314: Extend existing storage investments with ShareFile
  • SYN702: Why choose ShareFile over Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, Syncplicity, and other EFSS vendors

If you are new to Citrix App Layering:

  • SYN103: XenApp and XenDesktop App Layering
  • LAB611: Installing and configuring application layering

Interested in learning more about Citrix Cloud:

  • LAB605: Deploying and configuring XenApp and XenDesktop Service on Citrix Cloud
  • SYN310: Powering the digital workspace using Citrix Cloud: a deep dive into architecture and configuration
  • SYN111: What’s new with Citrix Cloud and what’s to come
  • LAB615: Deploying and automating Citrix solutions with Citrix Cloud and AWS

Attendees who have a strong networking background or networking focused:

  • SYN123: SD-WAN case study: How a XenApp customer improved application delivery to the branch
  • SYN411: Guidelines for NetScaler ADC sizing and capacity planning
  • SYN118: What’s new with NetScaler ADC
  • LAB601: Increase your NetScaler IQ to better manage your NetScaler ADCs
  • LAB602: Gain competitive advantage with key new features in NetScaler SD-WAN
  • SYN130: Getting started with NetScaler Management and Analytics System
  • SYN323: Migrate your NetScaler deployments to the cloud
  • LAB610: Gain end-to-end insight and control with NetScaler Management & Analytics System

For those considering migrating workloads to a public cloud:

  • SYN318: A to Z: best practices for delivering XenApp and XenDesktop from Microsoft Azure using Citrix Cloud
  • SYN111: What’s new with Citrix Cloud and what’s to come
  • SYN310: Powering the digital workspace using Citrix Cloud: a deep dive into architecture and configuration
  • SYN313: Identity, security, availability: best practices with Citrix Cloud
  • LAB615: Deploying and automating Citrix solutions with Citrix Cloud and AWS
  • LAB612: Architecting Citrix in the cloud era with XenDesktop Essentials and NetScaler in Azure
  • SYN110: Select the right cloud or hybrid cloud for your deployment? How, when and where
  • SYN104: XenApp and XenDesktop: What’s new and roadmap
     

For attendees interested in learning more about XenMobile:

  • SYN117: XenMobile: What’s new and roadmap
  • SYN319: Securing devices, apps and data with XenMobile
  • LAB603: Implementing XenMobile Services within Citrix Cloud
  • SYN320: Take your XenMobile environment to the cloud
  • SYN405: Modernizing mobility in manufacturing

For attendees who have a strong security background/interest:

  • SYN312: Authentication: deep dive on Citrix solutions
  • SYN313: Identity, security, availability: best practices with Citrix Cloud
  • SYN316: Increase your security posture: deep dive on ShareFile security and compliance
  • SYN125: Security challenges and uses cases you can solve with Citrix Workspace Suite
  • SYN414: Access and authentication options in a Citrix environment
  • LAB607: Building a successful Federated Authentication Service POC
  • SYN124: Securing high-value applications in bank IT infrastructure
  • SYN329: FedRAMP – Security and compliance in a cloud world
  • SYN712: Analysis of a hack: how to defend and protect with Citrix

For attendees still running XenApp 6.5:

  • SYN102: Is it Time to Upgrade to XenApp 7.x?

For attendees evaluating VDI solutions and would like to compare and contrast XenApp and XenDesktop with VMware Horizon:

  • SYN304: Comparison: delivering virtual desktops with XenDesktop 7.x or Horizon 7.x

For current Azure Remote App customers:

  • SYN334: XenApp Essentials the fastest way to deliver apps from Azure

For those who are new to IoT and would like to learn about Octoblu:

  • SYN401: Fireside chat with IoT experts about automating Citrix with Octoblu
  • SYN131: Citrix Workspace IoT

For attendees looking to cut costs, specifically around hypervisor licensing:

  • SYN107: XenServer tech update: boot PVS desktops faster, protect against zero days, and patch without reboots
  • SYN416: XenServer for VMware admins
  • LAB617: Extending the security of your XenApp and XenDesktop environment with XenServer and Bitdefender Hypervisor Introspection (HVI)

If Automation and Orchestration peaks your curiosity :

  • SYN401: Fireside chat with IoT experts about automating Citrix with Octoblu
  • SYN127: Introducing Smart Tools for the Xen product family; faster POCs and efficient operations on-premises or in the cloud
  • LAB608: Workspace IoT makerspace
  • SYN325: Automating NetScaler: talking NITRO with PowerShell
  • SYN131: Citrix Workspace IoT
  • SYN322: Guidelines for automating service orchestration and analytics in your datacenter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Monthly Newsletter – September ’16

General Announcement and News

Citrix Acquires Norskale: Making the Industry’s Best App & Desktop Delivery Performance Even Better

Throughout our history, Citrix has been a leader in delivering the best secure app delivery user experience available, a key reason customers choose our products and services. That commitment to provide the best experience possible continues with the acquisition of Norskale, a privately held user environment management (UEM) company.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 is Here!

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 embraces the latest Microsoft platform offerings establishing the foundation for Day 1 support of Windows Server 2016, provisioning of app and desktop workloads on Azure Resource Manager and enhancements for App-V integration.

Admins now have advanced management options for delivering apps and desktops across geographically dispersed sites based on criteria such as user location, app location or user profile. Ongoing site management improvements deliver new performance metrics and alerts, easier self-service password reset configuration, and more provisioning options. This release continues to enhance the user experience with improved graphics rendering capabilities, new application delivery options for Linux, and profile management improvements. All these new capabilities and more converge with the 7.11 release to reaffirm XenApp and XenDesktop as the market-leading solution for virtual app and desktop delivery.

StoreFront 3.7 Has Been Released!

Storefront 3.7 was released earlier this month and with it comes a number of new features like Self Service Password Reset, Zone Preference Improvement, Receiver for Web Small Form Factor support etc. Find out more in this article.

Unified, Focused: Worx Apps Are Changing to XenMobile Apps

In Q4 of this year, we will be consolidating the number of XenMobile sub-brands by replacing “Worx” with “Secure.” Worx apps will undergo a name change only. The apps will look the same and function the same. This change in naming will not require users to re-enroll their devices or update the XenMobile Server. During the regular application update process, end-users will receive the newly named app, but all application data and workflows will remain exactly as they were before.

Citrix SCOM Management Pack for ShareFile is Here!

We are pleased to announce availability of a new Citrix SCOM Management Pack for ShareFile—a specialized monitoring and reporting console to further improve availability, performance, security and capacity-planning for a ShareFile deployment. The Citrix SCOM Management Pack for ShareFile is an add-on to Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to monitor product-specific metrics for ShareFile.

Receiver 12.3 for Mac Has Landed!

Mac OS 10.12 codenamed Sierra was recently released. Citrix is happy to announce that Receiver 12.3 for Mac has also been released.

AppDNA 7.11: Added Security & Server 2016 RTM Reporting

The release of XenDesktop 7.11 comes with the new version of Citrix AppDNA with a new reporting module for Server 2016 RTM and added security algorithms for the Security reporting feature introduced in 7.9.

Citrix Named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers…Again!

Gartner has published the 2016 Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers. At Citrix, we are pleased to see that we are positioned as a leader in this space for the tenth year, and we are positioned furthest overall for completeness of vision.

Citrix XenServer Supports Microsoft Plans for Enhanced Virtualization Security

Today, Microsoft announced their intent to extend their Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) with an Additional Qualification for third party hypervisors, such as Citrix XenServer, to support some Windows Server 2016 virtualization-based security features (VBS), notably Credential Guard (CG) and Device Guard (DG). Windows Server VMs running on SVVP validated platforms will be able to leverage the new VBS capabilities to strengthen the isolation of a number of security-sensitive components and deliver enhanced security for Windows applications and desktops.

Citrix wins virtual desktop interface shootout

Virtual Desktop Interface is becoming easier to do, with potentially killer graphics, reasonable port virtualization, fine-grained administrative control, and with potential hosts other than Windows.

While Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp remains the one to beat, two other VDI platforms we tested, Ericom Connect Enterprise and Parallels Remote Application Server, can provide for the publishing of diverse applications to desktops, while following “the rules” regarding resource accessibility and security.

In testing, we found Citrix leads the pack in terms of overall flexibility, although its vast feature sets can increase support burdens. If price-be-damned and you really want the venerable Full Meal Deal, it’s Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp Enterprise. We found it has almost everything you could ask for in a VDI product.

Is your security awareness training program working?

Employees at Axe Investment, the fictional firm of biollionaire Bobby Axelrod in Showtimes new series, Billions, were downright angry when they learned that surprise SEC raid was only a test. Axelrod, though, found the mock raid fruitful as it revealed the internal weak links of his organization.

These are metrics that enterprises should be using to evaluate the success of their security awareness programs. In order for awareness training to work, it has to keep everyone in the enterprise, well, aware.

Minimize Windows 10 migration headaches by freeing data from devices

Operating system migrations require detailed planning, as every part of the end-user computing “stack” – hardware, applications, data, and user profiles — needs to be assessed before proceeding. From an organizational productivity standpoint, maintaining the availability of the data people need to do their jobs is a top concern.

How to support Microsoft’s Skype for Business tool on virtual desktops

Microsoft was sluggish in providing a comprehensive enterprise unified communications (UC) product organizations could integrate into a virtual desktop deployment. Virtualization was always an afterthought with Microsoft’s Lync messaging platform, the predecessor to the Skype for Business tool before the company acquired Skype in 2011.

Now, the partnership between Citrix and Microsoft has spawned the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0, which puts the virtual desktop on par with its physical counterpart when it comes to UC support.

The reality is, in an enterprise environment, IoT will be much more complex than the individual smart device/smart thing relationship. It gets back to Tim O’Reilly’s point about systems. When we started talking IoT initiatives nearly two years ago, we found most people were not excited to talk about IoT as it related to a new sensor, device or gadget. Instead, they were intrigued when you talked about the potential for IoT to help solve complex business problems. As organizations become increasingly digital in all aspects of their business, new challenges in managing the connections, devices and applications that make up their digital business arise. This is especially relevant as enterprise applications evolve to be a collection of services and interactions spread across the cloud, on-premises systems and devices/sensors/things.

Why Citrix Is Better than VMware in Desktop Virtualization

Offerings that have to interoperate are always better between companies that cooperate than companies that don’t. And firms at war with each other seldom are successful with joint efforts. Often joint efforts between firms that actually want to work together fail due simply to cultural difference.

What gives Citrix the sustainable advantage is not only the fact it has a tighter relationship with Microsoft, but—because it appears to realize that it has to do most of the heavy lifting to maintain the relationship, there is none of the typical finger-pointing between the firms. Citrix owns the solution and responsibility and thus if Microsoft becomes distracted it is prepared to fill the gaps.

Yes, The Cloud Can Be A Security Win

There are so many different kinds of clouds — public, private, hybrid, internal — that many businesses and customers have difficulty deciding which is the right one for them. Furthermore, many businesses may use a few different variations of cloud environments — a private cloud for their own intranet, a hybrid cloud to keep some data on premises and some off premises to meet compliance regulations, and a public cloud for low-risk data.

These different types of environments make it difficult for IT and security teams to monitor every cloud on every device, or to monitor access requests for each different type of cloud environment. If you don’t control the cloud or where your data and apps reside, don’t manage them, or don’t know what you have in the cloud, your risk starts to sprawl and you don’t even know what’s happened when there’s a breach — or where to start to remediate. Follow these guidelines to make sure you avoid the cloud’s possible pitfalls.

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

XenMobile Touch ID Restriction Configuration & End User Experience

This blog describes how to configure Touch ID restriction on XenMobile Server and end user experience when Touch ID is enabled/Disabled for iOS devices.

Skype for Business from the Azure Cloud!

Times have changed! Today, calling from a cloud has a whole new meaning, with Skype for Business Online and Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop for Azure. Co-developed by Microsoft and Citrix, this unique solution brings not only telephony, but a full repertoire of Unified Communications features to the Azure cloud.

Introduction to Isolation Groups in XenDesktop

By design, App-V applications are isolated from each other and each AppV application is run within its own separate virtual environment—they do not share any data with other AppV applications. While this application isolation is welcome, as it promotes application compatibility by preventing any cross-application conflict, there is a need, at times, to overcome this restriction in certain strategic scenarios.

What Does Windows Server 2016 Day 1 Support Really Mean?

Citrix will support Windows Server 2016 on Day One! But what does that really mean? Does that mean that if I got my hands on the released bits of Windows Server 2016 on X Day of X Month (remember, I can’t tell you the actual release date) that I could then install XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 on it and start using it? Immediately? Well, in a word, yes. Yes, it does. It’s really that simple. So, you see, there is no need to take the old approach to a new server OS and wait years to start working on it. You can truly start deploying and testing your own apps on Day 1 with XenApp and Windows Server 2016.

XenApp 7.11: Scalability & Economics on Microsoft Azure

Deploying Citrix XenApp 7.11 workloads from the Microsoft Azure cloud can give your IT organization a strategic advantage since it enables the delivery of desktops and applications in an agile way – you pay only for what you use. In fact, the price point for deploying a XenApp farm on Microsoft Azure can be as low as $6.89 per month per user.

XenApp & XenDesktop 7.x Server OS VDA Staggered Reboot Framework

This is the second version of the reboot framework for XenApp/XenDesktop Server OS VDAs.

Citrix Linux VDA 1.4 Introduces App Publishing with XenApp & More!

Linux VDA continues to evolve with every release, enabling more and more use cases. The Linux VDA 1.4 release is part of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 and it adds support for Linux application publishing with XenApp, anonymous login, policy management, USB redirection and expands HDX 3D Pro support on Linux.

Security and End-User Productivity with XenMobile & Office 365

Keeping pace with the rapid change from corporate-owned data centers to cloud services while maintaining tight control of your data and identity is a challenge.Mobile devices add an additional level of risk. However, Citrix XenMobile is built to bring a higher level of security to these platforms, no matter the location of your assets.

Configuring GSLB for XenMobile

Customers have many requirements. As I usually deal with large customers, a disaster recovery solution is always one of them. With XenMobile 10.x, things have gotten a lot easier: clustering is a piece of cake, and to direct traffic to the right data center we have NetScalers and GSLB (Global Server Load Balancing) at our disposal. This post is about configuring GSLB on NetScalers for XenMobile.

Self-Service Password Reset for FMA!

Learn more about Phase 2 of the Self Service Password Reset capabilities introduced in XenApp and Xendesktop 7.11.

Using Citrix Director in a MultiForest Environment

Citrix Director is capable of monitoring a XenDesktop and XenApp environment spanning a forest configuration where the users, XD Delivery controller, VDAs and Citrix Director can be located in same/different forests.

Step-by-Step Guide to Mac OS X Enrollment with XenMobile

Citrix has released XenMobile 10.3, which supports enrollment and management of the Mac OS X. Once the Mac OS X is enrolled, the administrator can manage the device by deploying multiple policies and perform various administrative tasks remotely thus making sure that they are complainant.This guide contains the step-by-step instructions accompanied with screenshots for a hassle-free Mac OS X enrollment. This guide also contains steps to collect the Mac OS X logs for troubleshooting when needed.

Using XenApp & XenDesktop in Azure Resource Manager

The recent addition of Azure Resource Manager support to Citrix Cloud’s XenApp and XenDesktop service provides a powerful new tool for creating and managing cloud hosted VDAs

nFactor authentication – MFA on steroids

The latest version of NetScaler has deeper integration with nFactor and can now be used with NetScaler Gateway and Unified Gateway. With nFactor you can configure an unlimited number of authentication factors. You are no longer limited to just two factors and you can get creative on how to chain them. Configuration will depend on the security policy and many times, user adoption and training are considerations to look at.

StoreFront Aggregation Groups Revisited

Over the past 12-18 months, we have seen a dramatic shift with the number of deployments using Web Interface versus StoreFront to the point that StoreFront is the de facto standard in new environment builds and migrations that we are seeing within Citrix Consulting. The majority of these deployments are also leveraging advanced multi-site settings in some way: either Optimal Gateway Routing to enable the use of HDX Insight for internal (non-Gateway users), user farm mapping to assign different groups of users to different farm sets, or aggregating resources from multiple farms/sites to collapse duplicate applications and/or desktops behind a single icon.

Extend the Microsoft RDS platform in Azure through Citrix solutions

Recording of a session from MS Ignite showcasing the new XenApp Express service in Azure that will replace RemoteApp.

Events/Webinars

Solution Webinar: How to deploy NetScaler Unified Gateway for Hybrid Cloud and secure access to Microsoft Office 365

Deep dive into how NetScaler Unified Gateway provides secure access to Office 365 and hybrid cloud workloads.

Register Now

Oct 5 – Master Class: NetScaler Rate Limiting and NetScaler and AAA

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

Register Now 

Desktop Master Class: September 2016

Register Now 

Solution Webinar: What’s New in XenApp and XenDesktop

Register Now  

Master Class: Mobility Master Class: September 2016

Register Now  

Solution Webinar:  Avoid Ransomware with a Published Browser

Register Now

Master Class: NetScaler 101- TCP optimizations and compression: delivering applications effectively across the Internet.  In the Spotlight – NetScaler in Citrix environments: remote access; high availability and visibility for XenApp/XenDesktop solved

Register Now 

Solution Webinar: Why Healthcare IT Prefers Citrix over VMware: A Dose of Security in an Unsecure World

Register Now 

Solution Webinar: Top six things you might not know about SD-WAN

Register Now 

Citrix and Microsoft: Making Cloud Simpler, Business Faster

Register Now

Getting Started with the Citrix HDX Pi – A step by step walkthrough

1463594298798

A few months back, I wrote a blog on how to configure the Raspberry Pi thin client to access Citrix workloads. If you are completely new to the HDX Pi and want to learn more about the benefits, this is a good place to start. Since then Citrix announced the HDX Pi and I have received requests from members of the community to blog on configuring the HDX Pi. So here it is!

What you need:

  • One or more HDX Pi’s ( Microcenter edition)
  • ThinLInx Managment Software

Configuration

The HDX Pi comes pre licensed for the ThinLinx Management Software (TMS). So you can go to the ThinLinx website and download TMS and install on a windows PC. Once installed, run TMS.

Connect the HDX Pi to the network in addition to the obvious (keyboard, mouse, display). Once the Pi boots up, you will see the client within TMS.

8-5-2016 4-23-57 PM

 

8-5-2016 4-24-25 PM

 

8-5-2016 4-24-44 PM

You can now update a number of parameters and push files to the device within TMS

  • Change the name
  • Change protocol to HDX if you prefer
  • Push SSL certs if needed (If you are using private certs on Storefront for instance)
  • Change network parameters (if you dont want to use DHCP for instance or use a custom DNS server)
  • Change display parameters.

8-5-2016 4-25-05 PM

 

8-5-2016 4-25-33 PM

 

 

8-5-2016 4-26-23 PM

TMS is also how you would push new firmware to the device.

Once you are done with the configuration changes, reboot the device. Once rebooted, you should see the updated parameters within TMS.

8-5-2016 4-26-43 PM

 

Once rebooted, you will have to specify the URL that you want the Pi to connect to. This is your Netscaler Gateway URL.

After you enter the URL, you will be prompted for credentials.

Once authenticated by the Netscaler, you get prompted to pick the Store after which you see your applications and desktops.

Some Caveats to keep in mind

One catch with TMS today is that the URL does not persist unless you save it at the Pi itself. To do this, while at the storefront screen, use the Ctrl+Alt+C key combination and hit “Save Settings”. Now reboot. The HDX Pi will now authenticate and take you right to your apps once rebooted.

The TMS server will only discover devices on the same subnet. So make sure that your TMS server and Pi are on the same subnet will configuring the devices or else discovery will fail.

Viewsonic version of the HDX Pi is also available. However the configuration procedure is a little different and will be covered in a future blog post.

Once the configuration URL is saved, as mentioned earlier the device will boot straight into storefront using credentials provided initially. In order to configure a new store, you can clear config and reset to default on the device or you can factory reset the device via TMS.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

  • ctrl alt r twice to factory reset
  • alt f4 to exit HDX screen
  • ctrl alt v – volume
  • ctrl alt c – config screen
  • ctrl alt t – terminal

To learn more about performance check my previous blog. I look forward to your feedback!

 

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.

3-29-2016 11-55-07 PM

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. 

3-29-2016 11-55-53 PM

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.

3-29-2016 11-58-49 PM

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.

3-30-2016 11-33-18 AM

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.

3-30-2016 11-33-48 AM

 

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.

3-30-2016 11-46-40 AM

 

 

3-30-2016 11-47-42 AM

 

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.

3-30-2016 12-00-12 PM

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. 

3-30-2016 11-53-32 AM

 

3-30-2016 12-00-00 PM

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

3-30-2016 12-01-10 PM

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.

3-30-2016 12-58-45 PM

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”.

3-30-2016 1-01-58 PM

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.

3-30-2016 1-02-12 PM

 

 

3-30-2016 1-02-28 PM

 

3-30-2016 1-02-48 PM

 

 

 

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.

3-30-2016 1-03-01 PM

 

3-30-2016 1-03-09 PM

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.

3-30-2016 1-21-46 PM

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.

3-30-2016 1-39-02 PM

 

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!

IMG_20160209_012418

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