Adding Licensing on your Citrix Environment

We have got a Lab environment in here, by default you get 30-day trials which is really not enough to go through everything and practice what you need. So you need to login to mycitrix.com (you might need to register or you can use your company’s account). Under you details on the left hand side go to > Previews/Betas – License Retrieval

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On the right you will see any available licenses, if not you can scroll right down to request more which will give you additional licenses.

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Click on the Serial Number and you will get  a warning about your license server name which is case sensitive. Yes you need to right exactly the same letters appear in the name.

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Click on Continue,

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Under Host ID you need to write your License server name and then you will be able to download and save your .lic file.

On your Citrix Studio > click on Licensing on the left …

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and on the right Click on Add Licenses

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Browse where you saved your license file. That should give you 90-day Evaluation or if you have got proper license you can use this as well.

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One more thing to check is the “Production Edition”, make sure it is right version you want to use and you can do this by going in to “Edit Production Edition” under Actions on the right hand side.

 

 

Citrix XenApp / Xendesktop 7.6 Technical overview -1

This is from Citrix website and I think it is awesome article which explains the new architecture with a plain English. Very easy to read and understand.

XenApp and XenDesktop are virtualization solutions that give IT control of virtual machines, applications, licensing, and security while providing anywhere access for any device.

XenApp and XenDesktop allow:

  • End users to run applications and desktops independently of the device’s operating system and interface.
  • Administrators to manage the network and provide or restrict access from selected devices or from all devices.
  • Administrators to manage an entire network from a single data center.

XenApp and XenDesktop share a unified architecture called FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA). FMA’s key features are the ability to run multiple versions of XenApp or XenDesktop from a single Site and integrated provisioning.

FMA key components

A typical XenApp or XenDesktop environment consists of a few key technology components, which interact when users connect to applications and desktops, and log data about Site activity.

Citrix Receiver
A software client that is installed on the user device, supplies the connection to the virtual machine via TCP port 80 or 443, and communicates with StoreFront using the StoreFront Service API.
StoreFront

The interface that authenticates users, manages applications and desktops, and hosts the application store. StoreFront communicates with the Delivery Controller using XML.

Delivery Controller
The central management component of a XenApp or XenDesktop Site that consists of services that manage resources, applications, and desktops; and optimize and balance the loads of user connections.
Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA)
An agent that is installed on machines running Windows Server or Windows desktop operating systems that allows these machines and the resources they host to be made available to users. The VDA-installed machines running Windows Server OS allow the machine to host multiple connections for multiple users and are connected to users on one of the following ports:

  • TCP port 80 or port 443 if SSL is enabled
  • TCP port 2598, if Citrix Gateway Protocol (CGP) is enabled, which enables session reliability
  • TCP port 1494 if CGP is disabled or if the user is connecting with a legacy client
Broker Service
A Delivery Controller service that tracks which users are logged in and where, what session resources the users have, and if users need to reconnect to existing applications. The Broker Service executes PowerShell and communicates with the Broker agent over TCP port 80. It does not have the option to use TCP port 443.
Broker agent
An agent that hosts multiple plugins and collects real-time data. The Broker agent is located on the VDA and is connected to the Controller by TCP port 80. It does not have the option to use TCP port 443.
Monitor Service
A Delivery Controller component that collects historical data and puts it in the Site database by default. The Monitor Service communicates on TCP port 80 or 443.
ICA File/Stack
Bundled user information that is required to connect to the VDA.
Site Database
A Microsoft SQL database that stores data for the Delivery Controller, such as site policies, machine catalogs, and delivery groups.
NetScaler Gateway
A data-access solution that provides secure access inside or outside the LAN’s firewall with additional credentials.
Director
A web-based tool that allows administers access to real-time data from the Broker agent, historical data from the Site database, and HDX data from NetScaler for troubleshooting and support. Director communicates with the Controller on TCP port 80 or 443.
Studio

A management console that allows administers to configure and manage Sites, and gives access to real-time data from the Broker agent. Studio communicates with the Controller on TCP port 80.

Powershell special characters

When you are using Powershell, it really helps if you use special characters to write your own scripts or interpret someone else’s scripts. Some of them are really common and get used very often….

# Hash – Single line comment

 

#This script is for ....
#This variable is to ...

 

$ Dollar sign – is used to declare a variable

$ComputerName = "Server1"
$password = "p@sw0rd"

 

| Pipeline- Executes the left side and with  the output feeds to the right

 

Get-Process | Select -first 10

 

% Percentage – Short for “FOREACH”

 

% ($Server in $Servers) { Write-Host $_}

 

? Question Mark – Short for “Where”

 

Get-process | ? {$_.name -like 'win*' -and $_.status -eq 'Running'}

 

@ () – Declares an array

 

$Servers = @ ("server1", "server2", "server3")

 

@ {} – Declares an hash table

 

$servers = @{"server1" = "Dell";
             "server2" = "HP";
             "server3" = "Nutanix"}

$servers["server3"]
Nutanix

------------------------------------ OR

$params = @{};
$params['class'] = 'Win32_DiskDrive';
$params['filter'] = 'size=256052966400'; #find a drive which is 256GB in size
		  
Get-WmiObject @params
Get-WmiObject -Class 'Win32_DiskDrive' -Filter 'size=256052966400'

 

& Ampersand – Executes strings as commandlets

 

& "Get-Scheduledjob"

 

! Exclamation – Short for “not”

$serverName = $null;
if(!$serverName) { Write-Host '$a is null' }

 

:: Double colon – Reference static member of a class. The class name must be enclosed in square brackets.

[string]::Equals = ("Computers", "COMPUTERS")
False # this will compare these two strings and returns false

 

 

 

Server 2016 Licensing

Windows Server 2016 licensing model

The business model for Standard and Datacenter editions transitioned from processor-based to core-based licensing in October 2016 with the general availability of Windows Server 2016 (all other editions of Windows Server 2016 continue to be on the processor-based licensing model). Core-based licensing provides a more consistent licensing metric across environments, enabling multicloud environments, improving workload portability for Windows Server through benefits like Azure Hybrid Use Benefit (AHUB), and helping remove friction across different licensing models.

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Customers with Software Assurance will transition to core-based licensing at their first renewal after the general availability of Windows Server 2016, although they can deploy Windows Server 2016 at any time.

The Windows Server 2016 licensing model includes both Cores + Client Access Licenses (CALs). Each user and/or device accessing a licensed Windows Server Standard, Datacenter, or Multipoint edition requires a Windows Server CAL or Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services CAL. A Windows Server CAL gives a user or device the right to access any edition of Windows Server of the same or earlier version. Each Window Server CAL allows access to multiple licenses of Windows Server.

Edition                  Licensing model       CAL requirements

Datacenter               Core-based*          Windows Server CAL**

Standard                   Core-based*           Windows Server CAL**

Essentials                 Specialty server      No CAL required 

** All physical cores on the server must be licensed, subject to a minimum of 8 core licenses per physical processor and a minimum of 16 core licenses per server.

** CALs are required for every user or device accessing a server.

Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter: Core-based licensing

Core-based licensing requires all physical cores in the server to be licensed. Servers are licensed based on the number of processor cores in the physical server.

• A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical processor and a minimum of 16 core licenses is required for each server.

• Core licenses are sold in packs of two.*

• Standard Edition provides rights for up to 2 Operating System Environments or Hyper-V containers when all physical cores in the server are licensed. For each additional 1 or 2 VMs, all the physical cores in the server must be licensed again.

• The price of a set of 16 core licenses (for a 2-processor server) for Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard editions is the same price** as the 2-processor license of the corresponding edition of Windows Server 2012 R2. Windows Server 2016 Licensing Azure Hybrid Use Benefit With the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, customers with Software Assurance can benefit from special pricing for new Windows Server virtual machines in Azure. Customers pay only for the base compute rate, which is currently the same as the Linux rate for virtual machines.

** 8 two-core packs will be the minimum required to license each physical server. The two-core pack for each edition is 1/8th the price of a license for a 2-processor server for corresponding Windows Server 2012 R2 editions.

** Rounding may result in slight variations in the final price of eight 2-pack core SKUs relative to the price of one Windows Server 2012 R2 processor SKU.

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Moving to core-based licensing

Customers purchasing net new licenses, for example, through MPSA or from an OEM, will purchase licenses under the core-based model. Existing customers with Software Assurance will transition from processor-based to core-based licensing at the first renewal after the general availability of Windows Server 2016.

• Renewal before the general availability of Windows Server 2016: Customers with Software Assurance will be on processor-based licensing and true-ups will also be processor-based.

• Renewal after the general availability of Windows Server 2016: Customers with Software Assurance will transition to core-based licensing and true-ups will also be core-based.

Core license grants overview

Customers with servers under Software Assurance will receive core license grants at the expiration of Software Assurance coverage. Depending on the core density of existing servers, there are two categories of core license grants: Full core licenses and additional core licenses.

1. Full core license grants: Customers with a server density of 8 or fewer cores per processor and 16 or fewer cores per server are eligible to receive full core license grants. Customers will receive a minimum of 8 cores per processor and 16 cores per server at the expiration of Software Assurance coverage after the general availability of Windows Server 2016. To receive full core license grants, customers do not need to document their environments.

2. Additional core license grants: Customers with a server density of more than 8 cores per processor and 16 cores per server are eligible to receive additional core license grants and pay only Software Assurance on the incremental cores. To receive additional core license grants, customers must maintain a record of the physical hardware and the configuration of the licensed server by using the Microsoft Software Inventory Logging tool (SIL) or any equivalent software. Inventory must be maintained at the first expiration of the Software Assurance coverage after the general availability of Windows Server 2016 or before September 30, 2019.

Note: Customers are not required to share inventory with Microsoft, but may be asked to share inventory if required.

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Announcing servicing guidelines for Windows Server 2016

With prior releases, Windows Server has been serviced and supported through a 5+5 model, with 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support. This model—renamed Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)—will continue with Windows Server 2016 for customers who choose to install full Windows Server 2016 with Desktop Experience or Server Core.

Customers choosing the Nano Server installation will opt into a more active servicing model—known as Current Branch for Business (CBB)—similar to the experience with Windows 10. This approach supports customers who are moving at a cloud cadence of rapid development lifecycles and wish to innovate more quickly. Since this servicing model continues to provide new features and functionality, Software Assurance is also required to install and use Nano Server.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.13

The product release includes the following new and enhanced features.

Installation

New page in VDA installers:

The graphical wizards of the VDA installers (except VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe) have a new page named Additional Components. This page lists several components that can be installed.

App-V
User Profile Manager
User Profile Manager WMI Plugin
Machine Identity Service
AppDisk and Personal vDisk

By default, all of these additional components are selected if you select “Create a master image” on the Environment page of the VDA installation wizard. If you select “Enable Remote PC Access” on the Environment page, none of the additional components are selected by default.

This feature brings the graphical and command-line interfaces of the VDA installers into closer equivalency. Each of these components can be omitted from a command-line installation by using the /exclude option. (By design, the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe VDA installer cannot install any of these components.)

If you upgrade a VDA that does not have those components already installed, default settings could result in those components being installed during the upgrade, unless you specifically exclude them or use the VDAWorkstationCoreServices.exe installer.

Installing Citrix App-V components when installing a VDA:

Previously, you enabled or disabled installation of the Citrix App-V software on the Features page of the VDA installer wizards (except VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe). To disable Citrix App-V software installation from the VDA command line, you used the /no_appv option.

Now, you enable or disable Citrix App-V software installation on the Additional Components page of the VDA installation wizards (except VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe). To disable Citrix App-V software installation from the command line, use the /exclude “Citrix Personalization for App-V – VDA” option. (The /no_appv command-line option is no longer valid.)

If you enable the Citrix Personalization for App-V – VDA check box, the “Citrix AppDisk / Personal vDisk” components are automatically selected. This is a known issue in this release. You can prevent this by installing the VDA from the command line containing the /exclude “Personal vDisk” option.

Additional UDP ports opened in firewall during VDA installation:

If you enable the new HDX adaptive transport policy setting, UDP ports 1494 and 2598 are automatically opened in the Windows firewall by default when you install or upgrade a VDA using the graphical interface. (These ports are listed on the Firewall page of the installation wizard). These ports are used for communication with the Delivery Controller.

When installing a VDA from the command line, specify the new /enable_hdx_udp_ports option when using the new adaptive transport policy setting.

Note: TCP ports 1494 and 2598 are opened automatically for use during fallback or when the adaptive transport feature is not used. Those TCP ports are already covered with the existing /enable_hdx_ports option.

Application Group session sharing

When applications in an Application Group are started, by default they reuse existing sessions to launch faster and use fewer resources. In previous releases, although you could prevent application session sharing between Application Groups, applications in the same Application Group would always session share.

You can now configure Application Groups so that application session sharing is disabled between applications in the same Application Group. In some circumstances this may be desirable: for example, you may want users to start non-seamless applications in full size application windows on separate monitors. In this mode applications in the Application Group always run in separate sessions which are indistinguishable from each other for subsequent brokering and reconnection purposes. If a disconnected session exists which is already running the requested application, it is reconnected. You can disable application session sharing using the PowerShell SDK only.

AppDisk

AppDisk includes the following new features and enhancements:

  • Updated logging mechanism. An enhancement to the AppDisk logging and support paradigm allows an administrator to obtain diagnostic information and optionally upload it to the Citrix Insight Services (CIS) website.

Session Recording

Session Recording includes the following new and enhanced features:

  • Database names are configurable. You can use a custom name or the default database name for the Session Recording Database and for the Administrator Logging Database.
  • Database high availability. Session Recording supports three solutions for database high availability based on Microsoft SQL Server.

Director

Director includes the following new and enhanced features:

  • Application-centric troubleshooting. This enhancement facilitates troubleshooting of active application instances in a XenApp and XenDesktop Site with the introduction of a new Application Instances slice-n-dice page in the Filters view. The page displays all active application instances on VDAs of Server OS, and their idle state information.
    Additionally, the Sessions slice-n-dice page is extended to include the session idle time metric enabling easy identification of idle sessions. You can sort and filter the session and application instances based on their idle time measurements and select instances to log off or disconnect.
    The Application Instances filter page and idle time measurements in the Sessions filter pages are available if Director, the Delivery Controller(s), and VDAs are version 7.13 or later.
  • Transport protocol on Session Details panel. The Director Session Details panel is enhanced to display the transport protocol in use for the session. The protocol is displayed as TCP or UDP for the HDX connection type based on the new HDX adaptive transport technology.

Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) 7.13

Version 7.13 of the VDA for Server OS and the VDA for Desktop OS include the following enhancements to HDX technologies:

  • Adaptive transport. Adaptive transport for XenApp and XenDesktop optimizes data transport by applying a new Citrix protocol called Enlightened Data Transport (EDT) in preference to TCP whenever possible. Compared to TCP and UDP, EDT delivers a superior user experience on long-haul WAN and internet connections. EDT dynamically responds to changing network conditions while maintaining high server scalability and efficient use of network capacity. EDT is built on UDP and improves data throughput for all ICA virtual channels, including Thinwire display remoting, file transfer (Client Drive Mapping), printing, multimedia redirection. If UDP is not available, adaptive transport automatically reverts to TCP.Enable it using the HDX Adaptive Transport policy setting. The same setting is applicable on both LAN and WAN conditions. This feature requires Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.7 or Citrix Receiver for Mac 12.5. For external secure access, it requires NetScaler Unified Gateway 11.1.51.

  • HDX 3D Pro support for AMD GPUs. Use HDX 3D Pro graphics acceleration technologies with AMD Multiuser GPU (MxGPU) on the AMD FirePro S-series server cards. This release includes support for multimonitors (up to a maximum of six), console blanking, custom resolution, and high frame rate.

  • Access to a high-performance video encoder for Intel Iris Pro graphics processors. The Use hardware encoding for video codec policy setting enables the use of hardware encoding for Intel Iris Pro graphics processors (new in 7.13) and for NVIDIA GRID GPUs (introduced in 7.11). For Intel Iris Pro graphics processors, hardware encoding is supported with VDAs for Desktop OS (in standard or HDX 3D Pro mode) and VDAs for Server OS. For NVIDIA GRID GPUs, hardware encoding is supported with VDAs for Desktop OS in HDX 3D Pro mode.

  • Enhanced drawing features on Wacom tablets. Wacom drawing tablets can connect to published desktops on a remote desktop service (RDS) VM when redirected with generic USB redirection. Though you can use the tablet’s pen device as a mouse device while it is redirected, we recommend that you also maintain a standard USB mouse, which is not redirected, to allow access to local client functions. The redirected device is active only inside the session and doesn’t have control over the local client. Install the driver for the Wacom devices on the hosting RDS OS and the same driver must support each device connected to the server.

  • Enhanced support for Asian languages. Enables the local Input Method Editor (IME) from the client device for entering text into a virtual desktop or application instead of the pre-deployed IME on the server. Using the local IME enables additional language choices because of the various IME brands available for the client. Using the local IME affords you convenience when using client touch keyboards, and an experience that is the same as using a native application. To enable or disable the local IME on the client, use these commands on the command line interface: wfica32.exe /localime:on to enable it and wfica32.exe /localime:off to disable it. The new setting applies to all sessions started after the setting change.

  • Auto client reconnect and session reliability consistency. Auto client reconnect and session reliability allow users to reconnect automatically to their Citrix Receiver sessions after recovering from network disruptions. Updates to auto client reconnect and session reliability policies in Studio are synchronized from server to client, which helps maintain reliable connectivity.

  • Bidirectional content redirection. Enables administrators to specify client to host and host to client URL redirection using group policies. Server policies are set in Studio, and client polices are set from group policy.

  • Client drive mapping. File copying performance is enhanced.

VDA installation and upgrade changes:

  • The 7.13 VDAs contain several new and enhanced features, as described in this section. However, after upgrading your VDAs from version 7.9, 7.11, or 7.12, you do not need to update the Machine Catalog’s functional level. The default (“7.9 (or newer …)”) remains the current functional level.

StoreFront 3.9

StoreFront includes the following new features and enhancements.

  • SAML authentication through StoreFront. Administrators can configure StoreFront to integrate with a SAML Identity Provider in Manage Authentication Methods > SAML Authentication.
  • Import multiple NetScaler Gateway vServer configurations. Administrators can import multiple vServer configurations from the StoreFront management console (Manage NetScaler Gateways > imported from file) or using PowerShell.
  • Configure two URLs for the same NetScaler Gateway using the StoreFront PowerShell SDK. In 3.9, administrators can set a new optional paramater, -gslburl, on the GslbLocation attribute. This simplifies the NetScaler Gateway administration in StoreFront.
  • Support for adaptive transport.
  • Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). You are now automatically enrolled in CEIP when you install StoreFront.

 

Provisioning Services 7.13

Provisioning Services includes the following new features and enhancements:

  • PVS-Accelerator. This feature enables a PVS proxy to reside in the XenServer’s Control Domain on a host where streaming of a Provisioning Services vDisk is cached at the proxy before being forwarded to the virtual machine. Using the cache, subsequent booting (or any I/O requests) of the virtual machine on the same host can be streamed from the proxy rather than streaming from the server over the network. Using this model, more local resources on the XenServer host are consumed, but streaming from the server over the network saves resources, effectively improving performance.
  • Linux streaming. You can now provision Linux virtual desktops directly in the XenDesktop environment.

Introduction to Citrix XenDesktop 7.6

 

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Used to be …..

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And now …..

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Image result for citrix xendesktop 7.6 architecture

Editions:

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So components;

According to Citrix Documents : ( Citrix Free Training CXA-104: Citrix XenApp 7.6 Overview)

XenApp 7.6 is built on the “FlexCast Management Architecture” and offers simple , powerful configuration and operations management and cloud-style automation and scalability.

FlexCast Delivery Technology : (FMA) is a collection of services that work together to efficiency deliver hosted applications ad server desktops at scale.

Studio : The studio management console allows you to configure and manage your XenApp implementation.

Director : is the web-based management console that enables IT support and Help Desk teams to monitor and troubleshoot a XenApp environment.

StoreFront : is an integral component of any XenDesktop , XenApp , XenMobile,or VDI-in-a-box implementation .It authenticates users to Microsoft Active Directory and manages the delivery of desktops and applications from your servers in the datacenter to user’s devices.
Citrix Delivery Controller : Authenticates and manages end-user access and brokers connections between end users and their virtual desktops and applications.

Virtual Delivery Agent : (VDA) manages the HDXconnections between physical or virtual machines that host applications and desktops,and endpoints running Citrix Receiver.

Site : is used to organize resources much like a farm in previous releases. A site represents a single deployment and database.

Machine Catalog : is a collection of machines (physical or virtual) managed as a single entry that you allocate to end users through a Delivery Group.
Delivery Group : specifies who can use a set of applications or server desktops,as well as user settings.


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Virtual Delivery Agent – VDA :

The VDA manages the HDX connection between virtual machines that host applications and endpoints running Citrix Receiver.
In order to work correctly the VDA must establish communication or REGISTER with Controllers in the deployments. Along with StoreFront and the Controller , the VDA plays an important role in application enumeration and launch process. If the VDA can not register itself with the Controller , users will not be able to launch applications.

When a connection is required , registered VDA’s can retrieve session details such as password encryption level from the Controller.

Registration occurs when :
– The VDA starts
– The Citrix Desktop Services is restarted.
– The Agent heartbeat or a notification is rejected by the Controller.
– The IP address is changed.
– A Network or communication failure occurs.

What is new in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12

Citrix is like a running away horse. Most of the companies are still struggling with 6.5 and trying to design and migrate to new architecture, a new release of versions keep coming. So now version 7.12, starting from version 7 a new robust architecture was introduced. It is getting better and better in each version. This is taken from Citrix website.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12

The product release includes the following new and enhanced features.

High availability using Local Host Cache

 Local Host Cache (LHC) allows connection brokering operations to continue when normal operations are interrupted due to loss of connection with the Site database. LHC replaces the connection leasing feature as the recommended XenApp and XenDesktop high availability solution. During outages, LHC supports new users and existing users launching new resources, as well as users accessing pooled resources (shared desktops).

New service: The product ISO now contains the new configsync_service_x86/x64.msi for this feature.

Using tag restrictions with Application Groups and desktops

In earlier releases, you could apply tags to items and then use those tags to tailor search displays in Studio.

Now when you publish applications in an Application Group or a desktop in a Delivery Group, you can use a tag restriction to specify that only machines in selected Delivery Groups that have a specified tag should be considered for launch.

Using a tag restriction enables you to use your existing machines for more than one publishing task, saving the costs associated with deploying and managing additional machines. Using a tag restriction can be thought of as subdividing (or partitioning) the machines in a Delivery Group. You can also use a tag restriction to help isolate and troubleshoot a subset of machines in a Delivery Group.

 

 Multiple restart schedules for machines in Delivery Groups

In earlier releases, administrators could create one restart schedule for all the machines in a Delivery Group. Now, you can use PowerShell cmdlets to:

  • Create multiple restart schedules for a Delivery Group.
  • Configure each schedule to periodically restart only those machines in that Delivery Group that have a specified tag. For example, a daily restart schedule might be optimal for machines in one department, while a weekly restart schedule is suitable for all others.

This new functionality gives you the flexibility to manage periodic machine restarts when the various teams within your organization have different restart requirements. Using the tag restriction feature to essentially partition the machines in a Delivery Group, it’s easy to restart some machines on a more or less frequent schedule than other machines in the same Delivery Group.

Citrix Insight Services

Install and upgrade analytics: In the 7.11 version, automatic upload of install/upgrade analytics to Citrix Insight Services was enabled by default in the full-product installer’s graphical interface and disabled by default in the command line interface. In this version, the graphical interface no longer contains the check box that controls automatic upload, and automatic upload is enabled by default in both the graphical and command line interfaces. You can disable the automatic upload in the registry or by using a new option in the command line interface.

Customer Experience Improvement Program: You are now automatically enrolled in the Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program when you install a Windows VDA.

Azure Resource Manager connection enhancements

Azure environment support

When you create a connection to Azure Resource Manager, you can now select your Azure environment. The current values are: Azure Global and Azure China.

Azure Hybrid Use Benefits support

When you create a Machine Catalog in Studio, you can now enable or disable support for the Azure Hybrid Use Benefits (HUB), in which you use existing on-premises Windows Server licenses with existing on-premises Windows Server images. Using HUB can reduce the cost of running VMs in Azure to the base compute rate.

Wizard changes in Studio

In the Create Connection wizard, subscription ID and connection name fields that were previously on the Connections page have moved to a new Connection Details page.

In the Create Machine Catalog wizard, the Storage Account page is now titled Storage and License Types.

The MCS I/O storage optimization feature introduced in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 for on-premises hypervisor connections is now fully supported for Microsoft Azure Resource Manager connections.

New streamlined standalone VDA for Desktop OS installer

The VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe standalone package is an addition to the available standalone VDA installers. This package installs a VDA for Desktop OS that is optimized for using Remote PC Access on a physical machine, or for VDI on a virtual machine that is not being used as a master image.

It is the smallest VDA for Desktop OS installation package currently available. It installs only the core services required for operation. It does not install components used for App-V, Profile management, Machine Identity Service, and Personal vDisk. It does not install a Citrix Receiver for Windows.

 

Automatic deletion of extracted files when using a standalone VDA installer

When using any standalone VDA installer, files are extracted to a Temp folder. In earlier versions, those files had to be manually deleted. In this version, those files are automatically deleted after the installation completes.

Director

Director includes the following new and enhanced features:

  • User-friendly Connection and Machine failure descriptions. Connection and Machine failures in the Director’s Filters page are supported with detailed descriptions of the possible failure causes and recommended actions. This enables administrators to efficiently troubleshoot the connection or machine related failures in the XenApp and XenDesktop Site.

  • Increased historical data availability in Enterprise edition. The data retention period in Director deployments with the XenApp and XenDesktop Enterprise Edition has increased from seven days to one month. This enables the XenApp and XenDesktop Enterprise users to query historical data from the Monitoring Service for any period up to 31 days based on the data retention settings, and access historical trend reports for up to one month from Director’s Trends tab. This feature requires Director and Delivery Controller version 7.12.

  • Custom Reporting. A new Custom Reports user interface in the Trends tab enables you to create new reports without having to write OData queries to extract real-time and historical data available in the Monitoring database. You can export custom reports, save and share the corresponding OData queries. This feature is available in the Platinum Edition of Director deployments.

  • Automate Director notifications with SNMP traps. Director integrates Citrix Alert notifications with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), a standard protocol for network management. You can configure a Citrix Alert with an SNMP trap. When the alert is triggered, the corresponding SNMP trap message is forwarded to the configured network listener for further processing. You can configure SNMP alerting by using PowerShell cmdlets.

Session Recording

Session Recording includes the following new features and enhancements.

  • IP address or IP Range based Policy Rule Criteria. You can configure a Session Recording policy to enable or disable record sessions based on a client IP address or range of addresses.
  • Highlight Idle Periods in Player. Highlights the idle periods of a recording in a timeline when played back with the  Session Recording Player. Idle periods of a recorded session are the portions in which no action takes place.
  • TLS 1.2. Full support for TLS 1.2 encryption during data transfer.

Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) 7.12

Version 7.12 of the VDA for Server OS and the VDA for Desktop OS include the following enhancements to HDX technologies:

  • 8-bit color depth Thinwire support. A new value of 8 bits per pixel is available in the Preferred color depth for simple graphics policy setting. This provides an ultra-low bandwidth usage option intended for workloads that are not graphically demanding, for example, MS Office, mobile apps and custom legacy apps with simple interfaces. Once set, all connections to the VDA show in 8-bit color. The 8-bit color depth option is not supported when the Use video codec for compression policy setting is set to For the entire screen.

  • HTML5 video redirection for internal web sites. Provides the best balance between smooth audio and video display and server scalability for HTML5 video content in a virtualized environment. In 7.12, this feature is available for internal web sites only as it requires the addition of a JavaScript customization (HDXVideo.js) to web pages hosting HTML5 video content. This feature is controlled by a new multimedia policy setting, HTML5 video redirection (disabled by default) and is available with Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.6 and Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.5. The JavaScript files are located in %Program Files%/Citrix/ICA Service/HTML5 Video Redirection in the VDA install.

  • Citrix Universal print driver supports stapling and paper source selection in EMF print format. XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 introduced Citrix Universal print driver support for stapling and paper source selection in XPS print format. In this release, support of these advanced features extends to EMF print format. EMF is the default print format for the Citrix Universal print driver.

  • Keyboard layout synchronization. Dynamic synchronization of the keyboard layout from the client to the VDA during a XenApp and XenDesktop session enables users to switch between preferred keyboard layouts on the client device. This provides a consistent user experience when, for example, switching the touch keyboard layout between English and Spanish. When the user switches the layout, they briefly see a message while the synchronization is in progress. They can then continue working with the new keyboard layout. This feature is supported with Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.6, the VDA for Desktop OS and the VDA for Server OS.

Feature for evaluation

  • New enlightened data transport layer (for evaluation only). IT administrators can evaluate a new HDX data transport layer designed for challenging long-haul WAN and Internet connections. This alternative to TCP delivers a superior user experience while maintaining high server scalability and efficient use of bandwidth. This new transport layer above UDP improves data throughput for all ICA virtual channels including Thinwire display remoting, file transfer (Client Drive Mapping), printing, multimedia redirection and others. In 7.12, this feature is for evaluation only and is disabled by default. It can be enabled in a non-production environment with a new policy setting, HDX Enlightened Data Transport. Set the new policy setting to Preferred to use enlightened data transport when possible, with fallback to TCP. In this release, this feature requires Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.6 or Citrix Receiver for Mac 12.4.

VDA install and upgrade changes

  • The 7.12 VDAs contain several new and enhanced features, as described above. However, after upgrading your VDAs from 7.9 or 7.11, you do not need to update the Machine Catalog’s functional level. The default “7.9 (or newer …)” remains the most current functional level.
  • As noted in the Streamlined standalone VDA for Desktop OS installation package section above, the standalone VDA for Desktop OS package has been supplemented with an even smaller package that delivers only the core services needed for VDA operations on workstations.

Deprecation forecast

Certain platforms, Citrix products, and features are scheduled to be deprecated after the next XenApp and XenDesktop Long Term Service Release (LTSR) releases. However, those items are supported in this XenApp and XenDesktop version and will continue to be supported in subsequent versions that are released up to and including the next LTSR.

For example (using arbitrary version numbers):

  • In version 1.5, Citrix announces that feature X will be deprecated as of the next LTSR.
  • The next LTSR is 1.9 LTSR, which will be released after version 1.9 releases.
  • Feature X will be supported on version 1.5 and all future versions up to and including 1.9 LTSR.  From the time the deprecation is forecasted, Citrix will monitor customer use and feedback about feature X to determine whether it will be supported in Cumulative Updates to 1.9 LTSR.

Generally, platform support in XenApp and XenDesktop ends when the platform’s manufacturer ends extended support. Exceptions are noted. Deprecation of browser version support is not included.

When possible, alternatives are offered for items that will be deprecated.

Announced in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12

In-place upgrades from XenDesktop 5.6 or 5.6 FP1 will not be allowed after the next LTSR. Instead, you can migrate your XenDesktop 5.6 or 5.6 FP1 deployment to the current XenDesktop version.

The following platforms will not be supported after the next LTSR:

  • VDAs on  Windows 8.1 and earlier Windows desktop releases. Install desktop OS VDAs on Windows 10.
  • VDAs on Windows Server 2008 R2. Install server OS VDAs on supported versions such as Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016.
  • XenDesktop 5.6 used on Windows XP. No VDA installations on Windows XP will be supported. Install VDAs on a supported Windows version.
  • CloudPlatform connections. Use a different supported hypervisor or cloud service.
  • Azure Classic (also known as Azure Service Management) connections. Use Azure Resource Manager.
  • Installing core components (other than Studio) on 32-bit machines: Delivery Controller, Director, StoreFront, and License Server. Use 64-bit machines.

The following features will not be supported after the next LTSR:

  • Connection leasing. Use Local Host Cache.
  • Legacy Thinwire mode
  • Desktop Composition Redirection (DCR)

StoreFront 3.8

StoreFront includes the following new features and enhancements.

  • Multiple Internet Information Services (IIS) web sites.  After creating multiple websites in IIS, the PowerShell SDK can create a StoreFront deployment in those IIS websites. You can now have a single server hosting numerous Citrix Receiver for Web sites and stores, each having its own domain name.
  • Firefox browser. Once Firefox stops supporting the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) plugin in Firefox 53, StoreFront 3.8 will still support Citrix Receiver for Web client detection and launch in Firefox for Windows and Mac.