On September 8, Citrix released XenApp and XenDesktop v7.11. One of the big milestones in this release is compatibility with Windows Server 2016. At the recent Citrix Synergy 2016 conference, Citrix committed to be compatible with Windows Server 2016 on “Day 1” of its availability, and v7.11 delivers on this promise – not only will you be able to deliver apps and desktops running on 2016 servers, but the back-end server infrastructure (Controller, Studio, Director, StoreFront, etc.) will also be 2016-compatible.
V7.11 also brings new integration capabilities with Microsoft’s Azure Resource Manager. Customers who may need to quickly provision additional capacity – perhaps to handle a seasonal burst in workload – can use their on-premises Citrix infrastructure with Machine Creation Services to provision VMs directly into the Azure cloud via Azure Resource Manager.
Here are several of the other feature enhancements:
- There are some changes in how you package and deliver apps with App-V. Previously, apps that needed to work together needed to be bundled into a single App-V package. Now, each app can have its own App-V package, and they can still be bundled into an “Isolation Group.”
- Citrix AppDisks are now supported in Microsoft SCVMM.
- Large enterprises with multiple zones in different geos can leverage context-based delivery to direct a user to the most appropriate zone, depending on things like the user’s location, the user’s profile location, or the location of the data that the user’s app needs to access.
- Web-based self-service password resets (a Platinum feature) no longer require any XenApp v6.5 components – it’s all contained within the FlexCast architectore and fully integrated with StoreFront.
- The Citrix Director now has Resource Utilization Reporting of average CPU and average memory utilization over time, and additional alert conditions that can be set for things like CPU usage and ICA round-trip time (Platinum feature).
- Machine Creation Services (MCS) can now provision full clones from base VM images (rather than relying on base + differencing disk) for dedicated VDI.
- Enhancements have been made to profile management to protect against corruption by maintaining a known good copy of the user’s profile.
- The products now support Federated Authentication with a Google account, so Chromebook users don’t have to log in twice. Other identity providers supported include Azure AD, Okta,Ping Identity, Imprivata, and Onelogin.
- AppDNA v7.11 will be able to assess applications for compatibility with Server 2016.
- Session recording will also work on Server 2016, including administrative auditing that will capture configuration changes made by administrative users.
- Enhancements have been made to optimize delivery of mixed video and text content within a single screen. (Requires the latest version of Receiver for Windows and Linux.)
- Improved USB support includes support for generic USB redirection with a wider range of USB devices.
- Enhancements to the XPS Universal Print Driver includes support for paper tray selection & stapling. The Universal Print Server supports load-balancing and fault-tolerance.
- The Workspace Environment Manager – derived from the Citrix acquisition of Norskale – provides user profile management that can deliver up to 80% improvement in user logon times, and intelligent adjustments in the way applications utilize system resources such as RAM, CPU, and I/O can deliver up to 70% improvement in server scalability. This will be available to Enterprise or Platinum customers with current software maintenance (not sure on exactly when).