The latest version of XenApp and XenDesktop were released at the end of December 2015. Version 7.7 of both products will be followed up by another version (7.8) currently scheduled to be released sometime 1st quarter 2016. Citrix is being a little more aggressive with these releases because they are trying to accelerate their relationship with Microsoft, increase integration between products, and (re)introduce features.
With version 7.7, Citrix has given us these new features:
- Zoning – Why does that sound familiar? Prior to version 7, zoning was has always been a part of XenApp and even MetaFrame. When version 7 was released, zoning was not included. With version 7.7, zoning is back. It has the same purpose as before. Zoning gives us simplified management across geographically dispersed deployments. One XenApp site can now be deployed in multiple geographical locations while enabling application control from one console.
- Application Limits – Another feature being revived is the ability to put certain limits on published applications. This is where an administrator can control how many concurrent sessions can be active at one time, how many active sessions of a published application a user can have open simultaneously, and more.
- Advanced Database Configuration – Previously, all database activity was installed in one location. Now, the site, monitoring, and logging databases can be installed on different servers and even in different locations. As a note along this path, SQL 2012 SP2 is now installed instead of SP1.
- Improved Maintenance Notifications – Notifications to users about system maintenance can now be configured to go out at a specific time prior to the maintenance commencing and reminders can be sent at configured intervals.
- Skype for Business functionality – This allows for a full installation of Skype using a desktop or a virtual app. The RealTime Optimization Pack will need to be installed to provide a user with the best experience while using Skype for Business.
- Citrix Director Improvements –
- Defined application limits (see above) are now shown in Director.
- Director can use your windows credentials to authenticate you (single sign-on).
- Better SCOM 2012 integration.
- Proactive monitoring alerts to help improve reaction time.
- New usage views for both desktop and server OS’s. Usage can be viewed at the site, delivery group, and machine level.Along with new features, there are a number of enhancements:
- There are updates to platform support. This is to allow and improve performance with new hardware technologies.
- New APIs are being introduced for developers. Using PowerShell SDK, session roaming can be tailored to an organization’s needs. Another API will allow for the access of templates, images, and snapshots across multiple hypervisor connections.
- Windows 10 support for the VDA and Studio is now available.
- Extended integration with Microsoft Azure – You can now use Machine Creation Services (MCS) from XenApp and XenDesktop to provision virtual machines in Azure.
Look for a future blog post detailing the changes coming in version 7.8.
As always, please feel free to post any questions or comments below or reach me directly by email.
Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)| Sr. Network Consultant email@example.com
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