As you may already know from Citrix Synergy 2013, there are quite a few changes and enhancements that were made regarding the Citrix suite of core products. Below I highlighted the pertinent enhancements and "what's new" information regarding some of the newest available Citrix releases. Links to Citrix blogs as well as E-Docs are also included below, so that everything is in one location for your reference. These updates may also assist with fielding some of those questions out there about the latest and greatest from Citrix and the reasons to either upgrade or leverage their suite of great products in the near future for your End-User Computing needs.
Catalog Desktops and Applications
- Desktops — Deliver managed
desktops to multiple, simultaneously connected remote users. Server OS
machine and Desktop OS machine desktops provide features such as Smooth
Roaming, session reliability, license consumption, Receiver and Delivery
Services authentication, and Desktop Viewer. This release introduces
Windows Server OS machine catalogs and desktops as a cost-effective
virtualization delivery solution because they provide a significant
number of remote users per server and storage resource. This release also
provides Remote PC desktops that let users access their resources on
their office PCs remotely, from any device running Citrix Receiver.
- Applications — Integrate
XenApp publishing capabilities within a deployment. Use this feature to
deliver shared hosted applications to multiple, simultaneously-connected
- Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8
support — Deliver a high-definition user experience on Windows 8
virtual desktops and physical machines. HDX 3D Pro has also been upgraded
to support Windows 8.
- Desktop Composition Redirection —
Extend the Aero Redirection feature introduced in XenDesktop 5.5 to
provide users with a more fluid Windows 7 Aero or Windows 8 desktop
experience by leveraging the graphics processing unit (GPU) or integrated
graphics processor (IGP) on supported Windows user devices for local
DirectX graphics rendering. This feature delivers rich multimedia
applications to user devices, while maintaining high scalability on the
- Windows Media client-side content
fetching — Enable a user device to stream multimedia files
directly from the source provider on the Internet or Intranet to improve
network utilization and server scalability.
- Multicast support — Reduce
bandwidth consumption when streaming live video to branch offices.
Multicast support enables a single Windows Media source transmission to
support multiple users.
- Real-time multimedia transcoding —
Enable audio and video streaming to mobile devices, improving the way
that Windows Media content is delivered. Host-based transcoding provides
a seamless user experience, even in extreme network conditions. To
improve server scalability, if the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) has a
supported graphics processing unit (GPU) for hardware acceleration,
transcoding is done in the GPU.
- User Datagram Protocol (UDP) audio
for Server OS machines — Extend support for audio delivery over
UDP/RTP to Server OS machines. This feature delivers superior audio
quality for real-time applications like video conferencing and streaming
media, even in environments when there is packet loss or congestion.
- Webcam video compression —
Reduce bandwidth consumption to improve performance when using supported
video conferencing applications.
- HDX 3D Pro — Deliver
applications with graphics processing units (GPUs) for hardware
acceleration to the desktop. This includes 3D professional graphics
applications based on OpenGL and DirectX.
- Server-rendered Rich Graphics and
Video — Deliver rich graphics (including Windows 8 or Windows
Aero) to virtual desktop users on any client, platform, and bandwidth
condition by rendering the content on the server. When users have the
latest Citrix Receiver, they will also notice improved performance for
- Improved Flash Redirection —
Determine when to redirect Adobe Flash content to the user device for
local rendering based on the user's network type and environment. Flash
Redirection helps reduce server and network load, resulting in greater
scalability while ensuring a high-definition user experience.
- New installer — Use a single,
streamlined installer to guide you through installing the core components
(Delivery Controller, Studio, Director, StoreFront, and License Server)
- Profile management — By
default, Citrix Profile management 5.0 is installed silently on master
images when you install the Virtual Delivery Agent, but you do not have to
use Profile management as a profile solution.
- Configuration Logging —
Capture Site configuration changes and administrative activities to a Configuration
Logging Database. You can view the log in Studio using a variety of
filters and generate HTML and CSV reports.
- Desktop Director — Monitor and
troubleshoot deployments using Director's redesigned user interface with
integrated EdgeSight features:
new help desk view offers an improved troubleshooting experience for help
desk administrators, allowing user, machine, and application issues to be
administrators have access to other views, including a newly designed
Dashboard to provide a graphical summary of your deployment in a central
location, and a Trends page to provide improved, in-depth, graphical
monitoring and troubleshooting of the entire deployment with various time
performance management provides the historical retention and trend
reporting. With historical retention of data versus the real-time
assessment, administrators are able to create Trend reports, including
capacity and health trending.
network analysis leverages HDX Insight to provide an application and
desktop contextual view of the network. With this feature, Director
provides advanced analytics of ICA traffic in their XenDesktop
- Delegated Administration —
Group objects into administrative scopes. This feature provides an enterprise-class
administration model with role-based access control, custom roles with
configurable permissions, and fine-grained, object-based control.
- StoreFront replaces Web Interface —
Create centralized enterprise stores to deliver desktops, applications,
and other resources to users on any device. This feature provides
authentication and resource delivery services for Citrix Receiver.
- Delivery Controller auto-update —
Automatically notify Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) when Controllers are
added to and removed from the Site. This feature helps prevent VDA
rejection of sessions that are launched by unknown Controllers, and VDA
startup delays or errors caused by invalid Controller information. For
information about how to preserve the CNAME functionality, see CTX137960.
- Client Folder Redirection —
Change the way client-side files are accessible on the host-side session.
When you enable only client drive mapping on the server, client-side full
volumes are automatically mapped to host drive letters. When you enable
client folder redirection on the server and then the user configures it on
the user device, only the portion of the local volume that is specified by
the user is redirected.
- Improved Virtual Desktop Access
Control Settings – Control user access to both Server OS Machines
and Desktop OS Machines in a simple and unified way with a new,
streamlined group of security settings.
- Improved and integrated error
reporting — Studio error reporting links directly to the Citrix
Support website. When users encounter an error situation, choosing the Get
Advice option submits information about the error to the Citrix website.
The information is analyzed and the user is redirected to a Website
containing remedial advice.
- IPv6 support — Connect to
clients and core components on IPv4, IPv6, or dual-stack (IPv4/IPv6)
- Personal vDisk — Personalize
your virtual desktops. In addition, a dedicated storage disk is created,
before logon, so that users can store their data on the desktop, including
any applications they install.
- Machine Creation Services (MCS)
support for Microsoft Key Management System (KMS) activation —
Each virtual machine (VM) created with MCS provides a unique activation
for the Windows operating system and Office 2010, which enables the KMS system
to record each VM as a separate machine.
- Support for group policies configured
in Citrix Mobility Pack — These policies for Citrix Receiver for
mobile devices include Start menu redirection and removing common programs
from the Start menu. For details, see Configure policies for mobility
- Multi-touch support — Touch
functionality is supported on multi-touch computers, including Microsoft
Windows 7 and Windows 8 workstations and Windows Server 2012 for VDAs.
- Remote PC Access — Automated
administration of Remote PC Access is fully integrated into the core
functionality of the XenDesktop Delivery Controller and Studio. One Remote
PC machine catalog and one Remote PC Delivery Group are created
automatically when you set up a Remote PC deployment; you can add more
machine catalogs or Delivery Groups later using Studio. This process
replaces the XML configuration file and PowerShell scripts used by Remote
PC Access in XenDesktop 5.6 FP1. The current release also adds the ability
to remotely access office PCs running Windows 8.
- Support for Fast User Switching using
RDP connections — This Microsoft Windows feature makes it
possible for multiple users to share a desktop without closing programs or
logging off existing users. Administrators can take advantage of this
feature to troubleshoot problems and install updates, without interrupting
tasks or programs in use by the logged on user, by initiating an RDP
connection to the VDA.
- Compatibility with AhnLab keyboard
encryption used in Korea — This release is compatible with
keyboard encryption that is installed on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
- Separate database no longer required - The
requirement for a separate database has been removed. Users' application
subscription data are stored locally and automatically replicated between
- High availability and multi-site configuration
- To enable load balancing and failover between the deployments
providing the desktops and applications, you can define groupings and
hierarchies, including specific backup deployments. You can restrict user
access to specific resources by mapping deployments to Active Directory
- Smart card authentication -
StoreFront supports smart card authentication through both Receiver for
Windows and NetScaler Gateway. Smart card authentication from desktop
appliances and repurposed PCs through Desktop Appliance sites and XenApp
Services URLs is also supported.
- Receiver for HTML5 integration -
You can configure Receiver for Web sites to enable users who cannot
install Citrix Receiver to access their desktops and applications directly
within HTML5-compatible web browsers.
- Desktop Appliance sites - You can
enable users to access their desktops from non-domain-joined desktop
appliances. The web browser on the appliance is configured to access the
Desktop Appliance site for a store in full-screen mode at startup.
- Receiver for Web site shortcuts -
You can embed on your websites links to desktops and applications
available through Receiver for Web sites.
- XenMobile App Controller workflow
integration - Receiver for Web site users can subscribe to applications
to which you are managing access with App Controller user account
- Receiver for Web site user change
password - You can enable Receiver for Web site users to change their
Active Directory domain passwords and configure notifications for users
whose passwords are about to expire.
- Fast Connect support - StoreFront
supports pass-through authentication with proximity cards through Fast
Connect-compatible third-party products to XenApp Services URLs.
- IPv6 support - StoreFront supports
communications with both servers and clients on IPv6 networks and on
hybrid dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 networks.
- Licensing Simplification - As
part of our commitment to ease of use, this release sees the introduction
of XenServer 6.2.0 which replaces the previous XenServer Free, Advanced,
Enterprise, and Platinum editions. Functionality previously available
within premium versions of XenServer is now available free of charge. With
this simplification we have also introduced per-socket licensing. Licenses
no longer enable specific XenServer features, instead they signify that a
XenServer is under a valid support contract. XenServer 6.2.0 no longer
requires a license server or license file to enable features, as all
features are enabled for free in unlicensed mode. Licenses are only
required to receive Citrix Support and to enable the use of XenCenter for
the installation of security and feature hotfixes. Hotfixes can continue
to be installed on unlicensed hosts using the XE command line interface.
- Performance and Scale - Significant
performance and scale improvements; given a server of sufficient capacity
XenServer will scale to:
- XenServer version 6.2.0
- VMs per host - 500
- vCPUs per host - 3250
in the amount of traffic between a VM and the Control Domain (Dom0).
scaling of Dom0 memory and vCPUs based on physical memory and CPU capacity
on the host.
- Monitoring -
The XenServer 6.1.0 Performance and Monitoring Supplemental Pack is now
fully integrated and extended for XenServer 6.2.0. This provides detailed
monitoring of performance metrics, including CPU, memory, disk, network,
C-state/P-state information, and storage. Where appropriate, these metrics
are available on a “per host” and a “per VM” basis. These metrics are
available directly through the RRD interface, or can be accessed and
viewed graphically in XenCenter or other third-party applications.
- New system alerts can be seen in XenCenter and XenDesktop
Director and optionally sent by e-mail. Alerts are notifications that occur in
response to selected system events, or when CPU, memory usage, network
throughput, storage throughput, or VM disk activity go over a specified
threshold on a managed host, VM, or storage repository. For details, refer to
the Monitoring and Managing XenServer chapter in CTX137828 - XenServer 6.2.0
Clone on Boot - This feature
supports Machine Creation Services (MCS) which is shipped as part of
XenDesktop. Clone on boot allows rapid deployment of hundreds of transient
desktop images from a single source, with the images being automatically
destroyed and their disk space freed on exit.
- New and Improved Guest Support:
Windows Server 2012
Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP2 (32/64-bit)
Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.8, 5.9, 6.3, 6.4 (32/64-bit)
Enterprise Linux (OEL) 5.8, 5.9, 6.3, 6.4 (32/64-bit)
5.8, 5.9, 6.3, 6.4 (32/64-bit)
support for Windows Server 2008R2 has been improved and reintroduced
to logging in Dom0: logs cannot over-consume Dom0 resource, increasing
Storage Migration is now possible from the VM Storage tab in XenCenter
for additional CPUs (AMD Piledriver, Intel Haswell-DT)
in-box device drivers
Hypervisor upgrade (Xen-4.1.5)
DM Multipath (0.4.9.56)
for alert severity filtering in XenCenter
XenServer alert severity levels for consistency
PowerShell SDK has been redesigned for improved robustness, usability,
Provisioning Services 7.0
Support for Microsoft Server 2012:
Provisioning Servers – Standard, Essential, and Datacenter editions.
Console and target devices – Standard, Essential, and Datacenter editions.
Support for Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit), all editions:
For use with the Console and target devices.
Support for Hyper-V 3.0 on Windows Server 2012:
For use with the XenDesktop Setup Wizard and Streamed VM Setup Wizard.
Includes Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 for write-back cache or vDisk storage.
Support for Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1:
Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) – for
use with the XenDesktop Setup Wizard and Streamed VM Setup Wizard.
Configuration Manager (SCCM) – for use
with the automated vDisk update feature.
Support for Microsoft SQL 2008 R2 SP1
and SQL 2012 (SQL 2005 is no longer supported).
XenDesktop Setup Wizard improvements
Simplified creation of streamed
When creating a catalog, the boot
device file is created automatically, eliminating the need to boot using PXE.
The time it takes to create a catalog
has been reduced by eliminating the need to clone the write cache disk attached
to the VM template.
When using local hard disk cache, the
wizard automatically creates and formats the disk (NTFS).
Multiple NIC support for XenDesktop
Private VM desktops. Using the wizard, Provisioning Services allows you to
select the network to associate with the Provisioning Services NIC (NIC 0). The
XenDesktop Controller provides the list of associated network resources for
Previous XenDesktop Virtual Desktop
Agent (VDA) support on VMs.
Support for Static IP.
Provisioning Services extends built-in
administrator roles to support XenDesktop's new Delegated administration roles.
Data reader and Data writer database
roles are now configured automatically for the Stream and SOAP Services user
account using the Provisioning Services Configuration wizard.
When installing Provisioning Services
target device product software on NT6.x systems within a multi-NIC environment,
all available NICs can be used to bind to Provisioning Services. Therefore,
unless the device is Windows 2003, bindcfg.exe is no longer required and does
not install with target device software.
By default, Provisioning Services
automatically switches from legacy Hyper-V NICs to synthetic NICs if both exist
in the same subnet.
This version includes issues fixed since the last release of
Profile management. For the list of fixed issues, see CTX124164.
In addition, this version includes the following new key features:
architecture - Profile management has been re-architected. A new
mechanism for tracking file and folder changes replaces the Windows change
journal. This simplifies the software's internal operation. As a result of
this simplification, the Directory of the MFT cache file policy is also
configuration - Profile management now examines any XenDesktop
environment, for example for the presence of personal vDisks, and sets
defaults accordingly. Only policies in the Not Configured state are
adjusted, so any customizations you have made are preserved. This feature
speeds up deployment and simplifies optimization. No configuration of the
feature is necessary, but you can disable automatic configuration when
upgrading (to retain settings from earlier versions) or when
troubleshooting. Automatic configuration does not work in XenApp or other
with XenDesktop - Profile management is still available as a separate
download but you can now also install it from the XenDesktop 7 media.
Profile management is installed silently by default. Citrix Studio
administrators can now configure Profile management settings using
XenDesktop policies, and Desktop Director Administrators can now access
diagnostic information for and troubleshoot user profiles.
troubleshooting - To assist troubleshooting, Profile management now
processes local client administrators on desktop operating systems but
ignores administrators on server operating systems. This is the default
behavior so no configuration of this feature is necessary, but you can
change the default using the Process logons of local administrator’s
policy, if required. Also, instead of providing users with a temporary
profile if a problem is encountered (for example, the user store is
unavailable), a new policy lets you display an error message and
automatically logs off users in this situation.
groups - This new policy identifies profiles of Active Directory
Group members, and excludes the profiles from processing by Profile
management. This can be helpful in large deployments. The exclusion takes
precedence over any inclusion by the Process logons of local administrator’s
for Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) - Compared with
traditional Microsoft roaming profiles, user settings are stored
differently for virtual applications created with App-V. Profile
management works with App-V user settings without any need for configuration.
The support does not include compatibility with App-V delivery mechanisms
provided by some service providers.
synchronization - The personal vDisk feature of XenDesktop, which
stores data outside the user profile, replaces extended synchronization. This
Profile management feature, which also stored non-profile data by
combining inclusion and exclusion lists, is no longer needed and is
removed from this version. Use personal vDisk instead.
XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2 brings added value to your
existing XenApp 6.5 deployment by enhancing seamless delivery of apps across
devices and extending the 3D graphics experience to more of your users. Feature
Pack 2 shares many of the innovations delivered in the XenDesktop 7 release.
Please Note: With
the exception of the Mobile SDK for Windows Apps, all the other XenApp 6.5 FP2
components available on the download page are not dependent on HRP02.
What's included in XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2?
Unified app store for desktops, apps, mobile and
3D professional graphics at low cost powered by
HDX 3D Pro GPU sharing
Accelerated application P2V migration with
Latest Microsoft integration with Citrix
Connector for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012
Support for Microsoft® Lync® 2010
Seamless local apps integration
Mobile SDK for Windows Apps and enhanced
The latest updates in HRP02 including optimized
operations for mapped client drives
Receiver for Windows 4.0
- Support for XenDesktop 7
features – Receiver supports the many enhancements provided by
XenDesktop 7, including Windows Media client-side content fetching,
multicast support, client folder redirection, Local App Access, and
support for IPv6 connections.
- Support for StoreFront 2.0
features – Receiver supports the many enhancements provided by
StoreFront 2.0, including smart card authentication and support for IPv6
- Integrated Smart card
authentication – Receiver now provides integrated smart card
authentication for StoreFront connections, including support for:
- Pass-through authentication (single
sign-on) - Users of domain-joined devices enter their smart card
credentials to log on to Receiver. They can then start virtual desktops
and apps without needing to re-enter credentials.
- Bimodal authentication - Users can
log on with a smart card or enter their user name and password. This
enables a user to log on even if a certificate has expired or the user
does not have the smart card.
- Multiple certificates - When users
insert a smart card into a card reader, Receiver chooses the certificates
needed and can use multiple certificates from one or more cards.
- Double hop sessions - Users can
start a virtual desktop and then use Receiver on that virtual desktop to
start an application from a different delivery group.
- Smart card-enabled apps - Users
can digitally sign or encrypt documents in a virtual desktop or app
- User experience improvements –
now displays a notification when installation of an update completes.
the session reliability policy is in effect, Receiver dims apps when the
connection to the server is lost.
decoding – When used XenDesktop 7, Receiver provides improved
performance of rich and professional graphics apps on WAN networks.
for HDX Insight – HDX Insight is the integration of EdgeSight
network analysis and EdgeSight performance management with Director. With
this support now in Receiver, XenDesktop administrators can check
performance metrics related to the health of this component. No
configuration of this feature is required.
port and LPT port mapping change – In XenDesktop 7 deployments, COM
port and LPT port mapping are disabled by default. Use the port
redirection policies to enable mapping.
Receiver for Mac 11.8
- XenDesktop 7 support -
Receiver supports the many enhancements provided by XenDesktop 7 including
support for IPv6 connections. No configuration of this feature is
- Desktop restart - Users can
restart virtual desktops in Citrix StoreFront if they stall or become
corrupted. You configure this feature in XenDesktop.
- H.264 decoding - HDX 3D Pro
graphics from XenDesktop 7 servers can be displayed. This provides better
performance of rich and professional graphics applications on WANs and in
public clouds. No configuration of this feature is required.
- HDX Insight support - HDX
Insight is the integration of EdgeSight network analysis and EdgeSight
performance management with Director. With this support now in Receiver,
XenDesktop administrators can check performance metrics related to the
health of this component. No configuration of this feature is required.
- Windows shortcuts - Support
for Windows logo key shortcuts is built into the Keyboard menu. This
allows Mac users to send Windows shortcuts to their remote desktops and
- StoreFront 2.0 support –
Receiver supports the many enhancements provided by StoreFront 2.0
including support for IPv6 connections
Labels: blogs, Citrix, Citrix Receiver, EUC, Excalibur, HDX Insight, hyper-v, Microsoft, Mobility, Power, PVS, resiliency, VDI, virtual machines, Xendesktop 7