“New Year 2016” & “New XenDesktop 7.7”

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Yesterday (29th of December 2015) Citrix published their brand new XenDesktop 7.7. With this version Citrix would like to bring some “new” features to XenDesktop 7.6. We have two kind of “new” features. The real ones – like:

  • Proactive monitoring and alerting
  • SCOM integration
  • Desktop and Server OS usage
  • Windows Authentication in Director (SSON)

and the “fake” one. Fake, because some of them was intentionally removed from XenDesktop 7.0 (when Citrix announced new FMA architecture for whole suite – XenApp/XenDesktop), and right now, they are back as “new and enhanced features”:

  • Zones – some very usefull feature, that was available in XenApp IMA, for WAN deplyment. More about zones – XenApp & XenDesktop 7.7: Intro to Zones within FMA.
  • Database configuration – right now, we can split 3 databases from one server to many – for Site config, Logging and Monitoring. Looks familiar? (in XenApp we could specify additional DB for logging).
  • Application limit – we can set limits for applications, but we could have done this in XA 6.5, haven’t we?
  • Proactive monitoring and alerting – again? Yes, many of these features we had in EdgeSight, so be happy, but this is not an EdgeSight.

All new features, limitations and documentations you can find right here – XenApp 7.7 and XenDesktop 7.7 What’s New.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found any informations about AppDisks, but I will verify it in a field.

In October and November 2015 I had a chance to be a member of AppDisk Technology Preview Program. I had about 6 sessions with Citrix. I installed XD 7.7 Technology Preview and I was asked about my opinion about this product. We have also discussed new features in Studio and Director. And I see, that one of my sugestion wasn’t applied. It was related to option “Multiple notifications before machine updates or scheduled restarts”. Citrix wrote: “If you indicate that the first message should be sent to each affected machine 15 minutes before the update or restart begins, you can also specify that the message be repeated every five minutes until the update/restart begins.” I suggested, that 15 minutes is not enough. Maybe in next versions.

We have also new version of Provisioning Services 7.7. The most important changes:

  • Support for Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise and Professional editions.
  • In-place upgrade of target device software.
  • Support for UEFI pre-boot environments. This enables you to stream at startup time using gigabit network speeds, so users experience faster startups, and to use disks over 2 TB.
  • Streaming VHDX formatted disks.
  • And my favourite one: The Provisioning Services API has been enhanced to provide a standard object-oriented PowerShell interface that enables you to integrate your products and tools easily with Provisioning Services. No more tough strings manipulation of PVS PoSH mcli output :-)

There is also one more change: “System Center Virtual Machine Manager Generation 2 VMs can be provisioned through Provisioning Services. Generation 2 VMs are optimized for modern workloads: the operating system does not carry the overhead of legacy drivers, devices and x86 architectures.” But with a note: “This feature has received limited testing, may not be present in future product releases and must not be enabled on production systems. Citrix may not respond to support requests regarding this feature. So right now we are still no sure if we will be able to stream Windows Server 2012/2016 or Windows 8/10 on Hyper-V. Very sad information.

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Citrix also published new versions of UPM (Profile Management) 5.4Citrix Licensing 11.13.1 and HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0. Some informations about Optimization Pack 2.0:

  • Finally, after half a year (from 1.8 version) Optimization Pack will support “Native Skype for Business 2015 UI” (version 1.8 supports Skype for Business 2015 only on Lync UI mode). AFAIK, Microsoft already announced Lync 2016.

We have also StoreFront 3.0, but it was published in November this year.

And at the end – we have new Receiver 4.4 (released on 18th December 2015).

Ok. If you haven’t read the text above or just want to go directly to “what’s new” pages, here they are:

And that’s all right now. If you are interested please visit my blog again or just subscribe it.

If you like to get more information about Zones in XenDesktop 7.7 here is short video:

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