Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 released

Citrix XenApp 7.11 and XenDesktop 7.11

Citrix XenApp 7.11 and XenDesktop 7.11 is now available for download.

Citrix have updated their popular XenApp and XenDesktop products to version 7.11. In this release there are new versions of the Windows VDAs and new versions of several XenApp and XenDesktop core components.

Here is an overview of what’s new:

Provision with MCS

When using Machine Creation Services to create a Machine Catalog containing desktop OS VMs, you can now choose whether MCS provisions thin (fast copy) clones or thick (full copy) clones.

VDA registration with Delivery Controller

VDAs that are not registered with a Delivery Controller are not considered when launching brokered sessions, which results in underutilization of otherwise available resources. There are a variety of reasons a VDA might not be registered, many of which an administrator can troubleshoot. This XenApp and XenDesktop version offers significantly more information about the VDA machines, both when you add existing machines to a Machine Catalog, and after you add a catalog to a Delivery Group.

In the Create Machine Catalog wizard, after you add existing machines, the list of computer account names will indicate whether each machine is suitable for adding to the catalog. Hover over the icon next to each machine to display an informative message about that machine.

  • If the message identifies a problematic machine, you can either remove that machine (using the Remove button), or add the machine. For example, if a message indicates that information could not be obtained about a machine (perhaps because it had never registered with a Delivery Controller), you might choose to add the machine anyway.
  • The message indicates if a machine contains a VDA that is an earlier version than the minimum functional level selected in the dropdown at the bottom of the page.  The functional level controls which product features are available to machines in the catalog. Using features introduced in new product versions may require a new VDA. Setting a minimum functional level makes all features introduced in that version available to the catalog. However, machines with an earlier VDA version will fail to register.

After you create a Delivery Group, Studio displays enhanced details about machines associated with that group. The details for a Delivery Group now indicate the number of machines that should be registered but are not (for example, machines that are powered on and not in maintenance mode, but are not currently registered with a Controller).  When viewing a “not registered, but should be” machine, the new Troubleshoot tab in the Details pane provides possible causes and recommended corrective actions.

AppDisks

You can now use supported versions of System Center Virtual Machine Manager to provision VMs that will be used to create AppDisks.

App-V

When you use the App-V single admin method, creating isolation groups allow you to specify interdependent groups of applications that must run in the same isolation space (sandbox). This feature is similar, but not identical to App-V connection groups.

Publish content

The publish content feature allows you to publish document files, media files, web URLs, and other types of files from any network location. This feature is currently available through the PowerShell SDK.

Zone preference

In a multi-zone Site, the zone preference feature offers the administrator more flexibility to control which VDA is used to launch an application. You can define preferred zones for applications and users, and then indicate if and when those preferences will be considered when the Delivery Controller broker selects a suitable VDA.

Citrix Insight Services

When you use the full product installer to deploy or upgrade components, anonymous information about the installation process is gathered and stored locally. You can now choose whether that information is automatically uploaded to CIS.

Director

Director includes the following new and enhanced features:

  • Resource utilization reporting. Provides insight into historical trends data for CPU and memory usage for each VDI machine for better capacity planning. In Trends > Resource Utilization, reporting is available for Desktop and Server OS machines showing Average and Peak CPU, Average and Peak Memory and Peak Concurrent Sessions. All reports can be exported in PDF, CSV and Excel format. The administrator can drill down to the machine and view historical utilization data and charts for the top 10 processes consuming CPU and memory. A new policy setting, Enable Process Monitoring, must be enabled to collect and display the data in the Top 10 Processes table on the Historic Machine Utilization page.
  • Enhanced proactive monitoring and alerting. Configure proactive alerting and notifications when thresholds are reached for an extended range of conditions including CPU, Memory and ICA RTT:
    • Create new alerts policies for users. You can set up alerts policies to monitor and alert for ICA RTT and Logon Duration thresholds for specific sets of users.
    • Create new alerts policy conditions. New conditions can be set in Server OS and Delivery Group alerts policies: CPU, Memory, ICA RTT (Average), ICA RTT (No. of Sessions) and ICA RTT (% of Sessions). You can also set CPU and Memory as conditions in Site alerts.
    • Filter Citrix Alerts by User. In the Citrix Alerts tab, set the Source to User to filter all Citrix Alerts by a specific user.
  • Export report improvements. Export of trends and alerts data to PDF, Excel and CSV report formats has been improved to support a consistent experience for large sets of data:
    • Data limits supported by an export are defined based on the supported report file formats, PDF, Excel and CSV. These limits are applicable for all standard configurations of Director.
    • The number of parallel export instances is limited to two.
  • Automate Director notifications with Citrix Octoblu. Director supports the integration of Citrix alerts with Octoblu webhooks. Octoblu is an IoT messaging and automation platform from Citrix. This feature opens up the use of Octoblu’s communication layer to process Citrix alerts with IoT services. You can configure the webhook URL of an Octoblu workflow automation in an alert policy using PowerShell cmdlets. This triggers the Octoblu webhook when the alert is generated, then at the re-alert interval time and once the alert status is healthy, enabling seamless integration with the alert handling platform.

Session Recording

Session Recording includes the following new features and enhancements.

  • Administrator Logging. Logs the following activities:
    • Changes to recording policies in the Session Recording Policy Console or Citrix Director.
    • Changes in the Session Recording Server Properties.
    • Downloads of recordings in the Session Recording Player.
    • Recording a session by Session Recording after the policy query.
    • Unauthorized attempts to access the Administrator Logging service.

 

Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) 7.11

Version 7.11 of the VDA for Server OS and the VDA for Desktop OS include the following enhancements to HDX technologies and platform support:

  • Selective use of a video codec (H.264) to compress graphics. Combines the use of a video codec (H.264) with HDX Thinwire. Identifies areas on the user’s screen which display actively changing content, such as a window running a video or CAD manipulation, and compresses the data using the video encoder. Still image compression and bitmap caching continue to be used for areas of the screen using text-based data (for example Word, Excel, and Windows Explorer). Users get the benefit of lower bandwidth use for the video content combined with sharpness of text in applications they are working with elsewhere on their screen(s). To enable this feature, change the policy setting Use video codec for compression to the new option For actively changing regions. The default policy setting for Use video codec for compression is Use video codec when preferred. With the default setting, the system uses Thinwire to provide the best experience possible
  • Enhancement to caching behavior of video content in Thinwire. Thinwire can now bypass caching of server-rendered video content while at the same time retaining cached bitmaps for other open windows using text-based data (for example Excel, Windows Explorer, desktop background), resulting in a 5% reduction in bandwith use. This enhancement is available in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 with Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.5 and Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.4.
  • Access to a high-performance video encoder for NVIDIA GPUs. VDAs configured for HDX 3D Pro with any Citrix Receiver that supports H.264 encoding, can use hardware encoding of a video codec where available. In this release, this is available for NVIDIA GPUs that support NVENC hardware encoding (see NVIDIA video codec SDK for a list of supported GPUs). This lowers CPU usage and delivers higher server scalability in XenDesktop environments using GPUs for 3D graphics rendering. This feature performs full-screen H.264 encoding. Multiple monitors are supported. Selective use of the H.264 hardware codec for actively changing regions is not supported. For more information, see Use hardware encoding for video codec in the Graphics policy settings and GPU acceleration for Windows Desktop OS.
  • Seamless publishing of Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. Add universal apps to Delivery Groups and launch from Citrix Receiver. Support for publishing universal apps gives users a seamless experience of new apps developed for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This feature is available in this release for VDAs for Desktop OS on Windows 10, and for VDAs for Server OS on Windows Server 2016.
  • Generic USB redirection for mass storage devices on XenApp. Version 7.9 introduced support for generic USB redirection (USB plug-and-play) for mass storage devices on XenApp, enabled with a registry key. In 7.11, generic USB redirection for mass storage devices is enabled by default. XenApp users can interact with mass storage devices in a XenApp session as if the storage device was physically attached.
  • Updated Client USB device optimization rules policy setting. This policy setting was introduced in 7.6 FP3 and enabled by default. The Client USB device optimization rules policy setting is now disabled by default. When a user plugs in a USB input device, the host checks if the device is allowed by the USB policy settings. If the device is allowed, the host then checks the Client USB device optimization rules for the device. If no rule is specified, then the device is not optimized. Capture mode (04) is the recommended mode for signature devices. For other devices which have degraded performance over higher latency, administrators can enable Interactive mode (02) .
  • Relative mouse support. Relative mouse support improves the user experience of simulator applications that use a mouse for the control of, for example, a player’s head camera. In Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.5, users can enable this setting “on the fly” in a desktop session by enabling Use relative mouse from the Desktop Viewer toolbar (Preferences Connections). In Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.4, relative mouse support can be enabled by editing the user’s configuration file (wfclient.ini). Relative mouse support is available with VDAs configured in either standard or HDX 3D Pro mode. In this release, this feature is not supported with Framehawk or with published applications launched from the Start menu or a desktop shortcut.
  • TWAIN 2.0 support. Users can now access image processing applications which use the TWAIN 2.0 scanning protocol in XenApp and XenDesktop. Citrix Receiver 4.5 or higher is required
  • Support for Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Discrete Device Assignment (DDA). Enables GPU passthrough for XenApp and XenDesktop running on Microsoft Hyper-V. Any supported virtual machine running on Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V now has access to the physical GPU. The GPU can be used by multiple user sessions sharing Windows Server OS (Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016) delivered using XenApp. For professional graphics use, the GPU can be dedicated to individual users running Windows Desktop OS (Windows 7 or Windows 10) delivered using XenDesktop.

StoreFront 3.7

StoreFront includes the following new features and enhancements.

  • Support for Windows Server 2016. StoreFront 3.7 includes support for Windows Server 2016.
  • Support for Self-Service Password Reset 1.0. Prior to this version, StoreFront supported Password Reset using Single-Sign On. With the release of Self-Service Password Reset 1.0, use the StoreFront management console to allow users to enroll their answers to the security questions that were configured in the Self-Service Password Reset configuration console. Support for small form factor devices. The logon UI adjusts to fit the screen of the user’s device.
  • Zone preferences. Support for StoreFront to pass NetScaler zone preferences to the XenApp or XenDesktop Controller.

Provisioning Services 7.11

Provisioning Services includes the following new features:

  • PVS provides an enhanced diagnostic model at this release with Always On tracing using CDF. This feature, enabled during installation, leverages the CDF monitor and associated controls to upload diagnostic data to Citrix.
  • PVS now includes support for SQL Server Always On failover in multi-subnet environments. As part of the implementation, the database server is accessed via ODBC which requires the SQL Server Native Client be installed as a pre-requisite of the PVS server software.
  • Support for CIS problem reporting. This allows you to directly report problems you encounter while using PVS to Citrix Support.
  • Support for Windows Server 2016 as a server and a target platform. When using this functionality, consider that PVS server supports ReFS in the quick vDisk versioning image, but it is not used for target cache devices.

AppDNA 7.11

AppDNA includes the following new and enhanced features:

  • Windows Server 2016 analysis and reporting. This release adds a new module in AppDNA to automate the analysis of applications compatibility with Windows Server 2016. The Windows Server 2016 module contains a report that is made up of a suite of algorithms which validate the suitability, interoperability, conflicts and performance of your organization’s applications in a Windows Server 2016 environment.
  • Expanded security analysis. In this release, the Compliance Manager module expands its scope of security analysis to identify and report on outdated versions of Open SSL, managed cryptography APIs, and missing SafeSEH (Safe Structured Exception Handling).