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What's new

Mar. 23, 2016

About this release

The XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 release comprises new Windows and Linux VDA versions along with new versions of several XenApp and XenDesktop core components. You can: 

  • Install or upgrade a XenApp or XenDesktop Site

Use the ISO for this release to install or upgrade all the core components and VDAs. This allows you to use all of the latest features, summarized below. For instructions, see the Prepare to install or Upgrade a deployment article.

  • Install or upgrade VDAs in an existing Site

If you have a XenApp or XenDesktop deployment, and aren't ready to upgrade your core components, you can still use several of the latest HDX and other features by installing (or upgrading to) a new VDA. This is often helpful when you want to test enhancements in a non-production environment. New and updated features in the VDAs are summarized below. For instructions, see the following articles:

Install or upgrade VDAs using a graphical interface of the standalone VDA installer

Install or upgrade VDAs from the command line interface of the standalone VDA installer

The XenApp and XenDesktop download pages for this release also include updated versions of the following software. For feature information and installation instructions, see the component's documentation.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8

The product release includes the following new and enhanced features.

  • Secure Browser 

Leverage the Lifecycle Management Blueprint for the XenApp Secure Browser to simplify the deployment. As part of the XenApp Version 7.8 launch, all existing XenApp and XenDesktop customers with active Software Maintenance (SWM) or Subscription Advantage (SA) have access to the Deploy edition of Citrix Lifecycle Management. 

For more information, refer to Deploying XenApp Secure Browser Edition

  • AppDisks

The new AppDisks feature separates applications and groups of applications from a master image’s OS, enabling you to manage them independently. You can now manage the applications as a distinct entity: an AppDisk.

AppDisks differ from other application-provisioning technologies in two ways: isolation and change management. Unlike Microsoft App-V, an AppDisk does not isolate applications; it separates them. Change management (updating master images and testing the compatibility of updates with installed applications) can be a significant expense to organizations. Using AppDNA with AppDisks provides this change management capability. AppDNA identifies potential issues with image updates and suggests remediation steps. 

For more information, see the AppDisks article.

  • Enhanced support for Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

You can now deliver Microsoft App-V applications to users without having to configure and manage Microsoft App-V management and publishing servers in Studio. Instead, you can import App-V packages directly from a network share to an Application Library held by Citrix Studio. App-V applications can be delivered through Delivery Groups to users from this library, just like other applications discovered from a master image or from Microsoft App-V servers, if you have them. The new "single admin" management method can be used instead of, or in addition to, the existing "dual admin" management method.

For more information, see the App-V article.

  • Applications node in Studio

The new Applications node in the Studio navigation pane provides a central way to manage all of your applications, regardless of Delivery Group assignment. One of its key benefits is the ability to add applications to more than one Delivery Group at one time.

In earlier releases, to manage applications, you selected a Delivery Group in the Studio navigation pane, and then selected the Applications tab in the middle pane. Now, you simply select Applications in the navigation pane.

When you add an application to more than one Delivery Group, you can specify the priority of each Delivery Group (0 is the highest); XenApp or XenDesktop will attempt to launch the application from the highest-priority Delivery Group; if that is not possible, the application in the second-highest Delivery Group will be launched, and so on.

The Add Application wizard offers a dropdown from which you select the source of applications: a machine created in the Machine Catalog, an App-V package, an application you have already added to the Site (perhaps in another Delivery Group), or a manually-defined application.

For more information, see the Manage applications and Create Delivery Groups articles.

  • Updated Create Delivery Group wizard and Edit Delivery Group interface

In previous versions, the Create Delivery Group wizard included a page for specifying the delivery type (applications and desktops, applications only, or desktops only). In this version, the Delivery Type page is displayed only if you selected a Machine Catalog containing assigned desktop OS machines; in that case, you can specify whether the machines in that catalog will deliver desktops or applications. For all other machine types, the machines in the group can deliver applications and desktops. In some cases, you can change the delivery type later by editing the Delivery Group.

In previous versions, the Create Delivery Group wizard included a page for specifying a StoreFront address. In this version, the StoreFront page no longer appears in the Create Delivery Group wizard. It is assumed you will provide a StoreFront server address from the StoreFront node in Studio.You can also specify StoreFront information later by editing the Delivery Group.

The Applications page in the Create Delivery Group wizard now offers a new dropdown from which you select the source of applications you're adding to the Delivery Group: a machine created in the Machine Catalog you selected, an App-V package, an application you have already added to the Site (perhaps in another Delivery Group), or a manually-defined application. 

The Desktops (or Desktop Assignment Rules) page enables you to specify which users or groups can launch a VM, use a desktop, or have a desktop assigned. If the Delivery Group contains machines from a static assigned catalog, you can also specify the maximum number of desktops per user.

The Summary page now includes an optional description field that is displayed in Citrix Receiver. You can change this description later by editing the Delivery Group.

For more information, see the Create Delivery Groups and Manage applications articles.

  • Improved tag interface in Studio

Tags are strings that identify items such as machines, applications, Delivery Groups, and policies. After adding a tag to an item, you can tailor search queries and policy assignments to apply only to items that have a specified tag.

In previous versions, one dialog box was available for adding and editing tags, and tags could be assigned only to policies. This version offers a more robust and easy-to-use interface, as well as wider applicability.

For more information, see the Tags article.

  • Requirements, installation, and configuration updates

In addition to the following items, see the Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) section of this article for changes in the 7.8 VDAs and in the VDA installers.

Internet Explorer version support for Citrix Director and the HDX Flash Redirection feature has been updated. Although you can use any of the versions noted in the System requirements article, Microsoft supports (and Citrix recommends using) version 11.

For components with a Microsoft .NET Framework prerequisite, the installers will deploy .NET 4.5.2 if the machine has .NET Framework 4.5.1 or lower (or no .NET Framework) installed. This includes the Delivery Controller, Studio, Director, and VDAs.

You can install a Delivery Controller, Studio, Director, and the Windows VDAs on servers running Windows Server 2016 Technology Preview; however, support is experimental and not for production use.

The Site creation wizard has changed. The new Additional Features page lists items you can select to customize your Site. When you select the check box for an item that requires information, a configuration box appears. In earlier releases, App-V information was on a separate page in the Site creation wizard. AppDNA integration with AppDisks is new in this release. 

AppDNA Integration: If you will be using AppDisks and have installed AppDNA, enable this feature to allow analysis of applications and OSs, review compatibility issues, and then take remedial actions to resolve those issues. For more information, see the AppDisks article.

App-V Publishing: Enable this feature if you will use applications from packages on App-V servers. If you will use only applications from App-V packages on network share locations, you do not need to enable this feature. You can also enable/disable and configure this feature later in Studio. For more information, see the App-V article.

When creating a Machine Catalog that uses a master image on a hypervisor or cloud service provider, Studio provides an enhanced reminder to install a VDA on the image. If the VDA is omitted, the catalog creation fails after an often-lengthy interval.

  • Call Home

Citrix Call Home  performs periodic collections of your system and product configuration, plus performance, error, and other information. This information is sent to Citrix Insight Services for proactive analysis and resolution.

For details, see the Citrix Insight Services article.

  • Citrix Insight Services link available from within Director

You can access Citrix Insight Services (CIS) from the User drop-down in Director to access additional diagnostic insights. The data available in CIS comes from sources including Call Home and Citrix Scout.

  • VMware SSL thumbprint

The VMware SSL thumbprint feature addresses a frequently-reported error when creating a host connection to a VMware vSphere hypervisor. Previously, administrators had to manually create a trust relationship between the Delivery Controllers in the Site and the hypervisor's certificate before creating a connection. The VMware SSL thumbprint feature removes that manual requirement: the untrusted certificate's thumbprint is stored on the Site database so that the hypervisor can be continuously identified as trusted by XenApp and XenDesktop, even if not by the Controllers.

When creating a vSphere host connection in Studio, a dialog box allows you to view the certificate of the machine you are connecting to. You can then choose whether to trust it.

Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) 7.8

Version 7.8 of the VDA for Server OS and the VDA for Desktop OS include the following enhancements:

  • Linux VDA version 1.2, with the following features and enhancements:
    • HDX 3D Pro for Linux
    • Local printing support
    • HDX real time audio playback and input
    • Localization in Tier 1 and Tier 2 languages
  • App-V and Framehawk installer options. The VDA installers offer two additional items you can select on the Features page in the graphical interface or specify on the command line.

Framehawk. Opens UDP ports 3224-3324. Framehawk uses a bidirectional UDP port range (default is 3224-3324) to exchange Framehawk display channel data with Citrix Receiver. For more information, see Framehawk virtual channel.

Citrix App-V Publishing Components. Installs components required if you will use applications from Microsoft App-V packages. For more information, see App-V.

  • HDX 3D Pro product edition availability. HDX 3D Pro is now available in the VDA for Windows Desktop OS and Linux VDAs in all XenApp 7.8 and XenDesktop 7.8 product editions. In earlier releases, only certain product editions supported the 3D Pro VDA. HDX 3D Pro is not currently supported on Windows 10.
  • KACD .MSI file included in VDA packages. This file is included to support future customization of authentication. This file was not included with earlier releases.

HDX technologies

The following new and enhanced HDX technologies features are included in the VDAs:

  • Framehawk support for HDX 3D Pro VDI. HDX 3D Pro support for the Framehawk virtual channel is extended from XenApp to XenDesktop VDI. This gives users greater flexibility to view large CAD models while on the move on a corporate or public wireless network, or working from an offshore location over a high latency connection. For more information on Framehawk, see Framehawk virtual channel.
  • Framehawk server scalability improvements. Over 40% average reduction in memory footprint. Up to 20% increase in CPU efficiency. 
  • Framehawk touch scrolling improvements. Over 50% improvement in bandwidth efficiency when scrolling via touch input. Significantly increased frame rate resulting in a smoother user experience.
  • GPU acceleration for DirectX windowed applications on Windows 10 VDAs. This release adds support for GPU acceleration for DirectX 10, 11 and 12 windowed applications on Windows 10 VDAs.
  • Thinwire Build to lossless enhancements. The Build to lossless visual quality for Thinwire has been updated to sharpen fuzzy imagery at a faster rate than delivered in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 FP3, and to improve lossy or lossless frame detection. For the main Thinwire article, see Thinwire Compatibility Mode
  • Reduced VDA memory footprint in Thinwire. The graphics encoder processing pipeline now eliminates the use of an intermediate frame buffer when running Thinwire without video codec compression.
  • Clientname passthrough in double-hop sessions. Applications can use the updated WFAPI SDK to query the client endpoint name and pass this information from any Citrix Receiver to published desktops (XenApp/XenDesktop) and through to a XenApp application (a "double-hop"). This clientname awareness in the XenApp session means that users can seamlessly roam from location to location, and the "double-hop" application will be notified of the change in clientname without having to disconnect or reconnect the session. For more information on how to write conforming applications, see the WFAPI SDK documentation or defer to your application SI/ISV.

Session Recording

Session Recording 7.8.0 includes support for Platinum XenApp 7.8 and XenDesktop 7.8.  This support includes:

  • Session recording support from a Desktop OS VDA. Record on-screen activity of a user session hosted from a Desktop OS VDA over any type of connection, subject to corporate policy and regulatory compliance.
  • Record sessions on remote PC. Support for recording sessions in Remote PC Access.
  • Delivery Group rules.
  • Keyword filtering during rule configuration.
  • Special handling for unsupported graphics modes.
  • Windows 10 support.
  • Thinwire Compatibility Mode support.

For more information, see the Session Recording articles. 

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