App Layering

System requirements

The App Layering virtual appliance runs on the supported hypervisors listed in this article. The appliance is where you deploy the Enterprise Layer Manager (ELM) during installation.

To use the appliance’s management console, you need a browser that supports Microsoft Silverlight.

You can create layers to use on virtually any hypervisor or provisioning software. For the best user experience, publish images to the supported platforms.

Hypervisors for the appliance

The Enterprise Layer Manager (ELM) runs on a virtual appliance deployed to a supported hypervisor.

  • Citrix Hypervisor, versions 6.5, 7.0–7.6, 8.0, 8.1, 8.2
  • Azure Resource Manager
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2019
    • Generation 2 Virtual machines are supported when you use the Offload compositing feature.
  • Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV), versions 5.0–5.5 (Prism Element only), 5.8, 5.9, 5.10, 5.11, 5.15 (long-term support release), 5.16, 5.17, 5.18, 5.19, 5.20 (long-term support release)
  • vSphere vCenter, versions 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 6.7, 7.0 (including subsequent updates)
    • Generation 2 Virtual machines are supported on vSphere vCenter versions 6.7 and 7.0 (and subsequent updates) when you use the Offload compositing feature

Network file share protocol

  • Server Message Block (SMB)

Network Connection

  • Citrix recommends a 10 Gbps connection between the appliance and the file share.

Directory service

  • Microsoft Active Directory

Internet browser for management console

The management console supports the following web browsers with Microsoft Silverlight 4.0 or later:

  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Firefox version 45 - 52.9

Operating system for layered images

You can layer the following versions of the Windows operating system. Windows Store apps work on all supported Windows versions.


Deploying Full User layers (for persisting user data and settings) requires a Windows 7 64-bit or Windows 10 64-bit environment.

  • Windows Server operating systems - The following session host versions are supported:

    • Windows Server 2019, 64-bit (Standard and Datacenter Editions)
    • Windows Server 2016, 64-bit (Standard and Datacenter Editions)
    • Windows Server 2012 R2, 64-bit (Standard and Datacenter Editions)
    • Windows Server 2008 R2, 64-bit (Standard and Datacenter Editions)
  • Desktop operating systems - The following desktop versions are supported:

    • Windows 11, version 21H2. Supported in App Layering version 2112 and later.
    • Windows 10, version 21H1. Supported in App Layering version 2107 and later.
    • Windows 10, version 20H2. Supported in App Layering version 2011 and later.

      Caveat: If you upgrade the OS layer to Windows 10 20H2 from an earlier release, upgrade directly to Build 19042.630, or later. Upgrading to builds of Windows 10 20H2 released before 11/16/2020 can result in inconsistent image deployments.

    • Windows 10, 64-bit, versions 2004, 1909, 1903, 1809, 1803, 1709, 1703, and 1607 (Education and Enterprise Editions)
    • Windows 10, 64-bit, versions 2004, 1909, 1903, 1809, 1803 (Professional edition)
    • Windows 7, 64-bit (Enterprise and Professional Editions)
    • Windows 7, 32-bit (Enterprise and Professional Editions)

App Layering supports single-byte language packs for the base US English Windows operating system. It supports multi-byte language packs when the OS layer is deployed on supported versions of:

  • Citrix Hypervisor
  • VMware vSphere
  • Microsoft Hyper-V

Install the language packs on the OS machine before importing the operating system into an OS layer. Language packs installed on an OS layer version do not work correctly.

User layers

Full User layers are supported on the following platforms:

  • Operating systems:
    • Windows 7, 64-bit
    • Windows 10, 64-bit
  • Publishing platforms:
    • Citrix Virtual Desktops
    • VMware Horizon View

Layered images

Layered Images are bootable images composited from Layers. Each Layered Image contains an OS Layer, a Platform Layer, and any number of App Layers. You can publish layered images to these platforms:

  • Machine Creation for Citrix Hypervisor (formerly Citrix MCS for XenServer)
  • Machine Creation for Azure and Azure Government
  • Machine Creation for vSphere
  • Machine Creation for Nutanix AHV
  • Citrix Provisioning, versions 2106, 2012, 2009, 2006, 2003, 1912, 1909, 1906, 1903, 1811, 7.15 CU6, 1912 CU3, and Provisioning Service (PVS), versions 7.6 LTSR


    • Citrix recommends network speeds of 10 Gbps to the Provisioning store.
    • Provisioning Service (PVS) versions 7.1, 7.7–7.9, 7.11–7.18, and 1808 are no longer supported.

The appliance and connectors run in the following environments:

  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, versions 7: 1808, 1811, 1903, 1906, 1909, 1912 (LTSR, CU1- CU3), 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2103, 2106
  • Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, versions 6.5, 7.0–7.18, and 7.15 (LTSR, CU3 - CU7)
  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Essentials for Azure
  • Citrix Hypervisor (formerly Citrix XenServer)
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Nutanix Acropolis
  • VMware vSphere
  • VMware Horizon View, versions 6.x, 7.0.x, 7.1.x, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.6, 7.8, 7.9, 7.11, 7.13, 8.2

Desktop provisioning and application delivery

You can use layered images for Persistent desktops, as long as you do not enable Elastic layering or User layers (Full or Office 365).

To enable User layers or Elastic layers, you must use Non-persistent machines.


Elastic layering does not support View Persona Management.