Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Double hop in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

In the context of a Citrix client session, the term “double hop” refers to a Citrix Virtual App session that is running within a Citrix Virtual Desktop session. The following diagram illustrates a double hop.

Double hop

In a double hop scenario, when the user connects to a Citrix Virtual Desktop running on a single-session OS VDA (known as VDI) or a multi-session OS VDA (known as a published desktop), that is considered the first hop. After the user connects to the virtual desktop, the user can launch a Citrix Virtual Apps session. That is considered the second hop.

You can use a double hop deployment model to support various use cases. The case where the Citrix Virtual Desktop and the Citrix Virtual Apps environments are managed by different entities is one common example. This method can also be effective in resolving application compatibility issues.

System requirements

All Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops editions including the Citrix Cloud service support double hop.

The first hop must use a supported version of the single-session or multi-session OS VDA and the Citrix Workspace App. The second hop must use a supported version of the multi-session OS VDA. See the Product Matrix page for supported versions.

For best performance and compatibility, Citrix recommends using a Citrix client of the same version or newer than the VDA versions in use.

In environments where the first hop involves a third-party (non-Citrix) virtual desktop solution in combination with a Citrix Virtual Apps session, support is limited to the Citrix Virtual Apps environment. In the event of any issues related to the third-party virtual desktop, including - but not limited to - Citrix Workspace app compatibility, redirection of hardware devices, and session performance, Citrix can provide technical support in a limited capacity. A Citrix Virtual Desktop at the first hop might be required as part of troubleshooting.

Deployment considerations for HDX in double hop

In general, each session in a double hop is unique and client-server functions are isolated to a given hop. This section includes areas that require special consideration by Citrix administrators. Citrix recommends that customers conduct thorough testing of required HDX capabilities to ensure user experience and performance is adequate for a given environment configuration.


Use default graphics settings (selective encoding) on the first and second hops. In the case of HDX 3D Pro, Citrix highly recommends that all applications that require graphics acceleration run locally in the first hop with the appropriate GPU resources available to the VDA.


End-to-end latency can impact the overall user experience. Consider the added latency between the first and second hops. This is especially important with redirection of hardware devices.


Server-side (in session) rendering of audio and video content performs best in the first hop. Video playback in the second hop requires decoding and re-encoding at the first hop, increasing bandwidth and hardware resource utilization as a result. Audio and video content must be limited to the first hop whenever possible.

USB device redirection

HDX includes generic and optimized redirection modes to support a wide array of USB device types. Pay special attention to the mode in use at each hop and use the following table as reference for best results. For more information about generic and optimized redirection modes, see Generic USB devices.

First hop (VDI or published desktop) Second hop (Virtual apps) Support notes
Optimized Optimized Recommended (based on device support). For example, USB mass storage, TWAIN scanners, Webcam, Audio.
Generic Generic For devices where the optimized option is not available.
Generic Optimized While technically possible, it is recommended to use the optimized mode across both hops when device support is available.
Optimized Generic Not supported


Due to the inherent chattiness of USB protocols, performance may decrease across hops. Functionality and results vary depending on specific device and application requirements. Validation testing is highly recommended in all cases of device redirection and especially important in double hop scenarios.

Support exceptions

Double hop sessions support most HDX features and capabilities except for the following:

Double hop in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops