XenApp and XenDesktop


Citrix HDX graphics include an extensive set of graphics acceleration and encoding technologies that optimizes the delivery of rich graphics applications from XenApp and XenDesktop. The graphic technologies provide the same experience as using a physical desktop when working remotely with virtual applications that are graphics intensive.

You can use software or hardware for graphics rendering. Software rendering requires a third-party library called software rasterizer. For example, Windows includes the WARP rasterizer for DirectX based graphics. Sometimes, you might want to use an alternative software renderer (for example, OpenGL Software Accelerator). Hardware rendering (hardware acceleration) requires a graphics processor (GPU).

HDX Graphics offers a default encoding configuration that is optimized for the most common use cases. By using Citrix policies, IT administrators can also configure various graphics-related settings to meet different requirements and provide the desired user experience.


Thinwire is the Citrix default display remoting technology used in XenApp and XenDesktop.

Display remoting technology allows graphics generated on one machine to be transmitted, typically across a network, to another machine for display. Graphics are generated as a result of user input, for example, keystrokes or mouse actions.

HDX 3D Pro

The HDX 3D Pro capabilities in XenApp and XenDesktop enable you to deliver desktops and applications that perform best using a graphics processing unit (GPU) for hardware acceleration. These applications include 3D professional graphics applications based on OpenGL and DirectX. The standard VDA supports GPU acceleration of DirectX only.

GPU acceleration for Windows desktop OS

By using HDX 3D Pro, you can deliver graphically intensive applications as part of hosted desktops or applications on Desktop OS machines. HDX 3D Pro supports physical host computers (including desktop, blade, and rack workstations) and GPU Passthrough and GPU virtualization technologies offered by XenServer, vSphere, and Hyper-V (passthrough only) hypervisors.

Using GPU Passthrough, you can create VMs that have exclusive access to dedicated graphics processing hardware. You can install multiple GPUs on the hypervisor and assign VMs to each of these GPUs on a one-to-one basis.

Using GPU virtualization, multiple virtual machines can directly access the graphics processing power of a single physical GPU.

GPU acceleration for Windows server OS

HDX 3D Pro allows graphics-heavy applications running in Windows Server OS sessions to render on the server graphics processing unit (GPU). By moving OpenGL, DirectX, Direct3D, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) rendering to the server GPU, graphics rendering doesn’t slow down the server CPU. Also, the server is able to process more graphics because the workload is split among the CPU and GPU.


Framehawk is a display remoting technology for mobile workers on broadband wireless connections (Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE cellular networks). Framehawk overcomes the challenges of spectral interference and multipath propagation, delivering a fluid and interactive user experience to users of virtual apps and desktops.

OpenGL Software Accelerator

The OpenGL Software Accelerator is a software rasterizer for OpenGL applications such as ArcGIS, Google Earth, Nehe, Maya, Blender, Voxler, computer-aided design, and computer-aided manufacturing. Sometimes, the OpenGL Software Accelerator can eliminate the need to use graphics cards to deliver a good user experience with OpenGL applications.