Product Documentation

XenDesktop administrators

Mar 19, 2015

Read this document if you have used previous versions of XenDesktop. It describes new terminology used throughout the documentation and important changes and new features in XenDesktop 7.

XenDesktop 7 integrates Citrix XenApp and VDI desktop virtualization technologies into a unified architecture that enables a scalable, simple, efficient, and manageable solution for delivering Windows applications and desktops.

XenDesktop 7 enables mobile workstyles by allowing IT to deliver Windows desktops and applications as mobile services. Users can select applications from an easy-to-use “store” that is securely accessible from tablets, smartphones, PCs, Macs, and thin clients. XenDesktop delivers a native touch-optimized experience with HDX high-definition performance over mobile networks.

Learn new terms and names

Citrix Director—Monitoring console that provides detailed trend and diagnostic information on applications and desktops, and provides a detailed and intuitive overview of XenDesktop 7 environments. Citrix Director replaces Desktop Director from earlier releases.

Citrix Studio—Management console that allows you to create and manage infrastructure and resources to deliver desktops and applications. Previously known as Desktop Studio.

Delivery Controller—A server-side component that is responsible for distributing desktops and applications to users, managing user access through policies, managing desktops, and managing reboot cycles for servers. You may also see the Delivery Controller referred to as the Controller. Previously known as controller and Desktop Delivery Controller.

Delivery Group—The container for a machine or machines used to deliver applications and desktops to a specific group of users. Previously known as desktop groups or assignments.

Desktop OS machines—Virtual or physical machines based on Windows Desktop operating system used for delivering personalized desktops or applications from desktop operating systems to users.

Host—The hypervisor that hosts the master images and virtual machines.

Machine Catalog—A collection of machines. The machine catalog can be used to create applications and desktop for users.

Machine Creation Services—A service that runs on Delivery Controller and uses a master image to create a server or desktop machine(s) with a unique identity on the network and in Active Directory.

Master Image—An installed instance of a server or desktop operating system, including all the applications and the Virtual Delivery Agent (optional) installed. The master image can be duplicated using a provisioning technology to create machines that host applications and desktops to end users.

NetScaler Gateway—Provides secure access to remote users. Formerly called Access Gateway.

Provisioning Services—A service that allows you to create virtual or physical instances of desktop or server machines.

Site—The core XenDesktop 7 environment consisting of the Delivery Controller and Database.

Virtual Delivery Agent—The software agent that is installed on the virtual or physical machine that provides the virtual desktop or application to the user. The acronym VDA is frequently used. Previously known as Virtual Desktop Agent.

Windows Server OS machines —Virtual or physical machines based on Windows Server operating system used for delivering applications or hosted shared desktops to users.

Key changes and additions

XenDesktop 7 contains powerful new administration features to automate common tasks while integrating the configuration of profile management, StoreFront, publishing, and storage optimization. Among many new features, XenDesktop 7 introduces two consoles for service design (Citrix Studio) and performance monitoring (Citrix Director) and a unified architecture that enables the most scalable solution for delivering Windows applications and desktops as cloud services.

XenDesktop 7 offers users complete virtual desktops or just applications. By using Citrix Receiver with XenDesktop 7, users have a device-native experience on devices including Windows, Mac, Linux, Ios, Android, Chrome OS, Blackberry.

  • Support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 — Multiple versions of Windows Server and desktop operating systems can run side-by-side with newly-enabled support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.
  • Studio — The management console that enables you to configure and manage your deployment, eliminating the need for separate management consoles for managing delivery of applications and desktops. Studio provides various wizards to guide you through the process of setting up your environment, creating your workloads to host applications and desktops, and assigning applications and desktops to users.

    Studio empowers IT service designers with simple workflows and automated configuration checking to eliminate as much as 80% of the time and effort needed to deploy new services.

  • Director — Monitor and troubleshoot deployments using Director's redesigned user interface and integrated EdgeSight functionality:
    • A new help desk view offers an improved troubleshooting experience for help desk administrators, allowing user, machine, and application issues to be resolved quickly.
    • Full administrators have access to other views, including a newly designed Dashboard to provide a graphical summary of your deployment in a central location, and a Trends page to provide improved, in-depth, graphical monitoring and troubleshooting of the entire deployment with various time ranges.
    • HDX Insight is the integration of EdgeSight Network Inspector and EdgeSight Performance management with Director to provide real-time assessment and historical trending and advanced analytics of ICA traffic in your deployment.
  • Mobile optimizations — Optimizations translate multitouch gestures, finger swipes, and inertia into smooth navigation and scrolling commands that are relayed to the hosted Windows applications in real-time.
  • HDX enhancements — New technology overcomes the challenges of mobile networks, by cutting bandwidth consumption, while increasing high definition video frame rates and dynamically conquering the variations in latency and dropped packets that are present in public broadband networks.
    • Desktop Composition Redirection — Extend the Aero Redirection feature introduced in XenDesktop 5.5 to provide users with a more fluid Windows 7 Aero or Windows 8 desktop experience by leveraging the graphics processing unit (GPU) or integrated graphics processor (IGP) on supported Windows client devices for local DirectX graphics rendering. This feature delivers rich multimedia applications to user devices, while maintaining high scalability on the server.
    • Windows Media client-side content fetching — Enable a user device to stream multimedia files directly from the source provider on the Internet or Intranet to improve network utilization and server scalability.
    • Multicast support — Reduce bandwidth consumption when streaming live video to branch offices. Multicast support enables a single Windows Media source transmission to support multiple users.
    • Real-time multimedia transcoding — Enable audio and video streaming to mobile devices, improving the way that Windows Media content is delivered. Host-based transcoding provides a seamless user experience, even in extreme network conditions. To improve server scalability, if the Virtual Delivery Agent has a supported graphics processing unit (GPU) for hardware acceleration, transcoding is done in the GPU.
    • User Datagram Protocol (UDP) audio for Server OS machines — Extend support for audio delivery over UDP/RTP to Server OS machines. This feature delivers superior audio quality for real-time applications like video conferencing and streaming media, even in environments when there is packet loss or congestion.
    • Webcam video compression — Reduce bandwidth consumption to improve performance when using supported video conferencing applications.
    • HDX 3D Pro — Deliver applications with graphics processing units (GPUs) for hardware acceleration to the desktop. This includes 3D professional graphics applications based on OpenGL and DirectX.
    • Server-rendered Rich Graphics and Video — Deliver rich graphics (including Windows 8 or Windows Aero) to virtual desktop users on any client, platform, and bandwidth condition by rendering the content on the server. When users have the latest Citrix Receiver, they will also notice improved performance for server-rendered video.
    • Improved Flash Redirection — Determine when to redirect Adobe Flash content to the user device for local rendering based on the user's network type and environment. Flash Redirection helps reduce server and network load, resulting in greater scalability while ensuring a high-definition user experience.
  • Machine Catalog Desktops and Applications
    • Desktops — Deliver managed desktops to multiple, simultaneously connected remote users. Server OS machine and Desktop OS machine desktops provide features such as SmoothRoaming, session reliability, license consumption, Receiver and Delivery Services authentication, and Desktop Viewer. This release introduces Windows Server OS machine catalogs and desktops as a cost-effective virtualization delivery solution because they provide a significant number of remote users per server and storage resource. This release also provides Remote PC desktops that let users access resources on their office PCs remotely, from any device running Citrix Receiver.
    • Applications — Integrate XenApp publishing capabilities within a deployment. Use this feature to deliver shared hosted applications to multiple, simultaneously-connected remote users.
  • Redesigned Citrix StoreFront — Unifies application and desktop access through a simple, consistent user experience, including seamless transitions between devices, which pick up where the user left off.
    • StoreFront replaces Web Interface — Create centralized enterprise stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device. The feature provides authentication and resource delivery services for Citrix Receiver.
    • Desktop Appliance sites — Access Desktop Appliance sites through a website on the StoreFront store. The site is created automatically when a store is created. If, for example, the store has a path of path/Citrix/Store, the Desktop Appliance site path is path/Citrix/StoreDesktopAppliance. Users can restart their virtual machine-hosted desktops on Desktop Appliance sites.
    • Database as a service — Write user subscription data for each store to the local disk on the StoreFront server by using the new subscription store service. The data is then propagated across the server group.
  • Configuration Logging — Capture Site configuration changes and administrative activities to a configuration logging database. You can view the log in Studio using a variety of filters and generate HTML and CSV reports.
  • Delegated Administration — Group objects into administrative scopes. This feature provides an enterprise-class administration model with role-based access control, custom roles with configurable permissions, and fine-grained, object-based control.
  • New installer — A single, streamlined installer to guide you through installing the core components (Delivery Controller, Studio, Director, StoreFront, and License Server) and VDAs.
  • AppDNA — Included as part of some XenDesktop 7 editions to evaluate and solve compatibility issues for deploying desktop and web applications, or for operating system upgrades.
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) integration — Lets you deploy, update, and support App-V applications. Using Studio, you configure access to App-V Management and Publishing servers and then deliver the App-V applications to users through Delivery Groups along with locally installed applications.
  • Local App Access — Enables the seamless integration of users' locally-installed applications and hosted applications within a hosted desktop environment.

Components in this release