The XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 release comprises new versions of the Windows VDAs and 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 Virtual Delivery Agents. 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 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 the 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 more information on the features and installation instructions, see the component's documentation.
Citrix Receiver for Windows
XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11
The product release includes the following new and enhanced features.
This version contains the following changes to supported platforms and software. For more information, see the System requirements article.
- You can install a Delivery Controller, Studio, Director, and VDA for Server OS on Windows Server 2016 machines. You can also install other features such as the Universal Print Server server component on a Windows Server 2016 machine. (Exception: Server VDI is not supported on Windows Server 2016.)
- Newer versions of SQL Server are supported. By default, SQL Server 2014 Express is installed when you install a Delivery Controller.
- A newer version of .NET is supported.
- For Director, version 11 is the supported Internet Explorer browser version (Internet Explorer 10 can be used on Windows Server 2012 R2 machines).
- Newer host (virtualization environment) versions or updates are supported, including XenServer, Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and VMware.
- You can now use Azure Resource Manager to provision virtual machines. This extends the supported Azure deployment models to Resource Manager and Classic. For details see the Microsoft Azure Resource Manager virtualization environments article.
- A newer functional level is supported for Active Directory forests and domains.
- AppDisks are now supported in deployments that use Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager virtualization environments.
This section summarizes the changes in this release in the installation and configuration of XenApp and XenDesktop.
You can now use the full-product installer's graphical interface to install the Self-Service Password Reset Service. For information about the service, see the Self-Service Password Reset articles.
In the Site creation wizard, a newer SQL Server Express version is installed by default for use as the Site database: SQL Server 2014 Express.
- Renamed command line option
The command line option to prevent installation of the SQL Server Express LocalDB database that may be used for a future feature (not the Site database) was renamed to /exclude "Local Host Cache Storage (LocalDB)".
When using Machine Creation Services to create a Machine Catalog containing desktop OS VMs, you can now choose whether MCS provisions thin (fast copy) clones or thick (full copy) clones.
For details, see the Create Machine Catalogs article.
VDA registration with Delivery Controller
VDAs that are not registered with a Delivery Controller are not considered when launching brokered sessions, which results in underutilization of otherwise available resources. There are a variety of reasons a VDA might not be registered, many of which an administrator can troubleshoot. This XenApp and XenDesktop version offers significantly more information about the VDA machines, both when you add existing machines to a Machine Catalog, and after you add a catalog to a Delivery Group.
In the Create Machine Catalog wizard, after you add existing machines, the list of computer account names will indicate whether each machine is suitable for adding to the catalog. Hover over the icon next to each machine to display an informative message about that machine.
- If the message identifies a problematic machine, you can either remove that machine (using the Remove button), or add the machine. For example, if a message indicates that information could not be obtained about a machine (perhaps because it had never registered with a Delivery Controller), you might choose to add the machine anyway.
- The message indicates if a machine contains a VDA that is an earlier version than the minimum functional level selected in the dropdown at the bottom of the page. The functional level controls which product features are available to machines in the catalog. Using features introduced in new product versions may require a new VDA. Setting a minimum functional level makes all features introduced in that version available to the catalog. However, machines with an earlier VDA version will fail to register.
After you create a Delivery Group, Studio displays enhanced details about machines associated with that group. The details for a Delivery Group now indicate the number of machines that should be registered but are not (for example, machines that are powered on and not in maintenance mode, but are not currently registered with a Controller). When viewing a "not registered, but should be" machine, the new Troubleshoot tab in the Details pane provides possible causes and recommended corrective actions.
You can now use supported versions of System Center Virtual Machine Manager to provision VMs that will be used to create AppDisks.
For supported SCVMM versions, see the System requirements article. For AppDisks information, see the AppDisks article.
When you use the App-V single admin method, creating isolation groups allow you to specify interdependent groups of applications that must run in the same isolation space (sandbox). This feature is similar, but not identical to App-V connection groups.
For details, see the App-V article.
The publish content feature allows you to publish document files, media files, web URLs, and other types of files from any network location. This feature is currently available through the PowerShell SDK.
For details, see the Publish content article.
In a multi-zone Site, the zone preference feature offers the administrator more flexibility to control which VDA is used to launch an application. You can define preferred zones for applications and users, and then indicate if and when those preferences will be considered when the Delivery Controller broker selects a suitable VDA.
For details, see the Zones article.
When you use the full product installer to deploy or upgrade components, anonymous information about the installation process is gathered and stored locally. You can now choose whether that information is automatically uploaded to CIS.
For details, see the Citrix Insight Services article.
Director includes the following new and enhanced features:
- Resource utilization reporting. Provides insight into historical trends data for CPU and memory usage for each VDI machine for better capacity planning. In Trends > Resource Utilization, reporting is available for Desktop and Server OS machines showing Average and Peak CPU, Average and Peak Memory and Peak Concurrent Sessions. All reports can be exported in PDF, CSV and Excel format. The administrator can drill down to the machine and view historical utilization data and charts for the top 10 processes consuming CPU and memory. A new policy setting, Enable Process Monitoring, must be enabled to collect and display the data in the Top 10 Processes table on the Historic Machine Utilization page. For more information, see Monitor deployments, Resolve application failures and Monitoring policy settings.
- Enhanced proactive monitoring and alerting. Configure proactive alerting and notifications when thresholds are reached for an extended range of conditions including CPU, Memory and ICA RTT:
- Create new alerts policies for users. You can set up alerts policies to monitor and alert for ICA RTT and Logon Duration thresholds for specific sets of users.
- Create new alerts policy conditions. New conditions can be set in Server OS and Delivery Group alerts policies: CPU, Memory, ICA RTT (Average), ICA RTT (No. of Sessions) and ICA RTT (% of Sessions). You can also set CPU and Memory as conditions in Site alerts.
- Filter Citrix Alerts by User. In the Citrix Alerts tab, set the Source to User to filter all Citrix Alerts by a specific user.
For more information, see Alerts and notifications.
- Export report improvements. Export of trends and alerts data to PDF, Excel and CSV report formats has been improved to support a consistent experience for large sets of data:
- Data limits supported by an export are defined based on the supported report file formats, PDF, Excel and CSV. These limits are applicable for all standard configurations of Director.
- The number of parallel export instances is limited to two.
For more information, see Monitor deployments.
- Automate Director notifications with Citrix Octoblu. Director supports the integration of Citrix alerts with Octoblu webhooks. Octoblu is an IoT messaging and automation platform from Citrix. This feature opens up the use of Octoblu's communication layer to process Citrix alerts with IoT services. You can configure the webhook URL of an Octoblu workflow automation in an alert policy using PowerShell cmdlets. This triggers the Octoblu webhook when the alert is generated, then at the re-alert interval time and once the alert status is healthy, enabling seamless integration with the alert handling platform. For more information, see Configure alerts policies with Octoblu webhooks in Alerts and notifications.
- Integration with NetScaler MAS. Director integrates with NetScaler Management and Analytics System (MAS), a centralized network management, analytics, and orchestration solution, to display network analysis data. The network metrics help administrators proactively monitor the network and troubleshoot issues that can be attributed to poor network performance. You can configure Director with NetScaler Insight Center or NetScaler MAS to display HDX reports containing the network metrics. Director integration is supported in NetScaler MAS Version 11.1 Build 49.16. For more information on configuration required in Director to integrate with NetScaler MAS, see Configure network analysis.
Session Recording includes the following new features and enhancements.
- Administrator Logging. Logs the following activities:
- Changes to recording policies in the Session Recording Policy Console or Citrix Director.
- Changes in the Session Recording Server Properties.
- Downloads of recordings in the Session Recording Player.
- Recording a session by Session Recording after the policy query.
- Unauthorized attempts to access the Administrator Logging service.
Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) 7.11
Version 7.11 of the VDA for Server OS and the VDA for Desktop OS include the following enhancements to HDX technologies and platform support:
- Selective use of a video codec (H.264) to compress graphics. Combines the use of a video codec (H.264) with HDX Thinwire. Identifies areas on the user's screen which display actively changing content, such as a window running a video or CAD manipulation, and compresses the data using the video encoder. Still image compression and bitmap caching continue to be used for areas of the screen using text-based data (for example Word, Excel, and Windows Explorer). Users get the benefit of lower bandwidth use for the video content combined with sharpness of text in applications they are working with elsewhere on their screen(s). To enable this feature, change the policy setting Use video codec for compression to the new option For actively changing regions. The default policy setting for Use video codec for compression is Use video codec when preferred. With the default setting, the system uses Thinwire to provide the best experience possible. For more information, see Graphics policy settings.
- Enhancement to caching behavior of video content in Thinwire. Thinwire can now bypass caching of server-rendered video content while at the same time retaining cached bitmaps for other open windows using text-based data (for example Excel, Windows Explorer, desktop background), resulting in a 5% reduction in bandwith use. This enhancement is available in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 with Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.5 and Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.4. For the main article on Thinwire, see Thinwire.
- Access to a high-performance video encoder for NVIDIA GPUs. VDAs configured for HDX 3D Pro with any Citrix Receiver that supports H.264 encoding, can use hardware encoding of a video codec where available. In this release, this is available for NVIDIA GPUs that support NVENC hardware encoding (see NVIDIA video codec SDK for a list of supported GPUs). This lowers CPU usage and delivers higher server scalability in XenDesktop environments using GPUs for 3D graphics rendering. This feature performs full-screen H.264 encoding. Multiple monitors are supported. Selective use of the H.264 hardware codec for actively changing regions is not supported. For more information, see Use hardware encoding for video codec in the Graphics policy settings and GPU acceleration for Windows Desktop OS.
- Seamless publishing of Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. Add universal apps to Delivery Groups and launch from Citrix Receiver. Support for publishing universal apps gives users a seamless experience of new apps developed for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This feature is available in this release for VDAs for Desktop OS on Windows 10, and for VDAs for Server OS on Windows Server 2016. For more information, see Universal Windows Platform Apps.
- Generic USB redirection for mass storage devices on XenApp. Version 7.9 introduced support for generic USB redirection (USB plug-and-play) for mass storage devices on XenApp, enabled with a registry key. In 7.11, generic USB redirection for mass storage devices is enabled by default. XenApp users can interact with mass storage devices in a XenApp session as if the storage device was physically attached. For more information, see USB and client drive considerations and the Citrix Receiver for Windows section Configure USB support for XenApp and XenDesktop connections.
- Updated Client USB device optimization rules policy setting. This policy setting was introduced in 7.6 FP3 and enabled by default. The Client USB device optimization rules policy setting is now disabled by default. When a user plugs in a USB input device, the host checks if the device is allowed by the USB policy settings. If the device is allowed, the host then checks the Client USB device optimization rules for the device. If no rule is specified, then the device is not optimized. Capture mode (04) is the recommended mode for signature devices. For other devices which have degraded performance over higher latency, administrators can enable Interactive mode (02) . For more information, see USB device policy settings.
- Relative mouse support. Relative mouse support improves the user experience of simulator applications that use a mouse for the control of, for example, a player's head camera. In Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.5, users can enable this setting "on the fly" in a desktop session by enabling Use relative mouse from the Desktop Viewer toolbar (Preferences > Connections). In Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.4, relative mouse support can be enabled by editing the user's configuration file (wfclient.ini), see Citrix Receiver for Linux 13.4 for more information. Relative mouse support is available with VDAs configured in either standard or HDX 3D Pro mode. In this release, this feature is not supported with Framehawk or with published applications launched from the Start menu or a desktop shortcut.
- TWAIN 2.0 support. Users can now access image processing applications which use the TWAIN 2.0 scanning protocol in XenApp and XenDesktop. Citrix Receiver 4.5 or higher is required. For more information on configuring TWAIN device redirection, see TWAIN devices policy settings.
- Support for Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Discrete Device Assignment (DDA). Enables GPU passthrough for XenApp and XenDesktop running on Microsoft Hyper-V. Any supported virtual machine running on Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V now has access to the physical GPU. The GPU can be used by multiple user sessions sharing Windows Server OS (Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016) delivered using XenApp. For professional graphics use, the GPU can be dedicated to individual users running Windows Desktop OS (Windows 7 or Windows 10) delivered using XenDesktop.
As noted above, the 7.11 VDAs contain several new and enhanced features. However, after upgrading from 7.9, you do not need to update the Machine Catalog's functional level. For more information about functional levels, see the Create Machine Catalogs article.
StoreFront includes the following new features and enhancements.
- Support for Windows Server 2016. StoreFront 3.7 includes support for Windows Server 2016.
- Support for Self-Service Password Reset 1.0. Prior to this version, StoreFront supported Password Reset using Single-Sign On. With the release of Self-Service Password Reset 1.0, use the StoreFront management console to allow users to enroll their answers to the security questions that were configured in the Self-Service Password Reset configuration console. For more information see Self-Service Password Reset security questions and the Self-Service Password Reset documentation.
- Support for small form factor devices. The logon UI adjusts to fit the screen of the user's device.
- Zone preferences. Support for StoreFront to pass NetScaler zone preferences to the XenApp or XenDesktop Controller. For more information about zone preferences, see Zone preference in the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 documentation.
For more information, see the StoreFront 3.7 documentation.
Provisioning Services 7.11
Provisioning Services includes the following new features:
- PVS provides an enhanced diagnostic model at this release with Always On tracing using CDF. This feature, enabled during installation, leverages the CDF monitor and associated controls to upload diagnostic data to Citrix.
- PVS now includes support for SQL Server Always On failover in multi-subnet environments. As part of the implementation, the database server is accessed via ODBC which requires the SQL Server Native Client be installed as a pre-requisite of the PVS server software.
- Support for CIS problem reporting. This allows you to directly report problems you encounter while using PVS to Citrix Support.
- Support for Windows Server 2016 as a server and a target platform. When using this functionality, consider that PVS server supports ReFS in the quick vDisk versioning image, but it is not used for target cache devices.
AppDNA includes the following new and enhanced features:
- Windows Server 2016 analysis and reporting. This release adds a new module in AppDNA to automate the analysis of applications compatibility with Windows Server 2016. The Windows Server 2016 module contains a report that is made up of a suite of algorithms which validate the suitability, interoperability, conflicts and performance of your organization's applications in a Windows Server 2016 environment.
- Expanded security analysis. In this release, the Compliance Manager module expands its scope of security analysis to identify and report on outdated versions of Open SSL, managed cryptography APIs, and missing SafeSEH (Safe Structured Exception Handling).
For more information, see the AppDNA 7.11 documentation.