Category: Citrix

Citrix Synergy 2019

I år är det jag och Robert Skyllberg som fått åka till Citrix Synergy 2019 i Atlanta. Det är en hel del nyheter och jag tänkte försöka skapa en kortare sammanfattning av de olika delarna.

Bild från Synergy

Citrix VD, David Henshall, inledde med att beskriva vad som som levererats sedan Synergy 2018:

  • Citrix Worskpace App
  • Citrix Mobile Apps
  • Citrix Casting
  • Citrix Workspace Self-Service with ServiceNow
  • Citrix Analytics
  • Citrix SD-WAN Service for Managed Service Providers
  • Citrix SD-WAN + Azure
  • Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management
  • New Citrix Endpoint Management Capabilities
  • Citrix Cloud App Control
  • Cloud Portability
  • Autoscale for Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure Government Support
  • Windows Server 2019 Day 1 Support

Utöver ovan gick de ut med en lång lista andra funktioner och produkter som blivit tillgängliga sedan dess:

Citrix ADC for Azure DNS Private Zones, Citrix Workspace with Citrix Cloud Control Plane, Citrix SD-WAN for Microsoft Network Performance, Citrix MDM/MAM with EMS/Intune Enlightened, Citrix Analytics with Microsoft Security Graph, Citrix WOrkspace App on Google Android, Citrix ADC VPX on Google Cloud, Power Management Support for Google Cloud on Citrix Cloud, Citrix SD-WAN on GCP Marketplace, Citrix AD on GCP Marketplace, Citrix ADC integration with Google Kubernetes, Launch partner for Google Anthos, Citrix Workspace AutoScaling integration for AWS, AWS Quick Start for Citrix Resource Locations, Citrix support for AWS Dedicated Hosts, Citrix support for AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop integration with NVIDIA QUadro Virtual WOrkstation for Microsoft Azure, Citrix Virtual App and Desktop integration with NVIDIA Quadro Virtual WOrkstation for Google Cloud, Cisco HyperFlex for Citrix Cloud, HPE SimpliVity integration for Citrix Cloud, Citrix Workspace App for Samsung DeX (Galaxy S10, Note9 and Tab S4 devices), Citrix Workspace App enabling Dual Screen on Samsung tablets (Samsung Tab + monitor), Citrix Endpoint Management support for Samsung Knox (KPE/KPS), EFOTA and other APIs

Efter vad som gjorts presenterats så gick de in på hur Citrix i framtiden kommer göra livet enklare för de anställda – både verksamhet och IT. Visade hur det kan se ut idag med multi tasking, context switching och tiden anställda behöver lägga på arbete som egentligen inte skapar värde utan istället bara driver tid. De kallar det “employee disengagement” och trycker hårt på hur många anställda inte får eller kan fokusera på vad de är bäst på utan blir väldigt lätt mycket annat.

Citrix vision är att skapa en brygga mellan de anställda och tekniken, skala bort det överflödiga och göra det möjligt att utföra så mycket som möjligt från samma plats.

I och med detta annonserade Citrix sin nästa del i arbetet för att ge verksamheten möjlighet att fokusera på vad som är viktigt och minimera tiden som behöver läggas på det som inte spelar så stor roll: Citrix Intelligent Workspace

Kortfattat har Citrix integrerat uppköpet av Sapho för att själva skapa micro-appar direkt i Citrix Workspace (tidigare Citrix Receiver) och ge kunderna möjligheter att skapa dessa micro appar själva. Citrix kommer från början ha stöd för micro-appar kopplat till ett antal stora företag:

Micro Apps

Utöver att kunna koppla ihop Citrix Workspace med ovan “out-of-the-box” för att utföra vardagliga uppgifter kommer en micro-app builder släppas som gör det möjligt att enkelt bygga egna integrationer antingen helt utan kod (men även mer avancerat för dem som behöver det).

Det kommer även i framtiden vara möjligt att starta lokala applikationer från Workspace, vilket skall göra det möjligt att från en enda plats komma åt det som behövs så snabbt som möjligt. Tanken är att Workspace skall bli den ytan allt arbete utgår ifrån och verksamheten skall inte behöva leta på olika ställen efter de system som behövs – samt förenkla arbetsflödena för så många system som möjligt.

Intelligent Workspace

Det släpps även stöd för att blocka keyloggers för applikationer i Citrix Workspace samt stöd för att censurera skärmbilder (screenshots).

Anti keylogger

De annonseringar som gjordes kring Workspace:

  • Citrix Workspace intelligent experience
    • Mobile productivity
    • Out-of-the-box micro-apps
    • Micro-app builder
  • Local application support in Citrix Workspace
  • Citrix Managed Desktops on Azure
  • Access Control Service for hybrid deployments
  • Expanded security capabilities for Citrix WOrkspace
  • Flexible identity support in Citrix Workspace including Google Identity
  • G Suite integration in Citrix Workspace
  • Citrix support for INtune Conditional Access APIs
  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops for VMware cloud
  • Machine Creation Services for Google Cloud

Annonseringar kring Analytics:

  • Citrix Analytics for Performance
  • Citrix Analytics partner integrations
  • Citrix Analytics availability in Europe and Asia-Pacific

Annonseringar kring Networking:

  • Citrix support for Windows Virtual Desktops on Azure
  • HDX Optimization for Microsoft Teams
  • Office 365 optimization for Citrix SD-WAN
  • CItrix SD-WAN for Citrix Managed Desktops and Windows Virtual Desktops
  • Citrix ADC High Availability for Google Cloud
  • Citrix ADC BLX

Redan nu har vi gått inte på väldigt många olika funktioner och annonseringar och förhoppningsvis intressant för en del att känna till vad det är som är här, släpptes eller skall släppas.

Rent presonligen är jag väldigt exalterad över Citrix ADC BLX som nu ger oss NetScaler på Linux. I och med detta börjar fler och fler möjligheter öppna upp sig och jag tror – utan att skriva för mycket – att detta är framtiden. Helt klart något alla intresserade av ADC / NetScaler skall hålla ögonen på.

Det finns en hel del mer, men för allas skull tror jag detta räcker.



FSLogix and Microsoft – When and How!

Since Microsoft acquired FSLogix in November there has been some uncertainty regarding licenses and most importantly when it will be available through Microsoft.

Ever since Microsoft acquired FSLogix there has not been much information about whats happening. We know Microsoft had their eyes on Office 365 container solution and potentially Profile containers as well, but what will happened with the rest of the suite, such as App Masking and Java Redirection? Will they disappear or will they continue the support and development of the entire suite?

When Microsoft released their new Windows Virtual Desktop to Public Preview and at the same time their intention with the FSLogix Suite!

As you now probably are aware about, FSLogix will be a part of the Windows Virtual Desktop, but it does not stop there, see below on when you are entitled to use FSLogix suite.

Licensing

FSLogix will be available with no additional cost if you have one of the following Microsoft licenses:

  • F1, E3, är E5 Microsoft 365 licensing
  • A3 and above for educational and non-profit
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5
  • or even If you have RDS CALs

 

Where and when can I use it?

The really good news here is that its not only available to Azure, you can use  wherever you want, even On-Prem! You cannot acquire the license for this just yet, it will be available in June, but you can however request a trial witch will give you all the functionality an features in the meantime. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to get a trial to start benefit from this amazing product today!

Wich FSLogix apps is included?

  • Office 365 Containers
  • Profile Containers
  • Java Redirection
  • App Masking

 

This is really good news since this is a solid product solving head-aching problems, i’m looking forward for this implementation and so should you! If you are looking to implement this solution for your environment, don’t hesitate to contact me at Jonas.Agblad@Xenit.se or leave a comment.

 

Don’t miss my earlier posts about FSlogix for more information:

What is FSLogix Cloud Cache?

Keep your FSLogix VHD-files Optimized!

Convert Citrix UPM to FSLogix Profile Containers

Teams in your mulit-user environment done right!

Outlook Search index with FSLogix – Swedish

FSLogix Profile Container – Easy and fast Profile management – Swedish

Office 365 with FSLogix in a Multi-user environment – Swedish

 

 



Citrix Hypervisor 8.0

25th of April Citrix published new major release 8.0 of XenServer, which now officially becomes Citrix Hypervisor. The release is added to the Current Release (CR) track and comes in handy to upcoming End of Life for formerly latest Current Release, Xenserver 7.6.

Below I will shortly cover the most exciting news.

Name change

As quickly touched on initially, with this release XenServer officially changes name to Hypervisor. Along with Citrix changing name for most of the products in their portfolio, the naming for different editions has also gotten an update. Citrix Hypervisor 8.0 is released in below three editions:

  • Premium Edition (previously Enterprise Edition)
  • Standard Edition
  • Express Edition (previously Free Edition)

New features

  • “Platform refresh” – Version updates for Kernel, Xen hypervisor and control domain OS.
  • Full support for Windows Server 2019 VMs.
  • Web-based help – XenCenter and Conversion Manager
    • When pressing F1 the relevant article opens in your default browser
  • Disk and memory snapshots on vGPU enabled VMs now maintains the state of vGPU and is restored when the snapshot is applied.
    • Note: This requires Premium edition of Citrix Hypervisor
  • Ability to create Virtual Disk images larger than 2TB on GFS2 storage repositories
    • Note: This requires Premium edition of Citrix Hypervisor

Experimental features

Citrix also included an experimental feature in the boot mode section, UEFI boot mode for guest VMs. This to provide a richer interface for guest operating systems, limited support to Windows 10, Server 2016 and 2019.

As this is an experimental feature, Citrix added a lot of disclaimers for support regarding virtualization technologies such as MCS and PVS with guest UEFI boot mode.

Read more

For a full walk-through of changes, requirements and support, read more about Citrix Hypervisor 8.0 here:

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2019/04/25/citrix-hypervisor-8-0-is-here/

https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-hypervisor.html

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/10/03/major-platform-changes-to-xenserver-what-you-need-to-know/



Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 1903

Citrix announced their new release Virtual Apps and Desktops 1903 on 28th of March and it contains a lot of interesting changes in all categories along with a long list of fixed issues. I will cover two of the changes in this blog-post which I found extra interesting, and that I would recommend you looking into as well!

Director

Citrix Director has been given some love and has received a few changes in the user interface. It has also been announced that similar changes to improve the user experience, are to be expected in the coming releases.

Also a profile processing duration counter has been added on the logon duration chart. This for making troubleshooting easier on profile related matters.

Virtual Delivery Agent

DPI matching on Windows Server 2016/2019, which allows your session to match your clients DPI. Requires minimum Citrix Workspace App on your client.

Pen functionality support with Windows Ink-based applications on Microsoft Surface products. Requires Windows 10 and Citrix Workspace App 1902 for a minimum.

Deprecation and removal

With change comes deprecation, and Virtual Apps and Desktops release 1903 is not an exception. In this release Citrix announced and removed the following components:

  • Announced in 1903 – To be removed
    • Smart Check for Virtual Apps and Desktops
  • Removed in 1903
    • Linux VDA – Support on Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS 7.5
    • Citrix Receiver for Web classic experience
    • Support for Framehawk – Also removed option to enable from VDA installation
    • Delivery Controller options for end-of-life products (VDI-in-a-Box, and XenMobile < 9.0)

A full list of changes can be found here:
https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/whats-new.html

If you have any questions regarding Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, feel free to email me at robert.skyllberg@xenit.se or comment down below.



What is FSLogix Cloud Cache?

Background

Last year FSLogix released its award winning (at Citrix Synergy) technology Cloud Cache, and I for one was very curious about what this meant and what I could use it for. The fact that is was included in the license for Office 365 Container and Profile Container was a really nice surprise, but I was somewhat confused about what it actually does, I mean, have FSLogix developed their own cloud service? It sure sounds like it, that was however not the case. First off, this is a technology that will make your profiles or Outlook cache easily available cross-platform and a kind of built in High Availability so you don’t have load or create a fail-over file-cluster. But there are some things you should take in consideration before implementing this to your environment, but first let me explain what Cloud Cache really is and what the target benefits are!

What is Cloud Cache, really?

As I mentioned you might think that is has something to do with the cloud, or the cloud services, that’s wrong, or at least regarding the technology. Cloud Cache contains primarily 3 features:

  1. Automatic Replication
  2. Cache of “hot” data from your container
  3. Use of Azure blob storage as VHD location

Automatic Replication

Before Cloud Cache you could in FSLogix set multiple paths for the VHD-files and it would automatically check the second path specified if the first was unavailable, the problem was that you needed to set up the replication between the two file locations yourself, and that was complicated since the VHD-disks will be locked during use, and it was hard to do an incremental copy since the changes in data resides within the VHD file, the replication would potentially take a lot of time and load the network considerably.

With Cloud Cache they solved that issue, it is now built in to the product. It will automatically copy the data between the two locations. The pretty neat part of their solution is that the replication begins when the user logs on to their environment and copies the incremental part of the container since its now open and happens automatically. As you can figure out, this is also a great way of migrating your containers to a new location. Just add a new location, wait a couple of days and then remove the old path, really smooth, no hassle, no downtime, no late night service-windows.

Cache of hot data from your container

It’s known that FSLogix will solve the high CPU (on the file-server) issue you normally would see if you would redirect the ost-file to a file share, but it will still demand quite fast disks and some network-load. With FSLogix Cloud Cache you will now be able to place your containers in Microsoft Azure, which is cool but there are two fundamental issues with this approach 1. Azure bills in consumption and 2. high latency to access the data. FSLogix has solved this by caching the hottest data from the containers to the actual Server/Client you reside on, this will minimize the cost in Azure and the load of the network, this is ideal if you use your FSLogix container on different platforms (On your client and a VDI-solution) or on a VDI-environment where the cache will be saved and not downloaded again.

Client profile management

Before Cloud Cache, if you want to manage the profiles of a clients with FSlogix you would have some issues, since it will require you to have the client online all the time. Fortunately with Cloud Cache, you will now not be affected by offline sessions, it will continue with the cached data and as soon its online again it will update the original VHD with the new changes that happen offline.

 

What to consider before using Cloud Cache

Now when you know what Cloud Cache is and what’s makes it good you should also know what to consider in some scenarios. First thing to consider is the cached data, how much will it cache? That is a good question, a question I have not yet received an answer to, from what I gathered this cannot be specified, meaning you cannot control the amount of data it cached, therefor you cannot control the size of the cached data on the potential Citrix server, this can in some environment be a really risky approach. I have some examples below when you really need to assess the value against the risk regarding Cloud Cache:

Citrix Provisioning Services with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop

When using Cloud Cache in this setup you will have issues, the cache is suppose to be persistent on the location where you are, which it will not be when using PVS and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop. Within this setup your cache will download every time you logon to Citrix, if you also are using “Cache on RAM with overflow on disk” you will also potentially fill your page file-disk.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop

You need to be sure how to set it up, the C-drive must be large, to handle the amount of cached data every user will download, and you must set “Delete Cache on logoff” otherwise one user can potentially download his/hers cache to multiple Citrix server during logoff and logon, and that also means your user will download the cached data every time they logon. Wtich might not be the best experience you had in mind when implementing the solution. There is however a solution to this, you can redirect the cached data to another server, but if you do that, it is highly recommended to place it on fast disks and in a High availability-mode.

 

Summary

All in all this is a really nice feature and will add a lot to the product. But you need to assess it before activating Cloud Cache to see if it’s suitable to you and your environment. In the right scenario this could really improve the experience of your users and your IT-department. If you are curious about the product please don’t hesitate to contact me at jonas.agblad@xenit.se, or leave a comment below!

 

You can also find more information about FSLogix with my previous posts here:

Convert Citrix UPM to FSLogix Profile Containers

Teams in your mulit-user environment done right!

Outlook Search index with FSLogix – Swedish

FSLogix Profile Container – Easy and fast Profile management – Swedish

Office 365 with FSLogix in a Multi-user environment – Swedish

 

 



Text-based session watermarks

Citrix recently introduced a new feature to track data theft by giving administrators the ability to enable watermarks in their user sessions. This feature is supported for both Server and Desktop OS and requires a minimum of Virtual Delivery Agent version 7.17.

Citrix also offers the possibility to customize your sessions watermarks. The following parameters can be included or configured in the watermark:

  • Client IP Address
  • Connection Time
  • Logon user name
  • VDA host name
  • VDA IP Address
  • Style (Single or multiple)
  • Custom text
  • Transparency

    Sessions watermark with a custom text, connection time and a transparency of 10

And I bet you’re now wondering, just as I did, whether there are any exceptions. There is and they cover a few, great scenarios!

  • When using Session Recording, the recorded session does not present the watermark.
  • When using Windows remote assistance, the watermark does not present the watermark to the remote user.
  • When pressing Print Screen key to capture the screen, the screen captured at the VDA side does not include the watermark. This also works with third party applications that triggers by pressing the Print Screen button, for an example, Greenshot.

More information regarding session watermarking and its limitations can be found on the link below:
https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/graphics/session-watermark.html

If you have any questions regarding session watermarks, feel free to email me at robert.skyllberg@xenit.se or comment down below.



Citrix replaces Smart Scale with Autoscale

A while ago Citrix announced the deprecation of Smart Scale but its replacement has been in the dark, and has finally been uncovered.

Smart Scale will reach end of life on May 31, 2019 and Autoscale will be the replacement for Cloud platforms. Autoscale is considered a new feature but it delivers all the functionality that are currently available in Smart Scale, such as:

  • Load based scaling
  • Schedule based scaling
  • Cost saving statistics

Note: Autoscale will only be available for customers with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop service. This means that customers with on-premise platforms are advised to use the Studio power management feature (Which earlier had the possibility to use Smart Scale).

Autoscale can be enabled and configured per Delivery Group in Studio and will replace the current Power management tab.

One of the new functionalities delivered with Autoscale is its integration with Director where savings and machine usage will be presented.

For a quick walk through of Autoscale, see this link.

If you have any questions regarding Autoscale, feel free to email me at robert.skyllberg@xenit.se or comment down below.



Keep your FSLogix VHD-files optimized

Background

When using either or both of FSLogix products Office 365 Containers and Profile containers you will have quite large VHD-files. However you could for example in Office 365 Container limit the size when specifying the Outlook cache limit but non the less it will require quite large storage space. Since the standard and recommended way of creating these VHD-files is setting Dynamic it will make it complicated for you when and if you run out of space, let me explain:

A dynamic disk will automatically expand when needed ensuring each disk will reserve only the actual size of the content of the disk, which is good, but it will however not shrink automatically. This means the disk will have the size of when the it contained the most, but not actually represent the actual size inside. Over time this this might be an issue, if not else, waste of disk-space.

To create a script that will shrink the disk is complicated and there is a risk that the disk will be corrupt, instead I we will focus on how to maintain an efficient use of the stored data to minimize the disk of growing in size.

Solution

There is however no solution from FSLogix to tackle this yet, so you we would need to focus on what we can do with the VHD-files witch is essentially standard virtual disks. When searching for a good long time solution to this problem I found a great script created by David Ott that Optimize the disks that is available at the given time you run the script.

How it works

The script will check the VHD-files if they are available (if the user is logged on the disk is locked), it will then proceed with the one´s available and mount them, run a Optimization Job, close them and mail a complete report of the result. The best way of using this script would be to Schedule it to run after office hours (preferably after the Session hosts has restarted) to maintain the most efficient size of the disk. This will minimize the growths of the disk and in the long run save you some space.

Where to find it

As mentioned above I found the script from the creator David Ott and you can find the original post with script here!

If you have want to know more about FSLogix you can email me at jonas.agblad@xenit.se or check out my earlier posts here:

Convert Citrix UPM to FSLogix Profile Containers

Teams in your mulit-user environment done right!

Outlook Search index with FSLogix – Swedish

FSLogix Profile Container – Easy and fast Profile management – Swedish

Office 365 with FSLogix in a Multi-user environment – Swedish



TLS 1.0 and 1.1 will be blocked, so update your Citrix Receiver!

Background

As most of the things around us constantly gets updates and improvements, the enhancements regarding flaws in vulnerabilities of security are for most people the most critical. Since cryptographic protocols like TLS 1.0 has been used since 1999, with an update to TLS 1.1 in 2006, these protocols have been vulnerable to attacks like POODLE and BEAST. The best way to prevent similar attacks from happening again is to have people to stop using the outdated protocols and having them to be forced to use the more enhanced 1.2 version.

Last year, some of the largest IT-companies in the world (Microsoft, Google, Apple & Mozilla) announced that TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 protocols will be deprecated from their respective web browser in 2020. After this, other companies adapted and cleverly joined the train.

As of the 15th of Mars, 2019, Citrix will no longer support communication over TLS 1.0 and 1.1 to Citrix Cloud Services.

Which cases will be affected?

The standard way of TLS negotiation is to have the latest version be the first negotiator, and if that one fails go to the next one, and so on. This means that if you are running an old version of Receiver that only supports TLS 1.0 / 1.1, you will not be able to connect to Citrix Cloud with an old Receiver. On-prem StoreFront implementations that still support TLS 1.0 / 1.1 will be unaffected by the change.

How will this affect you?

Listed below is the minimum required version of Citrix Receiver. If you have an earlier version, you will be prohibited trying to connect.

Receiver Version
Windows 4.2.1000
Mac 12.0
Linux 13.2
Android 3.7
iOS 7.0

 

What can you do to prevent this?

As of last May, at Synergy, Citrix announced that the Receiver would join the Workspace family. So don’t go looking for any version of Citrix Receiver, go look for the latest version of Citrix Workspace, which can be downloaded here. All the Workspace applications has been stripped from the TLS 1.0 and 1.1 protocol.

The full statement from Citrix can be found in this link



Citrix brings back Local Text Echo

Have you ever experienced the frustration of working on a bad connection resulting in tremendous amount of latency when typing?

Past releases of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (Formerly XenApp & XenDesktop) have included many interesting news and functions, especially regarding HDX innovations and ICA improvements. One of the “new” features that caught my eye in the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 1811 release notes is Local text echo, which I will shortly cover in this post.