For those of you who couldn’t make it, or are still trying to digest all of the exciting and innovative announcements you heard while you were there, here is a recap.
The Company’s New Strategy
In Kirill Tatarinov’s first public speaking engagement as the new President & CEO of Citrix (he was just appointed in January of this year) he announced the company’s new strategy. The “new” Citrix plans to build the world’s best-integrated technology services for secure delivery of apps and data—anytime and anywhere. Citrix wants to lead customers to say “Yes!” to innovation and productivity in the workplace.
Citrix’s Increased Partnership with Microsoft
Citrix and Microsoft have always had a strong partnership but they are now even more tightly integrated with announcements including:
- Anything in the Citrix portfolio can now be deployed in Azure.
- XenMobile and NetScaler now integrate with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite and Intune.
- NetScaler is integrated with Azure Active Directory.
- Windows 10 can now be deployed as a DaaS solution from Azure.
- There is a guarantee for zero day support of Windows server 2016 later this year.
Integration with Nutanix AHV Hypervisor and InstantON VDI
In an attempt to free customers from paying the vTax to VMware, Citrix announced that with the new release of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 there is native support with Nutanix’s AHV hypervisor. The support not only extends to power management of XenApp servers and XenDesktop VDI, but also allows for native provisioning through Machine Creation Services.
InstantON VDI was also announced, which promises desktops that are as low as $415 per. The intent is to reduce spend, improve manageability, simplify deployment and deliver great performance. Check out this video to see the savings that can be realized when running 5,000 seats of XenDesktop on VMware vSphere.
Citrix Workspace Cloud is now Citrix Cloud
Formerly Workspace Cloud, Citrix Cloud aligns with the new company strategy to allow any product from the Citrix portfolio to be deployed on any hypervisor and in the cloud.
XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9
- StoreFront 3.6 brings multiple enhancements to scalability plus many more features.
- The addition of the Federated Authentication Service to allow integration with external identity providers for seamless single sign-on into the environment.
- The biggest and most important new feature is the improvement to Machine Creation Services (MCS). MCS now supports a RAM cache similar to Citrix Provisioning Services to significantly reduce write IOPS, which now puts it on par with Citrix PVS.
Major improvements have been made to the hypervisor in the areas of performance and ease of administration.
- Intel’s GVT-g is a new feature to allow GPUs for every user.
- Intel’s Iris Pro GPU can now be configured for direct pass-through or vGPU sharing.
- Updates for XenServer guest VM tools will now come as Windows updates.
Citrix Ready HDX Pi
Citrix is hard at work developing hardware and peripherals. Last year we had the X1 mouse and now we have the Citrix HDX Ready Pi. The HDX Ready Pi is a $89 high performance thin client based off the new Raspberry Pi 3. This is currently OEM from Viewsonic and Micro Center.
New Features in Citrix ShareFile
Many new features where added to ShareFile which not only provide an enhanced user experience but also will revolutionize how businesses that use this technology will operate:
- A few weeks before Citrix Synergy, the release of the ShareFile drive mapper client allowed for a more familiar end user experience by mapping ShareFile to show up as a drive letter in Windows Explorer. You can download it here.
- Full integration with Office 365. Now documents can be viewed in Office 365 online mode and workspaces can be setup to allow for collaboration and document tracking.
- A new workflow engine for ShareFile was added to enhance collaboration capabilities. Users now have the ability to send documents out for approval and feedback straight from the ShareFile interface.
- At Synergy, user rights management was a big focus, specifically addressing data loss prevention (DLP). New features where introduced to control the behavior of files, make a file read only, and to expire files and links even if downloaded and viewed offline.
Checkout this video from the general session for a demo of the new ShareFile features.
New Features and Model in NetScaler
In addition to the current SDX, MPX and VPX platforms, a new model of NetScaler was introduced, NetScaler CPX. CPX is designed for developers and runs within a Docker container and is specifically targeted towards those that run DevOps. With CPX you have the ability to deploy hundreds of instances for a fraction of the cost.
Another new and exciting announcement is the NetScaler Management and Analytics System (MAS). NetScaler MAS is designed to capture, analyze and predictively provide data about any application’s traffic that is sent through the NetScaler. MAS will flag any potential abnormalities in the flow of data from the client to the backend server even if there are no noticeable issues at that time. The speaker explained it as “separating the signal from the noise.”
CloudBridge is now NetScaler SD-WAN
Formerly CloudBridge, SD-WAN is Citrix’s SDN solution for optimizing application traffic and user experience while aggregating traffic across multiple types of connections and allowing for the duplication of data to provide resiliency against connection loss.
SD-WAN comes in three platforms:
- WANOP edition, which includes application acceleration, data reduction and protocol control to optimize applications across the WAN.
- Standard edition, which is a virtual appliance that includes the virtual WAN features that create a highly reliable network from multiple network links. This edition also ensures that each application takes the best path to achieve the highest application quality.
- Enterprise edition, which includes both the virtual WAN and WAN optimization features and is the best option to optimize user experience and achieve fully resilient applications.
Improvements to Citrix Receiver across the board
Citrix continues to innovate Receiver across all platforms. You can download the latest version here.
- New Receiver versions for iOS version 7.0 and later introduce compatibility for Session Reliability, Ipv6 and the HDX SDX for iOS.
- New Receiver for HTML5 (which is now version 2.0) offers multi-touch and mobility pack, improved in-session toolbar and client-side app switcher.
- New Receiver for Chrome (which is now version 2.0) offers seamless windows, connection center and a redesigned toolbar
- Receiver for Android (which is now version 3.9) offers a unified user experience (Web UI), enhanced multi-monitor support and improved keyboard handling.
Improvements to Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop Supportability Pack
For improved ease of administration, the Supportability Pack is available here. The Pack contains over 50 tools to help automate and speed up log analysis and simulate common conditions in the environment. In addition, for Long Term Support Release customers, there is an LTSR compliance analysis utility to ensure that as the LTSR version adjusts, everything remains in compliance.
Want the full Citrix Synergy experience? All of the keynotes and session highlights are available on-demand.
Final thoughts…Citrix never ceases to amaze. Another outstanding conference and I am extremely excited to see what the new Citrix brings. After watching the keynotes and sessions, if you have any questions or want more information, don’t hesitate to .
Lewan Technology is a Citrix Gold Solutions Advisor and has the largest resident Citrix consulting bench in Denver, CO and the Rocky Mountain region, comprised of certified architects, engineers and administrators. We also hold the Citrix Specialist in Virtualization distinction.