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In September 2014 Citrix have released for download new version of XenApp and XenDesktop. Version 7.6 is build on top of third FMA version ( Flexcast Management Architecture) and brings some features back which were removed during conversion from IMA to FMA. (XenDesktop and XenApp 7.0 was a first edition based on FMA concept). The full list of the new features introduced in version 7.6 can be found in Citrix eDocs.  In this article I will focus only on the most important  features and will show differences in installation and configuration process between previous and new version.

New Features

New features in version 7.6

  • Connection Leasing  – this feature won’t provide the same functionality as old, well-known XenApp Local Host Cache but it’s a big step in right direction because it will allow users to connect to their most recently used applications and desktops, even when the Site database is not available. For more information, see Connection Leasing eDocs.
  • XenApp 6.5 migration – the XenApp 6.5 migration process helps you more efficiently and quickly transition from a XenApp 6.5 farm to a Site running XenApp 7.6. This could be helpful in deployments that contain large numbers of applications and Citrix group policies, lowering the effort required when all applications and Citrix group policies have to be manually configured in the new XenApp Site. For more information, see XenApp 6.5 to 7.6 migration eDocs
  • Director Improvements – Director is build into every edition of XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6, and simplifies monitoring and application support. In the new version some new option have been introduced:
    • Compatiblity with XenApp 6.5 – Director can be used to monitor your XenApp 6.5 deployments.
    • App Usage Reporting – provides insights into published applications usage through access to detailed reports that tracks application access by user. For instance, time spent, most frequently used apps, etc… (Only available in Platinum)
    • Real-time License Alerts – provides license usage alerts, so admins should be proactively notified before an issue occurs
    • HotFix inventory – provides a list of all applied hot fixes
    • Monitoring of anonymous users
    • Machine Details – provides easy access for machine details – with a single click on a machine name
  • Provisioning Server 7.1  – improved provisioning services with new Cache in RAM with Hard Disk Overflow feature. For more information, see  PVS Cache in RAM blog post.

Features missing in version 7.0-7.5 available in version 7.6

The following features were available in XenApp 6.5 and have been removed during IMA to FMA transition.

  • Session Pre-launch – helps users quickly access applications by starting sessions before they are requested.
  • Session Linger  – helps users quickly access applications by keeping application sessions active after a user closes all applications.
Note:

  • By default, session pre-launch and session linger are not configured. A session starts (launches) when a user starts an application and remains active until the last open application in the session closes. You can enable the features for all users in a Delivery Group or only for specified users.
  • These features are supported for Server OS machines only.
  • There are several ways to specify how long an unused session remains active if the user does not start an application: a configured timeout and two server load thresholds. You can configure all of them; the event that occurs first will cause the unused session to end.

  • Unauthenticated Users (Anonymous) – When creating or editing Delivery Groups containing Server OS machines, you can now allow users to access applications and desktops without presenting credentials to StoreFront or Citrix Receiver. You can configure the Citrix access portal to be available for unauthenticated users but configure some applications to require user credentials. See Figure 10 below
  • Application folders – applications can be organized in folders, which makes it easier to administer large numbers of applications in Studio. By default, applications in a Delivery Group appear in a single folder. From the Delivery Group display in Studio, you can create additional folders and move applications into them. See Figure 11 below. 
  • Virtual IP and virtual loopback For published applications, you can enable and use the Microsoft virtual IP feature in machines running Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Additionally, you can add new Citrix policy settings to manage virtual loopback. A preferred loopback option is also available.
  • StoreFront 2.6 – the list of domains is displayed in logon page
For more information about all new features introduced in version 7.6, see Citrix eDocs.

Installation

Installation process is the same as in the version 7.0/7.5. All screens looks the same and I have not found any difference in the process.

Configuration

Due to the fact that new features have been introduced in version 7.6 there are some small differences in configuration steps.

Machine Catalog

1. Step 1

Figure 1

2. Step 2

Figure 2

3. Step 3

Figure 3

4. Step 4

Figure 4

5. Step 5

Figure 5

6. Step 6

Figure 6

7. Step 7

Figure 7

 

 

Delivery Group

1. Step 1

Figure 8

2. Step 2

Figure 9

3. Step 3

Figure 10

4. Step 4

Figure 11

5. Step 5

Figure 12

6. Step 6

Figure 13

7. Step 7

Figure 14

8. Step 8

Figure 15

9. Step 9

Figure 16

10. Step 10

Figure 17

11. Step 11

Figure 18

12. Step 12

Figure 19

12. Step 13

Figure 20