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Citrix recently released the third Long Term Service Release (LTSR) version of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7. The name and number of a new version does follow a new naming strategy based on a year/month format and is  Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1912. In this post I would like to sumarize the new features available in the latest LTSR version. If you are interested to see features comparison between last 2 LTSR (CVAD 7 1912 and XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15) please see my post Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops – features comparison

LTSR vs CR

Just to remark the key differences between LTSR and CR releases. Release specific servicing options are listed in the table below:

CVAD LTSR differences summary

 Long Term Service Release (LTSR)
Current Release (CR)
Customer Success Services RequiredYes (1)Yes (1)
Product Lifecycle Timelines5 years of mainstream support + 5 years of extended support (2)Standard product lifecycle milestones (3)
Access to ReleasesCitrix.com/DownloadsCitrix.com/Downloads
Cumulative UpdatesYes (4)No (5)
Includes FixesYes (6)Yes (7)
Cumulative Update Schedule4-6 months (8)
N/A
Release Schedule2-3 years (8)
3-9 months (8)
Enhancement RequestsNo enhancements until next LTSRRapid release cycles, more opportunities for enhancements

1.     Customer Success Services required. Customers with legacy Subscription Advantage have access to Current Releases for the duration of their contract, but are encouraged to upgrade to Customer Success Services

2.     Separate support contract is required for extended support.

3.     Standard product lifecycle milestones information

4.     Cumulative Updates will typically contain only fixes for Long Term Service Release sites. Customers will be asked to install relevant Cumulative Updates on Long Term Service Release sites.

5.     Rapid release cycles allow customers to add new features and all public fixes by upgrading to the next Current Release. Customers will be asked to upgrade Current Release sites to a newer release that includes relevant fixes as well as new features and functionality.

6.     Customers on Long Term Service Releases will be asked to update to next Cumulative Update that contains the fix.

7.     Customers on Current Releases might be asked to upgrade to next Current Release that contains the fix.

8.     General guidance, Citrix does not make product roadmaps public.

CVAD LTSR support details summary

VersionRelease dateEnd of SupportEnd of Ext. Support
7.6 LTSRJanuary 2016January 2021January 2026
7.15 LTSRAugust 2017August 2022August 2027
7 1912 LTSRDecember 2019December 2024December 2029

CVAD 7 1912 – new features

CVAD 7 1912

  • Install and upgrade: New user personalization layer component in single-session VDAs

When installing or upgrading a single-session VDA, you can include the user personalization layer component. This feature is powered by Citrix App Layering, On non-persistent machines, the feature preserves users’ data and locally installed applications across sessions. This feature replaces Personal vDisk, which has been deprecated.

  • Install and upgrade: Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime 2017 prerequisite

When installing a Delivery Controller or Windows VDA, Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime 2017 is installed automatically if it (or a later supported version) is not already installed. This is a newer Visual C++ Runtime version than the version installed in earlier Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops releases.

  • Install and upgrade: SQL Server Express version

When installing the first Delivery Controller, you can choose to have Citrix install Microsoft SQL Server Express on the same machine, for use as the site database. As of this release, for new installations, we install SQL Server Express 2017 with Cumulative Update 16. This is a newer version than in earlier Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops releases. For upgrades, we do not upgrade any SQL Server Express version that is already installed.

When you install a Controller, Microsoft SQL Server Express LocalDB is installed automatically for use with Local Host Cache. (This installation is separate from the SQL Server Express used for the site database.) For a new installation, we install SQL Server Express LocalDB 2017 with Cumulative Update 16. This is a newer version than in earlier Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops releases. For upgrades, we do not upgrade any SQL Server Express LocalDB version that is already installed.

  • Install and upgrade: New Supported VDA Operating Systems

This release supports:

    • For the multisession (server) VDA, we’ve added Windows Server 2019 support alongside Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
    • On the single session (workstation) VDA side, the VDA supports Windows 10 natively, except for Windows 10 1511 and older, as well as other versions that have already reached end of service.
    • Neither Windows 7 nor Windows Server 2008 R2 are supported natively with VDA 1912. If you need to continue to use these operating systems, it isn’t a problem. They can be integrated into your CVAD 1912 LTSR site as compatible components using VDA 7.15 LTSR (latest CU).

Note: The 32-bit Windows 10 OS is not supported in the 1909 Current Release, There are currently no plans to support it in Current Releases after 1912 LTSR. For Windows 10 machines, Citrix recommends using 64-bit (x64).

  • Install and upgrade: Prevent pending reboot check

When installing or upgrading core components, the installer stops if it detects that a restart is pending from a previous Windows installation on the machine. Now, when using the command-line interface, you can prevent the check for a pending restart by including the /no_pending_reboot_check option in the command. For more information, see During installation of any component.

  • VDAs and machine catalogs: Operating system name changes

Operating system names for VDAs and machine catalogs have changed.

    • Multi-session OS (formerly Server OS): The multi-session OS machine catalog provides hosted shared desktops for a large-scale deployment of standardized Windows multi-session or Linux OS machines.
    • Single-session OS (formerly Desktop OS): The single-session OS machine catalog provides VDI desktops ideal for a variety of different users.

 

  • Component version number: Change to on-premises value

In a product and component version number (YYMM.c.m.b), the value of c is 0 for an on-premises release. For example, in Apps & features, this version appears as 1912.0.0.build number.

In earlier on-premises releases, and in Citrix cloud releases, the value of c is 1.

For more information, see Product and component version numbers.

  • Microsoft Teams Optimization Included

Optimization for Microsoft Teams offloads A/V processing from the server to the client, improving interactivity, session responsiveness, and reducing data center compute requirements. Teams optimization is now bundled with the VDA and Workspace app and is enabled by default. Check out the documentation and Teams release blog for more details.

  • Adaptive Transport: Enabled by Default

Adaptive Transport being enabled by default means that Enlightened Data Transport (EDT), a UDP-based transport protocol, is also enabled by default. Changes to the Adaptive Transport setting in Citrix Policy are processed upon policy refresh on the VDA and take effect immediately.

If you plan to connect any users through networks with non-standard Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) or Maximum Segment Size (MSS) requirements, you must adjust EDT’s MTU as described in CTX231821. We are working on enhancements in this area, as well, to improve the experience further.

To be able to use EDT, you must allow traffic on UDP 2598 between VDAs and clients (or UDP 1494 if Session Reliability is disabled). If you are using Citrix Gateway, you must allow traffic on UDP 443 between clients and Gateway; DTLS must be enabled in the Gateway vserver (see the documentation); and Session Reliability must be enabled. If UDP traffic is not allowed, sessions will be established with TCP. 

Note: If the policy is changed from “Preferred”/“Diagnostic mode” to “Off,” this will immediately (upon policy refresh) disable EDT and cause all sessions using EDT to disconnect.

  • User Personalization Layer 

The user personalization layer feature for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops extends the capabilities of non-persistent machine catalogs. User personalization layers preserve users’ data and locally installed applications across sessions but doesn’t require separate infrastructure. Powered by Citrix App Layering, this feature replaces Personal vDisk (PvD) and AppDisks, which was deprecated in version 7.13. Like PvD, the user personalization layer feature works with Citrix Provisioning and Machine Creation Services (MCS) in a non-persistent machine catalog. The feature components are installed alongside the Virtual Delivery Agent within the master Windows 10 image.

During install or upgrade a single-session VDA, you can include “User Personalization.” This functionality User Layers mount at user logon as opposed to machine boot (as PvD and AppDisks did), so this will require some level of testing.
For more information, see:

  • Rendezvous protocol

In environments using the Citrix Gateway Service, the Rendezvous Protocol allows HDX sessions to bypass the Citrix Cloud Connector and connect directly and securely to the Citrix Gateway Service. For more information, see Citrix documentation: Rendezvous Protocol

  • SSL cipher support

Supported cipher suites have changed. Check out Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1909 cipher suite support update for details.

User Experience Enhancements

Citrix made dozens of feature additions and improvements over the last two years for an even better end-user experience, as well as to keep our solution aligned with updated standards. The most important features included in CVAD 7 1912:

  • Browser Content Redirection

Browser Content Redirection (BCR) gives administrators the ability to force specific web sites to render on the client for improved user experience. BCR is now an integrated component of the VDA. It no longer requires a standalone installer as with XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15.

  • Webcam redirection

Many improvements were made for Webcam redirection. For more information, see Citrix documentation: CTX132764.

  • AppFlow virtual channel is available

AppFlow virtual channel provides significant Citrix ADC scalability improvements when using HDX Insight. For more information, see Citrix documentation: HDX Insight 2.0 .

  • Adaptive Throughput

Adaptive Throughput enhances user experience by increasing HDX’s maximum throughput (not to be confused with steady state bandwidth consumption) when needed and available. For more information, see Citrix documentation: Turbo Charging ICA – Part 2

  • Fast smart card

Fast smart card is available for increased smart card performance over the WAN. For more information, see Citrix documentation: fast smart card blog post

  • Flash Redirection

Flash Redirection is no longer available.

Citrix Studio

  • Support for provisioning Linux machines on Amazon Web Services

Citrix Studio now supports using Machine Creation Services (MCS) to provision Linux machines on Amazon Web Services (AWS). For more information, see Citrix documentation: Use MCS to create Linux VMs.

Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) 1912

Version 1912 of the VDA for Multi-session OS and the VDA for Single-session OS includes the following enhancements (in addition to the VDA installation and upgrade items listed previously in this article):

  • In-place upgrade

When performing an in-place upgrade, you must reboot the machine. After the reboot, a user with administrator privileges must log in to complete the upgrade procedure. This change will require some changes in your deployment scripts.

  • HDX 3D Pro mode

Professional graphics support is simplified. HDX 3D Pro mode is now automatically enabled if a GPU is detected, so there’s no need to manually select whether to enable it during the installation.

  • Master images for PVS and MCS

Options to create master images for PVS and MCS are separated to make sure you select the correct one for your environment.

  • Support for Local Security Authority (LSA) protection

We now support the use of Local Security Authority (LSA) protection on a multi-session server OS and a single-session desktop OS for standard authentication, Federated Authentication Service (FAS) authentication, and Smart Card authentication. For more information about LSA protection, see the Microsoft article Configuring Additional LSA Protection.

  • App protection

This release introduces an add-on feature that enhances security when using Citrix Workspace app. New policies provide anti-keylogging and anti-screen-capturing capabilities in a session. The new policies along with Citrix Workspace app 1912 or later for Windows can help protect data from keyloggers and screen scrapers. For more information, see App protection.

Citrix Licensing 11.16.3

  • Apache version upgrade:

The Citrix Licensing Manager and the Citrix License Administration Console are upgraded to Apache version 2.4.41.

  • Citrix Cloud registration enhancement:

When you register your License Server with Citrix Cloud, the customer display name appears instead of the customer ID. This enhancement makes it easier to ensure you’ve registered the correct account.

  • Citrix Cloud registration removal enhancement:

You can now remove your Citrix Cloud registration with one step in the Citrix Licensing Manager Settings > Usage and Statistics screen.

  • Immediate upload to Citrix Cloud after registering:

The license usage information displays in Citrix Cloud immediately after registering the License Server in Citrix Cloud.

  • jQuery version update:

The Citrix Licensing Manager is upgraded to jQuery version 3.4.1.

Citrix Federated Authentication Service 1912

  • New features 

Federated Authentication Service 1912 includes no new features.

  • Fixed issues:

When the FAS administration console is used to deploy certificate templates into Active Directory, the template security permissions no longer include the “auto-enroll” permission. This permission is not needed for correct FAS operation, and caused unwanted enrollment attempts by domain computers in some customer deployments. [AUTH-224]