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Just before New Year’s Eve Citrix published information about new version of XenDesktop. Version 7.7 is already available for download from Citrix website. At Citrix Summit 2016 in Las Vegas this week Citrix also announced an upcoming 2016 Q1 release of XenApp and XenApp 7.8. Let’s summarize the most important new features and enhancements available in the new software releases.

The 7.7 release of XenApp and XenDesktop, enhances the flexibility of the FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) across multiple geographical locations, and simplifies application management with the following key features:

  • Simplified management across geographically dispersed deployments through zones. The new multi zone management functionality allows you to deploy a XenApp site that spans multiple locations, or zones, therefore streamlining multi-site management by enabling you to publish apps across all zones from one console.
  • Comprehensive Skype for Business functionality within a virtual app or desktop. As a result of close collaboration between Citrix and Microsoft, this release of the RealTime Optimization Pack provides a fully native Skype for Business user experience within a virtual app or desktop, as well as high-quality voice and video.
  • Extended integration with the latest Microsoft platform. You can now rapidly provision virtual desktops in Microsoft Azure leveraging the Machine Creation Services (MCS) feature of XenApp and XenDesktop. In addition, Citrix Provisioning Services now supports the on-premises provisioning of Windows 10 virtual desktops.
  • Enhanced image provisioning technology. Rapidly provisioning desktops or server images simplifies patch management, conserves storage, and protects base image configurations.  This release introduced a number of improvements in Provisioning Services technology including support for NVIDIA GRID GPU performance enhancements on vSphere, FIPS compliant communication, in-place upgrades of target device software, support for modern pre-boot environments, extended license grace period, enhanced APIs and more.
  • Improved application management and monitoring. now have more flexibility monitoring and managing your deployments. You can now limit the number of resource-intensive applications running on a single server to preserve scalability and performance. You can be proactively notified of error conditions or excessive usage making it easier to contain issues before they impact the entire deployment while also leveraging new usage reporting capabilities to provide detailed insights into resource utilization.

The 7.8 release of XenApp and XenDesktop will offer the following benefits:

  • Simplifying app management by layering apps onto a master OS image with AppDisk. New AppDisk technology allows admins to package and manage applications independent of their master OS image alleviating the management complexity of multiple, departmental-based images. AppDisk makes it easy to install or update applications without impacting the golden desktop or server image.
  • Integrated AppDNA compatibility testing for applications layered with AppDisk. AppDNA extends the layering benefits of AppDisk by providing instant application compatibility reporting and layer reordering for assigned AppDisks. Now an admin will be able to validate and remediate any OS or inter-app compatibility issues before distributing the AppDisk applications to their employees.
  • Seamlessly manage Microsoft App-V packages from the Studio admin console. XenApp and XenDesktop admins may now use Citrix Studio to manage the distribution of App-V applications to virtual desktops or XenApp servers without requiring separate App-V server and database infrastructure simplifying administrative processes and eliminating additional infrastructure costs.
  • Improved app publishing experience. Large enterprises manage hundreds of applications across thousands of servers. The newly improved Studio has a more intuitive user interface for app publishing as well as new features that enable the admin to publish apps to multiple delivery groups, improved tag management for easier management and tracking across machines, apps and delivery groups.
  • Enhanced graphics performance for virtual desktops. Optimizing the graphics performance for virtual desktops is critical to adoption and this release brings even more enhancements including the combination of our innovative Framehawk display technology with our high performance HDX 3D Pro graphics acceleration for Windows 7 and 8 virtual desktops. Higher scalability for innovative Framehawk technology. Newly released Framehawk remote display technology provides a brilliant user experience under very challenging network conditions and provides real-time interactivity on networks where packet losses impair performance. This release brings scalability enhancements that enable over 40% reduction in memory footprint, up to 20% increase in CPU efficiency, and over 50% improvement in bandwidth efficiency when scrolling via touch input, as well as a significantly increased frame rate for a smoother user experience.
  • And more … Just to give you a few: the ability to record virtual desktops sessions using Session Recording for VDI to pinpoint and speed troubleshooting; enhancements to Citrix StoreFront like self-service password reset; and vertical specific enhancements like passing through the client name to published apps, which is very important for healthcare administrators.

I already installed XenDesktop 7.7 in my lab and I will publish some new posts soon. Stay tuned for updates.