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Citrix Updates and Product Announcements – June 2023

June 15, 2023
What’s New with Citrix — CVAD 2305 and Cloud Updates

It’s no secret that Citrix updates continue to innovate and deliver new capabilities to make your environments more flexible, increase deployment speed, and improve end user experiences. Citrix is also fully committed to meeting organisations where they are in their deployment journeys, and the Citrix Universal subscription is only the first step in their journey.

With the move toward Citrix Universal subscription, they are not only adding features to our Citrix DaaS cloud service, but also continuing to add features and capabilities to on-premises deployments.

That’s why Citrix are excited to announce the release of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 2305! This IT-managed current release delivers new end user enhancements, security capabilities, and much more.

As Citrix evolve and gains input from customers, they are building more functionality inside of four major categories.

  • Operational and IT Efficiency
  • Workload and Device Flexibility
  • Security and Compliance
  • Employee Experience Technology

This approach goes beyond the traditional cloud and on-prem categorisations, providing a comprehensive overview of the capabilities offered by the Citrix platform.

Improving Operational and IT Efficiency

Save money with Autoscale for on-premises

Citrix Autoscale is now available for IT-managed Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployments! This addition allows organisations to save on compute costs with optimisations and automation, while retaining a high performance user experience. This capability allows for power management of load-based and schedule-based scaling alongside cost and capacity visualisations. Additionally, Autoscale includes dynamic provisioning to create and delete machines based on admin controls.

Lastly, Autoscale allows for vertical load balancing to fill up machines before powering on new ones. It is important to note that this feature is dependent on Web Studio, which is now available for on-prem term or Citrix Universal license subscribers.

You can now create PVS catalogues from Citrix DaaS Studio Tech Preview

Citrix have introduced a tech preview for PVS to have access to MCS features for on-premises and cloud. Organisations are now able to use MCS provisioning to create VMs for PVS. PVS can now support enterprise MCS features like identity management, on-demand cache disk, and many more. Additionally, admins now can manage PVS provisioning from Studio with unified UI and workflow to streamline tasks.

Simplifying provisioning with MCS enhancements

Citrix is bringing machine creation services (MCS) updates to on-prem hypervisors. New features include:

  • Descriptions for image updates: Manage machine catalogues more efficiently through PowerShell, add and retrieve notes for image descriptions, and maintain image update records and simplify audit processes.
  • Support for MAK activation: Provision machine catalogues with VMs activated through Multiple Activation Key, provision both persistent and non-persistent catalogues, utilise Multiple Activation Key (MAK) for VM activation, and preserve activation counts during Windows activation.
  • Additional Security identifiers: Easily identify machines with unique identifiers, streamline virtual machine creation process, gain better control over virtual machine configurations.

Introducing VDA Upgrade service

The VDA Upgrade service for cloud-based Citrix workloads is a new capability built to accelerate and simplify VDA lifecycle maintenance.

Admins are now able to quickly push VDA upgrades to persistent machines via Web Studio or PowerShell. Customer admins can choose how to upgrade VDAs by selecting individual machines, in batches of up to 50, or entire machine catalogues. Additionally admins are able to schedule upgrades to happen automatically when no active sessions are present. This is a huge time saver, eliminating the manual process of automating VDA upgrades without the need for SCCM or custom scripts.

Implementing Session Launch Diagnostics in Citrix DaaS Monitor Tech Preview

This new tech preview allows admins to understand why and where a session failed for any user. The user who receives the error is given a unique transaction ID and is then able to share it with an admin. Upon searching for this ID in Citrix DaaS Monitor, the admin is shown a complete history of the failed session including which component had failures or warnings with the error-code. The admin can then click to learn more about the error including reasons and remediation steps as prescribed by Citrix product teams. This is a great new feature that allows admins to easily troubleshoot user sessions and give end users a better overall experience.

Reduce costs with VDI Reclamation service Tech Preview

Leveraging unused virtual resources is a huge capability for organisations working to reduce cloud spend. With the tech preview of the VDI reclamation service, Admins are able to auto-tag unused resources to be reclaimed and given to users who need them, instead of those resources sitting idle. Previously, admins created custom scripts to identify and reclaim unused VDIs, now with automated tagging, the need for custom scripts is eliminated as the feature easily identifies inactive machines.

Delivering Workload and Device Flexibility

Cost Savings and Flexibility on Azure

Citrix are continuously adding more capabilities to Citrix on Azure. This quarter, they added greater flexibility to Citrix and Azure deployments when applying custom properties to existing MCS provisioned machines. They also added the ability for deployments to automatically switch to a lower tier storage type at shutdown to save costs. Citrix have also made it simple to convert to the new machine profile catalogues to ease feature adoption and expand available properties.

Citrix Support for Nutanix Cloud Clusters on Azure

Citrix are officially supporting Nutanix Cloud Clusters (NC2) on Azure for Citrix DaaS and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. The new Citrix plugin for NC2 is designed to ensure seamless migration of Citrix workloads from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud. By leveraging Nutanix’s native protection and replication capabilities, admins can also scale their operations effortlessly, save on cloud infrastructure costs, and maintain consistent management procedures. NC2 is available via the Azure marketplace, streamlining operations across multiple clouds without added complexity.

Enhancing Security and Compliance

Bringing more to Citrix Session Recording

Citrix Session Recording has been a staple for securing and troubleshooting user sessions. Citrix is committed to delivering the latest capabilities to improve security and admin experience. Citrix are also working to meet organisations where they are, whether that’s in the cloud or on premises. That’s why Citrix have introduced session recording features in both locations. Here are a few of their updates:

  • New activity feeds: A new dashboard to improve admin visibility and improve user experience. These new activity feeds are built into the Session Recording dashboard and will include system event logs, tasks progress, and API history for admins to better visualise the data.
  • New Session Recording cloud client daemon: The introduction of a daemon to maintain the running state of the client and to try to fix it automatically when the client runs abnormally. This helps with downtime and eases admin burden.
  • Email admins for Session Recording events: Admins now have the option to subscribe to receive an email if specific events occur within the Session Recording console.

Citrix have also added a number of features to Citrix Session Recording on premises:

  • Support for Azure SQL database: Citrix are now adding support for the Azure SQL database to allow more flexibility and choice of recording storage.
  • Configure timespan for blocking sensitive information disclosure: When session-pause is detected, Citrix block 1 more second recording prior to the occurrence of the session-pause, so that the block happens before the session-pause to prevent the 0.5s – 1s gap before the recording can be blocked.
  • Support for sharing recordings as unrestricted links: Citrix are implementing a mechanism to share the users with temporary playback access links so that they can review recording via the links directly. They can share the recording from a temporary link where the creation of the links will be logged and secured with the recording hosted on the Session Recording infrastructure.

Enhancing Secure Private Access DNS Suffix Support

Citrix Secure Private Access (SPA) customers often request hostname support when using the Citrix Secure Access (CSA) agent to access file shares. With this feature, the customer can enable the CSA agent to resolve a non-fully qualified domain name (hostname) to a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) by adding the DNS suffix domain for the back-end servers. Organisations can also enable admins to configure applications using IP addresses (IP CIDR/IP range) so that the end users can access the applications using the corresponding FQDN under the DNS suffix domain. The screenshot below showcases the DNS suffix settings inside of SPA. For full configuration information, take a look at our product documentation.

Increasing Secure Private Access visibility with Application Discovery

Sometimes organisations struggle when transitioning from a legacy VPN solution to a zero trust based solution because the legacy solution has no restrictions, and access to the whole network is allowed. With Citrix Application discovery, admins get visibility into the internal private applications such as web apps and client-server apps (TCP and UDP based apps) in their organisation and the users accessing those applications.

Application discovery provides automated discovery and reporting of the various internal applications and IP address/port combinations based on the broad IP subnets and wildcard domains that are part of the internal network. It takes the guesswork out of knowing the specific app domains and IP addresses, simplifies the SPA app configuration process, and speeds up time to value for customers with a simple and easy workflow to define apps and policies. The screenshots below showcase apps discovered by this capability for admins to take action on and secure:

 

Adding REST APIs to App and Access Policy Configurations Tech Preview

In today’s hybrid deployments, automation of management tasks is incredibly important. Citrix Secure Private Access APIs allow the automation for the creation/updating of Applications and Access Policies.

This gives organisations simplicity. A client API library is a pre-built package of code that provides a simpler and more convenient way to interact with an API. Instead of having to write code to make HTTP requests and handle responses, you can use the library’s pre-built functions and classes to perform common tasks.

Additionally, client API libraries often provide an abstraction layer that simplifies the process of interacting with an API by hiding away some of the underlying complexity. It makes it easier to understand how the API works and how to use it. A client API library can handle errors and provide helpful error messages that make it easy to identify and fix issues.

Lastly, a client API library can handle the retries and caching of the requests, reducing the number of calls to the server and thus improving the performance.

With application configuration, admins can create a new app, edit existing app, delete any app, get a list of all apps, fetch list of all configured apps, and fetch complete app config details for any app.

Adding more to Citrix Analytics for Security

With the current Tech Preview for “Username Masking” in mind, Citrix are now equipping their customers with more flexibility when it comes to role based access control (RBAC), as they are adding the “Privacy Administrator” role in addition to the existing “Full Administrator” and “Read Only Administrator” roles.

Flexibility should go hand in hand with simplicity, why Citrix at the same time added a new integration for Azure Active Directory users and groups.

Streamlining Employee Experience Technology

New Citrix Workspace user interface Tech Preview

Recently announced by Citrix was the revamping of their cloud-based Workspace user interface (UI) into a streamlined user portal. They have refocused the UI to deliver users their apps and desktops seamlessly with categories, favouriting, a new home tab, and improved first-time use. These features truly improve the utility and usability of Citrix resources. They have also introduced Citrix Activity Manager, which is a long awaited capability that allows users to restart sessions on their own, without burdening helpdesk staff. This will be a huge time saver for your IT teams.

Adding EDT Lossy in Citrix Gateway service

Loss tolerant mode is particularly useful for remote workers who rely on real-time multimedia for their work. For unified communications, training, and many other multimedia activities, it is critical that the audio remains in sync to ensure that remote employees receive the same experience as those who are physically present.

EDT Lossy can help maintain this synchronisation even on networks with high latency and packet loss. It is also the preferred mode for audio, ensuring superior audio quality compared to EDT during lossy network conditions.

During normal conditions, both EDT and EDT Lossy provide similar results. However, during network conditions with packet loss, EDT Lossy provides a better audio experience compared to EDT. This makes it an essential feature for remote workers who rely on real-time multimedia for their work.

Stay in sync with Simulcast for Microsoft Teams

A huge enhancement for users that leverage virtualised Microsoft Teams is the Citrix support for Microsoft Teams Simulcast. This capability prevents the lowest-performing endpoint from dictating the video resolution for all meeting attendees. This is especially useful with under-spec client devices or low-bandwidth situations. With Simulcast, all video streams are delivered at the best quality for each individual endpoint.

Improving tracking and performance with geolocation redirection

For users who leverage devices out in the field, on job sites, and more, having accurate locating information of the endpoint is vital. With the geolocation redirection feature, Citrix is now offering a native experience for virtualised applications that need user location data. This feature allows the user’s endpoint device to pass its location information to the application. This is great for organisations to virtualise their mapping, logistics, fleet applications, and more!

Enhancing Citrix Workspace customisation with the Custom Domain Tech Preview

Citrix have made available the Pubic Tech Preview of Custom Domain (aka Vanity URL) for the Citrix Workspace Platform. This feature enables customers to personalise their end user facing workspace URL to their own domain in addition to the cloud.com URL which Citrix provides. Organisations now have the choice to leverage a company-branded domain name that is unique and easy to remember for employees accessing their Citrix resources. This is a huge step forward in giving organisations more flexibility for their users’ deployments, and users are able to access their needed resources through an easy to remember URL.

Adding Data Availability to Citrix Analytics for Performance

The clear benefit of using Citrix to analyse and optimise Citrix data is that there is no need to deploy any agents. Yes, no extra agents! All the “agents” needed are potentially already in place. Potentially, because minimum versions have to be met, onboarding of the components has to happen, and communication to Citrix Cloud needs to be permitted, so that the metrics and metadata will be delivered to Citrix Analytics.

To raise awareness of what is causing “N/A” items and missing insights, they have added in-product notifications, information symbols, and pop-ups. The Analytics dashboard was equipped with a new “Check data availability”-button, as shown in the screenshots below, which will summarise sessions with incomplete data.

New Mode categories in Citrix Analytics for Performance

Citrix Analytics is designed to support fast responses when it comes to triaging problems. If you are looking to plan and scale, higher precision based on large data sets will likely be more important than speed. With the latest release, They are providing you the option to temporarily change the data sampling mode for the Analytics Dashboard with the click of a button to allow for higher precision data to be gathered. This option, as shown in the screenshot below, becomes available in tenants with more than 25k unique users in the past 30 days.

Keep your Citrix up-to date

Citrix are committed to continued evolving and improving their technologies and our experts at Enterprise Solutions are here to support your organisation to stay up-to-date with changes. Our team of Citrix engineers can support you to keep everything working smoothly and efficiently for your organisation. Contact our team of experts team – asktheexpert@enterprise-solutions.ie

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