XenDesktop 7 editions explained

With XD7 lots of new features and capabilities are announced including some major infrastructural changes as well, especially when it comes to the integration of Citrix XenApp (FMA replaces IMA) more than just one step forward. But what about the different editions available, what does one get with the XD7 App edition for example or Enterprise edition for that matter? What’s in it for Subscription Advantage customers? How about the Trade-up program? XenDesktop 7 also offers some cool new monitor and analysis tools including the EdgeSight network analysis feature as part of Director which leverages the Citrix NetScaler HDX insight technology, but how do we get it?! For a full overview on all editions and features per edition scroll down.

 

Editions and licenses available

To get you started, XenDesktop 7 is available in VDI, App, Enterprise and Platinum edition, more on the details below. You can choose to buy per-user, per-device or concurrent licenses. User licensing gives users access to their virtual desktops and apps from an unlimited number of devices. Device licensing gives an unlimited number of users access to their virtual desktops and apps from a single device. Concurrent licenses are tied to a session, not a specific user or device. It works like this, as per Citrix: When a user launches a session, a license is checked out to that session. When a user logs off from a session, the license server checks the license back in the pool, making it available for another user.

Monitoring and analysis

Depending on the edition you purchase you get additional analysis and monitoring functionality. First of all… Citrix Director (the main tool to use, or better said, the main console) which is a real time web based tool used primarily by Helpdesk and or Call center Agents is included with every edition available. It offers you real time assessment and troubleshooting capabilities, like live health monitoring of your XenDesktop 7 Site. It also includes a new troubleshooting dashboard allowing you to see on a minute by minute scale if any failures have occurred. It has a Filters view, Trends views and a Help Desk view. For now this is as far as I go, find out for your self how all this may work to your advantage.

EdgeSight

We all heard the rumour that EdgeSight is no more, well, that’s only partly true! EdgeSight as a separate product is indeed gone, EOL! But… Its (improved) technology and branding is now integrated into Citrix Director, a big plus. It offers two key features, performance management and network analysis, have a look here for more information on both features, Director is also covered: blogs.citrix.com/2013/06/04/xendesktop-7-director-and-edgesight-explained A small word on the network analysis part, for this to work you will have to incorporate a NetScaler appliance (can be virtual) in your deployment, also, the new versions of Receiver for Mac and Windows released with XD7 need to implemented, otherwise there will be nothing to analyze.

As a side note, you can use Director with EdgeSight included to monitor older or lower versions VDA’s. However, the Controller must be running XD7 for this to function. Of-course there will be limited data available regarding the older VDA’s stuff like: logon duration metrics, logon breakdown details, and some categories of machine and connection failures will not be collected and thus not viewable. I got these last three lines from the above blog as well🙂

Licenses needed

As expected there is a ‘but’ to the above, there always is🙂 As mentioned, by default Director comes with every edition, the EdgeSight functionality does not. First off you will need a XenDesktop 7 Platinum license to make use of the EdgeSight functionality. As far as performance management goes, this will give you up to a full year of monitoring data to collect and store. It needs a SQL database for this. Besides that, if you want to make use of the network analysis feature and you have your NetScaler set up, you will also need a NetScaler Enterprise or Platinum license. Depending on your NetScaler license you can respectively store either 60 minutes or unlimited network data from your NetScaler appliance, to sum it up:

  1. All editions: Director – real-time monitoring and basic troubleshooting (7 days of data)
  2. XD7 Platinum: EdgeSight performance management feature – includes historical monitoring (up to a full year of data through the monitoring SQL database)
  3. XD7 Platinum + NetScaler Enterprise: EdgeSight performance management and network analysis – includes 60 minutes of network data
  4. XD7 Platinum + NetScaler Platinum: EdgeSight performance management and network analysis – includes unlimited network data

App Edition

Before moving on let’s first have a look at the App edition which has recently been added to the XenDesktop portfolio. XD7 App Edition, which is basically a replacement for XenApp, sort of, lets you publish Hosted Shared Desktops, Applications hosted on either VM’s or RDS environments and it also supports App-V delivery for off-line applications. If you own XenApp 6.5 Enterprise or Platinum licenses and have a valid Subscription Advantage then it’s offered free of charge. It can be installed alongside your existing XenApp environment (production) this way you can make use of the newly added HDX functionality and also provision Windows Server 2012 Hosted Shared Desktops next to your existing XenApp 6.5 Farm. Simple configure Web Interface or StoreFront accordingly and you’ll have access to both environments from one interface. You can upgrade to one of the other XD7 editions whenever you want giving you full access to the FlexCast delivery suite. However, XenApp 6.5 Advanced license owners or out of luck, they simply need to pay. Hey… Don’t shoot the messenger.

Subscription advantage

It provides customers access to the latest product version upgrades available. You can download new software releases at no extra costs. All of your membership services can be managed online. To my knowledge existing XenDesktop subscription advantage customers are eligible for free of charge upgrades from earlier😄 versions to XD7. As far as existing XenApp customers go, you need to have at least Enterprise licenses. If that’s the case than you can download, install and use XenDesktop 7 App edition in your production environment as mentioned above. As an extra, as per Citrix: Customers who wish to receive technical support can take advantage of Citrix Premier Support, which provides 24x7x365 unlimited worldwide support and unlimited support incidents for eligible software products.

Trade-up licenses to XenDesktop

I’ll keep is short, this comes from Citrix.com but is often overlooked: The Trade-up to XenDesktop program provides XenApp customers with special savings for trading up to the industry standard in desktop virtualization – Citrix XenDesktop. Customers who trade up to XenDesktop 7 keep all of the great functionality they are accustomed to with XenApp, and add new, powerful virtual desktop technology.

Trade Up

XenApp customers can trade up their licenses now, continue to deliver on-demand applications as they always have and add virtual desktops at their own pace. The Trade-up to XenDesktop 7 program is not a limited time offer or promotion. It is a standard upgrade program for XenApp customers and it includes options for customers to add desktop virtualization to XenApp and expand their desktop virtualization footprint all at a fraction of the cost. Have a look at Citrix.com or contact one of your Citrix representatives for some more info. For example, if you choose to ‘Trade-up’ al of your XenApp licenses then you will 2 for 2 doubling your license number at a fraction of the costs. Just have a look, there are three different programs available.

StoreFront 2.0

We all know it will replace Web Interface, nothing new there and because of this, by default, it’s now part of the XD7 installation process as well, as far as I know StoreFront is included with all editions. Although there were some mixed emotions around earlier releases, version 2.0 looks more promising. I’ll list some of its new features below and then discuss them (shortly) separately:

  • Clientless Receiver (HTML5)
  • NetScaler integration, endpoint analysis
  • Unified App stores, self service
  • Follow me Apps, device roaming
  • No more (external) SQL DB dependency
  • Management from Studio
  • Pre-Launch

# Clientless Receiver – If for some reason a user can’t or won’t install Citrix Receiver it can still access all the XD7 published content available, full HDX support included! StoreFront offers a web based (HTML5) Receiver, directing all traffic through StoreFront while still providing the same experience as with a native client install. Cool feature if you ask me! #NetScaler – Has something called HDX SmartAccess from which endpoint analysis (configurable policies) can be performed before a connection is passed through to StoreFront. Examples are: anti-virus software, client firewalls, hard drive encryption and more # Unified App Stores – With self Service capabilities. IT simply publishes all content that a user may want (and is allowed) to use to one of its App Stores. Users can then ‘subscribe’ to the content they need.

StoreFront Overview

# Follow me Apps – StoreFront is smart, it is the intelligence behind Receiver. It not only keeps track of what users have subscribed to (subscribe once and have an consistent user experience on every device used from then on) it also maintains connections with running applications (persistent) making it possible to switch devices and continue working from where you left off. Not too bad! # No more external SQL DP dependency – Yep, follow me apps, App Store subscriptions, the way you organize your apps etc.. It’s now all being saved internally # And to finalize, it’s all being managed from Citrix Studio.

What about XenApp

Good news! XenApp 6.5 will also be ‘pimped’ free of charge I’d might add! Citrix releases Feature Pack 2 for XenApp 6.5 together with XD7. It will include a subset of the new XD7 features, here’s an overview, I’ll discuss each feature separately below, except for StoreFront of-course.

  • Windows App compatibility, AppDNA (Platinum)
  • Redesigned StoreFront, clientless receiver
  • GPU sharing, 3D professional graphics
  • HDX Mobile SDK for Windows Apps
  • Lync 2013 VDI plug-in
  • SCCM 2012 connector
  • Seamless local Apps

AppDNA

It’s actually called Automated App Migration Analysis. It uses Citrix’s AppDNA (which is a separate product) technology to help determine which applications are ready to get virtualized. If you buy the ‘full featured’ product It also offers remediation capabilities to help you automate the application physical to virtual (App-V packages) migration process. It offers an clear overview on what’s ready and on what still needs to be addressed for certain apps. It’s available for XD7 and XA 6.5 Platinum licenses only and be aware that you will only get a subset of the full AppDNA software, it’s far from complete compared to the full AppDNA product, but it does get you started and points you in the right direction. Although it’s limited in functionality, I like what they did here.

GPU sharing and 3D Pro

HDX 3d Pro with Full OpenGL Acceleration provides direct hardware GPU sharing of OpenGL-based apps. It allows multiple users to share GPU resources fully by accelerating OpenGL and Direct X graphics. Full HD video and 3D images over a 3 or 4G mobile broadband network? Sure, it’s possible with the help of HDX. Using client side rendering and compression offloading to the server side through shared GPU acceleration, the available bandwidth is used more efficiently.

HDX Mobile SDK for Windows Apps

It’s all about mobility these days, with this SDK you can optimize your existing Windows apps for any mobile environment by adding in mobile specific features like Swipe and Touch functionality. It also lets you dynamically format the application for horizontal or vertical display and different screen sizes. I didn’t use it yet, but he word is that just a single line of code will be added, it’s that small and simple, or should be anyway.

Lync and SCCM

The Lync 2013 VDI plug-in enables optimized audio and video performance of the latest Microsoft Lync 2013 client for VDI and hosted-shared delivery technologies. The SCCM 2012 connector lets you deliver any Windows application to any user leveraging Citrix Receiver as a XenApp deployment type.

Seamless local apps

Locally installed applications leveraging local resources but integrated into your hosted virtual desktop for maximum performance. How often do VDI projects and alike get paused or cancelled because of one or two applications that won’t perform on a VDI environment?! In some cases this could be the solution.

Of-course there is more to it, there are more features, there is more technology and terminology out there, I just wanted to share some of the enhancements you get with certain editions, versions etc… and make a note on the Trade-up program and subscription advantage as well as they are both license related.

XenDesktop 7 editions in more detail

We already discussed the App edition in combination with subscription advantage. We also had a look at the so called ‘Trade-up’ program and focused a little on XenApp customers which will benefit from the new FP2 coming out shortly. Even StoreFront had our attention. Let’s have a look at the rest that😄 7 has to offer. All features with every edition available. These are not my own, but I couldn’t have done it any better🙂 Click to enlarge.

Windows apps and desktops anywhere

XD7 Feature Matrix

Any device – native experiance

XD 7 Editions 2

HDX high-definition, mobile user experience

XD 7 Editions 3

Secure, self-service Citrix StoreFront

XD 7 Editions 4

Cloud-ready, built on the Avalon platform

Cloud ready 1

Cloud ready 2

Cloud ready 3

Cloud ready 4

Cloud ready 5

Cloud ready 6

Cloud ready 7

Conclusion

That about wraps it up. A lot, isn’t it?! It would be interesting to have a look at each feature separately, another time perhaps. I’m guessing that as soon as XD7 is officially out on the ‘market’ we’ll see an explosion of Blogs all describing the above features in more detail, screenshots included. Always interesting!

Bas van Kaam ©

Reference materials used: Citrix.com and the E-docs website

http://basvankaam.com/2013/06/27/xendesktop-7-editions-explained/

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