Summary of todays annoucements at Citrix Synergy

So like many people I have been watching todays keynote from the comfort of my own chair, and taken notes during the entire keynote. So people don’t have to read all the annoucements from every minor annoucement and rewatch the keynote here is a summary of todays news:

XenDesktop 7.9

XenDesktop 7.9 was announced, so what are the features which are included as part of this release?

  • Federated Authentication Service (Which will now finally being able to do full SAML based authentication from and endpoint to a Citrix Session) This is something I have written about before, (https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/setting-up-saml-authetication-for-netscaler-and-storefront-with-sso/) So I’m guessing it is going to be an extesion of that feature, welcome back!
  • Citrix MCS and Nutanix integration (This is not a new feature, it was announced a while back but now we finally know that it will be available for XenDesktop 7.9 customers, which will allow direct connection to Acropolis Hypervisor
  • Intel Iris Pro graphics technology (This is for customers who want to leverage Intel GPU in conjunction with XenServer 7 which I will discuss a bit later)
  • MCS with RAM-based caching (This will allow us to specify a RAM based caching mechanism, I’m thinking simliar to PVS

  • Provisioning Services (BDM configurations and updates for simplified deployment as well as supporting modern firmware including UEFI)
  • New releases to Universal Print Server and Universal Print Driver
  • Remote PC Access for Windows 10 machines
  • CentOS support for Linux server-based and VDI desktops
  • New Storefront version with suppor for Windows Server 2016 TP5
  • Citrix Receiver for Android, Chrome and HTML5
  • New System Center Operations Manager bundle, Citrix Connector for System Center Configuration manager and an updated version of AppDNA.

So some other important updates which most likely comes with XenDesktop 7.9, and also shows the strong partnership with Microsoft and Citrix

  • Support for Azure Resource Manager deployments, which is the de facto standard when deploying stuff in Azure these days.
  • Windows 10 VDI deployment from Citrix? Soooo many were suprised by this announcement, but from a licensing perspective this has been available for quite some time (http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-to-enable-users-to-run-windows-10-on-azure/) This requires that we are running the latest Current branch for buisness

Will this finally allow DaaS from Azure? So it will be interesting to see.

Also there are some new updates which came from the session afterwards.

  • Zone Preference and failover
  • Local Host Cache

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  • AppDisks for Hyper-V and Acropolis (Coming soon…)

XenServer 7

Also Citrix announced a new version of XenServer which came with alot of new features. For instnace

  • GPU support for Intel Iris Pro
  • support NVIDIA vGPU with Linux virtual machines
  • supports up to 128 NVIDIA GRID vGPU-enabled VMs
  • Direct Inspect APIs (these APIs allow third-party security vendors to partner with Citrix in providing the next generation of virtual infrastructure protection, leaving malware, viruses and rootkit zero-day attacks no place to hide within the VM, and unable to compromise the security software) BitDefender is one of the vendors which already support this –> http://www.bitdefender.com/business/hypervisor-introspection.html
  • Support for the SMB protocol for virtual machine storage in XenServer (Important that XenServer do not now support all the SMB protocol features like failover, multichannel and such.
  • The largest, most important update which I found was (XenServer is now the first hypervisor to offer integrated management of Docker containers on Linux and Windows) With Microsoft’s investment into Docker/Containers and with Citrix moving towards with Container support for NetScaler as well makes XenServer really interesting for enviroments where Containers make sense.
  • Automated Microsoft Windows VM driver management
  • New Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)
  • Microsoft Active Directory integration
  • Templates for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016
    • XenServer Health Check – provides proactive, regular and automated health checks and reporting
    • XenServer Conversion Manager – now supports batch conversion of all versions of Windows and simplifies migration from VMware
    • Significant scalability improvements –
      • 5x increase in supported host RAM (up to 5TB)
      • 2x increase in support for CPU cores (up to 288)
      • 8x increase in VM RAM (up to 1.5TB)
      • Support for Citrix AppDisks (up to 255 virtual disks per VM)

Nutanix and Citrix

I already mentioned some of the integration option with MCS and Nutanix, but they also announced an Citrix + Nutanix appliance called InstantON VDI –> https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/05/24/introducing-nutanix-instanton-vdi-for-citrix/

NetScaler

My favorite topic! Now there are some annoucements that have been made

  • Containerized NetScaler with CPX (You can read more about it here –> http://bit.ly/1rMh6Ug)
  • NetScaler management and analytics system (Which is an integrated Command Center and Insight, you can read more about it here –> http://bit.ly/1VVPhW5)
  • Cloudbridge renamed to NetScaler SD-WAN
  • Microsoft will embed NetScaler capabilities into Intune App SDK which will enable apps to securely access on-premises assets without having to launch a VPN

So the future for NetScaler is looking bright, I will be writing more about what the future holds for NetScaler, hold on! Smilefjes

XenMobile (heart) EMS? 

I saw on twitter that were alot of debate of the Microsoft and Citrix partnering with XenMobile and EMS. It is important to remember that EMS is NOT ONLY INTUNE, its a whole lot more.

  • Azure MFA (Multi factor authentication)
  • Azure Active Directory
  • Azure Rights Management
  • Microsoft ATA
  • and of course Intune

But alot of the confusion is XenMobile dead? no… important to remember that intune has MaM capabilities for most of the Microsoft based applications, but XenMobile will be able to leverage these capabilities, basically means that XenMobile will be using the Intune SDK to do this.

So alot of the integration stuff well be of course with NetScaler and Azure AD for identity purposes and being able to do SAML based authentication across to Azure AD as an SAML iDP. Citrix will also embed a number of EMS capabilities into XenMobile, such as self-service password reset and multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Funny thing is this quote which can be found from Brad Anderseons blog http://bit.ly/1TxIT1S : Future collaboration will also include Citrix building a new EMM service on Azure that will integrate with and add value to EMS

Finally, if you are an EMS customer, start getting educated on NetScaler.  You’ll be able to define conditional access policies in EMS/Intune in the 2H 2016 that NetScaler will enforce on a per-device, per-app and micro-VPN basis.

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About the Author: Marius Sandbu

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