PubForum – XenApp 6 Overview

This session is by Lait Kaushal from Citrix escalation in Dublin.  I’m totally out of touch with Citrix so I’m looking forward to this session.

This is normally a long 70 minute presentation but he only has 45 minutes.  The room has to be closed because this session is too popular.

XenApp6 is designed for Windows Server 2008 R2 application delivery.  Work on devices such as PC, Mac, Smartphone and netbook.  Android, iPhone 2.0 and Windows mobile supported.  So is Linux.  There is a plug-in for App-V.

HDX provides high quality real time media playing, e.g. CD quality audio.

AppCenter is built for W2008 R2.

XenApp provides session virtualization and application virtualization.  The former works with central servers or virtual machines.  Power and capacity management will power down and wake up servers that are not needed.  Thus you get power savings.  Physical machines require WOL.  Alternatively the servers can be virtualized – power up and power down the VM’s to save host resources.

There are advanced, enterprise and platinum versions, each with more features than the previous one.

Installation has been simplified greatly.  There is zero-config deployment, post-installation config and auto-config using GPO.  Pre-requisites are automatically installed (nice).

It includes the ability to do self-service application provisioning (the Dazzle feature).  The user goes to a website and subscribes to an application.  It can download and pre-cache apps.  Current support for Windows and Max.  Linux support on the way.

If you have apps that don’t support Terminal Services then you can run them from dedicated virtual machines and get the same effect.  That’s kind of a mix of VDI and application publishing.

XenApp provides three app delivery mechanisms:

  • Server hosted: Lowest TCO but requires bandwidth.
  • Locally running virtualized applications: Self service and offline execution.  More management.
  • VM hosted application publication: Centralized applications but requires more management.  Requires XenDesktop for the back end VDI infrastructure.

App-V packages can also be streamed by XenApp.

There’s a lot of common ground between MS and Citrix in the desktop delivery market.  ConfigMgr tramples all over Citrix’s toes, especially v.Next.

The licensing component will eventually be a virtual appliance, making it easier to manage and deploy.

“There is no backdoor to hack the license server if you forget the admin password”.  A delegate says that’s not true: there’s an XML file where you can delete the encrypted password string, thus setting it to blank.

Licensing has a WMI interface for reporting to OpsMgr.

HDX uses 90% less bandwidth to give CD audio quality.  Echo cancellation for VoIP.  WebCams are supported.  Tested wth MS OCS.  Plug’n’Play for USB devices is supported.  There is enhanced colour and multiple monitor support – basically, if Windows supports it – XenApp6 supports it.  Smart Card readers are supported. 

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One thought on “PubForum – XenApp 6 Overview”

  1. One issue with Citrix XenApp 6 is that, unlike previous versions, it doesn’t support mixed server farms (server clusters that contain more than one XenApp and/or Windows server version in the same farm.). That leaves 3 possible options for upgrading existing XenApp sites:

    Option 1: Upgrade all servers to XenApp 6 all at once (since XenApp 6 only runs on Windows Server 2008 R2). This is not easy to accomplish in a production environment, which can afford little or no downtime. And if you are hosting an application that isn’t very compatible with 64-bit platforms (Windows Server 2008 R2 is 64-bit only) then you’re truly stuck.

    Option 2: Create a secondary farm for the XenApp 6 servers; then distribute the clients between the two using a Web interface. This introduces 3 challenges: (1) Since XenApp 6 has new management consoles and a whole new way of doing configuration and scripting, each farm will need to be managed separately using a different tool-set. (2) Determining how to properly distribute the clients between each of the two farms requires close monitoring; otherwise users may not be able to connect to the proper farm. (3) In all likelihood the combined size of both farms will potentially be much larger than a single farm would have been.

    Option 3: Switch to Ericom’s PowerTerm WebConnect. With a three-tier architecture, PowerTerm WebConnect (certified by Microsoft for Windows Server 2008 R2) can support mixed farms containing Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 and future versions of Windows as well. So it can actually be easier, safer and more cost-effective to not only choose this solution over Citrix’s in the first place, but even to upgrade an existing XenApp farm to PowerTerm WebConnect than to XenApp 6!

    You can read more and download a free evaluation at:
    http://www.ericom.com/citrix_alternative.asp?URL_ID=708

    Adam

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