Recently Citrix released its latest update of XenApp/XenDesktop version 7.9 through an announcement at Citrix Synergy. They have been more aggressive with their patching cycles which are a really good thing when it comes to security and new features. In years past when we saw a new update from Citrix we instantly thought of it as a new version, but we are now moving into an era where we can think of each update as a recommended set of patches that we should be deploying to ensuring our environment is secure and as feature-rich as possible.

So What is New in this Most Recent Release?

There are many impressive features in this latest update, but there are only a few that I will highlight as I am personally most impressed with these changes.

Security and Product Enhancements

• Print server load balancing and high availability of universal printing via load balancing to increase print jobs throughput. The Universal Print Driver (UPD) will also allow for more advanced printing features like stapling and paper source selection. I can personally think of many applications that I have deployed that were not a feature rich without these printing capabilities.

• Windows 10 is on the radar for many organizations following Microsoft’s initiative to allow its current home user base free access to this version of Windows. Within the Enterprise this is being seen in the SMB space, through BYOD programs, and corporate proof of concept initiatives to move to virtualized Windows 10. The additional of HDX 3D Pro graphics within virtual Windows 10 desktop will be helpful with graphically intensive applications, but I do not expect that this will replace the need for GPU’s for very intense graphical applications such as AutoCAD installations.

• If you are leveraging a SAML-based identity provider today, it is now possible integrate with these providers through Federated Authentication with the Citrix Netscaler. If your organization heavy into mergers and acquisitions this new integration feature can also be used to provide a seamless experience to all necessary resources and application. Simplifying the overall user experience when accessing the primary sites deployment of XenApp/XenDesktop.

New Integrations

With this update to XenApp/XenDesktop there are also some enhancements that lend to be valuable current and new Nutanix customers.  Also, some separate news for those organizations looking for a newer and more modern, secure thin client option.

• Announced at Citrix Synery, we now have the ability to leverage Nutanix Acropolis (AHV) with Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop and Citrix Machine Creation Services.   This is a huge win for any organization looking to leverage Nutanix solutions with Citrix.  Learn more about this integration with Nutanix products here.

• HDX Ready Pi’s are a thin client that will also be available soon. They are very small, but HDX ready and secured due to the fact that your access to your data is through Citrix back to the datacenter. I am looking forward to working with this new thin client, and I am very excited about its possibilities.

Concluding Thoughts

This post really only scratches the surface of what is new in the latest version of XenApp/XenDesktop, but these are things that I am most excited about. Also, keep in mind that as Citrix continues to release updates to XenApp/XenDesktop it is time to seriously consider applying each update similar to applying incremental updates across your environment.