Last week I had a great talk with Mr. Kurt Moody from Citrix. We discussed my Blog post: Why you shouldn’t deploy XD7 on Azure just yet, together with some of my remarks regarding the Citrix XenDesktop 7 on Windows Azure Design Guide which I used as a reference throughout and, in the end, lead to my conclusion of Azure not being as XD7 ready as we hoped it would be, at least not for now. I know, last week I was a bit more ‘outspoken’.
Both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) are nothing new and have been around for a few years now. Just short of two months ago Citrix, along with Microsoft, announced the availability of XenDesktop 7 on Windows Azure. Finally, full Remote Desktop Services (RDS) availability in the Cloud, or so it seemed. Although I was instantly interested, my (spare) time was scares during that period so I had to postpone my ‘Cloud’ ambitions. About a week ago I came across a random article discussing RDS on Windows Azure, an interesting read. After that I decided to do some research and perhaps open up a temp Azure account so I could experience its look and feel for myself.
Although Citrix has done an excellent job describing both the upgrade and migration process on their E-Docs website, I still feel it’s a subject that somehow needs to be part of my Blog series on XD7 as well. And since I did the same for the XenApp upgrade and migration tools out there it just wouldn’t be fair now would it?! Citrix already announced that, at the moment, there are no upgrade or migration paths available for existing XenApp customers. They are however working on a toolset, including a bunch of scripts, to assist customers in their migration from XenApp 6.5 to XenDesktop 7, which will be included in one of the future releases. Let’s get started, I’ll try and keep it short :-)
This article was originally written as a guest blogger for Intense School IT educational services. When I started out in the IT business just short of 15 years ago, mobile phones were a big deal, a privilege to have and use, and if you were allowed to use it privately, that basically meant you were the man! Nowadays it’s all about mobility, smart phones, tablets, net and notebooks, and the list goes on. Internet is cheap, wireless, and it’s everywhere, for most people today, it’s hard to imagine going even one day without their mobile device, whether it’s an iPhone, an Android phone, or some sort of tablet device. In this post, I’d like to focus on some of the challenges we as IT admins face when it comes to managing and securing, not only these (mobile) devices, but the accompanying corporate applications and data as well.
Shortly after Citrix released XenDesktop 7 they also announced their new Citrix Certification Program. Although still in beta back then, they were quite clear on what to expect in the months to come. Their new solutions-focused certification program, introduced a few months ago, has just gone live and offers us three brand new certification and upgrade paths which we will have a closer look at during this Blog. The accompanying exams, three in total, are now officially open for registration at Pearson VUE. Registration for the beta exams has been closed for a while. Individuals who registered before registration closed were eligible to take the beta exams through August 6th 2013. It’s the real deal from now on.
XenDesktop 7, and some of the earlier XD editions as well, is based on the FlexCast Management Architecture or FMA in short. Simply put you could state that the FMA is primarily made up out of Delivery Controllers and Agents, of-course there’s more to it but for now lets just leave it at that. Have a look here for a complete overview on FMA. Delivery Agents are installed on all virtual and or physical machines provisioned by XenDesktop 7, they communicate (and register themselves) with the Delivery Controller(s) which on their turn contact the license server and communicate with the central Site configuration database, lets have a closer look.
I’m sure we’ve all seen the XenDesktop 7 installation screenshots by now, we all know the differences between IMA and FMA and have read about Machine Catalogs and Delivery Groups, right? I’m just kidding, I’ve already seen multiple Blogs explaining the above subjects in great detail, it’s always fun to see how enthusiastic people get when new products are released! Me being one of them :-) Although the amount of info being published can be overwhelming, it can also be very enlightening. I’d like to have a closer look at the application creation process within XD7, talk about Machine Catalogs, Delivery Groups (which are both a requirement) and some other related technology along the way.
More and more companies are looking at BYOD solutions and want to be able to deliver their corporate (mobile) applications to any device without compromising security. XenMobile does just that. Recently some of my readers, and customers as well, asked me about the various XenMobile editions and features available. I thought this might be a good moment to have a look and sum up some of the differences between previous editions and the recently introduced XenMobile App and Enterprise edition. See my previous Blogs on XenMobile MDM and the CloudGateway for more detailed information on the technologies used.
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.
With the approaching release of XenDesktop 7 also comes Provisioning Services 7 (PVS from now on) I’m not sure if both products will be released at the same time but it won’t be a surprise, let’s just leave it at that. Although the basic functionality and underlying architecture haven’t changed over the past few years, at least not significantly, it has become a very popular platform and continues to grow each day. With Machine Creation Services (MCS in short) on its heels, especially with the introduction of XenDesktop 7 in which MCS has again been improved and the EOL of Windows XP nearing, PVS will have to dig deep to keep up. I guess it’s up to Citrix which one will come out on top eventually.