Citrix Offers Look at Two Releases of XenApp, XenDesktop

At Citrix Summit, company officials talk about version 7.7 of the products, which were released last month, and what's upcoming in 7.8 this quarter.

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Citrix Systems officials at the company's user conference this week unveiled details about two updates to the vendor's XenApp and XenDesktop products.

The unveiling of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 and the upcoming 7.8 releases headlined a larger rollout of several announcements at the Citrix Summit in Las Vegas that touched on a range of products, from Citrix Workspace Cloud and XenMobile 10.3. They also come as Citrix officials continue to streamline operations and have the company refocus on its core assets.

XenApp 7.7 and XenDesktop 7.7 were both released Dec. 29, 2015, and offer new capabilities in cloud provisioning and collaboration, according to company officials. Users can now more quickly provision virtual desktops in Microsoft's Azure cloud by using the Machine Creation Services feature in both products. In addition, Citrix's Provisioning Services now enable the on-premises provisioning of virtual desktops using Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.

Citrix and Microsoft also worked together to create the RealTime Optimization Pack to offer a native Skype for Business (formerly Lync) collaboration user experience within a virtual application or desktop. Other features include multi-zone management for deploying a XenApp site that spans multiple locations, and improved application management and monitoring.

The 7.8 releases of XenApp and XenDesktop, which will come later this quarter, will focus on improving application management and delivery, increasing server scalability and optimizing the user experience, officials said. That will include new AppDisk technology for installing and updating applications without impacting the golden desktop or server image, using Citrix Studio to manage the distribution of App-V applications to virtual desktops or XenApp servers without the need of an App-V server and database infrastructure, and enhanced graphics performance in virtual desktops.

With Citrix Workspace Cloud, a platform designed to easily deliver mobile workspaces that was launched in October 2015, the company later this quarter will drop the annual subscription price of its Virtual Apps and Desktop package and reduce the price for its Integrated Apps and Data Suite package. In addition, Citrix will offer the Secure Documents service apart from the Virtual Apps and Desktop services, which will enable users to configure their workspace to fit their needs more closely.

According to company officials, Citrix also will offer volume discounts aimed at larger customers that want a more affordable way of deploying and managing tens of thousands of seats.

Citrix also unveiled XenMobile 10.3, which enables IT professionals to manage an array of mobile devices—including Windows and Apple Mac notebooks—from a single console, and brings support for the newest software releases, including Apple iOS 9, Android for Work, Microsoft's Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, and Samsung's KNOX.

The capabilities are a nod to the era of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices, where employees use a broad range and variety of mobile devices for their work, and where personal and corporate data are housed on the same system.

Citrix and Microsoft officials also took the stage to introduce the 2.0 release of XenApp/XenDesktop HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business, the result of a year of work between the two companies. Through the new release, Citrix is offering full Skype experience natively on the client when using XenApp or XenDesktop. By running it on the client, users can offload a lot of the work from the server.