Day two of the Citrix Synergy 2015 keynote started with a bit of karaoke and then a recap of day one. Following the recap Juan Rivera (“Mr HDX”) came on stage to provide insight on some upcoming features. One of these features being the AppDisk functionality, which in my opinion had to come due to the announcement that VMware have released an application bundle that can run on Citrix environments to allow functionality of AppVolumes, UEM, ThinApp, WorkSpace Portal (similar idea to unified gateway later in this article) and VMware vRealize for Published Applications. The idea behind AppDisks are to allow layering of your applications from a secondary virtual disk that are presented seamlessly into the operating system at login.
The second update was covering something I was happy to see, WebRT support. To show its capability Mr HDX showed a Citrix session functioning on a Raspberry Pi, which is something I have been using for a while.
The next interesting update covered the WorkSpace Delivery Controllers to assist in delivering fast, secure connectivity at a reduced cost. CloudBridge Virtual WAN, which will enable us to create bundled connections between the MPLS, Local ISP, 4G with QoS included. This is to drive efficiencies within the software defined network elements of the Citrix stack for faster connectivity through bandwidth optimisation.
The day one keynote touched on making the experience your own with Receiver “.NEXT” and StoreFront 3.0, but another update was for NetScaler Unified Gateway. With Microsoft and Juniper deciding to leave the SSL VPN market this opens up a larger market share for NetScaler and its new functionality within NetScaler 11. The NetScaler Unified Gateway is a rebrand of CAG and NetScaler Gateway, but it is not just a marketing change. Smart Access 2.0 will provide functionality to apply session restriction policies (used to be done within XA/XD configuration), this functionality will allow blocking of individual channels of the Citrix ICA/HDX protocol to control what the user can or cannot do within the session. Admins this means less policies to administer, as one policy on your NetScaler vs or duplicate policies per farm J Smart Access 2.0 also includes a cut down version of HDX Insight to allow a focus on auditing statistics rather than service visibility. Finally Smart Access 2.0 will allow “Geo-Fencing” to prevent access from particular locations.
With NetScaler Unified Gateway and the release of NetScaler 11 the landing pages are now (per page/vServer) fully customisable (see the trend from StoreFront 3.0 release, make the experience your own) and it has merged the some of the authentication mechanisms to allow single sign on to single Gateway to access all services, whether it be web apps from a different domain, cloud apps, Citrix based desktops and applications, and a new secure RDP proxy! Again for the admins, they have built in more functionality within the GUI to assist with authentication troubleshooting. No more cat aaad.debug within the shell requiredL. Finally with NetScaler the clientless VPN functionality has been updated to allow off the shelf support for SharePoint and OWA, and a couple of new clients for Android and Linux users (woohoo no more failing java client)
A lot more functionality on NetScaler has become available in the 11 release, for more info give me a shout.
One final point to cover from the day two keynote was that the demos were great to watch, especially the demonstration on WorkSpace automation! Go to Citrix TV and watch the demo and you will see the power it can provide you with! For more information on the updates from Synergy, please don’t hesitate to contact me.