Welcome to the LAST Newsletter in this format! That's right. Going forward I will be shifting to a more irregular publishing model. Why? Because making a pretty blog with lots of information is not as easy as you may think. At least not right now. The second reason is that April was a great example where information moved waaaay too fast to keep up.
So while I'm hoping to get you some great information this month – going forward we will be shifting to a new delivery method for up-to-date information. More about that at the end of this newsletter!
What's New with Citrix
May is the biggest month for Citrix … but April has not been a slouch for new developments! Let’s dive in! Of course we start off with a release that happened right after my last newsletter and then talk about a release that I purposely waited for this month’s newsletter to make sure was included (and stable)!
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) 1903
If you are on the Current Release (CR) track (upgrading at least every year), this is an exciting release.
What I’m most excited about feature wise is that we are FINALLY getting the ability to use the clipboard between Desktops and Published Apps. If you have ever wanted to have a published desktop where the applications are provided by central servers instead of the VDI (which is a huge resource savings and much easier to maintain in a lot of cases) – this overcomes a HUGE problem that has existed in the clipboard not being able to pass information from your machine, to the VDI, to the published app… and back again.
Do you use this feature? I’d love to hear from you! There are still some limitations, and I’m curious to know if what you need has been covered (for example, drag and drop and cut functions are not supported)
The second feature is a change (just in time for me to teach about the OLD way last month!) to the MCSIO write-back cache driver. Look for reductions in disk activity (disk busy time) and even some overall reduction in IOPS. Danny Feller did some tests recently – https://virtualfeller.com/2019/04/01/updated-io-optimization-with-machine-creation-services/?es_p=8959234
Find out more about 1903 here: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2019/03/28/spring-into-the-latest-features-of-citrix-virtual-apps-and-desktops/
I’m also curious to see how many of you think DPI matching is important (new feature) but I think most all of you will enjoy the new Profile Management duration in the Profile Load metrics from Director.
XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR CU4
According to our latest survey the overwhelming majority of you are using 7.15 LTSR rather than legacy or current releases. Needless to say, I’m proud of you. While I enjoy new features, in the enterprise… I crave stability and predictability. Of course I do. You know I’m obsessed with Leading Practices!
That said, a complex system like Citrix can’t be perfect out of the gate and even a long term support/stable release needs to keep up to date. LTSR doesn’t introduce new features but applying Cumulative Updates are actually very important
You can look thru the list of fixes since CU3 here: https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/whats-new/cumulative-update-4/fixed-issues.html
For me, I’m actually most excited about some fixes for HDX MediaStream Windows Media Redirection that I have encountered issues with at multiple clients in the past 4 months.
As always, when deploying updates to LTSR, keep in mind that ALL baseline components must be updated to retain support. When in doubt, use the LTSR Assistant as part of the Supportability Pack to be sure.
Citrix Hypervisor 8.0
Xen’s dead baby, Xen’s dead. The first to bear the Xen name just became the last as Citrix retired “XenServer” for “Citrix Hypervisor. I have to admit, I'm a little sad. After all, for awhile there, XenServer was my thing. Between that and XenApp, I decided to launch the “TheXenMaster” Twitter handle… but those days are over. But the good news for you is that the name may be gone, but I still think Citrix Hypervisor is a very strong offering for high-performance workloads. Sure, it doesn't have a lot of the Enterprise level features that VMware has – nor should it. After all- the more you add, the slower you get in a lot of ways. Citrix Hypervisor is basically the hot rod of hypervisors. Worth learning, and it is basically free.
8.0 continues to lead with enhancements to 3D and vGPU workloads, support for 2019 VMs, UEFI boot and more. Learn more here.
Other News of Note in the Citrix World
Hint- it's all Microsoft news this time…
Windows Virtual Desktop
WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) is the talk of the town. For a few months now we’ve been hearing that Microsoft intends to do away with RDSH and focus on the Windows 10 platform for multi-user. Great, you say… the only problem is confusions surrounding how this will actually work. Initially, Microsoft has said that this will only be available in Azure. As I’m writing this, that is becoming uncertain. I haven’t had the time to get around to looking at this in depth. Unfortunately, I’m still getting my head around what to say about it myself and what I could add that others haven’t already. What I will say is that Multi-User is only part of the picture. WVD is a management architecture that relies on RDP completely… so don't look for RDSH to be going anywhere anytime soon is my thought.
At this point my advice to you is… don’t worry about it yet. I mean, when was the last time you heard about a new OS or product and launched it immediately? Pretty much never. Because you know better!
I heard a great quote from a book I’m reading today: “Pioneers get Shot. Settlers get Rich.” So when it comes to this new direction Microsoft is taking, best to let the dust settle. Another way to say this is “Do not worry about tomorrow… today has enough trouble of its own.”
So don’t worry about WVD for now, okay? I’ll be sure and let you know when to duck and cover!
But by all means try it out… I will say that just as Citrix Cloud eliminates a lot of architecture, WVD is basically the same concept – they handle the brokers, interface, etc. You just supply the workloads (in Azure, of course). Given how good RDP is lately – in certain smaller markets and temporary scale models, this could be a good alternative to a full-on Citrix environment.
Time will tell but I just don't see Citrix losing much sleep over this. So please don't email me wondering if the sky is falling or Citrix is going to be irrelevent in a year. They said the same thing in 2008 and… here we are.
Man that was odd to type. Right up there with Disney acquiring, well, pretty much everyone, Microsoft bought FSLogix. But there’s some really good news for this: FSLOGIX is now basically FREE for most circumstances, including if you have RDSH licenses that are current.
Unfortunately there’s been some confusion as to how to actually get said licenses but my advice at this point is to contact your Microsoft rep and express interest. At least one of my clients were granted licenses to use right away.
Why FSLogix? I don’t want to sound overly biased, but I’ve been impressed with these guys for quite some time now. The ability to have smart containers for profiles is one thing – heck even Citrix now has this capability to some degree… but what FSLogix can do with Office 365 is hugely important in the modern Citrix world.
Hands down, one of the biggest complaints I hear when companies move to O365 is that Outlook is very slow, or they need to support OST files which is… painful. FSLogix O365 containers not only take care of this, but do it better because it uses a virtual disk attachment rather than a file share. Windows likes this. Outlook LOVES this. I’m hoping to put together a guide soon but let’s just say I’m waiting for a reason. *wink*
The biggest news for me is that the Citrix Hero Program is now OPEN for enrollment. The program was born out of my frustrations with education courses and other programs that miss the really big things! Every time I do an assessment, design or health check I find things that are done wrong. I put the big list of them in a list of 12 topics I call the Dirty Dozen (in fact, you can now view an automatic replay of that webinar right here).
- The program teaches you how to address the most common gaps that I find in consulting assessments; in other words if I could choose 12 things for you to focus on- it would be these first.
- Every month I share a newly-minted chapter of my Become a Citrix Hero (ch 1 to 3 are available for free at the moment- register here to download.)
- We have a live video teaching and Q&A around that month’s topic. This is a unique opportunity to get access to me and ask questions!
- Future features will include audiobook chapter recordings, advance access to courses and more.
- We have our own social network to support the program, powered by the same Mighty Network at community.citrixhero.com by what we call a “Cohort” group.
You can start learning from me right now – https://ctxpro.com/citrixhero-membership
Jump to a Section
The Citrix Hero Community is OPEN
I will admit that I’m fatigued with Facebook’s distraction economy, frustrated with LinkedIn’s way of approaching community (read- I’m tired of non-stop recruiters) and am not feeling a sense of community with forums. So I decided to do something about it.
Over the past year or so I’ve been surveying people and have found a few interesting things:
- You want a place not just to get tips and tricks… but to BELONG
- You want to be able to connect with myself and other experts on a more personal level
- You don’t like Facebook (or at least, not when it comes to geeky stuff like Citrix)
- You don’t want to participate socially where you’ll just have a bunch of ads and tracking going on
- You want a mobile app
DONE. I’ve decided to launch just exactly that. And for the time being- it’s completely free, sponsored by the Citrix Hero program (more about that in a moment).
All you have to do to belong to my network is click here! Answer a few quick questions so I know you’re not gonna try and sell everyone in my network a bunch of stuff… and you’re in!
This really is under my complete control. No sponsors, no ads, no worries. I’ve got a few great volunteers that are helping me moderate content who I’m hoping to introduce you to soon. We’re better together, and this is a huge step forward! Join us today at https://community.citrixhero.com
Citrix Hero Program Lessons
April was Active Directory Month
The one area that really shouldn’t be messy is the one that I find most chaotic in more than half of the assessments I did in the past 2 years: Active Directory.
In this month’s lesson I lay out my strategy for managing Active Directory with three major goals in mind:
- Getting along with other teams while not introducing risks to your Citrix environment
- Faster logons – a good design here can sometimes be the ONLY difference between a 5 minute logon and a 15 second logon. No joke!
- Better organization and consistency to better handle challenges like acquisitions
The lesson is live now in the League of Heroes area (this is the private area for those enrolled in the Citrix Hero program). I’ll be publishing a summary preview for everyone else in the next few months – but my Program members always get first access!
May Lesson – Citrix Turbo Tuning Framework
I’m excited to announce that next month I’ll be unveiling my framework for getting smart and prioritizing how to tune Citrix workloads. I'm tentatively calling this my Citrix Turbo Tuning Framework until I come up with a cooler name.
You'll learn how to divide optimization as a concept into 4 phases so you can make informed decisions about when to pursue certain kinds of optimizations that may only yield results in certain circumstances, and at times are efforts you don't really need to put forward.
We'll be covering everything from Hardware to the Citrix Optimizer and go even deeper than Chapters 1 and 3 from the Become a Citrix Hero eBook! I'm looking forward to it. Learn more in the League of Heroes Cohort in the Community site!
The Citrix Hero Program is a premium service I offer that helps me pay for this site and also quite literally buys time with me so that I can impart the most important elements of my knowledge to you.
If you want to be part of the program – there are annual and monthly options both found at https://ctxpro.com/citrixhero-membership Do I need to say it? Go sign up! Learn from me and become a Citrix Hero! But do it NOW before this enrollment class ends and the prices go up!
Citrix Hero Enrollment Closes
Snagit and Camtasia are game changers for Technology Documents
I wanted to take a moment and tell you about two tools I have been using for all sorts of things lately.
The first is TechSmith Snagit. Snagit has gone way beyond just a tool to capture screenshots. I have been using it to document processes for customers, even create screenshots automatically from scrolling thru menus during remote help sessions and assessments, designs and such. That barely scratches the surface.
Camtasia is how it all comes together. I have replaced my previous video workloads nearly completely with Camtasia because of how much easier the interface is to work with – and a new feature that is especially useful- Transcription! That's right- you can now put captions on your videos from capturing text from the audio! It's fantastic! This new version has a lot of great graphics and transitions making YOU look good just for having used it.
TechSmith is one of our affiliates. If you make a purchase from our affiliate link– you are supporting this site financially even though you aren't paying anything more for the products!
So I have two reasons to recommend them! Give them a try– I don't think you'll be disappointed!
What DJ’s Reading
A new section for this time around is giving you a little behind the scenes and seeing what I’m up to.
Here’s some books I’m reading or just read (note- these are affiliate links. We participate in the Amazon Affiliate program to support the costs associated with running this site.)
Fun fact- it was actually this book that inspired me to move from Facebook to Mighty Networks for our community site. I’m starting to see that the Attention Economy is damaging my life more than making it better. The more time we spend ‘latched’ to digital entertainment, community and tools – the more I question if it’s beneficial. The suggestions in this book have been very helpful for me to prioritize
Choose by Ryan Levesque
If you are thinking of running your own business or side business – let me introduce you to one of my virtual mentors! This book has been eye opening for making the right choices in terms of starting a business teaching others what I know. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I think this book will help me better help you!
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Though the audiobook I was listening to starts off narrated by Arnie himself, it hands off to another reader… which is probably a good thing. But I’m enjoying hearing about his life.
The Founders Mentality
This was a fascinating look at why some companies succeed then fail, others continue to be disruptive and why this should matter to you whether you are a leader or not!
Where to Find Info Going Forward
I mentioned this will be the last Newsletter. Now here's where to find information going forward!
1) Current Events and News – Posts to Community.CitrixHero.com – This is our free community for YOU. Because it is a faster method of posting for us and is organized by topics we will begin posting ‘in the moment' information there. So, information about product updates, events and such will all be placed in the community so we can discuss. Another major reason for this is the fact that there is a mobile app for this platform which is great. So Join NOW!
2) Longer Term Information – Posts to CTXPro.com – If it is a tip, lesson or trick- for now, right here on CTXPro.com. I'm working on shifting where content will live.
The vision here is that CTXPro.com will become the place for professional guidance.
CitrixHero and ctx.academy will focus on skills and a learning path.
I have several other sites I am not yet utilizing – CitrixAdmins, focused on the beginner and those tasked with maintaining environments.
I have a site reserved called citrix.tips I have not actually got going.
The reality is as one person, this is difficult. If you'd like to help or provide content… contact me! I would love to not be the only voice here!
So why all the different sites? I feel it is important to limit distractions and mindlessness. I want you to know exactly why you are visiting each site, which ones give you value and why.
…that and I want to rule the internet.
3) Coaching and Encouragement – YouTube and… – I want to be doing more to encourage you, and I've decided to do this weekly. From my car.
Watch for my new series – Citrix Coach in a Car Getting Coffee… or going to the Chiropractor. Initially, I'll be posting supporting materials right here but the intention eventually is to create a blog at CitrixCoach.com. I also intend to post weekly to LinkedIn so make sure you follow us there!
NOTE- I REALLY need you to subscribe to the channel. Otherwise we can't do live broadcasts from mobile!
4) News Aggregator – CTXPro.com – Any time there are significant posts I think you should see either from myself or others, the intention is to start a feed right here… the problem is figuring out how! So stay tuned!
5) Announcements – Email Lists – This is something I've not wanted to use too often… however, the statistics show me that even though sometimes people aren't engaged or unsubscribe… more of you are getting value out of the emails than are not. So my intention is to start sending post highlights via email about twice per month. This will replace the ‘Newsletter' format in email completely.
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