Citrix Synergy 2015 – Day One Keynote Overview

For those of you who got to watch the Citrix Synergy keynote you would have seen the wonderful band on stage performing on mobile devices rather than instruments. Interesting to watch but personally, I prefer real instruments! Now on to the day one keynote round up.

The keynote as usual with Citrix is big, impressive and yet most of its content was expected or an easy guess. I won’t mention the demos but all I will say is WOW. (Take it as you wish)

First key message was “We Love XenApp”. From the off Mark Templeton (Citrix CEO) wanted to point out that XenApp is here to stay because we as consumers love it, therefore Citrix loves it. With this heart-warming announcement on how we all love XenApp, he also mentioned that the end of life date for XenApp 6.5 has been extended to 2017, and that there will be a new feature pack for it to bring inline some of the missing features. These features will encompass virtual storage support with Citrix Melio (more to come on this), enhanced profile management, director help desk & troubleshooting, enhanced Microsoft Lync support, Receiver “.NEXT” and Citrix StoreFront 3.0.

The next announcement worthwhile mentioning is around making the experience yours with the addition of Receiver “.NEXT” and Citrix StoreFront 3.0. StoreFront 3.0 with Receiver “.NEXT” is to truly support the same look and feel across “ALL” devices whether on the browser or native receiver client. It allows for full customisation with the StoreFront API, which I think looks pretty “cool” and has stopped a few customers I have spoken to from migrating away from web interface. With these new releases Citrix has integrated more functionality from the “ye-old” faithful web interface.

An addition to the Receiver feature list is support on Linux clients! Tech preview as of (12/05/2015) and to assist in migrations and organisations still running XenApp 5, StoreFront 3.0 will support XenApp5 onwards.

More info on Receiver “.NEXT” and StoreFront 3.0 can be found here: http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/05/12/tech-previews-for-citrix-receiver-and-storefront-3-0-now-available/

I strongly advise customers to start moving towards the 7.x platform sooner rather than later if possible. Citrix have released a deployment online service to assist in migrations from early Citrix XenApp deployments. It does this by gathering the information from your existing Citrix environment and then creates a script for migrating all of the settings to the new environment. A new beta to be released later this quarter will include a form of Citrix Lifecycle management for creating a blueprint and deploying new environments

With regards to XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6 there is a new feature pack (FP2). This feature pack allows for the new receiver support, Lync 2013 on Mac optimisation, TouchID support, integrated Framehawk into HDX and Linux desktop and app publishing functionality. A couple of points on this is Framehawk looks interesting for lossy connections and will further establish Citrix HDX as the leader in delivering great user experiences over high latency, low bandwidth connections! Supposed 50% frame loss support! Secondly, all though I don’t see much requirement for it yet, but being able to provide Linux applications and desktops is a must. May also assist in getting VDA licensing from Microsoft fixed J if businesses look to move to Linux desktops…. Hmmm probably won’t happen.

Final points to note are the enhancements to XenServer, XenMobile and ShareFile.

XenServer announcement basically outlined that with the new architecture being built on 64bit it can now keep up with the other kids on the block for scalability, with 1000vms per host touted. Citrix announced that XenServer will also support Intel GPU for windows and Nvidia Grid for Linux on top of previous supported GPU configurations. Oh and it supports Windows 10 tech preview and enablement for the docker container run time. During the keynote Mark Templeton alluded to their Citrix Melio product for storage virtualisation and mentioned an IOP count of 5000. Twitter went crazy, and after 15 minutes Gunnar (Citrix CTO for Desktop and Apps Group) responded outlining that this was 5000IOPs clocked for a single VM! Will be interesting to see and hear more on this as Citrix release some reference papers. Watch this space!

XenMobile had no major announcements as far as I could see as all of the features have been available within XenMobile 10 since release apart from apps, apps and more apps. Three new apps that were touched on were SalesForce, WorxTasks and Slidestream. Personally I like the sound of slidestream as it means I can control my powerpoint presentations with my Apple Watch.

ShareFile has now become more secure with the announcement of restricted storage zones. Most other services encrypt your files but none of the metadata. Citrix will encrypt all data including metadata and customers will hold the encryption keys. Not Citrix! With Platinum Edition of ShareFile customers will be able to utilise unlimited storage, and coming in June 2016 document workflows and collaboration will integrate with your home drives.

And my “oh and one more thing” is the announcement of Citrix WorkSpace Cloud (CWC). Even though im sure I have heard this announcement already it still looked pretty good.

Overall a much better Synergy Keynote than last years in my opinion. For more information on the updates from Synergy, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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