App-V Integration Overview with XenApp


For those who follow my blog, you know that I do astrophotography. A big part of astrophotography is automation. Each galaxy, planetary nebula or cluster photo I create is based on capturing 30-60 pictures. Each photo is assessed for quality and then only the best images are aligned, rotated and stacked.

I use multiple pieces of software that integrate nicely together that helps me make decisions on what images to keep and what to discard as well perform many of the tedious and time consuming tasks like aligning and stacking my images.

Finding ways to integrate multiple pieces of software together makes for an even more compelling solution.

Let’s look at another example: Integrating with Microsoft App-V.

  1. XenApp and XenDesktop can publish App-V sequences to virtual desktops without the need for the Microsoft App-V infrastructure (Management Server, Publishing Server and database).
  2. Citrix AppDNA can help an administrator determine if an application is compatible with App-V.
  3. Citrix AppDNA can automatically create App-V sequences

Let’s see how this looks

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Best Practices
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Skype for Business – Edge Server


What do we know so far with a Skype for Business in a Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop

  1. The Same Experience: The Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business provides the same experience in an RDS/VDI implementation as a traditional PC implementation.
  2. Hybrid Deployment: The Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business provides the same experience regardless if both users are running RDS/VDI or only one user is on RDS/VDI and the other on a traditional PC
  3. Conference Calling: Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business provides the same experience in a 3-way or multi-party call.

This leads us to the next question I’ve received regarding the optimization pack:

Do we still need an Edge Server with Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business?

As a consultant, one of the most common answers I hear to a question is “It depends”. I like to be unique, so I try to avoid the answer “It depends”. The answer is Maybe, most likely.

First, let’s look at a native VDI implementation.

Native Edge

In this instance, the Skype for Business Edge server is not used as the Skype client is on the virtual desktop, which is on the internal LAN with the Skype server. The voice/video also goes between the virtual desktops.

But what happens if we implement the Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack?

Optimized Edge

Same situation. The Edge server is not used because the SIP communication happens from the virtual desktop to the Skype server, all located on the internal network. The voice/video happens between the end point devices, again, bypassing the Edge server. In this instance, the Edge server would be used for call setup, but once the call is established, the Edge server is no longer used. This is because the end points are probably in different locations, on different networks, behind firewalls/NAT.  The Edge server provides the link between the two endpoints.

What about situations where only one user is on a virtual desktop and the other on a traditional PC?

hybrid edge

The traditional PC must access the Skype server on the internal network. The Edge server is required to transmit the session initiation protocol (SIP), but once the session starts, the voice/video communication occurs directly between the two end point devices, bypassing the Edge server.

And finally, what about 3-way or multi-party calling?

3way edge

In this scenario, the voice/video will pass through the Edge Server on its way to the Audio and Video Conferencing Server.

To answer the question “do we still need an Edge server with the Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack”

You most likely will.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

AppDisk Episode 2: Technical


As we saw in the previous AppDisk video, creating and delivering an application layer to a VDI or RDS host is extremely easy due to the integration with Citrix Studio management console.

Create, Install, Seal.

But after watching the intro video, you might be left wondering a few things like

  1. What is app layering?
  2. How does AppDisk leverage AppDNA?
  3. How does AppDisk identify compatibility with an operating system
  4. How does AppDisk determine application interoperability?

This is all accomplished via the tight integration with Citrix AppDNA, as this video shows.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

 

AppDisk Episode 1: Create and Deploy


Since the dawn of the personal computing era, we have struggled to manage and maintain our applications. And many decades later, things are much more difficult because we not only have to figure out how to deliver the app but we also have to identify if the app is compatible with the underlying operating system and if the app will interoperate, or play nicely, with other applications.

With the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 release, there is a new way to help manage applications: AppDisk.

Before I get into the details, I felt it would first be worthwhile to see how we create and deploy an AppDisk to different groups of users without modifying the operating system image.

As I said, this video is simply an introduction to AppDisk. Look out for more videos as we take a closer look at AppDisk technology and the many integrations it has with AppDNA.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

Skype for Business – Three-way calling


Based on the questions I’ve received, it seems like Skype for Business is a pretty big deal.  So, let’s take a look at another question I recently received with regard to the Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business:

How does this work with 3-way calling?

With Skype for Business, in order to do a 3-way (or more) conference call, you need to have the Skype for Business Audio-Video Conferencing Server implemented within your Skype deployment. After initiating a call by communicating over SIP to the Skype Server, all parties within the call have their voice/video (SRTP) pass through the Conferencing Server.

In a Native RDS/VDI deployment that does NOT include the Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business, the media must traverse additional network hops (For simplicity, I removed the Skype for Business server that is still required for initializing the session.)

without

As you can see, for those users accessing the environment with a virtual desktop, the Skype for Business client gets installed within the virtual desktop (VDA).  Although this deployment model works, it does put more strain on your RDS/VDI infrastructure as we explained in the previous blog.

Now, compare the SRTP path when we implement the Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business.

Opt3way

From the user perspective, the voice and video data follows a much more direct route, mimicking that of the traditional PC experience. And the impact to the RDS/VDI infrastructure is significantly reduced as the media is processed on the end points.

Skype for Business Blogs

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos