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Citrix Synergy 2017 – It’s a Wrap – See all the Most Important Announcements Listed Here!

by Christiaan Brinkhoff, CTP

At the Citrix Synergy user conference last week, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Kirill Tatarinov started off the new Vision keynote with a great shout-out to the Citrix Technology Professional (CTP’s) / Citrix User Group Community (MyCUGC)!

Before all the new announcements started, a personal video message from F1 driver Max Verstappen and a live stream with Team leader Christian Horner from sponsor Red Bull in Monaco was shown on the big screen, where Kirill asked how Citrix technologies help Red Bull to keep pushing F1 cars to the limit. Being a consultant from the Netherlands, this was quite amazing to see!

The biggest announcement at the Keynote was the release of the new Citrix Workspace, the new unified logon portal, that can interact with all the other Citrix software programs and/or custom apps, by providing SSO. This new feature and all the other announced features will be covered later in this article.

In the afternoon, the Technology keynote featured PJ Hough, VP of Citrix products as leading speaker. At the beginning of the second keynote, the one and only Brad Anderson joined the stage! He started by highlighting all the accomplishments of the last year, regarding increased partnerships. Brad also gave a demo of the EMS mobility integrations for XenMobile and for the SSL VPN Client configurations. He showed how the Citrix Secure Mail app has the Intune SDK built in, which makes it possible to set conditional rules. For example–you can copy and paste between a corporate document in Word and a message in Citrix Secure Mail, but not into a personal email. The other demo that Brad showed how to set up filtering per app with the NetScaler VPN client, so you are only able to connect your VPN client when the settings are correctly applied. Pretty cool…

Curious? All the keynote videos, and the other (tech) sessions are now all free available on demand and can be found at the following link:

Citrix Innovation Award 2017 (for customers)

Citrix CMO Tim Minahan introduced the finalists for the Citrix Innovation Award at the Technology keynote, from that moment on, visitors of Synergy could vote on three innovative companies.

The winner of the award was… SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of people and communities. Their $2.5 billion health network aspires to provide comprehensive, coordinated care through 13 hospitals in three states – Colorado, Kansas and Montana. SCL selected Citrix Workspace Suite to improve their user experience, enhance security and give physicians more time to spend with their patients. 

Cloud First

Kirill called up some numbers – 50% of worldwide companies will use the public cloud in some form over the next 12 months, for example Office 365 or Azure/AWS. 67% will work via the cloud by 2020, which could be every vendor around the block. So, Citrix will focus their platform more on a multi-cloud approach. While the controls are all cloud-based, customers who use it for apps, desktops, and data can place their workloads on any public or hybrid cloud, or on any on-premises virtualized environment, as well.

Citrix Cloud

Citrix’s own Cloud platform, the Citrix Cloud, had some great releases already over the last year. At Synergy, the following new platform releases were announced (I’ll cover the new features later in this article):

But to inform you of all the earlier releases on the platform, I just made a small list:

Not familiar with the Citrix Cloud yet? I encourage you to take a look at it by requesting a trial or use the free services, like some of the Citrix Smart Tools features!

Note: I recommend the following article, from Marius Sandbu: So you are considering Citrix Cloud? What do you need to think about

Microsoft and Citrix: What’s So Far Been Released?

Since Citrix and Microsoft increased their partnership, there have already been some great new innovative new technologies released, see them all listed here:

XenApp and XenDesktop in Azure

As a Workspace and Cloud evangelist, I loved all the announcements around the new Essentials service in Microsoft Azure. Credit goes to Prasanna Padmanabhan and his team for an awesome job, to make this all possible in such a short time!

On the roadmap:

Citrix Workspace Service – Workspace For One and All!

One of the most innovative releases at Synergy was the new Citrix Workspace Service – a new cloud-based offering that provides users with a single place (SSO) to access all their Citrix services, to increase productivity by simplifying user experience. In the words of the CEO, Kirill: “Today, we’re announcing Citrix Workspace Service. Citrix Workspace Service is available from Citrix cloud, and enables people to consistently connect to every app — cloud app, on-prem app — all the data all the files all the content all the workflow.”

It looks like an identity management/SSO portal, end-user-facing. All types of apps, files, self-service will be able to access through one portal. It’s also will be called the StoreFront++. It will redifine the way you work! This new service will replace the existing StoreFront service that is part of Citrix Cloud, and support not only the Citrix Cloud hosted services but on-premises XenApp and XenDesktop deployments, as well as the Azure-based XenApp and XenDesktop Essentials offerings.

Note: Citrix Workspace Service will be available later this year, somewhere around Q3, 2017.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.14

The promised Q2 Current Release holds the following new features and/or improvements:

New Site features and improvements:

VDA Improvements:

StoreFront 3.11

Instead of all kinds of new functionalities and features, StoreFront 3.11 only includes numerous of bug fixes. All of them are listed below:

Citrix Workspace environment manager (Norskale)

During Citrix Synergy, a new version of the Workspace environment manager (WEM) has been released. The tool is free to use for XenApp and XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum (valid) licenses! 

All the new features are:

Fixed issues:

Note: When you are installing WEM, you will notice that most of the installation files are still named Norskale. As you may know, Citrix accuired the company Norskale last year. The only reason the name is still active is time. Changing the name means a lot of testing, and that would delay the release. What I’ve also heard is that the WEM console will be integrated at a later time with the Citrix consoles, such as Director and Studio.

Please check out WEM, it’s a great UEM tool, that can provide great performance with only a few optimizations! Expect a blog post shortly, where I will cover the installation and configuration of WEM 4.2 soon!

Citrix Secure Web Browser

One of the product announcements this week at Synergy was the Secure Browser Essentials, which will be available later this year, and will be hosted in the Citrix Cloud and requested through the Azure cloud marketplace.

The new Secure browser is designed to isolate and secure corporate desktops and apps through the Internet, for example XenApp and XenDesktop images. The Secure browser will be an important piece of the also newly-announced Citrix Workspace Portal.

Note: Pricing starts at $180 per year (with a three-year subscription for a minimum of 50 subscribed users).

Citrix Workspace IoT

The Internet of Things is the combination of Smart devices and the interaction of devices, things, users, applications, workflows, data, and location all working together with, for example, company core applications and other devices, that can be possible through the Internet or locally. All with the intention to optimize work processes in a smart way. Your mobile device is your identity, and with Workspace IoT it is possible to integrate this in your Workspace environment, for example – it is possible to log onto your Citrix session automatically, when you are within two meters of your end user client. This was one of the demos shown at the Technology keynote.

Citrix made a good move with the acquisition of Octoblu, the IoT applications to automate workspace processes and connect them to devices. With this software you can create specific workflows, which creates interaction between the device and the software. I expect more new cool IoT stuff in the future!

Curious? Please take a look at this full article, that was written in 2016, but covers most of the information.

Citrix HDX Ready Pi (ViewSonic)

Last year, at Synergy 2016, Citrix announced the HDX Pi. Now, one year later, the small and cheap end-user device will get an upgrade in the next few months, which includes Dual Monitor. And, last but not least, the HDX Realtime Optimization pack is integrated for Skype for Business and performance offloading!

Citrix System Optimizer for OS Optimization

Citrix finally built up an out of the box OS optimizer tool – that will be free available as part of the Citrix support tools – just like the existing VMware OS customization tool. The tool is XML based and is created by Martin Zugec.

The tool covers:

Note: The tools will be available soon, no official release date announced.

Citrix Ready HCI Workspace program

The new Citrix Ready HCI Workspace Appliance Program includes the four largest HCI vendors that have official (Citrix Ready) support for XenServer.

All the involved vendors:

The program results in:

Check-out the official Citrix blog article, that covers most of the information:

Citrix Analytics Service

At the first Keynote at Synergy, Kirill announced Analytics, a new, holistic offering of security-and behavior analyses, that expands the potential of the proven Citrix NetScaler Management and Analytics System (MAS) with new behavioral detection, insights and proactively resolves risks.

This new offering uses machine learning. The new security solution analyses data sets in the product portfolio of Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop – XenMobile, Share File, and NetScaler, and uses algorithms for machine learning and technology for the detection of irregularities in the conduct of applications, in order to enable IT organisations to quickly find and solve performance issues in the application infrastructure.

The new service will be available soon, and will be hosted from the Citrix Cloud.

App Layering v4.2

Citrix also released a new version of their App Layering v4.2 (former Unidesk) software at Synergy. The software is free to use for all customers that have a valid XenApp and XenDesktop platinum license!

Note: Did you also know that you can test and try App Layering for 60 days from the Citrix Cloud? Check out this Citrix Cloud link to activate. 

NetScaler 12.0

Earlier before Synergy, Citrix already released a new version of Citrix NetScaler, to include all the most important new features in this article, I attached them so make it clear for you.

NetScaler Secure Web Gateway

In the Technology keynote, Citrix CTO Abhishek Chauhan introduced NetScaler Secure Web Gateway, it must be placed close to your user branches or headquarters and can provide encrypted traffic control, such as for your web applications. This allows us to set policies on top of internal and external traffic to encrypt from end to end when needed. This feature allows us to use the NetScaler as forward proxy.

NetScaler MAS 12.0

Since the NetScaler MAS was released, somewhere around mid-2016, it did not (in my opinion) really get off the ground.

Note: Just to mention, when you are not quite familiar yet with MAS and just want to try it out: NetScaler MAS is free to use for 30 vServers. All the orchestration functionalities or backup and upgrade modules, for example, are free to use in your environment. So, what are you waiting for? Just start exploring what MAS can do for you!

XenServer 7.2

A new release of Citrix hypervisor XenServer 7.2 has been released. With this release, Citrix now also starts with the same Current Release and Long Time Service Release (LTSR), so you can bring your long-term maintenance programs up. 

 On the roadmap (tech preview):

XenServer with BitDefender security

Bitdefender Hypervisor Introspection (HVI) is a revolutionary security layer which protects XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructures against targeted attacks through live memory introspection at the hypervisor level (agent-less).

All the Features:

See this link for more information click here

Note: Only for XenServer hypervisors

Google Cloud Innovation

One of the releases around Citrix Synergy that probably didn’t catch your attention is the innovation from Citrix and Google. Just in case you missed it, I sort it all out here:

Citrix Security (Best) Practice – Citrix Consulting Services is here to help!

A secure environment is very (if not the most) important consideration these days. Before you know it, new leaks are found by Internet criminals and cause threats, such as the WannaCry outbreak of last month. Because of that, Citrix created a new service on their Citrix Consulting program, called Citrix Consulting Security Practice.

Citrix will provide security-focused offerings to help our customers better protect their Citrix environments.

Security engagements included:

Interested in this service? Please check out this website

Citrix Synergy 2018 – Save the Date!

After the event, next year’s date and location were announced. And, it will take place in… the Anaheim Convention Center at Anaheim, CA, United States on May 8 – 10, 2018.

This place is not totally new, Citrix Summit 2017 was also held there. See you there?

Sources: and

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