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New Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Release Offers a Host of New Benefits for Users and Administrators

The new Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops release, now available to Citrix customers worldwide, expands on the 2019 release with new features, enhancements, and capabilities that will benefit nearly every segment of the enterprise.

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New capabilities to optimize the hybrid cloud include rapid deployment to cloud and on-prem at scale. PVS for Azure provides dynamic provisioning of Citrix workloads in the cloud, leveraging PVS provision-on-demand technology, currently used by most on-prem Citrix customers. This improves deployment efficiency and speed while bringing the familiar Citrix toolset to the cloud.


The new release reduces the cost and complexity for maintaining volume worker operations via the AWS API that allows direct creation of EBS volume with desired content. It also provides a potential improvement in machine creation time. Users can now make maximum concurrent provisioning operations configurable in AWS through a host connection throttling setting which can be used to specify the maximum number of concurrent AWS provisioning operations. You can also now increase the AWS scale from 1500 VM to 3500 VM.

Updates to Azure AD Group-based Administration allows management to leverage Azure AD to assign admin access to Citrix cloud services.

Today Citrix admins often develop custom scripts to facilitate the installation of the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) to persistent machines, and they may require frequent updates or different scripts altogether to accommodate fresh installs or version changes in the VDA installer. The new VDA Upgrade service simplifies the process by automating VDA updates, removing the complexity and time required to keep Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop service up to date, and quickly updates VDAs for individual machines or entire machine catalogs with the new integrated web studio console.

Web Studio Cloud Health Check Integration saves time and manual work by checking the cloud health of VDAs remotely from the web studio console.

Business Continuity

Business continuity gets a boost in the new release with improved resilience and availability – as good as or better than traditional on-premises environments. This feature is different than Local Host Cache where you might have a brief service interruption reaching the cloud and instead completely mask an entire outage. Feedback from customers and partners has been overwhelmingly positive thus far since it is something that’s just not possible on-premises. We have Local Host Cache which provides some level of availability for the core components not being able to connect to the database but not mask an ENTIRE outage as this technology can. It’s quite remarkable.


Keeping your environment secure is a key focus of the new release with the inclusion of new templates for risk detections. Trial, PoC, and early Analytics customers have no way to identify risk indicators quickly and easily and determine how they should be created, and this can limit product adoption from the start. Risk templates provide a great starting point for customers to create their indicators for conditions.

End-User Alerts on the Workspace Feed solves the problem of the “Request end-user response” action today which only sends emails to end-users when a policy is created by an admin. This new feature allows end-users to review alert information within the Workspace feed and provide any responses by email.

Up to now, APAC customers, have had no way for data to reside within their region for compliance and performance needs. The new APAC Region Control Plane GA, previously in TP, solves this problem by introducing a new APAC control plane for Security Analytics hosted in Australia and Japan regions.

App Protection for Citrix Virtual Apps and desktops in Workspace helps protect corporate resources being accessed through personal devices by scrambling keystrokes and returning blank pictures when screenshots are taken. For administrators, it’s as simple as checking a few boxes to turn on these powerful security policies for their organization.

The final new security feature is the addition of Prescriptive Actions for Risk Indicators. It can take time to look up actions and risks throughout Analytics which means you often don’t see common risk detections as they happen or miss them completely. This new feature provides prescriptive actions for three popular risk detections in Analytics to enable admins to take quick actions on their users and mitigate the overall security risk.

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Citrix continues to make it easier for the growing remote workforce to be more productive in collaboration with other teams. The new Session Screen Sharing capability allows users to screen share without having to launch a unified communications app. This feature, which leverages existing HDX technology to allow users to securely share a code with whomever they would like to see their screen, is perfect for heavy graphics applications users wanting to collaborate remotely.

Session Recording is leveraged globally to capture employee activity within Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environments. Citrix now offers a web-based playback console to ease reviews of recordings including the recently added dynamic recording to save on storage by only recording specific triggered sections of users’ sessions. With the new stats overlay, Session Recording will display resource utilization stats like ICA RTT, Network, CPU, and memory when playing back recordings to help with troubleshooting. You can also now take advantage of the new triggers within session recording to start recording dynamically.

HDX updates include Adaptive Throughput session interactivity monitoring to ICA to help determine if throughput needs to be adjusted in scenarios where any virtual channel is sending large amounts of data and competing with graphics, thus affecting the interactivity within the session. Adaptive Throughput 2.0 includes additional intelligence to allow ICA to reduce throughput and increase it later if appropriate, thus making it truly adaptive.

API for BCR Client Detection allows custom apps and scripts to query the client status of Browser Content Redirection (BCR) via WMI as this is only supported with Windows and Linux endpoints that meet specific requirements. UDP Support for Adaptive Audio does UDP adaptive audio in a separate stream outside of ICA so customers can do QoS. The separate UDP stream is better equipped to handle packet loss and use cases for telephony apps within the VDA – an important feature for remote workers.

MS Teams App Sharing for HDX 3D Pro allows screen share supported apps with others. MS Teams gives or takes control access of the shared screen to other users participating in the meeting through Give control button or Request control button. MS Teams Multi-Window allows the use of multiple windows for chat and meetings in Microsoft Teams ( or higher) when optimized by HDX in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. Users can pop out their conversations or meetings in a variety of ways.

Linux 2110 updates allow users of video conferencing applications running in SUSE 15.3, 15.2, and 12.5 to use their webcams with HDX webcam video compression. Linux 2112 updates provide important support for newcomer Amazon Linux 2 users.


The new release provides several key enhancements for Citrix Workspace for Mac, Windows, Android, Chrome/HTML5, Linux, and iOS.

A natively embedded Microsoft Teams app adds the ability to share content and files from Citrix Workspace easily and quickly, and directly browse and share files without leaving Microsoft Teams.

Workspace Browser gives end-users the best performance for rendering web pages of SaaS applications, VPN-less access to internal webpages, tabbed browsing, multi-windows views, and dark mode.

Global App Configuration Service provides Citrix administrators the ability to deliver Citrix Workplace service through a centrally managed service and Auto-Discovery which enables end-users to enter their email address or User Principal Name (UPN) into the Workspace app to access their resources without entering or memorizing their Workspace or Store FQDNs.


The new release provides significant 3D Pro Improvements across the board to improve 3D Pro workload performance including improved frame rates by 2x compared to previous releases delivering up to 120 FPS at 1080p and 60+ FPS at 4K and decreased bandwidth consumption to help reduce costs and better handle constrained networks.

Session level visibility into Internet Link Speed, Throughput & Wi-Fi Signal Strength provides details into endpoint network condition details to enable an analysis of latency and performance issues hampering end users.

Many enterprises don’t have a way to proactively identify session failures faced by users due to hung sessions that are persistent VDI or Remote PC Access. Zombie Session Failure Alerts notifies admins of all the machines with these zombie sessions so that they can proactively act on those sessions helping end-users to launch a successful session without the help desk.

There is often no way to view details of sessions that were successfully launched (or failed) using service continuity mode during outages. Visibility into Sessions Launched via Service Continuity provides visibility into sessions launched via service continuity within outage mode shown in the self-service view.

Enterprises often lack visibility into session path routing including Gateway Service. Gateway Service Visibility displays connector name and Gateway Service Pop info at session-level.


Finally, along with the release, Citrix has announced a New Long Term Service Release (LTSR) just in time for customers coming up on the end of mainstream support for 7.15 LSTR in August 2022. The release will bring new support for Windows 2022 and Windows 11 and is scheduled to ship in early 2022. Citrix LTSR releases allow customers in the most risk-averse verticals a predictable cadence on releases and upgrades with up to 10 years of support.

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How Layer 8 Training Can Help

Layer 8 Training is the largest Citrix Learning Partner in the world, one of only three Citrix Learning Partners in the U.S. with the highest level of learning partnership: Premier National CALC.

We offer nearly 100 Citrix courses to help you get the most out of your Citrix environment. There are more than a dozen courses focused specifically on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop that can help you learn about and leverage the features and benefits of the new release. For more information or to sign up for one of our courses, visit us.