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Key Announcements from Citrix Synergy 2014 – Part 2

By Randy Becker, Enterprise Architect, Solutions

Here is the second part of my blog series providing a recap of Citrix Synergy 2014. If you missed part one, you can find it here. Enjoy!

Intel Iris Pro Graphics

On day 2 Intel disclosed its new “Crystal Well” Xeon process, including the Intel Iris Pro Graphics.  The Iris Pro Graphics is Intel’s most powerful graphics technology and the first time Intel has included it in the Xeon Processor Family.  What does this mean?  Well, this will now enable incredibly high density graphics capable infrastructure supporting workloads like CAD, 3D Rendering, video editing and other high end graphics requirements.  HP joined the stage to announce Moonshot with the Xeon E3 processor support.  If you are unfamiliar with HP Moonshot you should take a look at this technology.  HP had it out on their booth at the conference.  The Moonshot chassis will support 45 cartridges, each with four System on a Chip (SoC) having up to four x86 cores each.  That is 180 systems in a 3U chassis.  Moonshot doesn’t require a hypervisor and leverages Citrix Provisioning Server and XenDesktop to provide maximum user performance with dedicated hardware, maximum security with isolation and maximum compatibility with access to bare metal with no hypervisor tax!  I am expecting to see more adoption of this in the future.  The prototype for the Intel Iris support looks like a single system per cartridge, so 45 per chassis.  We will have to wait and see how this shapes up.  We have a Moonshot system in our lab now and will be anxiously awaiting a new Iris supported cartridge for testing. 

XenServer with 64-Bit

This caught me off guard because I already thought XenServer was 64-Bit.  There is an important distinction here because today Dom0 is still run on 32-Bit architecture.  While we may think that VMware won the hypervisor battle, we continue to see development with XenServer and NVIDIA and this will allow for significant increases in the number of GPUs per host using pass-through. This is really for customers requiring increased density in graphically-intensive XenDesktop workloads. 

XenDesktop 7.5 Update

One of the most notable new features in XenDesktop and XenApp 7.5 is the ability to directly provision to Amazons Web Services, (AWS).  It allows for an on-premises deployment and burst or deployment in AWS for certain use cases.  This is true hybrid cloud, and I have several customers getting ready to deploy this architecture now.  AWS is supported today and IBM Softlayer and Microsoft Azure will both be supported in the future. 

XenApp 7.5 is back

XenApp is back as a dedicated platform now in 7.5.  What does that mean?  Not much if you are already familiar with the new architecture. With XenDesktop 7.0, XenApp came bundled and the architecture received a full refresh using the XenDesktop Flexible Management Architecture (FMA) vs. the old Independent Management Architecture (IMA). With 7.5, there is now a dedicated XenApp product available separately or integrated with XenDesktop.  As more features have been added back into 7.5, I think we will see more customers start to migrate from 6.5 to 7.5.  I hate to admit it but I know there are a lot of customers still running on XenApp 4.5! Now is a good time to start looking at an upgrade to the new supported versions. This shouldn’t scare most small to medium sized customers, as this is a good time to look at the design and treat it as an opportunity to truly look at how you deliver applications to users. You may be surprised at some of the benefits in a new design. To assist customers that have a large number of applications, Citrix is working on a migration tool. During Synergy, Citrix announced a new Migration Tool for customers upgrading from previous versions of XenApp.  You can register for the Tech Preview here.

NetScaler 10.5

A new update to 10.5 for the NetScaler platform was announced.  This latest update will include deep visibility into mobile network traffic streams and cloud-first architecture. Today, we have this visibility with NetScaler HDX Insight for XenDesktop and XenApp traffic.  If you haven’t looked at HDX Insight yet, you should see the level of detail that is available at the protocol level.  This makes troubleshooting slow connections significantly easier.

Synergy Instructor Led Training

If you have not had the opportunity to take advantage of the Synergy training, you should consider this the next time. While I was at Synergy, I took advantage of two, five hour instructor lead training sessions.  The first was SYN617 – Take the mobility and networking journey with us.  This deployment included a full XenMobile deployment with the App Controller, WorxMail, WorxWeb, NetScaler and XenApp.  You even get to enroll your own personal smartphone and tablet to control deployment. 

The second one was SYN619 – Build enterprise or private cloud workloads in a few hours using Citrix CloudPlatform. I have seen other platforms so I was curious to see how easy it would be with Citrix. The lab was built perfectly and allowed for the ability to test some pretty advanced scenarios.  CloudPlatform can leverage most of the major hypervisor out there, (XenServer, KVM, vSphere, Hyper-V) and can also burst to AWS. 

All in all, another great event put on by Citrix. If you have any questions about specifics from the event, leave a comment or fill out this form and I will be sure to get back to you.

Randy Becker.

Randy Becker

Randy is responsible for GreenPages’ overall cyber security strategy, including developing comprehensive policies and procedures to protect critical applications while ensuring business agility and velocity. With more than 30 years in the IT industry, Randy has strong expertise in cyber security and risk management; security operations and optimization; infrastructure modernization; and hybrid cloud architecture, design, and implementation. Randy is also a HITRUST Certified CSF Practitioner (CCSFP) which ensures clients have access to the highest level of expertise related to privacy, security, compliance, and risk management.