What Is XenDesktop7

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XenDesktop7 is a unified environment, where Applications & Desktops are delivered from the same platform.

This is the latest product in the XenApp & XenDesktop family, which combines both the famous previous products of Citrix, XenApp (Application Virtualization) & XenDesktop (Desktop Virtualization).

Before going through the below things, would advise to clearly understand XenDesktop architecture first, so that it will be easier to understand how the merger happened.

Key Differences Between XenApp And XenDesktop7

1. Unified Environment

    –   Previously, the application virtualization environment & the desktop virtualization environment, both were different products having their own different architecture and different nomenclature for their environment. But in XenDesktop7, both the virtualization environments are now delivered from the same unified single environment, providing both Applications & Desktops to the users.

2. Citrix Studio

    –   Again a name change to the AppCenter. The new name is Citrix Studio. You will use Studio for all the activities like configuring environments, provide accesses to users on applications/desktops etc. In XenDesktop 7, we have one more Citrix Director to monitor Health Checks and other HelpDesk related Activities like session monitring etc. So, in XenDesktop 7, we have 2 separate consoles to use, Citrix Studio & Citrix Director.

3. No IMA. It’s FMA

    –  The IMA(Independent Management Architecture) concept have been removed with  XenDesktop7, along with IMA service. FMA (FlexCast Management Architecture) replaces all the functionality and service of IMA.

4. Mobilization

   –   Citrix XenDesktop7 enables Mobile Workstyle, by delivering Windows Apps, Desktops from almost any device such as Tablets, Smartphones, Macs, PCs, Thin Clients etc.

5. No FARM concept, It’s Sites

   –   From this version onwards, the XenApp Farms are called as Sites.

6. No IMA Data Store For Applications like it used to be in XenApp

   –   From XenDesktop7 onwards, there is no data store concept like it used to be in all the XenApp previous versions. Everything will be stored in the Database in the similar way the architecture of XenDesktop 5 suggests.

7. No Support For Oracle as a Database

   –   It’s only SQL Server editions which is being supported by XenDesktop7. No more Oracle databases are supported in Citrix.

 8. No Separate Console For EdgeSight

   –   There are lot many features of EdgeSight related to Performance Management have been integrated with Citrix Director. No more EdgeSight installation option is provided while installing XenDesktop 7.

And the Network Analysis part has been integrated with Netscaler HDX Insight application. So, no more edgesight as a separate console or entity.

9. No Dedicated Zone Master

   –   No more ZDC in XenDesktop7. The function of user connection requests & communication with hypervisors have been distributed among all the Controllers in the site.

10. Support for W2K12

   –   XenDesktop7 can only be installed on W2K8 R2, W2K12 Server OS.

11. No Shadow Taskbar

   –   To view and interact other user’s sessions remotely, you have to use the Shadow Feature in the Citrix Director or Citrix Studio.

12. Support for 3D Graphics Applications

   –   Citrix has struggled a lot till XenApp 6.5 to enable IT persons to deliver High-end 3D Graphics softwares over it, as they are very much CPU & Memory intensive like AutoCAD etc. This time they have found the solution through GPU utlization, instead of CPU, while working on 3D Pro Graphics.

And there are lot more……… but the above ones, definitely are the major key differences, as it seems like point to be noted down.


Hope the below diagram clarifies the whole architecture of XenDesktop7. If you have experience in XenApp or XenDesktop, it should be easier for you understand.

Soon will be publishing a detailed Enumeration Process and Architecture details of XenDesktop7, once the E-Docs and product is available for download on Citrix official website.

Benefits Of Using XenDesktop7

1. Cloud Ready Platform

   –   XenDesktop7 is built on a new powerful delivery platform, which means it is designated for IT-as-a-Service, where self-service is there for both users & IT persons for accessing their applications & desktops along with the flexibility of deploying infrastructure on all the types of clouds (private, public & hybrid).

What do we mean by the above is, XenDesktop7 delivers your Applications/Desktops on a secured environment, which is filtered through policy, and can be accesses through any device from anywhere. It reduces Cost and improves accessibility to your work, no matter wherever you are, whichever device you are using (BYOD).

2. Any Device Anywhere Anytime

-   BYOD is revolutionary, where you can “Bring Your Own Device” to office or can work from anywhere with a decent network connection. With XenDesktop7, accessing your work applications and desktop from any device you like, just makes work life balance a lot easier.

3. PC Refresh

-   Many organizations are facing aging PC fleets and to deal with that requires both labor & huge cost investment.

While developing XenDesktop7, Citrix has partnered closely with Thin client manufacturers to reduce costs and BYOD of course reduces the cost of labor involved from office point of view.

4. Better HDX

-   Professional graphics applications can now be delivered with high performance GPU sharing and H.264-based Deep Compression at frame rates more than 50% higher than previously possible, providing a smooth experience with excellent bandwidth efficiency, even with very large 3D models. For less demanding 3D use cases, new software rasterization technologies for DirectX and OpenGL provide a cost-effective alternative to hardware GPUs. And Desktop Composition Redirection leverages the DirectX graphics processing capabilities of Windows devices to deliver a highly interactive user experience.

-   Mobile workers will notice that the video frame rate on 3G connections at 800 Kbps is more than double what it was before. And HDX Windows Media Redirection, previously available for Windows and Linux, is now offered on Mac, iOS and Android, further improving server scalability by shifting the rendering to the user device. Furthermore, this technology can leverage hardware outboard from the CPU to conserve battery power on mobile devices.

-   Multicast support has been extended to Windows media, dramatically reducing the bandwidth required to deliver live video events to branch offices. And video caching with CloudBridge has been extended to support content fetched directly by the user device, for even more bandwidth savings.

-   Major enhancements to the delivery of Unified Communications applications from XenDesktop have been announced by Microsoft (Lync), Cisco (Jabber) and Avaya (one-X Communicator). And Local App Access provides a new solution for Windows apps that need or benefit from local resources, including Citrix GoToMeeting with HD Faces. (More on Local App Access in a future blog post.)

-   XenDesktop 7 introduces full support for Windows 8 with a high level of interactivity and graphics quality.

And lot more…. Seems like we have encountered a huge change in the Virtualization Environment with the launch of XenDesktop7, as it clubbed two virtualization technologies into one unified environment along with that reduction of cost for IT, enabling Cloud ready platform, delivering your office environment to the device you like are all what we can dream for……….. and with Flexcast management is just icing on the cake.

Few more links which you can refer to:

XenDesktop Architecture :


FlexCast :

Reference : Introduction To XenDesktop7 Training

Update :

XenDesktop 7 is ready to be downloaded from

And they have also added all the details to the Citrix E-Docs, which can be downloaded as a .PDF like, we used to do for XenApp 6.5 and XenDesktop 5.0 onwards:

Posted in CitrixConcepts

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