It looks like Citrix has slipped out the latest release of their Web Interface product, version 5.4. There are some necessary bug fixes and new features but none of them are what really excites me about this release. The release of a new Web Interface means the release of XenDesktop 5 is right around the corner. There is still no official release date for XenDesktop 5 but the rumor mill keeps pointing to mid December. If you have a “My Citrix” account you will notice they have added a XenDesktop 5 section but the only available download for it right now is the new Web Interface 5.4.
[My Citrix, XenDesktop Downloads]
You can also now access the XenDesktop 5 eDocs which will provide all the information you need to plan, deploy, and administer a XenDesktop 5 infrastructure. So back to the release of Web Interface 5.4. The two features that really stick out are the addition of FIPS Compliance and the ability for users to open multiple virtual desktop instances, where in previous versions they are restricted to a single instance. See the full list of new features from 5.4 below which I pulled from the official Web Interface 5.4 eDocs site.
“Updated end user interface. The layout and color scheme for end users has been updated to help improve navigation and readability.
Session sharing for VM hosted applications. The Web Interface now supports session sharing for Virtual Machine (VM) hosted apps. This feature is only available for seamless applications and non-anonymous users.
Multiple desktop access for users. In previous versions of the Web Interface, users could only access a single instance of a desktop per desktop group. Now, users can access multiple instances of desktops in desktop groups. For more information about assigning desktops to users, see the XenDesktop version 5 documentation.
Improved smart card support for Access Gateway. Smart card authentication to the Web Interface is now compatible with more environments. The Web Interface can now accept User Principal Names (UPNs) from Access Gateway as well as the user name and domain. Additionally, the Web Interface has been updated to comply with FIPS. This new functionality can only be used with the pass-through authentication for smart card option and you must be logged on as a domain administrator. For more information about configuring smart card support for Access Gateway, see the Access Gateway documentation.
Ability to set additional default values. Administrators can configure default values for all bandwidth-related settings, such as audio quality, color depth, bandwidth profile, printer mapping, and window size.
ICA File Signing. The Web Interface digitally signs generated ICA files, to allow compatible ICA clients to validate that the file originates from a trusted source.“
There are no major changes but the security features are a welcomed addition for customers. I was talking to the CTO of Activlan Stephane Thirion, aka @archy and author of the popular Citrix blog archy.net, and he offered me some great screenshots of Web Interface 5.4 in action!
[Default Log on Screen]
[Select View 1]
[Select View 2]
[Select View 3]
[Select View 4]
[Select View 5]
Well that about does it for now. When I get some time I will dig in to the server side of Web Interface 5.4 to see if anything has really changed or looks different. If enough has changed I will write a follow up post. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions, or suggestions…