A couple of months back I posted on Citrix’s HDX Media Stream, as well as my first hand results with the trial release of HDX Media Stream for Flash. Today, I wanted to follow up on that post with the newly released betas of XenApp 4.5/5.0 Hotfix rollup pack 5 (HRP) and Citrix Online Plug-in 11.2 (formally called ICA Client).
To start, both of these releases feature the typical bug fixes on both the client and server. The 11.2 plug-in will also replace both the XenDesktop receiver client (11.1) as well as the XenApp plug-in (11.0). Citrix has finally unified the XenApp and XenDesktop clients into a single installation.
This client/HRP combo provides some significant functionality to enhance user experience in existing XenApp environments. It will add HDX Flash redirection support in XenApp. The functionality is disabled out of the box, but can be enabled and controlled granularly in GPO with a supplied ADM template. Testing this in a lab environment checks out. Very straightforward and the functionality works as advertised.
The other new feature as part of this client/HRP is and addition to what Citrix calls “HDX Plug-n-Play“. I don’t care for the terminology, but this finally brings dynamic USB redirection to XenApp. Previously, USB devices on the client needed to be connected prior to XenApp session creation. If a USB device was plugged in after a session was already created, the user would be required to logoff and login for the newly added USB device to present itself within the ICA session. This was not intuitive and very annoying to users. (Also, would generate a helpdesk call.) Citrix has a dynamic USB tool that provided some functionality around this, but it was never officially supported and buggy. Like the Flash redirection, this functionality is enabled with little configuration. Simply running the 11.2 client on a server with HRP5 will enable the functionality.
Both of these enhancements coming to XenApp are not surprising, however it is a pleasant surprise that Citrix will roll this functionality into a hotfix rollup and client release. This will allow existing 4.5 and 5.0 environments to take advantage of these new features. These enhancements also echo Citrix’s focus on continually improving the user experience amongst their solutions.