Studio Simplifies Management in Excalibur – Part I and II


Over the last couple of weeks a series of blogs have gone out that provide a glimpse of some of the upcoming improvements to XenApp and XenDesktop; focusing on FlexCast 2.0, delivering Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, provisioning with PVS, and many more great topics planned for the month ahead. For those of you lucky enough to go to Synergy Barcelona you may have caught a sneak peak of Excalibur Tech Preview during Mark T’s Keynote, the Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview Demo Pod or perhaps you joined the thousands of people who downloaded the Tech Preview.  If you have not had the time to install the Tech Preview, or you did not go to Synergy and would like to see Excalibur in action check, out this video interview courtesy of Gabe Knuth at


What is perhaps inescapable is that XenApp and XenDesktop are unifying into a single platform and management architecture; not so much one product replacing the other, instead it is about how they are fusing together and making the product easier for our customers.


In this first of two blogs, I want to share what you can expect under this unified management experience.



Studio Simplifies Management in Excalibur – Part II

What’s new with Provisioning in Excalibur


The Excalibur Technology Preview provides an early glimpse at some of the upcoming improvements to XenApp and XenDesktop.  While the unification of XenDesktop and XenApp into a single deployment and management architecture and the added support for the next generation Windows operating systems are undoubtedly the most obvious changes, we’ve made a number of other improvements throughout the product.  Among those are improvements to both the Machine Creation Services (MCS) and Provisioning Services (PVS) features.

Provisioning for XenApp Servers via MCS or PVS

One of the benefits of the updated FlexCast Management Architecture is that XenApp farms can now be deployed and managed from within Studio.  This also means they can be provisioned using the Machine Creation Services linked-clone delivery model that has been available within XenDesktop for a few releases now.  One of the primary benefits of MCS is the ease in which new catalogs of machines (virtual desktops and now virtual XenApp servers) can be created.  Updates to the catalog creation wizards in Studio guide you though the initial roll-out of a virtual XenApp farm.  The MCS model provides many of the same single image management benefits of Provisioning Services, but works directly on the storage managed by your hypervisor, so there is no need to deal with PXE or build-out a Provisioning Services deployment.  However, this capability is limited to the new Excalibur version of XenApp.

PVS streaming for XenApp farms and desktop catalogs is still an option in Excalibur, providing the enhanced image management capabilities and storage IO optimizations beneficial in larger, more complex environments, though management of the Provisioning Services infrastructure remains in a separate management console. Provisioning Services will continue to provide a centralized image library for mixed environments where multiple “sites” or “farms” of XenDesktop and XenApp are used.



@Citrix Blogs : whats new with provisioning in excalibur : whats new in citrix excalibur with PVS with MCS

What’s new in Citrix Excalibur

While the Excalibur Delivery Agent for Windows Server Machines is extremely similar to concept of Session Hosts in XenApp 6.5, it also offers some notable improvements and benefits:


The Excalibur Delivery Agent for Windows Server Machines is designed from the ground up for dynamic provisioning with Machine Creation Services and Citrix Provisioning Services.  Unlike XenApp, the Delivery Agent communicates only with the controllers in the site and does not need to access the site database or license server directly.


Delivery Agents do not need to run the same version or OS as the controllers.  This simplifies the process of upgrading sites, and allows Excalibur to support six different Windows operating systems all within a single farm: Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, XP, Vista, 7, and 8.


While the XenApp session host-only mode disabled functionality and offered performance benefits over XenApp controllers, it consisted of the same installed services and same binaries as the controllers.  The Excalibur Delivery Agent for Windows Server Machines is lighter weight, and only consists of the components needed for hosting sessions.  It does not share any common installed components with the controllers.


SOURCEWhat’s new in Excalibur Delivery Agents



Part 1 : with PVS

Part 1 : with MCS

Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview :-)

Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview is our next-generation, unified desktop and app virtualization technology that is reinventing the delivery of Windows apps and desktops for mobility in the cloud-era.  The availability of this tech preview will allow Citrix customers and partners to have a first-hand look at a new unified FlexCast infrastructure combining VDI and Hosted Shared desktops and apps from a single platform.

New features include:

    Simplified, unified, and expanded FlexCast 2.0 architecture
    New unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture combines simplified and integrated provisioning and personalization tools for both desktops and apps, delivered from either a desktop-based or server-based operating system.
    Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8
    Host Windows 8 VDI desktops or VM hosted applications in addition to Windows Server 2012 server-based desktops and applications. This tech preview also supports Windows 2008R2/SP1 and Windows 7.
    SuperCodec for Optimized Graphics
    New enhancements to HDX using Deep Compression Codec technology double the visual performance of desktops and apps to mobile devices dynamically adapting for device type, form factor and network connection while still leveraging the processing power of modern tablets and smartphones
    Storefront for apps & data
    Create centralized enterprise app stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device, anywhere with the Citrix StoreFront.
    Intelligent configuration tools
    New intelligent configuration tools for deploying desktops and apps that proactively check configuration errors in real time while streamlining the provisioning of profile management and storefront settings.
    Delegated Administration
    Enterprise-class administration model includes role-based access, custom roles with configurable permissions, and fine-grained, object-based control.
    Advanced Configuration Logging
    Capture site configuration changes and administrative activities within a single tool, Desktop Studio.  Use Desktop Studio to diagnose and troubleshoot problems after configuration changes are made, assist change management, track configurations, and report administration activity.
    Personal vDisk Improvements
    Improve scalability with performance enhancements designed to optimize resource utilization, deliver updates faster with the newly enhanced personal vDisk update process, and experience how an improved architecture increases the number of apps compatible with personal vDisk technology.

Documentation:  Project-Avalon-Excalibur-Tech-Preview.pdf

Click here to download ( requires a valid account)

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