New Features in Presentation Server "Delaware"

Let's take a look at what Presentation Server Delaware is going to be about.

This article originally appeared on Michel Roth's website - www.thincomputing.net.  Please be aware that this article is not an exhaustive or complete list of all new features. Also keep in mind that some of these features might somehow be pulled from Presentation Server Delaware since the release is still more than half a year away. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at what Presentation Server Delaware is going to be about.

During the last half year or so, Citrix has been leaking details on the next version of Presentation Server codenamed "Delaware" at their Solution Summits, iForums and Solution Conferences. The information contained in this article is largely based on that (publicly available) information that I can share with you.

Those of you who have ever tried to install the latest Presentation Server version onto the release candidate of Windows Server 2008 know that the first priority of Citrix will be to make sure that Presentation Server Delaware actually works on Windows Server 2008. This sounds easier then it actually is. Until now (Windows Server 2003) Citrix had to “work around” the mechanics in Terminal Server to do their magic. In Windows Server 2008, Microsoft changed a lot in the core architecture of Terminal Services. Although this is certainly a big overall improvement to Terminal Services, this means that Citrix has a decent amount of work on their hands making sure that they can offer the same feature set on Windows Server 2008 as on Windows Server 2003, let alone add new functionality. What is interesting is that Presentation Server Delaware supposedly will only be "installable"on Windows Server 2008. Separate Service Packs (or upgrade packs, feature packs or whatever you want to call them) will be provided to upgrade Presentation Server 4.5 on Windows Server 2003 to the Presentation Server Delaware "level" of functionality.

Actual New Features

Well, if there weren’t going to be any new features in Presentation Server Delaware then this would be a short article. So Citrix’s main focus for this release of Presentation Server is full Windows Server 2008 support. But don’t worry, there are going to be some new features in Delaware as well, outside of Windows Server 2008 support.

Web Interface 5 (Project Caxton)

Citrix Web Interface is going to get a complete makeover in Presentation Server Delaware. I know, I can hear you saying “again”? Yes again, but this time it’s a complete overhaul. Although it’s still based on the same codebase (WING) it does, at least, look entirely different. I’ve seen a demo of it at Thomas Koetzing’s session at BriForum Europe 2007 and I must say it looks really cool.

Citrix has realized that the Web Interface is usually the first thing end users see and has acted accordingly in redesigning it. In this age of Vista, iPhones, Zunes, YouTube, Silverlight you cannot present end users with a interface that hasn’t really evolved over the last 4 years. Well, you could but they like a cool interface better.

It does not only look cool but also has lots of new functionality as well. Here’s a summary:

  • The client detection and download wizard will be enhanced.
  • High and Low graphics support: WI 5 will be offer a low graphics mode for low-end devices like PDAs so that they can use the Web Interface as well.
  • Generic Radius Support
  • Improved Messaging to User: Remember the message area in the current WI? Well this has been moved to a separate tab and is more versatile now.
  • Support for Kerberos Authentication
  • Overall layout improvements: For example,you can now search for applications (handy in case you have a zillion applications), applications will be shown in “explorer style” reorganizing them into folders for easy navigating, easier customization of the Web Interface layout, and the possibility to insert “tips” into the Web Interface that users see on specific actions in the Web Interface.

“Application Streaming Version 2.0”

No it’s not going to called exactly “application streaming version 2.0” but this is basically what it is. Just like Presentation Server 4.0 introduced Application Isolation Environments (AIE) and Presentation 4.5 provided a major usability upgrade for this (AIE 2.0), Presentation Server Delaware will improve Application Streaming. The improvements are generally geared towards making streaming to desktops more enterprise ready.

HTTP Support for Streaming

Currently, Citrix’s Application Streaming Feature only supports streaming from a file share. This might be OK for streaming inside the same Datacenter or LAN, but becomes problematic when you are trying to stream across a WAN to another location. Delaware introduces support for streaming over HTTP.

Inter-Bubble Communications

Application Streaming in Presentation Server Delaware will introduce the possibility of allowing virtualized applications to interact with one another. This is similar to something Microsoft is going to introduce in Microsoft Application Virtualization (the new name for Softgrid) 4.5 (which is slated for a May/June 2008 release). Interaction between different virtual applications specifically increases the value of Citrix Application Streaming for environments that make heavy use of middleware applications (on their Citrix servers).

Differential updates for offline applications

Presentation Server Delaware introduces the possibility to perform differential updates to offline applications. This means that when a virtual application is updated (which means that the profile on the file share will be updated) no longer will the entire application have to be downloaded to the client. Only the differences (deltas) in the virtual application will be downloaded. Supposedly this also allows a user to keep their personal settings after the upgrade. This is similar to the “Active Upgrade” feature in the current releases of Microsoft Application Virtualization. The upcoming Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 improves this functionality even more.

Edgesight 5.0 - Resource Manager

Presentation Server Delaware is the first release that supposedly will integrate some of the performance monitoring capabilities of Edgesight into Resource Manager. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Although Edgesight is a product with great potential, Citrix has made a questionable move in making it only available for Platinum Customers (non-Platinum customers can also buy Edgesight as a separate product but the associated cost usually is too high).

I do not know how this integration will take place but one hopes that Delaware will expand Resource Manager from just monitoring the performance from a server perspective to monitoring the performance from a user perspective as well.

Preferential Load Balancing

Presentation Server Delaware will also incorporate something called “preferential load balancing”. What is preferential load balancing? It’s about providing users with a more predictable and consistent user experience by assigning resources to certain applications for users with a higher priority than others.

I know this is a rather vague description. Consider the CPU optimization in PS 4.5, it works in kind of the same way. Each user gets appointed an equal share of the CPU. Any user can still claim 80% of the CPU if the other users are not using their shares but if the other users want their share, this means that the user wanting the 80% CPU cannot claim the CPU for 80% anymore. The only difference in concept with the preferential load balancing is that the CPU sharing is based (by default) on fair sharing and preferential load balancing by its very nature is based on different shares for different users and applications.

I hope that preferential load balancing in Presentation Server Delaware is more than just assigning different CPU shares to different users because this could already be done via the registry. If all preferential load balancing adds in Presentation Server Delaware is a GUI to set CPU shares then it would be a shame.

I suspect preferential load balancing to be a lot more, especially since this feature will be incorporating the technology from the Aurema acquisition.

Availability of Presentation Server Delaware

Presentation Server Delaware is supposed to be available (RTM) within 90 days of the release of Windows Server 2008. So, in other words Presentation Server Delaware should RTM on or before the 27th of May 2008 (I’m betting on the 27th May, not earlier). Of course this RTM will be preluded by several betas, early releases and tech previews. You can sign up for Delaware early release program here.

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In case you missed the news: not only is Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect already fully compatible with Windows Server 2008, it is now also the first Terminal Services solution certified by Microsoft for that platform. As the same time, it is backward compatible with both Windows Server 2003 and 2000. Read about it at http://www.ericom.com/PR/pr_071127.asp
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...how do YOU feel about giving away FREE advertising on your web site ;)
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Dan:

You mentioned before you only posted technical information and you were not into marketing your solutions.  Are you so sure?

Are you going to become the new Chief Marketing Officer at Ericom?  You should!

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Of course!  When your product doesn't have any features, it's easy to be the first that compatible.
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How true! Inferior app publishing, web interface, and SSL VPN than the built-in 2008 features.
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Yeah Dan... I've supported you in the past. I love your blog. I like Ericom's stuff. But this post definitely comes across as marketing. And our community doesn't respond too well to marketing when they're not looking for it... (Then again, maybe no press is bad press? I dunno... ) Anyway, you're on your own here! (Congrats on the W2k8 compatibility, btw.)
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> But this post definitely comes across as marketing

My post is ndeed marketing I don't deny it, but then again, so is this entire article. Its a high level overview of features of a future Citrix version that doesn't exist yet, and nobody yet knows exactly when it will be available or what it will actually contain. Given that Citrix is certianly getting some free publicity here, without proving any real meat, I thought I'd provide us with a bit as well. And since Delaware's main feature appears to be its support for W2KB, I thought my post was actually quit pertinent.

> Congrats on the W2k8 compatibility, btw

Thank you. I'll be blogging about this in the upcoming weeks.

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I never said I don't do any marketing. I did say that marketing is not my focus or my main intent. I strive to make sure that anything I post, here or on my blog, is:

  • Factually and technically accurate
  • Has merit and value

Given that this article itself is essentially marketing and very light on technical details, e.g. "I know this is a rather vague description", there wasn't a lot for me to respond to on a technical level.

> Are you going to become the new Chief Marketing Officer at Ericom?  You should!

No I'm not - we already have an excellent VP of Marketing. But, it's always important for an R&D person like me remember that a great feature nobody hears about is worthless. Marketing is not a dirty word.

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"Given that this article itself is essentially marketing and very light on technical details, e.g. "I know this is a rather vague description", there wasn't a lot for me to respond to on a technical level."

I don't agree that an article that isn't very technical makes it a marketing article. In any case, I did not write it to please Citrix nor do they buy me coffee because of the article. I wrote it because I know the community is interested in abot Delaware.

If there wasn't enough in this article for you to respond on a technical level then just don't respond.

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Michel - no offense intended. All I wrote was that I responded to this article at the same level at which it was written. Given that such articles as this one about PowerTerm WebConnect or Provision or Jetro etc have never been published here, we take what we can get :-)
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Dan,

What you did was cheap and did nothing to help your company/cause.  In my option, there is nothing worse then a vendor taking jabs at other vendors (which is what you did).  The old school Compaq guys use to do this crap all the time back in the 90s and I never understood what they thought it was going to accomplish.  If you have a good product, it will speak for itself, especially in our community.

 

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Charlie,

Which jabs did I take, and at which product? What have I written that is incorrect? Please enlighten me. I don't doubt Michel's sincerity or his integrity, but the fact of the mater is that this article is free publicity for Citrix, the kind of publicity that no other SBC vendor ever gets here.

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Dan:

This is taken word for word from your blog, about what you write: 

". . .keep the content both technical and as accurate as I possibly can. No marketing fluff here."

So, you only post marketing fluff on Brian Madden's site?  I think what is happening here is that more and more people are finding out that your posts are INDEED only an advertisement for your products and solutions.  You even infer in a post below that we should feel sorry for you because CITRIX gets free advertising and no other SBC company (meaning Ericom?) gets its on BrianMadden.com.

Not true!  You do enough of it to make this community sick.  Please stop.

Thank you.

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If marketing is not a "dirty word", then why did you refer to marketing as "fluff" on your own site?

Have you shared that marketing is fluff with your "excellent VP of Marketing"?

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Hold on while I break out my violin...

The jab that I'm referring to is the implied tone in your comment that Delaware is vaporware.  I know you didn't state that it was, but you said it without saying it.

Let me know how the violin sounds and I hope it helped you as much as it did me.

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I want to clear some myths surrounding Preferential Load Balancing. I am Prasanna Padmanabhan, one of the developers from Citrix who worked on this feature. PLB is more than assigning CPU shares via the administrative UI.

PLB brings improvements to two areas of CPS, both of great importance to enterprise customers - a) Load Balancing b) CPU Management. In CPS 4.5 and previous releases, all sessions were considered of equal importance for both Load Balancing and CPU Management.

Most readers will know about the Server User Load Rule which is part of the Default Load Evaluator. This load rule simply load balances a session to a server with the fewest number of sessions. There is an underlying assumption here - all sessions are of equal importance. But this is often not the case. Important sessions often need a higher level of service, and should be kept apart from other important sessions to avoid contention of a servers resources. This is what PLB does for load balancing. Each session is assigned a weight (a number called "Resource Shares"), and sessions get load balanced to a server with the fewest number of Shares.

How does PLB improve CPU Management? This is along the lines of what Brian talks about. Once load balanced, important sessions enjoy a greater share of the CPU (based on what the resource share for that session is). Fair-sharing is still the default.

Resource Shares are assinged via the policy mechanism. Not only is this far more sophisticated than assigning user shares via the registry (which most administrators don't know about), this gives great freedom and flexibility to an administrator - the administrator can not only assign important groups of users (such as doctors and nurses in a hospital) more shares than normal users (like front-desk or ancillary staff), you can also assign Resource Shares based on location (IP Address range). Doctors treating a patient in a life and death situation in the ER, will get a higher level of CPU (which translates to a more responsive user experience just when needed most) than when accessing the same application from their office or home. 

More information on PLB is available in my blog post http://citrixcommunity.com/blogs/presentation_server/archive/2007/04/12/Load-Balancing-Ideas.aspx

Stay tuned to a video demonstration on PLB on the Citrix Community Blog in late December.

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The implied tone of my comment!? Man, are you some kind of psychic? Apparently not a very good one because I’m actually certain that Delaware is not vaporware. All I wrote was that Delaware’s scope and release data are not yet known where as PowerTerm WebConnect is certified by Microsoft for Windows Server 2008 right now. If this simple statement of fact so threatens your safe little world, you should save your violin for yourself.
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There's a difference between marketing and marketing fluff. All I posted were a few simple truths that nobody here has refuted. If the truth scares you so much you are welcome not read my comments or my blog. That the likes of Brian Madden, Doug Brown and Wilco van Bragt do read my blog and like it is good enough for me.
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I never said any truth scares me.  What I stated was that you said that you like to "". . .keep the content both technical and as accurate as I possibly can. No marketing fluff here."

You DO post marketing fluff.  Please stop.  Thank you.

Also, if you only want Brian Madden, Doug Brown and Wilco van Bragt to read your blog please make it password protected so only those three and yourself have access so the rest of the world doesn't have to stumble across your marketing filled site.  Thank you.

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Facts don't threaten me, but whiners really annoy me. 

I think facts threaten you.  Like the fact that no crediable INDEPENDENT author has written a review of your product.  That fact alone speaks volumes.

Stupid is as stupid does...

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I am William Wright, one of the original Aurema developers (now working for Citrix) that wrote the CPU Optimization feature for Citrix. I want to clear up some confusion about CPU reservations in the CPU Optimization feature that is mentioned in Michel Roth's summary of the new Delaware Preferential Load Balancing feature.

Michel mentions that a user can claim up to 80% of the CPU, when in fact a user can claim up to 100% of the CPU provided that the processes owned by the "Local System" account do not need any CPU resource.

I think that the confusion comes from CPS documentation that talks about 20% of the CPU being reserved for the OS. There are two problems with this simple description:

#1 The CPU reservation is applied to the Local System account, and if the processes running under that account do not need all of the reservation then other users (processes running under other accounts) can claim that CPU, i.e. there is no CPU wastage with reservations.

#2 A default CPU Reservation equivalent to 20% of one CPU is assigned to the "Local System" account. For example, on a server with 4 CPUs, the "Local System" account gets a default reservation of 5% of the entire CPU resource on the server.

A more detailed explanation of the CPU Utilization feature is available in a Citrix knowledge-base article that I recently updated, see http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX106021

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Charlie - this conversation is done for me as I will not sink to your level. But for the sake of the other people on this forum, here's one such review: http://sbc.vanbragt.net/mambo/dedicated-sbc/ericom-powerterm-webconnect-5.5-8.html
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All - keep in mind, it's no accident that the only 'vendor' noted in the home page title is 'Citrix' - "Brian Madden – Citrix, Terminal Server, Virtualization, and Application Delivery Information".

To say this forum is bias towards all things Citrix is obvious but certainly many other great alternatives exist such as Ericom (great job on the 2K8 cert!), Provision Networks, NSuite, etc... It's great to hear about other solutions that are beating Citrix to the punch on something and no sense trying to shoot him down for bringing this up to the rest of the community. If anything, it spurs inovation and keeps us Citrix zelot's sharp!

It's a good site for us to all co-exist but let's face it - it is what it is.

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Dan:

Why did you post as guest above?  :)

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I didn't post this and I don't know who did. I'm not afraid to use my own name when I post, why are you?
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If you post as guest, does that mean you are afraid?

Also, the post above seemed more like a joke.  Looks like Dan Shappir is a little jumpy!

If I was a customer and seriously interested in Ericom software while reading this board, I sure would think twice after the posts that guy replies with.

 

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Jumpy? No. If anything very much bewildered. Reviewing my posts here I do not see that I’ve made any derogatory remarks against anyone or any product. On the other hand, very derogatory remarks have been made here against the company I work for, our product and towards me personally. If you’ve read other articles on this site you’d see that this is not the first this has happened. And yet, according to you, I’m the one at fault.

Was the poster above joking? I don’t know. I do know that he doubted my integrity without really knowing anything about me. Putting a smiley at the end of the post doesn’t change that. And he did it from behind a comfortable mask of anonymity.

I’ve grown tired of this thread – I’ve got better things to do with my life. You can feel victorious for having successfully “run me out” if it makes you feel good about yourself.

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Dan, I've read your 'fluff' before. And after reading all your posts here, you've not got any better.

Firstly, the Delaware article provide some good insight into the product; your 'marketing post' does not.

Secondly, Contrary to you comment, I feel the post does include some 'meat on the bone' about what the features will actually do; yours does not include anything about the product..

Thirdly, when you do read the 'fluff' link, it's all marketing blurb, fluff and gubbins. Where is the 'meat on the bone' about what your product actually does? It speaks about being at the forefront of this, ensuring privacy of blah, leveraging improvements of Windows 2008, but still doesn't say what your product does! TBH, you would have had a better reception if you had actually said what your product does and what the improvements were in the first posting you made, and then had a link to the product, rather than the 'fluff'.  You should know by now we don't do fluff.

Fourthly, and finally, I do hope your Sales & Marketing Department don't tear your a new ass for the trouble you have now caused. Stick to R&D.

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While I certainly wouldn't defend Dan's inappropriate post, your comments are not accurate as the 'marketing' doc that he linked to talked about MS certification, it wasn't a product datasheet.  Apparently MS sees some value there.  These guys are clearly a Citrix competitor, it's a simple concept as stated in their release:

Ericom's enhanced Server Based Computing solution, PowerTerm® WebConnect, provides secure access to Windows Terminal Servers, Virtual Desktops, Blade PCs and legacy host systems.

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Again, this is not a joke and I am not 'Dan'. We all think Citrix is great but certainly no problem in learning about new solutions here so cut the guy some slack already... The only Ericom product I have ever used was PowerTerm emulation on a Wyse terminal!

This is why I posted this:

All - keep in mind, it's no accident that the only 'vendor' noted in the home page title is 'Citrix' - "Brian Madden – Citrix, Terminal Server, Virtualization, and Application Delivery Information".

To say this forum is bias towards all things Citrix is obvious but certainly many other great alternatives exist such as Ericom (great job on the 2K8 cert!), Provision Networks, NSuite, etc... It's great to hear about other solutions that are beating Citrix to the punch on something and no sense trying to shoot him down for bringing this up to the rest of the community. If anything, it spurs inovation and keeps us Citrix zelot's sharp!

It's a good site for us to all co-exist but let's face it - it is what it is.

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Dan has made his case the community has made its case now let this petty squabbling stop it is annoying and not very productive. To be honest I am annoyed at the way people are behaving from the community side and from Dan.

 

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Agreed.  I think we can all agree that Dan's comments (thread jacking) were not appropriate.  The article was able Deleware features and not about Ericom.  If Ericom has a news worthy article then they should submit it to Brian for him to post?  If that channel was exhausted and no response, then that typically means the news was not news worthy.

Again,  Citrix is relevant and news worthy.  Ericom is a nobody or perhaps a wanna be but still they are irrelevant and not news worthy.  And just like Dan's stunt, just riding on the coat tails of someone elses success.

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Isn't Citrix now riding on VMware's coattails?  Haven't they been riding Microsoft's coattails from the start?  That's how it is in the software business, or are you too focused on making stupid comments to notice??? 

Dude, you're pathetic.  Your immaturity won't allow you to post without taking a cheap shot.  Brian, isn't there an age restriction?  How did the 15 year olds take over your site?!

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Come on Dan,  insults will not further you companies reputation...

Citrix did not ride Microsoft's coat tail... If you remember correctly, Citrix was founded in 1989.  Long before Microsoft was a relevant company.   Microsoft built their success on the backs of other companies (including Citrix).  Citrix had to build TS for Microsoft.

As far as VMware tail?  No,  the XenSource aquisition happen not more that a month and half ago.  The whole purpose of that aquisition is to build up their xDI solution.  Since there is no clear cut winner (or even a solid, complete solution) in the xDI space,  you can't claim coattail riding.

Thread-jacking,  that's coattail riding and immature. 

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First of all, I'm not Dan, he obviously has no problem posting under his own name. 

Your history of Citrix is distorted to the point of being comical.  Yes, Citrix was founded in 1989 however their first product (multiuser) FAILED.  Not only that, Citrix licensed the OS/2 code from Microsoft.  And there's more - Citrix was almost out of business in 1995 and Microsoft had to bail them out with an investment!  This is all public record if you had bothered to check.

As far as your comments about Microsoft and those about the virtualization space, your are quite naive and ignorant, and I don't have the time to educate you here.

Evidently you can't help yourself with the childish behavior, perhaps you should look for a healthy outlet for your anger.  Try asking a girl out on a date.  And keep drinking the kool-aid in Ft. Lauderdale.

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I didn't see the release covered on this site.  RC1 is available for download and eval.  SBC vendors mentioned are Citrix, Quest and Ericom.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/dec07/12-05WS08RC1PR.mspx

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This forum is really getting frustrating.  We (the adults) come here to have intelligent, educated discussions about TECHNOLOGY that enables our respective companies.  Some of you are more intersted in a debate about who did what in the industry when and if someone is a marketing guy or not.  Thank you to the author for a fair statement of the facts as I guess they exist today and thank you to the guys from Citrix (and i apologize if I have left anyone out) guys who gave factual, detailed updates.

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