Citrix AppDisk – new feature announced @ Synergy 2015

May 14 2015

Many new products, services and features have been announced during these three days @ Citrix Synergy in Orlando.

One new feature that I believe will be very interesting for XenApp and XenDesktop users is AppDisk.

AppDisk is an application layering technology that allows you to create disks containing applications (single instances or groups of them) and then attach them to XenApp servers or XenDesktop OSs.

Note: this is not an application isolation technology! Applications in AppDisk are not isolated and they can talk and interact to any other application in the OS just as any traditionally installed application would do. So, for instance, you won’t be able to run two MS Office versions on the same OS as you could do with other technologies like App-V (just to name one).

The main advantage of this solution is that you can create and manage one single OS image without having to install any application on it and deliver AppDisk applications based on the user profile. This is more or less what you can do with App-V but without incurring in the application isolation issues that App-V brings (VFS permissions, application incompatibilities… ). On the other hand, you won’t have the advantages of application isolation, like for example the ability of running two incompatible apps at the same time and on the same OS.

The process for creating an AppDisk is as follows:

  1. Open to Studio
  2. Click on the AppDisk menu
  3. Click on create AppDisk
  4. Choose the Machine Catalog that contains the base image you want to use and then Studio will create an instance of that OS through MCS or PvS
  5. Install the app on that OS image and then seal it (through an apposite button located on the desktop)
  6. Deliver the AppDisk to the Delivery Groups

The limited tech preview will be available in Q2 2015, the tech preview in Q3 2015. The GA version probably at the end of 2015 or early 2016.

We don’t know yet how many AppDisks can be published on the same OS as well as what kind of license you need to run it.

AppDisk does not use any drive letters and you can see the application in the Add Remove Programs Control Panel applet. AppDisk apps are ‘merged’ in the base OS, which means that you can find them in C:\Program Files or Program Files (x86).

AppDisk and Studio can leverage and integrate AppDNA in order to check whether the applications can run properly in the target OS. AppDNA can also show incompatible AppDisks and propose steps to fix any eventual issue.


I’m looking forward to test the Tech Preview!!!


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Step-by-Step guide on how to configure NVIDIA graphics on XenApp 7.6 with vDGA on VMware ESXi 5.5

Mar 25 2015

This technical article explains how to configure a Windows 2012 R2 virtual machine to use the NVIDIA GPU pass-through under XenApp 7.6.

Many information about GPU usage on Citrix and VMware environments are already available on the internet, but I have never been able to find a quick and practical guide that explains how to configure it, so that’s why I wrote this article.

You will go through three main steps:

  1. Configure PCI pass-through in VMware
  2. Configure the Virtual Machine
  3. Enable GPU support in RDS sessions


The NVIDIA Card model is the “729851-B21 NVIDIA Grid K2 PCIe GPU Kit”:

  • Number of GPUs: 2
  • CUDA cores: 3072 (1536/GPU)
  • Memory size per board (GDDR5): 8GB (4GB/GPU)

Compatible with ProLiant SL250s/SL270s servers with Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors and ProLiant WS460c Graphics Server Blades:!tab=specs

All runs on VMware ESXi 5.5.

vDGA (Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration) is used in this environment, check the following articles for more information on the other GPU sharing technologies:



Step 1 – Make sure that the GPUs are configured for pass-through in VMware

Make sure that the host has the GPUs available for pass-through (view from vSphere Web Client):


If they are not available, edit the settings (by clicking on the pencil icon), make the available and reboot the host:


Step 2 – Configure the virtual machine

Adjust pciHole.start. Note: This is required only if the virtual machine has more than 2GB of configured memory. For virtual machines that have more than 2GB of configured memory, add the following parameter to the .vmx file of the virtual machine (you can add this at the end of the file):

pciHole.start = “2048”


Set the pass-through in the VM:


Install the latest VMware Tools.

Install the NVIDIA Drivers for the GRID K2 cards, the latest version at the time of this writing is 347.52-quadro-tesla-grid-winserv2008-2008r2-2012-64bit-international-whql.exe.

The drivers can be downloaded from the NVIDIA website:




Restart the server.

Make sure that you can find the NVIDIA GRID K2 card in the Device Manager:


You can run GPU-Z in order to make sure that the card is being used by the system.


Now you can install the Citrix XenApp 7.6 VDA.


Step 3 – Enable the GPU in the RDS session

The final step in the configuration requires enabling the GPU in the RDS/Citrix session, as per Citrix:

On Windows Server 2012, Remote Desktop Services (RDS) sessions on the RD Session Host server use the Microsoft Basic Render Driver as the default adapter. To use the GPU in RDS sessions on Windows Server 2012, enable the Use the hardware default graphics adapter for all Remote Desktop Services sessions setting in the group policy Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Remote Session Environment


Now you are ready to GO!

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Remove the “Protected Mode” pop-up from Internet Explorer 11 – Win 2012 R2

Jan 09 2015

A published IE application may show the following pop-up when starting a web page:

Such pop-up appears each time, even if you click on the ‘Don’t show this message again’.
The solution is to set the user registry value that prevents this pop-up from appearing (this can be done through GPO, logon script, etc…)
The value is “NoProtectedModeBanner”, DWORD, and must be set to 1.
It must be located under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

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