Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Citrix, what if Session Pre-launch could…

fast-start

*Citrix Session Pre-Launch*

Let’s face it.  EUC is all about the user experience and Users don’t like waiting around for things.  Nor should they, especially when we have tools available to dramatically help.  I’m talking about Citrix’s Pre-Launch feature.  For those not familiar, Pre-Launch gives you the ability to Launch a users’s session before they actually launch it themselves.  When you click on the application, you don’t have to wait for the session to load, GPOs to apply, or mapped drives to connect.  It just opens up like a local application.  Users want and love a ‘local-like’ experience.

pulling-your-hair-out

This past couple weeks I’ve spent the majority of my time at a hospital in the NICU.  Like many others hospitals, they use XA65, WI, with their application (Epic).  Also like many others, they click on their published applications and wait 20-70 seconds for their application to load.  In life threatening emergencies, that could be the difference b/t life and death.  After taking an informal pole with all the nurses, I’ve concurred the number one complaint is waiting for things to load.  While Citrix Session Pre-Launch won’t solve all their problems, it can make a big difference in their productivity.  I don’t know about you, but hearing a 34 week old baby scream, while the nurse waits for her application to load isn’t the most soothing experience.

So what can we do?

The way this process currently works:

  1. User signs into Xenapp services/Store via Receiver
  2. During the authentication and app enumeration process WI/Storefront checks what app/desktops get published.
  3. If that app/desktop has Pre-Launch configured, a session is started, without user interaction.
  4. This does does consume a license, but can be configured to disconnect after a certain period of time.

This is such an untapped feature that I really never see in the field.  But why?  Why wouldn’t admins/users want to take advantage of this?  There are several reasons IMO.

Pre-Launch Doesn’t get used because:

  1. It consumes a Citrix license right off the bat
  2. It only works when connecting through  Xenapp services/Store
  3. Resource constraints on hardware in the data center

How do we get around these hurdles?  Should we switch all of our customer’s licenses to ‘Concurrent’?  Should we force users to use XA Service/Storefront Store 100% of the time? Typical businesses size their environment based upon max concurrent resources being used, plus growth.  So i’m not too concerned about the Resources, but i’m sure we can improve upon this.

Here is what I propose:

  1. Citrix – upon initiating the pre-launch session should change the ‘state’ of the connection from ‘connected’ to a new state.  Possibly call it ‘pre-launch’ and don’t count this toward a license count.
  2. Enable Session Pre-Launch for web connections.  There’s always a use case for this.
  3. Implement a Scheduled based Pre-Launch at a set time.  At 4:30AM, I’d like to startup a bunch of pre-launch sessions for a group of users that login at 6AM.  When they arrive at work, their sessions are already geared up.  This process needs to be ‘throttle-able’.  Maybe this could be done with a TTL token from their last successful connection as long as it was within 3 days…I’ll let the brilliant coders at Citrix determine the best way.
  4. Create a metric for the “Probability that a User will login”.  We know “Carl” from accounting never gets sick.  For the past 4 months, Carl hasn’t missed a day of work.  This puts Carl’s “Probability to Login” at 100%.  I’d like to start a Pre-Launched session for 90% and above.  Wishful thinking? Maybe, but if you don’t ask for it, you probably won’t get it.

 

Articles:

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2014/11/11/optimizing-citrix-receiver-for-pre-launch-and-single-sign-on/ 

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2012/02/10/a-field-guide-to-xenapp-session-pre-launch/

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2014/04/15/part-3-new-and-improved-session-pre-launch-and-lingering-coming-to-xenapp-and-xendesktop/

http://myxenapp.com/2014/02/20/session-pre-launch-explained/


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