The new version of MAC OS X, 10.10 (Yosemite) is expected to be released today, Thursday October 16th, and is currently incompatible with the ClearPass registration system and potentially other services at Rowan.

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Summary

This article provides the best practices recommended by Information Resources & Technology to ensure RowanCloud functions optimally.




Getting the best experience through your Citrix applications

 What kind of experience should I expect?

XenApp consists of applications installed on a server and accessed by user devices without installing anything except Citrix Receiver. All processing is done by the server. Only mouse clicks and movement and keystrokes pass between the client and the server. This process works on a Citrix protocol named ICA or HDX.

The look and feel of an application mostly act as if the application is running on the operating system of the user's device. You should expect a Citrix application to work almost as well as a locally-installed application. In many cases, you may not be able to tell if the application is running on RowanCoud or on your own device. If you have an issue, please contact the Technology Support Center at 856.256.4400 or support@rowan.edu.

The infrastructure components of the RowanCloud Citrix farm are in the process of being upgraded during 2015 to ensure a better user experience. We will be upgrading to XenApp 7.6, installing 8 dedicated new servers with GPUs, user profile solution (speed up logins), and much more.

 Accessing and saving files with RowanCloud

IRT has partnered with ExpanDrive to create a customized application that improves the user experience while accessing and saving files remotely to the Rowan network from Mac and Windows personal devices.

As a result, we have removed the functionality within Citrix applications to open files located on your personal device. This is necessary because local file access within a Citrix session can dramatically slow or even crash the remote application. ExpanDrive will allow you to easily transfer files to your H: and O: drives (aka network or home drives) from your computer. Network drives are accessible from within your Citrix session and are labeled H: (Home Drive) and O: (Common).



 Reconnecting Citrix sessions between devices

RowanCloud is currently configured to automatically connect existing sessions that you have launched on other devices. Windows domain bound computers will transfer the active sessions within a few minutes of logging in. Please be aware of this if you are working with confidential information and log in to another computer that has the receiver installed.

If your device is not part of the domain or has a different configuration, applications will not automatically transfer unless either (1) you launch an application from a XenApp server that is also running any existing sessions you may have and (2) you select the refresh button on the Receiver.

Citrix has moved the refresh button on the Receiver from version to version. If you cannot find the button, install the new Receiver from the downloads page.


There are two technologies that enable sessions to reconnect. Session Reliability keeps sessions active and the user’s screen display on when network connectivity is interrupted. Users continue to see the application they are using until network connectivity resumes. The user continues to access the display during the interruption and can resume interacting with the application when the network connection is restored. Session Reliability reconnects users without re-authentication prompts. Citrix Receiver users cannot override the controller setting. By default, Session Reliability is enabled through policy settings. The Session Reliability timeout policy setting has a default of 180 seconds.

Auto Client Reconnect is a feature that improves user performance by reconnecting sessions because of unreliable networks, highly variable network latency or range limitations of wireless devices. With the Auto Client Reconnect feature, Receiver can detect unintended disconnections of ICA sessions and reconnect users to the affected sessions automatically.

The Receiver and the RowanCloud Citrix farm connect active and disconnected sessions when a user moves to a different device. Two hours of inactivity automatically logs you out of any application.

 Best Practices for optimal performance
 Avoid application launch storms

Application launch storms occur when a large number of users log in and launch the same application at one time. This can happen when students launch applications in a teaching classroom or staff members launch business applications when they arrive in the morning.

If you are an instructor and you intend on using Citrix in a classroom, please ask your students to launch the application on their personal devices up to an hour before the start of the class. Make sure students do not close the application. For instance, if they launch an application from their smart phone an hour before class it will vastly improve launch time because the session will be transferred once they log in at the lab.

IRT is also addressing the problem by installing additional dedicated hardware and increasing the number of VMs in the XenApp application server pool. We are also investigating a feature in XenApp 7.6 named prelaunch that will pre-create sessions in advance that will improve launch times. Please contact us if you are interested in taking part in the pilot.

 Working with excessively large files

If possible, try and work with files that are not excessively large. Performance will suffer if you embed high resolution photos into a Word or Acrobat document. The biggest performance/reliability issues that IRT has seen involve users accessing files on a local device, like a hard drive or flash drive, with Citrix applications.

After testing is complete IRT will be removing local file access from Citrix. This should resolve most complaints about slow Citrix performance. For more information regarding how to transfer files from your local device to the network please select the link for remote file access.

 Restart Receiver if you do not restart your computer daily

The performance of Citrix Receiver will degrade on Mac and Windows machines if it is left running for more than several days. Consistently leaving applications open and putting your computer to sleep is also known to cause issues with reconnecting to applications or launching new ones. 

Please restart your receiver every day or be kind to your computer and restart it. (smile) 

 Close applications when you are finished

On occasion, the Receiver will not properly disconnect sessions if the computer is put to sleep, especially on Mac OS. When the computer wakes up, the Citrix Viewer, which is a component of the Receiver, will dramatically slow down the computer for several minutes until the Receiver and Viewer windows are closed. In some cases, a reboot is required.

 Network Connectivity

Citrix will function well on low bandwidth connections because it is only transmitting keyboard/mouse/screen movements. The Receiver should automatically adjust to a slowdown/speedup of network connectivity. Connection latency may cause a delay in keyboard mouse movements but this is not common. When in doubt reboot your computer, reconnect your network connection or restart the Receiver.