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When it comes to technology companies, product renaming and refocus is often inevitable. This recently occurred with Citrix as they have moved away from the "Xen" prefix and have simplified their product portfolio naming to make them easier to understand. For example, the new name for XenApp is "Citrix Virtual Apps" while XenDesktop is now "Citrix Virtual Desktops". These are the two primary products from Citrix that are used to deploy ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro as virtualized applications. At the same time, Citrix is changing the associated product versioning and moving to a year and month format, for example:

 

      YYMM = Year and month when the product or component released. For example, a release in August 2018 appears       as 1808.

 

Citrix recently released the latest version of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops utilizing these changes and the current release is "Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1808.2". This means that XenApp/XenDesktop 7.18 was the last release of the 7.x releases and the new version of "Citrix Virtual Apps" appears to be what XenApp 7.19 would have been and not a major upgrade, though Citrix is constantly evolving their products.

 

Though the naming changes are helpful for understanding product purpose, I don't anticipate much of an impact from these changes at a technical level. Over the last few years Esri has been certifying multiple Citrix releases and the most recent "certified" Citrix release for ArcGIS is XenApp/XenDesktop 7.17. It is likely that the new "Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops" release, or a subsequent release, will be certified with the next major ArcGIS release so look for updates on the associated ArcGIS system requirements pages.

I just returned from the Esri 2018 User Conference and had a great time. During UC, I encountered many questions about ArcGIS Pro virtualization. For the past 20 years I have worked with Esri customers assisting them with deploying ArcMap using virtualization technologies such as RDSH and Citrix XenApp.

 

As customers plan their migrations to ArcGIS Pro, it is important to be aware that it is not merely a matter of upgrading to ArcGIS Pro utilizing the same IT solutions within the current IT infrastructure. That's because ArcGIS Pro has a different set of system requirements and one of the key differences is the requirement for a graphical processing unit (GPU).

 

ArcGIS Pro leverages advanced display technologies such as DirectX and OpenGL which are highly dependent upon a graphics processing capability. This was not an issue in the past with ArcMap in virtualized deployments since ArcMap is GDI-based and for the most part cannot be accelerated by a GPU. However, Because of this specific requirement for ArcGIS Pro, traditional session-based deployment solutions are not the best fit for ArcGIS Pro, and in most cases Esri is recommending the use of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) coupled with GPU management technology such as NVIDIA GRID virtual GPU (vGPU) to provide the IT infrastructure to host virtualized ArcGIS Pro desktops.

 

A variety of servers and VDI solutions are available, and the ArcGIS Pro system requirements page reflects which ones have been certified by Esri. Also, be sure to review the On-Premises virtualization documentation to determine how to work with your chosen VDI solution.

 

The key take-away is that infrastructure upgrades will likely be required if ArcGIS Pro is to be delivered using a virtualization platform and will need to include GPU-enabled servers to support the virtualized desktops.