One of Cris Lau’s 5 reasons why you want to download the Excalibur tech preview is to try first-hand its new unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture. But another great one is to experience the updated StoreFront and it’s ability to enable users on-the-go. With Excalibur, StoreFront supersedes Web Interface as the standard mid-tier server bringing superior functionality and flexibility. StoreFront provides that common access experience across devices for which everyone is looking. Each user can subscribe to their favorite application and desktop resources have them instantly on all the devices they use throughout the day.  Adding CloudGateway Enterprise provides a single point of access and self-service for Windows, Web, and SaaS applications, and mobile applications too.

What’s new and different with StoreFront

Excalibur’s new installer guides you through installing and configuring server components such as the controller and the database, plus installing and configuring the Delivery Agent and StoreFront.

Excalibur’s Desktop Studio lets you manage the components and services that make up XenDesktop including StoreFront.  You can use Studio to configure the StoreFront cluster, specify the storefront url and the member servers. Once StoreFront is configured you can publish the StoreFront server address to the VDAs when you create delivery groups.

If you have experience with the current StoreFront, the first thing that you’ll notice with the Excalibur version is that the external SQL database  is no more.  User subscription data is stored locally and automatically propagated across the StoreFront server group.

Unlike Web Interface, the StoreFront ensures that the user only needs to log on once and automatically synchronizes user subscriptions across devices. 

StoreFront lets you automatically provision a core set of applications to specific users based on AD group membership just by adding the keyword Auto to any resource.

Users can configure Receiver on any device by simply entering their email address, a server name, or by opening a provisioning file. The StoreFront Update Service automatically configures ShareFile follow me data, ShareFile for Outlook, full VPN access via the Access Gateway, and/or the HDX Real Time Media Engine for optimized access audio and video communications resources.

StoreFront’s Receiver for Web enables users to access applications and desktops through a customizable web page similar to that provided by Web Interface.  Like Web Interface, Receiver for Web helps users download and install Citrix Receiver…but unlike Web Interface, automatically falls back to Receiver for HTML5 to enable access with no client installation at all.

StoreFront’s new Desktop Appliance site gets created automatically, enabling a full range of Windows and Linux embedded thin clients and repurposed PCs to access applications and desktops. And it is simpler than ever for user to restart their virtual machine-hosted desktops if ever necessary.

For users connecting to StoreFront through Access Gateway Enterprise Edition, you can use SmartAccess to control user access to XenDesktop and XenApp resources on the basis of Access Gateway session policies.

Finally you can add CloudGateway AppController to securely deliver mobile, Web and Windows apps and data to any device, including BYO devices with complete control and central management. It empowers users with a self-service enterprise app store that provides access to business apps and data, and it simplifies IT with identity-based provisioning and control for all apps, data and devices, including employee-owned devices.

Download it today to experience apps and data on the go!

And more is coming

The Excalibur Technology Preview features some, but not all, of the Receiver and StoreFront enhancements underdeveloped.  Others include: cross farm resource aggregation, IPV6, configuration through Rainmaker, integrated smart card authentication, and SDKs for advanced authentication solutions.

Look for more on these soon.