October 22, 2009

Access Gateway support for Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 & MacOS

Hi folks! Today being the official launch party for Windows 7, I thought it would be a good time to give everyone an update on where we stand with client OS support for Access Gateway (AG).

Let me start off by saying that we were hoping to support 64-bit operating systems much sooner, but we had some unanticipated challenges that expanded the scope of effort required. Getting all of our Access Gateway plug-ins to support 64-bit Vista, as well as Windows 7 and MacOS, has been and continues to be a top priority for us this year. It's also critically important that we fit into the Citrix Receiver framework for delivering all the various Citrix plug-ins to the end user. We're nearly there.

I'm pleased to announce that we are releasing today version 4.6.1 of Access Gateway, Standard Edition which offers full support for 64-bit Windows Vista, Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit, and MacOS. You can get the clients and appliance firmware now from the Citrix.com downloads area: http://www.citrix.com/download/

As you know, we have three distinct variants of Access Gateway: Standard, Advanced and Enterprise, each of which has a separate lineage and uses different client protocols & endpoint analysis features. We are planning to deliver Win7, 64-bit and MacOS support for all three editions.

Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 & IE8

  • AG Standard supports 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 today, using version 4.6.1.
  • AG Advanced Edition users can log on from 64-bit machines if the appliance is upgraded to 4.6.1, but full support for endpoint analysis and IE8 is not available until AAC Hotfix 5, due out in early January.
  • AG Enterprise Edition is expected to include a new 64-bit capable client in version 9.1.100, ETA is December.

Macintosh

Last month, we announced the availability of our first Access Gateway Plug-in for MacOS, which now connects to AG Standard Edition (4.6 or later) and Enterprise Edition (9.1.98 or later). Support for Advanced Edition is expected by January with AAC Hotfix 5. As we were closing down the release, Apple released their "Snow Leopard" (10.6) version ahead of schedule. We were planning not to offer 10.6 support until a few months later, because we were expecting this to be another large effort pertaining to 64-bit support. However, Apple did not enable 64-bit kernel mode by default in client machines, only on their XServe platform. This is good news for us, because the MacOS client seems to be working fine on 10.6 with the default 32-bit kernel mode.

One thing that makes 64-bit support on MacOS different from 64-bit Windows: with MacOS users can run 64-bit applications even if the kernel is running in 32-bit mode. Nevertheless, we do plan on supporting 64-bit kernel mode on the Mac with our next release of the Mac plug-in in Q1 of next year.

Not supported

To avoid prolonging our release schedules any longer, we made a couple of tough trade-offs regarding older operating systems. We decided that we will not be able to provide official support for:

  • Windows XP 64-bit
  • MacOS 10.4 ("Tiger")

(I've heard anecdotally that the 64-bit Vista client actually does work on XP 64-bit, but we have not fully tested it and we are not officially supporting it.)

Access Gateway Client OS Support

To summarize, the supportability matrix that we are filling in over the next few months looks like this:

 Standard EditionAdvanced EditionEnterprise Edition
Windows 7 and Vista 64-bitSupported now with version 4.6.1 AAC Hotfix 5, available by JanuaryMaintenance release 9.1.100 in mid-December
MacOS 10.5Supported now with version 4.6 or laterAAC Hotfix 5, available by JanuarySupported now with 9.1.98 or later
MacOS 10.6 ("Snow Leopard")Beta support now, full support in JanuaryAAC Hotfix 5, available by JanuaryBeta support now, full supprt in January

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks,
Jay Tomlin
Sr. Product Manager
Citrix Access Gateway
jay (dot) tomlin (at) citrix (dot) com

December 04, 2008

Citrix Delivery Center Live is Today

Lots of Citrites, myself included, are taking part in a virtual launch event today where anyone can stop by our "booth" and chat, ask questions, provide feedback. etc. Join the event now if you have a few minutes to spare. I'll be around for the next few hours to answer questions about Access Gateway, and there are representatives from all the other Citrix product lines too.

Jay

June 06, 2008

Access Gateway 8.1 Now Available

Citrix has released an update to Access Gateway Enterprise Edition. It has some great new features like clientless access to web sites, file type association and better usability. The clientless access technology is the same URL rewriting engine used by the Application Firewall and it is screaming fast! We also spent a lot of time working on improving the documentation and adding wizards in the admin UI to make setup a little easier. You can get the new Admin Guide and other documents here:

Access Gateway Enterprise Edition 8.1 Documents

There are a few minor gotchas to watch out for with this release:

Support for Windows Vista

Version 8.1 (finally) supports Windows Vista for endpoint analysis and full network-layer access. In version 8.0 we only had beta-level Vista support. But there are two limitations in 8.1:

1. The IE Active Plugin does not work on Vista, you have to deploy the full client.
2. Only 32-bit Vista is supported.

Clientless access to web sites and file shares

This is a highly demanded feature and for a first release it works great. There may be some web apps, especially those that make heavy use of AJAX or complex client-side Javascript to calclate URLs, that don't work through the clientless access. In this mode of access, as the web traffic passes through the Access Gateway, the gateway rewrites all the HTML so that any internal links or URLs use the Access Gateway address instead. This search-and-replace process occasionally misses links if they are constructed by a programming language instead of normal HTML. Outlook Web Access 2003 and 2007 work fine, and a lot of effort went into correcting the rewrite misses. SharePoint sites still see a few glitches in this version when going clientless.

Web Interface Integration

You can now simply point the Access Gateway to a Web Interface site URL and it will automatically display in the Access Gateway's default home page. When you hear "Web Interface Integration" it's easy to conclude that Web Interface is running *on* the Access Gateway appliance, but that's not the case here.

The user interface is more or less the same, except the old "dog bone" desktop icon is now a nice blue padlock circle matching the theme of all the other Citrix products.

One thing that always bugged me about the 8.0 client was that when you launched it, all it did was add an icon to the system tray. Then you had to go and right-click the icon to log on. Not good for all those users who haven't discovered their right mouse button yet. In 8.1, the client loads *AND* the logon page appears. And in 8.0 if you were already connected and you double-clicked the icon, you basically got yelled at with "another instance is already running!" In 8.1, if you launch the desktop icon while you are already connected, it politely asks if you want to log off.

If there are any AG-E customers out there reading this, please let me know what you think of version 8.1.

Jay

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