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Deploying #SCCM 2012 Packages and Programs with the #Citrix Connector – #DaaS, #XenDesktop

January 13, 2015 Leave a comment

This is a really good blog post by Christopher Fife, it touches on a couple of scenarios and explains the solution to how best you would accommodate the solution to them. Good work Christopher! :-)

The Citrix Connector 7.5 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, also known simply as the Citrix Connector, integrates XenApp and XenDesktop 7 with Configuration Manager 2012 (CM). The Connector streamlines use of Configuration Manager deployment technology to automate Citrix server and desktop image management. The Connector leverages the new Application/Deployment Type (App/DT) feature of Configuration Manager 2012 to orchestrate deployment to the right images at the right time. Administrators can optionally use the App/DT model to deliver the actual application publications.

Many of our customers are still early in migrating to the App/DT model. They are still leveraging their extensive library of Packages and Programs developed with great care over many years. These Citrix customers want to know how to use all the goodness of the Connector with these Packages and Programs. So, if you are interested in using the Citrix Connector to deploy Packages and Programs to your Citrix servers and desktop, this post is for you.

In many cases deploying Packages and Programs with the Citrix Connector is a straight forward process familiar to any CM administrator. However there are two scenarios in which specific actions are required to avoid unintended consequences when deploying Packages and Programs with the Citrix Connector.

Scenario 1 – Deploying to Image Managed (MCS or PVS) Citrix hosts

The first scenario that requires special consideration is deploying Packages and Programs to VMs created with Citrix XenDesktop Machine Creation Services (MCS) or Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS). As an administrator, you want to deploy software on the master image of a Machine Catalog and rely on XenDesktop/XenApp to clone worker VMs. Deploying directly to VM clones wastes compute, storage, and network resources because each clone will discard the changes on reboot.

Thus, the Citrix Connector is optimized to only install applications on the master image of a Machine Catalog while entirely skipping application installation on the clones of the master image. The key enabler that allows us to selectively install applications is a CM client policy that puts a 3rd party agent like the Citrix Connector in charge of when to install application or updates.

Here’s the problem. CM client policy does not stop the installation of Packages and Programs or Task Sequences; it only applies to the App/DT model and Windows Updates. This means that the Citrix Connector cannot prevent the installation of Packages and Programs on MCS or PVS clones, leading to unnecessary resource utilization.

Solution

Create a device collection that contains just the update device and deploy Packages and Programs to this device collection instead of the device collection created by the Citrix Connector.

Scenario 2 – App Publishing from the CM Console

The second scenario comes into play when using the CM Console to publish the Package/Program as a XenApp-hosted application. The Citrix Connector uses CM application detection logic to ensure that the application is installed before publishing it to Citrix Receiver. This is to prevent an icon from appearing in Receiver before all the servers in a Delivery Group have the application installed.

Unfortunately Package/Program deployments do not have reliable, ongoing application detection logic. Consequently, this orchestration feature of the Citrix Connector cannot be supported when using the Citrix Application Publishing Wizard to publish apps from the Configuration Manager Console.

Solution 1

Use Citrix Studio to publish the application instead of the Citrix Application Publishing Wizard in the CM Console.

Solution 2

If you are using CM Application Catalog and want the Citrix hosted version of the installed program to appear there, you will need to create a new application with a Script deployment type and a Citrix deployment type. The Script DT supplies the application detection logic by looking for the application’s executable, while the Citrix DT creates the application publication in XenDesktop.

 

Solution Details

 

The remainder of this post is divided into two sections and will give specific examples of how to implement the solutions discussed above. The first focuses on image management and precisely targeting the program deployment at the update device for a Citrix device collection. The second section focuses on publishing the program installed by CM as a Citrix hosted app.

Solution for Image Management and Resource Utilization

As previously mentioned, the Citrix Connector cannot prevent the installation of Packages and Programs on pooled Citrix session hosts created with Machine Creation Service (MCS) or Provisioning Service (PVS). To prevent this potential inefficiency, a new device collection must be created that only contains the update device. There are 4 steps to accomplish this:

  1. create the new device collection,
  2. deploy the program to the new device collection,
  3. monitor for deployment success on the update device, and
  4. update the pooled Citrix session hosts with the updated image.

These steps are detailed below.

For background information about master image management with the Citrix Connector and the role of the update device, watch the Master Image Management video http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/11534 on CitrixTV.

Before you start, use the machine catalog properties to make sure there is a designated update device, the Update Method property value is “update device”, and the Update Device property value contain a machine name. This is a very important step. If an update device is not defined for a Citrix image managed device collection, the steps outlined below will result in a new device collection with zero members.

Machine Catalog Properties

Step 1: Use the Configuration Manager Console to create a device collection

  • In the Assets and Compliance section of the Configuration Manager Console, click the “Create device collection” action on toolbar ribbon.
  • On the General Page of the Create Device Collection Wizard,

Read more…

#XenMobile and the #Citrix Mobile Workspaces Architecture – #BYOD

This is a great blog post by Christopher Campbell and good picture to show the overall capabilities and architecture of the Citrix offering!

You’ve heard us talk about Mobile Workspaces and if you’re a techie you’re probably wondering if Citrix really has the architectural components (a complete, comprehensive and fully integrated architecture) that can deliver any app and data to any user on any device over any network?

Well let’s first identify a few of the market leading technologies that make up the Citrix Mobile Workspaces solution:

  • XenApp mobilizes and secures Windows apps on any device
  • XenDesktop securely delivers virtual Windows desktops and apps on any device
  • XenMobile manages and secures mobile, web and SaaS apps on mobile devices
  • GoToMeeting empowers people to meet and collaborate with anyone, anywhere
  • ShareFile shares and syncs corporate data securely from any location
  • NetScaler optimizes and secures app delivery and on any network
  • CloudPlatform orchestrates and provisions apps, desktops and IT services from any cloud

OK, OK. We know you have the products but do they really integrate?

Yes. Don’t believe me? Well as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is what the Mobile Workspace Architecture looks like.

OK. I get it.  You have the architecture but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a seamless user experience.

Still don’t believe huh? Well this is what the user experience looks like.

XenMobile is a key ingredient in delivering a mobile workspace.  Along with XenApp and XenDesktop it allows organizations to deliver on giving users access to any app from any device. In fact, if you’re an existing XenApp or XenDesktop customer, XenMobile seamlessly plugs into your existing architecture.

If you’re a XenDesktop or XenApp customer this is what your environment probably looks like.

Now this is what you need to enable EMM for BYO and COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled) devices and add that MDM, MAM, Secure Email, Secure Data…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

 

#Citrix #XenApp and #XenDesktop 7.5 is released

March 26, 2014 1 comment

Finally it’s released, just go and download and enjoy (hopefully)! ;-)

https://www.citrix.com/downloads/xendesktop/product-software/xendesktop-75-platinum.html

Documentation is available online in Citrix eDocs. Keeping in mind that the online documentation will be periodically updated, you may also download a PDF file with a current snapshot for offline use:

Admin Guide
Upgrade Guide
Install Guide

This single package contains the Core and components needed to deploy the server-side infrastructure supporting Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 and includes Director, Studio, Delivery Controller, Virtual Delivery Agent, Personal vDisk, Universal Print Server, Receiver and StoreFront, Profile Management, HDX, Migration tool, License Server and CloudBridge (Branch Repeater) plug in.

//Richard

#XenApp 7.5 is launching! – #Citrix, #HSD, #DaaS, #VDI

January 25, 2014 2 comments

Wow… this is really interesting and “weird” I must say…

XenApp is back! :-)

And of course AppDNA is in there as well to simplify software/application management on this platform.

Description

New Citrix XenApp 7.5 makes it simple to deliver any Windows app to an increasingly mobile workforce, while leveraging the cost saving and elasticity of hybrid clouds and the security of mobile device management. Learn more at http://www.citrix.com/xenapp

Hear more about it in this video!

The video above was removed because of that it was accidentally published too early.. but you can find it on YouTube here:

//Richard

How to: #Citrix #XenMobile 8.5 MAM upgrade! Part 2 – #StoreFront, #AppController, #NetScaler

September 9, 2013 1 comment

Hi again!

If you haven’t read Part 1 then I highly recommend doing so prior to going directly to the upgrade that we’re covering in this post!

Prepare for a journey in this post about Citrix StoreFront upgrade, uninstallation, console and how messy it could be! NOT all the time, sometimes it “just works”! ;-)

My little NetScaler is already upgraded to 10.1 so unfortunately I couldn’t take you on that journey as well, so we’ll start with the StoreFront upgrade from 1.2 to 2.0 in this post. These are the steps that we need to cover as highlighted in the migration guide that seems very short and straight forward:

Upgrade StoreFront 1.2 to 2.0.

  1. Logon to the StoreFront server console.
  2. Upgrade StoreFront by running the StoreFront 2.0 installer as an administrator.
  3. When the upgrade is completed, open StoreFront administration snap-in, remove CloudGateway controller from each store as this will be moved in the migration solution.
  4. Open NetScaler Gateway Properties and for each gateway defined and change the version field in settings from 9.x to 10.0.x or later.
  5. Test the configuration by logging on through web browser or Citrix Receiver.
  6. Verify if the users are able to login and authenticate to StoreFront defined stores configured.

Is it this easy?

Ok, I’ve downloaded the 2.0 installer, and I’m logged on to the server.

Before we even start the upgrade there are things that could go wrong in removal or upgrades of StoreFront. And one that I’ve seen cause a lot of headache for a lot of people out there is that they have the Windows Firewall service disabled. Though the installation and removal wants to delete or add these rules the installation will fail unless this service is running. As you can see in this picture below you see the FW rule added in StoreFront 1.2:

Windows_FW_Rules_SF1

So let’s verify that the Windows FW service is started, and it is!

Windows_FW_SVC_started

I’ll now start the installation by double-clicking the StoreFront 2.0 installer!

StoreFront_2_0_Installer

What is this popup that came directly after starting the installer?

Receiver_HTML5_popup_installation

Wait, ok so you guys at Citrix couldn’t ask me whether you could do this for me? My plan is to upgrade, so please just add a little step in your upgrade program that does this for me… change request #1 for the next SF release and it’s upgrade process! Verify pre-requisites or deal with them!

Read more…

Upgrading to #Citrix #Receiver for #Windows – why and how?

This is something that all Citrix admins should read! How many questions don’t U get about which version of the client to use and why etc?

This document describes the various versions of Receivers for Windows, lists the reasons for upgrading, and recommends best practices for upgrading to the latest version of Receiver based on specific circumstances.

Note: The Online Plug-in 12.x will reach end of its maintenance in March 2013. Customers using Online Plug-in with XenApp 5, XenApp 6.x, XenDesktop 4.x, or XenDesktop 5.x must upgrade to the latest version of Receiver for Windows 3.X prior to that date where practical.

Citrix Receiver is the latest Citrix software you install on Windows end points to gain access to virtualized apps and desktops. It is also regularly installed on virtual desktops to enable access to virtualized apps.

The name of Citrix client software and the built-in functions are changed over the years. The clients in common use today are the Online Plug-in for Windows 12.X and the Receiver for Windows 3.X.

Where the Online Plug-in for Windows 12.X provided Web and PNAgent support, Receiver for Windows 3.X provides additional support. It can be configured for self-service access to applications, VPN-less remote access, single sign-on the Windows, Web, and SaaS applications, and has a built-in method to check for updates.

Both the Online Plug-in and Receiver have two versions.

  • The Online Plug-in Web is used solely for Web access to applications and the Online Plug-in (Full) supports Web access as well as PNA Services. The Full version supported SSO, Smart Cards, and access to apps through the Start menu 
    The standard Receiver for Windows, CitrixReceiver.exe, can be considered is a complete replacement for the Online Plug-in Web and largely a replacement for the Online Plug-in (Full). It can be used for web access. It can be configured to access PNA Services. And it can also be used with the latest versions of StoreFront, CloudGateway (App Controller), and Access Gateway to provide a rich set of services. It contains the latest, multithread, multi-stream HDX engine.

  • The CitrixReceiverEnterprise.exe version essentially…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

NEW #Citrix Apps and Desktops certifications – #CCIA, #CCE, #CCA, #XenDesktop

Ok, Citrix has now released the new certifications! Have a look, plan, study and take them! ;-)

Now in Beta and launching live in early Q4 – a new solutions-focused certification program designed to validate IT professional skills for strategic app and desktop solutions in support of Citrix XenDesktop 7.

New certification path
 
  • Citrix Certified Professional – Apps and Desktops (CCP-AD) validates the skills experienced IT solution builders, such as engineers and consultants, need to install, configure and roll out common XenDesktop 7 solutions.
    1. Obtain the CCA-AD certification.
    2. Prepare with the Deploying Citrix XenDesktop 7 Solutions training course.
    3. Pass the Deploying Citrix XenDesktop 7 Solutions exam.
  • Citrix Certified Expert – Apps and Desktops (CCE-AD) validates the skills experienced IT solution designers, such as architects, engineers and consultants need to assess and design comprehensive XenDesktop 7 solutions.
    1. Obtain the CCP-AD certification.
    2. Prepare with the Designing Citrix XenDesktop 7 Solutions training course .
    3. Pass the Designing Citrix XenDesktop 7 Solutions exam.

Update Paths

We have a simple transition path for you.

CCIAs and CCEEs may update to the new equivalent level by passing only one exam. Eligibility to update will require an unexpired credential. The update path for existing CCIAs and CCEEs will be available until this first version of the CCE-AD or CCP-AD exams are retired. We will provide 3 months notice of any changes to the update requirements or update path availability.

Existing Citrix Certified Administrators (CCAs) and Citrix…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

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