Home > BYOD, Citrix, NetScaler, XenDesktop > See how Citrix XenDesktop for Linux looks – #Citrix, #XenDesktop, #Linux, #EnvokeIT, #BYOD, #DaaS

See how Citrix XenDesktop for Linux looks – #Citrix, #XenDesktop, #Linux, #EnvokeIT, #BYOD, #DaaS

This is one of the coolest things a part from the Workspace Cloud service that Citrix is working on. I’ve had the pleassure of trying this out and we at EnvokeIT have been doing a lot of tests of this Linux VDA tech preview.

Isn’t it great that both Microsoft and Citrix now seem to love Linux 🙂   (and yes, I manipulated these images so it’s not an official Citrix statement!)Richard_happy_when_Microsoft_and_Citrix_Loves_Linux

So this little blog post is just going to show of the capabilities and how nicely this integrates with the Citrix XenDesktop architecture. First of all I’d like to say thanks to my colleagues Björn Bekkouche and Peter Smali for letting me use their lab environment!

Before we get into showing how it works and looks I must just highlight that if you have any questions about how we can assist you to deliver Linux-based Terminal Servers or VDI’s to remote users in a secure and optimal just contact us at EnvokeIT here or pop me an email: richard at envokeit.com.

This is great for all of you with Developers on Linux! Have them code from anywhere in a secure manner! They can run their Linux VDA in your datacenter, connect to it from an Receiver compliant device and code from them and you have your intellectual property secured internally instead of having them checking out Git repositories to their local devices etc.!

So what is XenDesktop for Linux? Well, to answer that really simple I assume that you have some basic knowledge of the Citrix XenDesktop architecture.. if you don’t then please read up on that a little before continue reading, one really good contribution to bulding your architecture is described in this Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook or this Citrix XenDesktop – Blueprint. These contains a lot of valuable information that you shall think of and how to configure the environment to fulfill you use cases.

But overall think of the XenDesktop architecture of something like the following pictures (click to enlarge them). The first one shows the new model where we could run and take care of the VDA’s ourselves on-premise but leverage the Workspace Cloud service from Citrix so that we don’t anymore have to bother about the XenDesktop infrastructure components and the life-cycle management etc. of those. The second one is the more overall traditional architecture overview that you’d see of the different layers.

Apps-Service-Overview

XenDesktop_overview_architecture

And as you see above this details the standard architecture wher you would have your Server or Desktop VDA’s in the resource layer hosting the desktops for your users to connect to, but they have all been Windows-based up until now!

Now with the Tech Preview we can actually install the Linux-based VDA on a Red Hat or Suse machine and access that through the SAME Delivery Controllers and StoreFront stores that also manage our Windows-based VDA’s.

And this is awesome! 🙂 We can leverage the already existing Windows-based architecture to just “hook in” our Linux-desktops as well and get users to conect through Receiver for Web, Receiver and even through the NetScalers if you need (works like a charm!!).

So as you can see here we have a nice little landing page for our entry points that are running different versions and access different environments etc.

EnvokeIT_Access_Portal

So we have Peters entry point running one NetScaler version and theme:

Peters_Lab

And the others like Björns and the standard EnvokeIT Cloud entry points are using the more default ones of X1 and “old green bubble theme”:

Bjorns_Entry_Point_X1EnvokeIT_Standard_UI

But now I’m drifting of topic a little bit here.. but it’s nice to see how much you can customize and ensure that you get a good user experience across both use cases from Web Browsers and Receivers nowadays (even if you could ask for a bit more as always). 😉

But the next cool thing and what I’d like to show is the cool integration of how the Linux VDA fits into this architecture. Now let’s logon and look at how it looks!

So after entering my username I’m prompted for this environments two-factor solution which is SMSPasscode, and the solution just pushed the code to my mobile phone which is nice! I really like the SMSPasscode solution and also the Azure Multi-Factor authentication solution that is very cool as well! I highly recommend looking at them and we at EnvokeIT can help you with both if you like! 😉

SMSPassCode_integration_NetScaler

Then once I’m authenticated and logged in you can see the magic!

Windows and Linux stuff in the same StoreFront!! Yes!! 🙂

 

X1_Receiver_for_Web_Linux_And_Windows

If you activate the store in your local Receiver it looks as great.. just activated this and got the logon prompt:

Logon_To_Receiver

Then I’m once again prompted for the strong authentication:

Receiver_smspasscode_prompt

And voila! I can now see my Linux Desktop here as well and can launch it from the web browser via Receiver for Web or the native Receiver:

Receiver_Linux_Desktops_XenDesktop

It of course also integrated well with Windows 10 that I run here on my Windows 10 Surface 3 Pro as you can see:

Windows_10_Start_Menu_Linux_Xendesktop

Now let’s launch it! This is what you’ve been waiting for, right? 😉

So now I clicked the “Linux Desktop” icon here and the session launched perfectly through the NetScaler and just works like a charm! So full Single Sign-On (SSO) from the Receiver all the way through the NetScaler and into the Linux (SuSe) VDA that we have joined to our AD domain.

SuSe_Linux_VDA_From_Surface_Windows10_Through_NetScaler

If we now pop over to the Citrix Director we can see the sessions that I have open here:

EdgeSight_Director_SuSe_Sessionpng

You can also go into more details but here we still have some issues though it seems like the details are not retreived correctly yet from the Linux VDA, but yo can logoff the session.

EdgeSight_Director_SuSe_SessionDetails

If we go over to Citrix Studio and have a look you can here see the Machine Catalog for this Linux VDA:

Linux_SuSe__XenDesktop_Machine_Catalog

And here you see the Delivery Group:

Linux_SuSe__XenDesktop_Delivery_Group

So that is basically it, it works like a charm and I can’t wait until Citrix releases this GA so that we can go out and implement this in production for all you Linux lovers out there!

More details about the actual setup of the VDA you can find in the tech preview package and of course you can automate the setup if you use Puppet or Chef or something similar.

Contact me (richard at envokeit.com) or EnvokeIT if you like to know more or if you need assistance on how you can deliver Linux-based Desktops to remote users in the most optimal and secure way I’ve ever seen!

//Richard

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