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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…

True or False: Always use Provisioning Services – #Citrix, #PVS, #MCS

August 29, 2013 1 comment

Another good blog post from Daniel Feller:

Test your Citrix muscle…

True or False: Always use Provisioning Services

Answer: False

There has always been this aura around Machine Creation Services in that it could not hold a candle to Provisioning Services; that you would be completely insane to implement this feature in any but the simplest/smallest deployments.

How did we get to this myth? Back in March of 2011 I blogged about deciding between MCS and PVS. I wanted to help people decide between using Provisioning Services and the newly released Machine Creation Services. Back in 2011, MCS an alternative to PVS in that MCS was easy to setup, but had some limitations when compared to PVS. My blog and decision tree were used to help steer people into the PVS route except for the use cases where MCS made sense.

Two and a half years passed and over that time, MCS has grown up. Unfortunately, I got very busy and didn’t keep this decision matrix updated. I blame the XenDesktop product group. How dare they improve our products. Don’t they know this causes me more work? :)

It’s time to make some updates based on improvements of XenDesktop 7 (and these improvements aren’t just on the MCS side but also on the PVS side as well).

So let’s break it down:

  • Hosted VDI desktops only: MCS in XenDesktop 7 now supports XenApp hosts. This is really cool, and am very happy about this improvement as so many organizations understand that XA plays a huge part in any successful VDI project.
  • Dedicated Desktops: Before PVD, I was no fan of doing dedicated VDI desktops with PVS. With PVD, PVS dedicated desktops is now much more feasible, like it always was with MCS
  • Boot/Logon Storms: PVS, if configured correctly, would cache many of the reads into system memory, helping to reduce the Read IOPS. Hypervisors have improved over the past 2 years to help us with the large number of Read disk operations. This helps lessen the impact of the boot/logon storms when using MCS.

    Read more…

#Citrix #XenDesktop 7 on #vSphere Validated Design Guide is available now!

Really good design guide by Citrix and blog post by Carisa Powell:

We are pleased to announce the availability of the Citrix Solutions Lab 5000-user XenDesktop 7 on vSphere Validated Design Guide.

Yes, you read that right, XenDesktop on vSphere.  XenDesktop is also known to many vSphere customers as the best VDI solution for vSphere, and this design guide showcases the latest release of XenDesktop features and functionality all being hosted on a vSphere hypervisor.  XenDesktop is the best of both virtual apps and desktops from a single platform, so XenDesktop is VDI, XenDesktop is app virtualization, XenDesktop is server-hosted apps and desktops, XenDesktop is secure remote access, XenDesktop is mobility…and with XenDesktop 7 you get all of this functionality from a single platform.

This design guide combines everything that is XenDesktop 7 and delivers it from vSphere to showcase how you can provide an app, desktop, remote access, and more solution for any type of user:

  • VDI – XenDesktop offers a variety of VDI use cases, whether the user needs a standardized, corporate desktop that remains consistent and routine, or the user needs a personalized virtual desktop that he or she can customize to meet their business needs.  This design guide validates XenDesktop Provisioning Services central image management technology for Pooled VDI on vSphere and XenDesktop Personal vDisk technology for delivering Personal VDI on vSphere.
  • Server-hosted Apps and Desktops – XenDesktop also offers server-hosted apps and desktops by leveraging Microsoft Remote Desktop Shared Hosted (RDSH) technology to enable multiple users to connect and share resources from a single server.  This design guide showcases XenDesktop server-hosted resources from Windows Servers on vSphere.
  • Remote Access – XenDesktop leverages Citrix NetScaler appliances to provide secure, remote access from any location.  NetScaler can be a virtual or physical appliance, and this design guide highlights the implementation and configurations of NetScaler Gateway virtual appliances on vSphere.

So why showcase all the features and functionality of XenDesktop 7 on vSphere?  Staying true to the Citrix vision, XenDesktop continues to remain the only hypervisor agnostic app and desktop virtualization solution – including VDI, virtual apps and more.  This means XenDesktop 7 seamlessly integrates with any hypervisor including Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#Citrix #XenDesktop 7 released – #RTW, #BYOD, #HSD, #VDI

Ok, it’s here! The official release is now available for everyone!

XenDesktop 7 Editions

There are tons of blog posts and materials already out there and some great features as well that comes with this new release from Citrix. If you haven’t already played with the Excalibur release and know about them I suggest that you start evaluating and testing now!

Here are some good links to have a look at:

Enjoy! 🙂

//Richard

#CitrixSynergy keynote – What will be announced?

So here we are! Keynote is about to start!

what can we expect? This is one thing that I definitely like to see:

– MDM + MAM + MIM + XA/XD= one solution/service! Have they finally made some progress into integrating Zenprise, AppController and StoreFront into one “App Store” and policy governance model so that we have one (1) app that handles both MDM, MAM and MIM from a device/user perspective?

Let the show begin! 🙂

//Richard

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#Citrix Knowledge Center Top 10 – March 2013

Citrix Support is focused on ensuring Customer and Partner satisfaction with our products.

One of our initiatives is to increase the ability of our Partners and Customers to leverage self-service avenues via our Knowledge Center.

Find below the Citrix Knowledge Center Top 10 for March 2013.

Top 10 Technical Articles

Article Number Article Title
CTX129229 Recommended Hotfixes for XenApp 6.0 and Later on Windows Server 2008 R2
CTX129082 Application Launch Fails with Web Interface using Internet Explorer 9
CTX804493 Users Prompted to Download ICA File, Launch.ica, Instead of Launching the Connection
CTX132875 Citrix Receiver Error 2320
CTX105793 Error: Cannot connect to the Citrix server. Protocol Driver Error
CTX127030 Citrix Guidelines for Antivirus Software Configuration
CTX115637 Citrix Multi-Monitor Configuration Settings and Reference
CTX133997 Citrix Receiver 3.x – Issues Fixed in This Release
CTX325140 Manually and Safely Removing Files after Uninstalling the Receiver for Windows
CTX101644 Seamless Configuration Settings

 

Top 10 Whitepapers

Article Number Article Title
CTX131577 XenApp 6.x (Windows 2008 R2) – Optimization Guide
CTX132799 XenDesktop and XenApp Best Practices
CTX101997 Citrix Secure Gateway Secure Ticket Authority Frequently Asked Questions
CTX136546 Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook 5.x
CTX136547 StoreFront Planning Guide
CTX133185 Citrix CloudGateway Express 2.0 – Implementation Guide
CTX129761 XenApp Planning Guide – Virtualization Best Practices
CTX134081 Planning Guide – Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop Policies
CTX130888 Technical Guide for Upgrading/Migrating to XenApp 6.5
CTX122978 XenServer: Understanding Snapshots

 

Top 10 Hotfixes

Article Number Article Title
CTX136714 Hotfix XS61E016 – For XenServer 6.1.0
CTX132122 Hotfix Rollup Pack 1 for Citrix XenApp 6.5 for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
CTX126653 Citrix Online Plug-in 12.1.44 for Windows with Internet Explorer 9 Support
CTX136483 Hotfix XS61E014 – For XenServer 6.1.0
CTX133882 Hotfix Rollup Pack 2 for Citrix XenApp 6 for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
CTX133066 12.3 Online Plug-In – Issues Fixed in This Release
CTX136253 Hotfix XS61E010 – For XenServer 6.1.0
CTX136482 Hotfix XS61E013 – For XenServer 6.1.0
CTX136085 Hotfix XA650R01W2K8R2X64061 – For Citrix XenApp 6.5
CTX136674 Hotfix XS61E012 – For XenServer 6.1.0

 

Top 10 Presentations

Article Number Article Title
CTX135521 TechEdge Barcelona 2012 PowerPoint and Video Presentations – Reference List
CTX129669 TechEdge 2011 – Overview of XenServer Distributed Virtual Switch/Controller
CTX121090 Planning and implementing a Provisioning Server high availability (HA) solution
CTX133375 TechEdge 2012 PowerPoint and Video Presentations – Reference List
CTX135356 TechEdge Barcelona 2012 – Understanding and Troubleshooting ICA Session Initialisation
CTX135358 TechEdge Barcelona 2012 – XenDesktop Advanced Troubleshooting
CTX133374 TechEdge 2012 – Monitoring your NetScaler Traffic with AppFlow
CTX135361 Troubleshooting Tools: How to Isolate and Resolve Issues in your XA and XD Env Rapidly
CTX135360 TechEdge Barcelona 2012 – Planning, Implementing and Troubleshooting PVS 6.x
CTX135357 TechEdge Barcelona 2012 – Implementing and Troubleshooting SF and Rec for Windows

Top 10 Tools

Article Number Article Title
CTX122536 Citrix Quick Launch
CTX135075 Citrix Diagnostics Toolkit – 64bit Edition
CTX130147 Citrix Scout
CTX111961 CDFControl
CTX106226 Repair Clipboard Chain 2.0.1
CTX109374 StressPrinters 1.3.2 for 32-bit and 64-bit Platforms
CTX124406 StressPrinters 1.3.2 for 32-bit and 64-bit Platforms
CTX113472 Citrix ICA File Creator
CTX123278 XDPing Tool

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook 5.x – #XenDesktop, #XenApp

Ok, this is a pretty good handbook I must admit. Have a look at it here!

And if you need help then of course you can always contact EnvokeIT! 😉

And here is a good blog post about this as well by Thomas Berger:

One of the foundational project management principals is that project success occurs when it is delivered on time, within budget and with a level of quality that is satisfactory to the client. Of course these three dimensions are valid for any desktop virtualization project as well.

While a lot of information about budget planning and TCO/ROI for virtual desktop / application delivery projects can be found on the internet (e.g. http://flexcast.citrix.com/analyzeandcompare.html), the amount of information about time planning and success criteria is very low.

Since this lack of publicly available information causes every customer to “reinvent the wheel” and therefore add some delays to their projects, we thought it’s time to provide some guidance around these topics.

The result of our efforts has become part of the newly released Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136546). Version 1 of this white paper focuses on the Assess phase that identifies the information required prior to starting the design phase and outlines the project management tasks I mentioned earlier.

But instead of just discussing the topics from a theoretical point of view, we provide detailed guidance and tools which can be used for your projects right away. For example you will get a sample project plan (Microsoft Project), which outlines and provides duration estimates for every step of a desktop virtualization project (sample below).

Furthermore the white paper discusses a general project methodology, describes how business priorities can be identified and provides detailed information about the roles required during a enterprise grade project (sample below).

This and even more can be found within the new Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook..

//Richard

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