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Posts Tagged ‘desktop’

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

June 4, 2015 1 comment

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: Read more…

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

 

How to: Create Desktop Appliance site on StoreFront – #Citrix, #StoreFront, #ThinClient

February 3, 2014 4 comments

I guess that some of you out there by now are using Thin Clients and some are using Desktop Appliance site functionality in the old Web Interface for these thin clients that are XenApp- or XenDesktop-ready.

So now you have or are thinking on how to setup this on StoreFront!

Citrix has A LOT of work to do in order to ensure that StoreFront becomes a stable and enterprise ready! There are so many tweaks and configurations needed in config files etc. that just isn’t ok! Add them into the console! It’s not hard, even I could code in some menus, forms windows and trigger the underlying PowerShell scripts!

But back to the topic, how do we configure Desktop Appliance site in StoreFront? Well, first we need to have a look at the following edocs articles that explain how to do it:

Desktop Appliance sites – And the most important in this article is the bottom that details WHAT DOESN’T WORK!

Important considerations

Desktop Appliance sites are intended for local users on the internal network accessing desktops from non-domain-joined desktop appliances. When you decide whether to use Desktop Appliance sites to provide users with access to your stores, consider the following restrictions.

  • If you plan to deploy domain-joined desktop appliances and repurposed PCs, do not configure them to access stores through Desktop Appliance sites. Instead, configure Citrix Receiver with the XenApp Services URL for the store. For more information, see XenApp Services URLs.
  • Desktop Appliance sites do not support connections from remote users outside the corporate network. Users logging on to NetScaler Gateway cannot access Desktop Appliance sites.

How do you release this and don’t support connecting through a NetScaler Gateway? Then you miss the whole point of SmartAccess, you cannot trigger EPA (host checks) for instance to control ICA/HDX features like drive mapping etc. internally. And you cannot have thin clients on the Internet that connects into the enterprise through NetScaler Gateway! 

Next you should read this article that details the PowerShell madness 😉

Configure Desktop Appliance sites

I won’t go into details of the article above but rather show you how it’s done and with some examples of arguments to pass to the PowerShell scripts.

Step one is to log on to your StoreFront server, and just to show you our current setup is that we have one Receiver for Web (RfW) sites used for browser access into StoreFront:

Receiver_for_Web_site

From a Store perspective you can see that we have one (1) store that the RfW site exposes:

StoreFront_Store Read more…

#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

#Amazon WorkSpaces – “#VDI” cloud service – #VDI, #BYOD

November 15, 2013 Leave a comment

This is an interesting offering from Amazon! I however don’t like that everyone talks about the “VDI” concept all the time.. this is based on Windows server with Desktop Experience and not a client OS.

Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablets. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for any number of users at a cost that is highly competitive with traditional desktops and half the cost of most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.

WorkSpace Bundles

Amazon WorkSpaces offers a choice of service bundles providing different hardware and software options to meet your needs. You can choose from the Standard or Performance family of bundles that offer different CPU, memory, and storage resources, based on the requirements of your users. If you would like to launch WorkSpaces with more software already pre-installed (e.g., Microsoft Office, Trend Micro Anti-Virus, etc.), you should choose the Standard Plus or Performance Plus options. If you don’t need the applications offered in those bundles or you would like to use software licenses for some of the applications in the Standard Plus or Performance Plus options that you’ve already paid for, we recommend the Standard or Performance bundles. Whichever option you choose, you can always add your own software whenever you like.

WorkSpaces Bundle Hardware Resources Applications Monthly Price
Standard 1 vCPU, 3.75 GiB Memory, 50 GB User Storage Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) $35
Standard Plus 1 vCPU, 3.75 GiB Memory, 50 GB User Storage Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Trend Micro Anti-Virus, Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) $50
Performance 2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory, 100 GB User Storage Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) $60
Performance Plus 2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory, 100 GB User Storage Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Trend Micro Anti-Virus, Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) $75

All WorkSpaces Bundles provide the Windows 7 Experience to users (provided by Windows Server 2008 R2). Microsoft Office 2010 Professional includes Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft OneNote 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft Publisher 2010 and Microsoft Access 2010.

Read more…

#Microsoft Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guides

October 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Wow, these are some compelling guides that Microsoft delivered!! Have a look at them! But of course there’s always something more U want! Let Service Providers provide DaaS services based on client OS’s as well!!!

Microsoft has released two papers related to Desktop Hosting. The first is called: “Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide” and the second is called: “Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide“. Both documents provide a blueprint for creating secure, scalable, multi-tenant desktop hosting solutions using Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager or using Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.

The documents are targeted to hosting providers which deliver desktop hosting via the Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA). Desktop hosting in this case is based on Windows Server with the Windows Desktop Experience feature enabled, and not Microsoft’s client Operating Systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8.

For some reason, Microsoft still doesn’t want service providers to provide Desktops as a Service (DaaS) running on top of a Microsoft Client OS, as outlined in the “Decoding Microsoft’s VDI Licensing Arcanum” paper which virtualization.info covered in September this year.

The Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide provides the following sections:

  • Desktop Hosting Service Logical Architecture
  • Service Layer
    • Tenant Environment
    • Provider Management and Perimeter Environments
  • Virtualization Layer
    • Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Manager
    • Scale-Out File Server
  • Physical Layer
    • Servers
    • Network
  • Tenant On-Premises Components
    • Clients
    • Active Directory Domain Services

clip_image001

The Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture covers the following topics:

Organizational Challenges with #VDI – #Citrix

And yet another good blog post by Citrix and Wayne Baker. This is an interesting topic and I must say that the blog posts still goes into a lot of the technical aspects, but there are more “soft” organisational aspects to look into as well like service delivery/governance model and process changes that often are missed. And as Wayne also highlights below and that’s worth mentioning again is the impact on the network that also was covered well in this previous post: #Citrix blog post – Get Up To Speed On #XenDesktop Bandwidth Requirements

Back to the post itself:

One of the biggest challenges I repeatedly come across when working with large customers attempting desktop transformation projects, is the internal structure of the organisation. I don’t mean that the organisation itself is a problem, rather that the project they are attempting spans so many areas of responsibility it can cause significant friction. Many of these customers undertake the projects as a purely technical exercise, but I’m here to tell you it’s also an exercise in organisational change!

One of the things I see most often is a “Desktop” team consisting of all the people who traditionally manage all the end-points, and a totally disparate “Server” team who handle all the server virtualization and back-end work. There’s also the “Networks” team to worry about and often the “Storage” team are in the mix too! Bridging those gaps can be one of the areas where friction begins to show. In my role I tend to be involved across all the teams, and having discussion with all of those people alerts me to where weaknesses may lie in the project. For example the requirements for server virtualization tend to be significantly different to the requirements for desktop virtualization, but when discussing these changes with the server virtualization team, one of the most often asked questions is, “Why would you want to do THAT?!” when pointing out the differing resource allocations for both XenApp and XenDesktop deployments.

Now that’s not to say that all teams are like this and – sweeping generalizations aside – I have worked with some incredibly good ones, but increasingly there are examples where the integration of teams causes massive tension. The only way to overcome this situation is to address the root cause – organizational change. Managing desktops was (and in many places still is) a bit of a black art, combining vast organically grown scripts and software distribution mechanisms into an intricately woven (and difficult to unpick!) tapestry. Managing the server estate has become an exercise in managing workloads and minimising/maximising the hardware allocations to provide the required level of service and reducing the footprint in the datacentre. Two very distinct skill-sets!

The other two teams which tend to get a hard time during these types of projects are the networks and storage teams – this usually manifests itself when discussing streaming technologies and their relative impacts on the network and storage layers. What is often overlooked however is that any of the teams can have a significant impact on the end-user experience – when the helpdesk takes the call from an irate user it’s going to require a good look at all of the areas to decipher where the issue lies. The helpdesk typically handle the call as a regular desktop call and don’t document the call in a way which would help the disparate teams discover the root cause, which only adds to the problem! A poorly performing desktop/application delivery infrastructure can be caused by any one of the interwoven areas, and this towering of teams makes troubleshooting very difficult, as there is always a risk that each team doesn’t have enough visibility of the other areas to provide insight into the problem.

Organizations that do not take a wholesale look at how they are planning to migrate that desktop tapestry into the darkened world of the datacentre are the ones who, as the project trundles on, come to realise that the project will never truly be the amazing place that the sales guy told them it would be. Given the amount of time, money and political will invested in these projects, it is a fundamental issue that organizations need to address.

So what are the next steps? Hopefully everyone will have a comprehensive set of requirements defined which can drive forward a design, something along the lines of:

1) Understand the current desktop estate:

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

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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