Category Archives: XenApp and XenDesktop Service

Understanding What’s New with the latest XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test accessing secure by design virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 prior to deploying a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or leading best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
WEB INTERFACE – wif
LONG TERM SERVICE RELEASE – ltsr
CURRENT RELEASE – cr
FEDERATED AUTHENTICATION SERVICE – fas
SECURITY ASSERTION MARKUP LANGUAGE – saml
IDENTITY PROVIDER – idp
NETSCALER UNIFIED GATEWAY – nug
XENAPP – xa
PROVISIONING SERVICES – pvs
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
STOREFRONT – sf

What is the difference between LTSR vs. CR for XenApp & XenDesktop 7.x?
The Long Term Service Release (LTSR) program for XenApp and XenDesktop provides stability and long-term support for XenApp/XenDesktop releases while the Current Release (CR) provides customers with the very latest version of XenApp and XenDesktop which includes the latest innovations e.g EDT v2

XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR Feature Summary Comparison with 7.6 LTSR
The following is a simple one PDF page document that lists all the feature capabilities from initial first LTSR which was XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack (FP) 1-3 through to the current LTSR XAD 7.15 including the CR releases in-between so its absolutely worth booking marking in your browser or better yet download it to keep it to hand for customer conversations – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/data-sheet/xenapp-xendesktop-715-ltsr-feature-summary-comparison-to-76-ltsr.pdf.

Noteworthy Points What’s New vs. Excluded
I’d very strongly recommend that your read the following CTX article – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX205549 entitled “CTX205549 FAQ: XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenServer Servicing Options (LTSR)” and to ensure that you remain compliant post your update/migration to 7.15 LSTR you should download the “CTX209577 Citrix LTSR Assistanthttps://support.citrix.com/article/CTX209577

Its also worth noting the following that are classed as “Excluded Features/Components/OSes” from the XAD 7.15 LTSR but I’d like to stress PLEASE PLEASE refer for eDocs for full caveats vs. supporting statements at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/whats-new/7-15-ltsr-initial-release-.html+ and these listed notes are based upon the initial release however there is now a Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) already available so be sure to read through it as well at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/whats-new/cumulative-update-1.html.

OSes+
– Windows 2008 32-bit (for Universal Print Server)

Behavioural Changes
– Upgrading a XA 6.5 worker to a new 7.15 VDA is now slightly different and the detailed process is listed at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/upgrade-migrate/upgrade/upgrade-xenapp-6-5-to-vda.html and also be sure to review the XenApp 6.x Migration Tool at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/upgrade-migrate/xenapp-worker-upgrade.html and you review the migration tool by watching the embedded YouTube video below.

Finally while your planning your migration to XA 7.15 (FMA) from 6.5 (IMA) you will mostly likely be upgrading vs. migrating away from WIF so please be sure to read and how to migrate features to StoreFront from your WIF environment at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-12/migrate-wi-to-storefront.html. Equally I’d encourage any organisation reading this to review how-to setup and configure the “unified user experience” for Citrix Receiver vs. the Green Bubbles which will provide a much better experience for users you can enable it by quiet easily once you’ve read through the following article in eDocs at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-12/manage-citrix-receiver-for-web-site/unified-receiver-experience.html.
– Follow the supported leading best practises for upgrading the 7.15 LTSR by reviewing the following node within Citrix’s eDocs – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/upgrade-migrate/upgrade.html
– VDA installation failures for Win 10 N Editions that don’t include Microsoft Media Foundation can now be acknowledged via the installation GUI of the VDA vs. automated deployed (unattended) there is a new option “/no_mediafoundation_ack“.

Excluded Features & Compoments+
– HDX Graphics Mode – Framehawk
– StoreFront Citrix Online Integration
– AppDisks
– Personal vDisk is excl for Win 7, 10
– Load balancing of Session Recording which was an experimental feature in 7.14

What’s Deprecated in the 7.15 LSTR
A full list of what is deprecated is available at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/whats-new/removed-features.html and I am only going to list a few points that I believe of most interest to those whom read my blogs or if your just a Citrix SysAdmin vs. Consultant reading this blog post.

No VDA installations on Windows XP will be supported
– Flash Redirection ++Hello HTML5 GOODBYE Flash wahoo!
– Citrix Receiver for Web classic experience (“green bubbles” user interface) ++Oh YES double wahoo!
– VDAs on Desktop – Windows 10 version 1511 & Windows 7, 8.1 and for Server – Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012
Legacy Thinwire + DirectX Command Remoting (DCR) switch to Thinwire ECM or Adaptive Display v2 see – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/graphics/thinwire.html
– In-place upgrades of certain XAD infrastructure components aren’t supported!
– Studio on Windows 7
– Azure Classic support

++ Personal comment vs. note from the author of the post

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR baseline components
VDA for Desktop OS 7.15
VDA for Server OS 7.15
Delivery Controller 7.15
Citrix Studio 7.15
Citrix Director 7.15
Group Policy Management Experience 3.12
StoreFront 3.12
Provisioning Services (PVS) 7.15
Universal Print Server 7.15
Session Recording 7.15 (Platinum Edition only)
Linux VDA 7.15 (See the Linux VDA documentation for supported platforms)
Profile Management 7.15
Federated Authentication Service 7.15

7.15 LTSR Compatible Components and Platforms
AppDNA 7.15
Citrix SCOM Management Pack for License Server 1.2
Citrix SCOM Management Pack for Provisioning Services 1.19
Citrix SCOM Management Pack for StoreFront 1.12
Citrix SCOM Management Pack for XenApp and XenDesktop 3.13
HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.3
License Server 11.14.0 Build 21103
Workspace Environment Management 4.4
App Layering 4.3
Self-Service Password Reset 1.1

What’s New
– Machine Catalog’s functional level within your Site from 7.9 do not require an upgrade
– Machine Creation Services (MSC) now supports generation 2 VMs with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager SCVMM
– The FMA or 7.x version of Local Host Cache (LHC) is now enabled by default BUT note that if it was disabled from a prior release of the XAD 7.x then you need to enable it and disable Connection Leasing (CL) https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/manage-deployment/connection-leasing.html which was initially introduced into the 7.x platform to provide a fallback if your SQL database connection was lost or unavailable until LHC was re-introduced in XAD 7.12 – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/manage-deployment/local-host-cache.html but was not enabled by default in the 7.12 release CL was primarily utilised.
– Director App Failure Monitoring – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/policies/reference/virtual-delivery-agent-policy-settings/monitoring-policy-settings.html#App_Failure_Policy_Settings

Security Leading Best Practises
– General Overview https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/secure/best-practices.html.
– Securing your StoreFront 3.12 environment – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-12/secure.html
– Standardise on a single organisation user identity platform e.g AAD by leveraging NetScaler + + StoreFront + FAS which can convert SAML vs. OAuth tokens into virtual smartcards per configured Store within StoreFront to then SSO a user onto there intended virtual apps & desktops without requiring to re-enter his/her in a directory username + password for that resource location (What’s this? Read – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/citrix-cloud-resource-locations.html).
– Slightly obvious to an Citrix expert vs. Citrix Partner but its worth highlighting for newbies to Citrix virtualisation technologies is that XAD management provides Delegated Administration to manage just enough access for different members of the IT vs. compliance departments/business units to have just enough access to complete there daily vs. weekly vs. monthly activities vs. tasks – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/secure/delegated-administration.html and for remote secure access to virtual apps & desktops you will need implement NetScaler Unified Gateway – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/secure/storefront-netscaler.html which can also enable and allow your organisation to control authentication at the edge of your network e.g 2FA vs. MFA vs. using Biometrics with supported 3rd Citrix Ready solutions so check out – https://citrixready.citrix.com. Finally you can also engage with SmartAccess capabilties when fronting XAD for R/A with NUG so check out the following resources for NS 11.x.n – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler-gateway/11/integrate-web-interface-apps/ng-smartaccess-wrapper-con/ng-smartaccess-xd-config-con.html and NS 12.x.n – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler-gateway/12/integrate-web-interface-apps/ng-smartaccess-wrapper-con/ng-smartaccess-xd-config-con.html and there is also a CTX article entitled “CTX227055 Smart Access Guide for NetScaler Gateway, StoreFront and XenDesktop” to review at – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX227055 and finally you can configure Pre-Authentication scans to check that the connecting end-point is compliant (Refer to VDI Handbook section below).
Enabling TLS or Transport Layer Security for ICA/HDX Session – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/secure/tls.html for a detailed how-to from the first LTSR check out the following blog article at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2014/12/11/how-to-secure-ica-connections-in-xenapp-and-xendesktop-7-6-using-ssl/ or download the white paper entitled “Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR FIPS 140-2 Sample Deployments” from – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/about/citrix-xenapp-and-xendesktop-76-fips-140-2-sample-deployments.pdf. During some research I also came across the following CTX article to disable TLS 1.0 for XAD 7.6 LTSR which may or may not be useful to you check out – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX215447.
– How do I assign the right vs. relevant security or UX policy? Refer to the built-in policy templates which you can read at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/policies/policies-templates.html which include the same policy type for modern vs. legacy OSes.

Citrix VDI Handbook for the 7.15 LTSR
Recommended pages of interest to read from “Citrix VDI Best Practices for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR” – https://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/downloads/Citrix%20VDI%20Handbook%207.15%20LTSR.pdf which I am commonly asked about so I thought it makes sense with the current LTSR to list them out here for everyone to focus on what is right vs. relevant for PoC’s e.t.c

– Page 11 which focus on CCS Methodology
– Page 32 Five-Layer Design Model and Conceptual Architectures for XAD environments
– Page 35-37 Site topology covering latency, bandwidth vs. number of users
– Page 50-52 covers StoreFront keywords to the behaviour of the delivery of virtual resoucres
– Page 52 Scaling vs. sizing of your StoreFront cluster
– Page 54 Calculate what NetScaler required SSL through-put however i’d strong recommended engage with your Citrix rep for leading best practise vs. guidance as this can/may differ dependant upon your choose appliance vs. firmware version.
– Page 58 Implement GSLB with HDX Optimised routing to ensure connecting users in a regional vs. global deployment connect to better NUG by proximity.
– Page 63 HDX Display Protocol
– Page 66- User Profile types for Local, Roaming, Mandatory & Hybrid vs. virtual apps & desktop chooses model
– Page 79 Built-in Policy templates to optimise the UX based upon your organisational requirements
– Page 88-93 vCPU/RAM/Storage I/O vs. User workload types light, medium and heavy
– Page 94-97 SQL database sizing vs. scaling 5K up to 15K including expected database growth
– Page 98-99 PVS SQL database guidance for suggested sizing
– Page 104 XAD Controller sizing vs. scaling per 5K users which also includes a calculation
– Page 105 LHC considerations if enabled to re-size your control infrastructure for XAD
– Page 107 Citrix Cloud connector sizing for 5K users in private vs. public cloud
– Page 113-116 SQL Database sizing
– Page 121-129 PVS Accelerator with XenServer
– Page 132-140 Hardware Formulas for sizing vs. scaling including GPU(s)

Deploying a XAD 7.15 LSTR PoC
Coming…

2017 UKI #CitrixPartnerLove Challenge #7 Stop the Difference

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

You can download the image at https://t.co/nqooPlWElw to print.

2017 UKI #CitrixPartnerLove Challenge #6 Traffic Flows

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

You can download the image at https://lnkd.in/dN74-97 to print.

Deploying & Understanding the NetScaler Gateway Service from Citrix Cloud

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to better understand NetScaler Gateway Service from Citrix Cloud test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop Service prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
NETSCALER GATEWAY SERVICE – nsg service or ngs
CITRIX CLOUD CONNECTOR – connector
NETSCALER – ns
HIGH-AVAILABILITY – h/a
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
CITRIX CLOUD – cc
INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE – iaas
VIRTUAL APPLIANCE – vpx
USER EXPERIENCE – ux
ICA PROXY – hdx proxy

Introduction & Overview
The NetScaler Gateway Service is a simple, clean. effortless and but most importantly a powerful way to demonstrate the power of Citrix Cloud by providing secure remote access to your HDX virtual apps and desktops from your resources location over the internet (https) securely. While this service is very very powerful & simple to implement and use, you should under the keep in-mind that NS VPX/MPX/SDX is fully featured vs. the NSG Service which is focused on delivery of HDX virtual apps & desktops! So in summary when implementing service undering what is right vs. relevant for the customer needs and requirements is very important. Finally you can read more about the service and its benefits at https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/services.html.

+Enabling the NetScaler Gateway Service
1. Login to https://citrix.cloud.com
2. Select to Manage your XAD Service which will take you to https://xenapp.cloud.com/.
3. Select from the drop down menu “Service Delivery” which is beneath the top menu item displayed “Service Creation
4. Now Select to toggle “ON” and choose to use the NSG service (preferred for blog article only) or your own NetScaler (Unified) Gateway at your resource location and if you enable to the NSG Service you can choose to check the session reliability (2598) checkbox.

The UX
Users connect to https://.xendesktop.net and then login using there AD UPN domain credentials e.g lyndon-jon@x1co.eu and the user’s credentials are encrypted through-out the login process. User’s can equally choose between using a full Citrix Receiver (HDX Optimisation Pack 2.x.n for offloading Skype for Business 2015-2016) vs. HTML5 Receiver (HTML5 compliant internet browser) experience by selecting their username in the top right hand corner and selecting to “Change Receiver” to their preferred choice of Receiver. It also important to set the correct +HDX Policy to get the best UX that is good and balanced (backend vs. network vs. client connected device) so I’d suggest that you implement HDX Adaptive Display v2 by selecting the following policy entitled “Use video codec for compression” and select the following option “For actively changing regions” and thereafter tweak the frame rate and adjust the Thinwire color depth support as described at http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_59c9 and you can also read more about benefits and a YouTUBE demostration on HDX Adaptive Display v2 at the following blog article I wrote in 2016 at – http://axendatacentre.com/blog/2016/10/01/foractivelychangingregions/.

HDX Traffic flow of the NSG Service
Please note that traffic flow is based upon the diagram avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/netscaler-gateway-as-a-service.html as of Jan 2017.

1. User MUST login into cloud hosted StoreFront e.g https://.xendesktop.net. There credentials are securely handled please refer to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/technical-security-overview.html to understand the traffic follow.
2. Once the user has authenticated successfully he/she can select to launch a virtual app or desktop.
3. User connects to the NSG Service powered by Citrix Cloud
4. Traffic is securely brokered to the Connector in your resource location that is severing up the user’s selected virtual app or desktop or both from the server or desktop VDA.

Tech Overview of the NSG Service
1. The Citrix Cloud NetScaler Cloud Gateway service on your Connector allows and provides the secure remote access feature of the NSG Service from your chosen resource location. I have written a blog article about the Connector services and leading best practises which you can read at – http://axendatacentre.com/blog/2017/01/27/understanding-the-citrix-cloud-its-services-architecture-connectors/.
2. To ensure high availability you should always deploy at a min a pair of Connectors within your resource location and increase the compute capacity of your Connectors as user demand increases initially and thereafter deploy another Connector based upon usage of service.
3. *To use the NSG Service you MUST configure to use the cloud-hosted StoreFront provided by Citrix Cloud under “Service Delivery” tab at https://xenapp.cloud.com/delivery.
4. The NSG Service only supports HDX Traffic only and the service is currently only available on Eastern, Western coasts within the USA and in Europe so for those users accessing virtual apps and desktops via the NSG Service outside of these geos or not in close proximity to an entry point will experience higher latency so tweak your HDX policy(s)+ accordingly or deploy a NS VPX in your resource location.
5. ICA files are STA signed the below example is a small snippet from my own PoC and testing*. I have also intentionally scrammed some of the unreliable text to :-).

Sample ICA file
My Azure vDesktop $S19-38]
Address=;40;CWSSTA;9D09CE5552BDE4581E888CD87EEEEFC
AutologonAllowed=ON
BrowserProtocol=HTTPonTCP
CGPSecurityTicket=On
ClearPassword=5FFE184444B0A0
ClientAudio=On
ConnectionBar=1
DesiredColor=8
DesiredHRES=4294967295
DesiredVRES=4294967295
DesktopRestartAllowed=1
Domain=\78034E8888586B61

The NSG Service currently does not support and or is limited as of writing this blog article in Jan 2017 and based upon the embedded Twitter image – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/netscaler-gateway-as-a-service.html. Finally please remember that Citrix Cloud is consistently been updated and upgraded with new feature so please please refer to the online documentation and the service overview of Citrix Cloud even a day after posting the blog article as it may become out of date! You’ve been warned!

6. No support for Unified experiences (e.g Branding with your logo, colour scheme).
7. No support for Two Factor Authentication.
8. No support for authentication via outbound proxies for access outside of the resource location over the internet.

Citrix Cloud – NetScaler Gateway Service (NGS) Offering
You can find out more about the NGS subscription options which is avaiable at – https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/subscriptions.html#tab-41499 and the service overview at – https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/services.html#tab-23235

Understanding the Citrix Cloud, its Services, Architecture & Connectors (Draft)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to better understand Citrix Cloud, Connector technology and the overall architecture required to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop Service prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
HIGH-AVAILABILITY – h/a
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
CITRIX CLOUD – cc
INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE – iaas
CITRIX CLOUD CONNECTOR – connector

The Three Primary Cloud Types (Draft Section)
Firstly i’d like to provide my definition of public, private vs. hybrid cloud and in my personal view things like SaaS, PaaS have naturally been spin out or off from IaaS e.g Public Cloud.

Public Cloud is whereby a ISP provides you with SPLA licensing (OS, Application, Service), compute, storage and network capabilities which in turn enables you to create your very own VM instances running in a virtual datacentre on the ISP’s h/w and example providers may include AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform e.t.c

Private Cloud is where you the organisation owns there own OS, Application or Service licenses as well as the physical hardware that allows you to create your own VM instances within your virtual datacentre. In this scenario the h/w is could (a) be purely Colocatied (Colocation) at ISP with or without managed services over and above the Colocation and example providers could include Rackspace, Qubems, Peer1 or (b) your h/w is hosted within your own custom and purpose built data centres facility or comms room dependant upon the organisations size and IT/Technology requirements.

Hybrid Cloud is when public and private clouds are connected securely over a IPSec R/A, L2L or SSL VPN connection.

What is and how Citrix Cloud works
Citrix Cloud is an evergreen, managed control plane from Citrix that provides the traditional Citrix management technologies to delivery e.g Virtual Apps & Desktops as Services thereby reducing overhaul management updates & upgrades. This means that Citrix is responsible for the availability of your Citrix management infrastructure in there Control Plane including ensuring that it is on the latest up to day and production version of e.g XAD to deliver DaaS and or virtual apps. Citrix customers and partners are responsible for what is known as a resource location which is where your apps, network and data resides and can exist in a public, private or hybrid cloud deployment scenario and each resource location is securely connected to the control plane using the Citrix Cloud Connector which initiates an outbound HTTPS connection so your completely in control of your apps, network & data within your resource location(s) at all times.

If I have not technically explained what is and how Citrix Cloud works successfully then please feel free to watch the below embedded YouTUBE video.

Please note that Citrix Workspace Cloud is now know as Citrix Cloud

Citrix Cloud Services as of Jan 2017
The following is my own technical spin/view of each of the Citrix services you can review the Citrix official view of each service at – https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/services.html.

XenApp and XenDesktop Service – HDX virtual app & desktop delivery from any supported resource location running server/workstation VDA(s) while all the XenApp/XenDesktop mgmt infrastructure (Studio/Director) resides in your tenant/account at https://citrix.cloud.com.

XenMobile Service – Deploy Secure Apps (MAM), MDM to control your organisation devices with no need to deploy the XenMobile v/a even at your resource location all you need is either an IPSeC VPN tunnel or the Connector to enumerate users in AD to be assigned to delivery groups.

ShareFile Service – Follow-me data now controlled within one WebUI.

NetScaler Gateway Service – Provides a simple and easy deployment method to gain external remote access to virtual apps & desktops from your resource location(s) via the Citrix Cloud Connector.

Smart Tools Service previously Lifecycle Management – Design, build, automate, auto check & update your resource locations with Citrix validated blue prints.

Secure Browser Service – Provides a secure remote virtual browser(s) to access web (internal vs. external), SaaS apps from the Citrix Cloud with zero configuration, with only a link to access your published web apps via the HTML5 Receiver.

Citrix Cloud Labs – My personal favourite as this area of Citrix Cloud allows you get to test out some of the latest Citrix Innovations from our Labs team as services e.g AppDNA Express; Citrix Provisioning for Microsoft Office 365; IoT Automation; Citrix Launch for Microsoft Access; XenMobile MDX Service and Session Manager

Connector Architecture & Security
The following diagram depicts the H/A deployment of Citrix Cloud Connector for use with the XenApp and XenDesktop Service from Citrix Cloud. Please note that this is a simple architectural diagram that does not include a NetScaler in resource location so the assumption is that you users will connect to their virtual apps and desktops either from within the actual Resource Location or via the NetScaler Gateway service hosted and managed by Citrix Cloud. My personal preference is to leverage a NetScaler physical or virtual appliance within your resource location as the benefits of a NetScaler far exceed and go above and beyond that of a simple ICA Proxy gateway for XenApp/XenDesktop. Perhaps a follow-up blog article why I presume NetScaler in the resource location from my personal view point only or I may decide to update this blog article.

To better understand how to best secure or harden your Cirix Cloud implmentation and its services please refer to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/get-started/secure-deployment-guide-for-the-citrix-cloud-platform.html for leading best practises, process & procedures and configuration requirements.

Citrix Cloud Connector
The following is deep dive overview of Citrix Cloud connector technology for all the services with the exception of the Smart Tools service which leverages its own connector which is used to check your Citrix workloads, scale up/down and or even build or tear down workloads in resource location(s) via blueprints.

Installation & Troubleshooting
You must download and only install the Citrix Cloud Connector for your resource location from “Identity and Access Management” that matched your domain forest, don’t mix and match these! The installation is fairly straight forward and simple as descriobed and outlined at http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/citrix-cloud-connector/installation.html, once the installation completes wait for the connectvity test to pop-up and complete successfully prior to navigating back to Citrix Cloud to validate that the Connector has scuessfully registered with Citrix Cloud+.

You can also perform automated installation leveraging the following command line arguments when installing the Connector “CWCConnector.exe /q /Customer:Customer /ClientId:ClientId /ClientSecret:ClientSecret /ResourceLocationId:ResourceLocationId /AcceptTermsOfService:true.

Although the Connector communicates outbound on HTTPS 443 it make also require one or more of the following ports outbound only as described at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/get-started/secure-deployment-guide-for-the-citrix-cloud-platform.html for one or more of the Citrix Cloud Services so please consultant the documenation for each Service carefuly for high security enviroments to ensure that the organisations firewall ACL’s for the PoC are correctly configured.

You can install hypervisor tools, anti-virus software (Tested as of 26/10/2016++ McAfee VirusScan Enterprise + AntiSpyware Enterprise 8.8) on your VM instances that have the Citrix Cloud Connector technology installed however it is not recommended to install any other software or unnecessary system services nor should you allow any domain users access unless they are a Domain or System administrator of the Citrix environment. In summary treat these Connectors as you would your XAD Controller(Broker).

The installation logs are available at “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Temp\CitrixLogs\CloudServicesSetup” and post the installation its consolidated to the following location “%ProgramData%\Citrix\WorkspaceCloud\InstallLogs“.

Understanding Credential Handling
Coming…http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/technical-security-overview.html

Monitoring your Citrix Cloud Services
1. http://status.cloud.com/ is your friend and will provide you with vital up to date information about the Citrix Cloud platform (control plane or SaaS tier) and each of its Services e.g XenApp and XenDesktop Service or Smart Tools.
2. Monitor the following Connector services described below ++
3. The leading best practises is for the Citrix Cloud Connectors to not be offline longer than two weeks as the connectors are regularly updated from Citrix Cloud with the latest updates (Evergreen) which is why each resource location requires at a bare min 2x or a pair of Connectors.

Connectivity & High-Availability
The Citrix Cloud Connector firstly should always be implemented in pairs at a minimum within any resource location and installed onto either Windows Server 2012 R2 or 2016 AD joined VM instances. The connectors are stateless and brokering requests are load-balanced via Citrix Cloud to the connectors within your resource location(s) and if a connector does not respond the queued tasks are redistributed to the remaining connector(s). As the connectors are stateless this also means that they do store any mgmt configuration for Citrix Workloads at the resource location as this is held within the Citrix Cloud by the Service that you are utilising e.g XenApp and XenDesktop Service.

+If you setup a PoC with a single Connector it will probably display as amber for a period of time prior to turning green as you have only configured 1x Connector for your resource location. You can check your Connector status for your resource locations by navigating from https://citrix.cloud.com/ to https://citrix.cloud.com/identity and under “Domains” select your domain forest(s) and expand it and you can review your Connectors name e.g servername.dommain e.g connector1.x1co.eu and its status (red, amber or green).

The leading best practise for h/a at your resource location is for your Citrix Cloud Connectors to be implemented as N+1 for redundancy – – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%2B1_redundancy.

Logs & Services++ of the Connector
The Connector logs are stored at “C:\ProgramData\Citrix\WorkspaceCloud\Logs or use %ProgramData%\Citrix\WorkspaceCloud\Logs” for verifying ongoing communication and helping with troubleshooting. Once the log(s) size exceeds a certain threshold its deleted BUT Administrators are able to control the log retention size by adjusting the following entry in the Windows registry “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\CloudServices\AgentAdministration\MaximumLogSpaceMegabytes” to meet your organisations logging/auditing requirements.

The core four primary functions/roles of the Connector are Authentication, Proxy, Provisioning and Identity which are powered by the following Citrix Cloud services listed below (as of Jan 2017). You can view a detailed architecture technical diagram of the Connector under the XenApp and XenDesktop Service online documentation at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/technical-security-overview.html.

Connector Functions/Roles
For a more accurate diagram please check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/technical-security-overview.html

Authentication Proxy Provisioning Identity
NetScaler
Unified Gateway
StoreFront
(Optional)

Hypervisor 
Server VDA
 Server 2012 R2, 2016
Desktop VDA
Windows 10

Active Directory, DNS

I’ll update this section with what each of the Connector services actually does

Citrix Cloud AD Provider
Citrix Cloud Agent Logger
Citrix Cloud System
Citrix Cloud WatchDog
Citrix Cloud Credential Provider
Citrix Cloud WebRelay Provider
Citrix Cloud Config Synchronizer Service
Citrix Cloud High Availability Service
Citrix Cloud NetScaler Cloud Gateway
Citrix Cloud Remote Broker Provider
Citrix Cloud Remote HCL Server
Citrix Cloud Session Manager Proxy

Citrix Cloud PoC Guide for the XenApp and XenDesktop Service
I have writen a fairly detailed blog article describing how-to deploy the XenApp and XenDesktop Service here.

Understanding XenApp & XenDesktop 7.12 and What’s New

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.12 prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
LOCAL HOST CACHE – lhc
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
FLEXCAST MANAGEMENT ARCHITECTURE – fma
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
INTERNAL – int
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
DATA TRANSPORT LAYER – edt

What’s New XenApp/XenDesktop 7.12
1. Yes it’s now avaiable & back “Local Host Cache” or LHC as it was most commonly reffered to previously and its back now within XAD 7.x Flexcast Mangagment Architecture (FMA) platform and everything you need to know is avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/manage-deployment/local-host-cache.html* & https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/12/07/local-host-cache-for-fma/ but a few note worth points to mention below followed by an overview of LHC vs. Connection Leasing by a Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop PM Craig. I have also embedded a how-to enable below along with a basic and brief architectural overview of LHC in XAD 7.12 which is powered by FMA and not IMA which is for anything XA 6.5 and below.

N.B LHC is disabled by default to enable it open up PowerShell in Admin mode or launching a PowerShell session using Studio and enter in the following “Set-BrokerSite -LocalHostCacheEnabled $true -ConnectionLeasingEnabled $false” once the command completes execute the following cmdlet “Get-BrokerSite” and check that the following value of “LocalHostCacheEnabled” is set to “True“. Note that CL is now also disabled and both CL and LHC should not be running simultaneously together as this is not supported.
– VDAs re-register with the elected XAD controller (broker)
– Support for up to 5K VDA’s
– LHC services “High Availability Service” performs shadow copy of the control info that the XAD Controller requires and the “Configuration Sync Service” will sync control info/data.
– Adequately size your XAD controllers correctly to account for the compute load required during an outage, please ref to the “RAM size” and “CPU core and socket configuration” sections under “Design considerations and requirements” at LHC documentation at – *.
– LHC utilises Microsoft SQL Server Express LocalDB and is auto installed when you install the XAD 7.12 controller and is installed regardless of weather LHC it enabled or not.
– Local Host Cache is enabled if connection leasing was disabled before the upgrade vs. Local Host Cache is disabled if connection leasing was enabled before the upgrade.
– To force an outage to test LHC in your home lab or organisations test/uat environment on the XAD controller open regedit as a Admin navigate to HKLM\Software\Citrix\DesktopServer\LHC” thereafter create a registry key “OutageModeForced” and set the value to 1 to force an outage mode once you have completed your tests then revert the value to 0. I would suggest prior to attempting to perform this test place a load with a few test by active users for Server VDA based workloads (XenApp) to best understand how LHC works in a failure scenario.

2. Thinwire Compatible Mode 8-bit color depth support (7.12 VDA only otherwise fallback to 24-bit by default) which is configured by select the following HDX policies.

– “ Use video codec for compression” and ref to http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/graphics-policy-settings.html#par_richtext_bc19 for a list of avaiable configurations please note that if configured for the entire screen then 8-bit is NOT SUPPORTED!
– “Preferred color depth for simple graphics” and select the “8-bit” value

3. HTML5 video redirection is now available for INT web sites (disabled by default) and can be enabled by configuring the “Windows Media Redirection” by referring to http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/multimedia-policy-settings.html#par_richtext_5 and you also need require to add the following “JavaScript files are located in %Program Files%/Citrix/ICA Service/HTML5 Video of the VDA installer to your website” a sample external test web page can be found at the “HDX HTML5 video redirection test page at – https://www.citrix.com/virtualization/hdx/html5-redirect.html
4. Azure Hybrid Use Benefits support e.g enable or disable support for the Azure Hybrid Use Benefits (HUB).
5. Record sessions based on client IP addr or range, TLS 1.2 encryption during data transfer and finally highlight idle periods in Player
6. NetScaler UG now supports H/A of HDX Framehawk – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/hdx/framehawk.html with supported NS firmware builds for Framehawk which include 11.0.62 & 11.0.64.34 (+ preffered).
7. HDX Enlightened Data Transport (for evaluation only) or “EDT” – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings.html.

Very High Level Overview*

Adaptive Display
EDT
(Evaluation Only)
TCP
UDP
High Defintion eXperience (HDX 

– Only VDA’s configured with IPv4 addressing is supported
– Requirements XAD +VDA 7.12, StoreFront 3.8
UDP setup on 1494 and 2598 on the VDA remember this is typically TCP but now must also be for UDP
– Enable policy setting “HDX Enlightened Data Transport“. Remember its DISABLED by default and you can setup 3x values “Preferred” UDP data transport is used where possible with a fallback to TCP, “Diagnostic mode” forces a UDP data transports with a fallback to TCP & “Off meaning TCP is used & does’nt affect HDX RealTime”
– If you are evaluating this then please refer to the “Tech Preview of New Adaptive Transport in 7.12” forum at – http://discussions.citrix.com/forum/1663-tech-preview-of-new-adaptive-transport-in-712/
– Note when testing directly from eDoc’s “the new data transport layer (“EDT”) is allowed by default in Citrix Receiver for Windows, however, by default, it will only attempt to use EDT if the setting in the ICA file for HDXoverUDP is Preferred or On” also please ref to the notes relating to Receiver on Mac’s

You can learn more about this evaluation by reading the following blog posts – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/12/14/overcoming-latency-to-serve-a-global-user-population/* and https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/12/08/take-a-look-under-the-hood-of-next-generation-hdx/ by Citrix’s HDX PM Derek.

8. You can very easily setup and try XenApp 7.12 in Microsoft Azure today via Azure Marketplace by searching for “XenApp 7.12” or click the following link – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/marketplace/partners/citrix/citrix-xacitrix-xa-trial/ after signing into the Azure Portal at – https://portal.azure.com/.
9. Tagging with “App Groups” now provides the ability to a tag a VM(s) so that when published virtual apps in Application Group or virtual desktops in a Delivery Group are restricted to launch from VM(s) that have been tagged.

10. Advanced Reboot Schedules

11. In StoreFront 3.8 you can create multiple IIS sites and thereafter use the following PoSH cmdlet below to create a StoreFront deployment within your own IIS sites – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-8/plan.html. What does this actually mean? You can host multiple RfW sites (stores) with each having its own domain name. In order to create your custom websites in IIS for your Stores and ReceiverforWeb firstly open up PowerShell using Studio (Simple way) then close Studio. Next you MUST ensure that NO other StoreFront MMC snap-in consoles are open within your StoreFront cluster and also on the individual Windows server (minimised) that you are setting up IIS sites. StoreFront will disable the mgmt console and displays a message. TIP: To learn how-to setup IIS sites/website please visit – https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/323972

– From your open PowerShell window enter in the following which will create a custom IIS site/website for virtual apps and one for virtual desktops
– Type “Add-STFDeployment -SiteID 1 -HostBaseURL “https://www.storefront.app.com”” (Virtual apps)
– Type “Add-STFDeployment -SiteID 2 -HostBaseURL “https://www.storefront.desktop.com”” (Virtual desktops)
– Type exit and close the Powershell window prior to opening up Studio or a StoreFront MMC snap-in on any server in the StoreFront cluster

12. Although this one is not strictly new to StoreFront 3.8 and XenApp/XenDesktop 7.12 its often an overlooked feature (For CTX SysAdmins) which is the ability to securely export and then re-import your entire StoreFront configuration including using PoSH credentials for (de)encryption of the backup configuration. To learn more please check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-8/export-import-storefront-config.html and use the feature prior to any StoreFront upgrades or migrations.

Deprecation Forecast
I would strongly recommend that you review and understand the Deprecation forecast announcements made during the XenApp/XenDesktop 7.12 release which is avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_5da8.

Deploying a Citrix Cloud – XenApp and XenDesktop Service PoC

The following content is a brief and unofficial overview of how-to front your virtual apps & desktops powered by Citrix Cloud XenApp & XenDesktop Service and the NetScaler Gateway Service using an Azure (IaaS) resource location. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions, best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm or thinwire+
SELF-SERVICE PASSWORD RESET – sspr
VIRTUAL GPU – vgpu
PROOF OF CONCEPT – poc
XENAPP AND XENDESKTOP SERVICE – xad service
CITRIX CLOUD CONNECTOR – CC Connector
ACCESS CONTROL LISTS – acl
FIREWALL – f/w

What is Citrix Cloud?
Firstly this blog post will be updated through-out Nov, Dec 2016 as I still have a few minor additions and adjustments to make but in principle this blog post should help you stand up a Citrix Cloud – XAD Service PoC successfully with your chosen resource location.

Citrix Cloud provides a control plane that includes Citrix technologies as services e.g XenApp and XenDesktop Service that allows Citrix SysAdmin’s to setup, configure and deliver virtual apps & desktops to users on any device, anytime and from any location from your chosen resource location which could be hosts runnings in a data centre running XenServer, Hyper-V, Acropolis*, vSphere vs. hyper-converged appliances (Nutanix*, Atlantis) or it could running in an IaaS or public cloud providers e.g Azure or AWS e.t.c

Your resource location of choice is connected to the Citrix Cloud control plane through something called the Citrix Cloud Connector which is installed onto a supported Windows server OSes that is domain-joined in pairs which runs a services that communicates to the control plane outbound on HTTPS/443 which also has the added benefit of NOT requiring any type of VPN (SSL, R/A or IPSec GRE Tunnel)!

Adopting Citrix Cloud introduces an evergreen or SaaS-style update(s) approach to the Citrix infrastructure components as an example within the XenApp and XenDesktop Service e.g the controller, licensing server, storefront are hosted and managed by Citrix and auto updated (evergreen) thus reducing infrastructure updates, upgrades so IT can focus on other workspace projects e.g implementing Skype for Business – http://axendatacentre.com/blog/2016/04/25/deploying-skype4b-2015-offloaded-from-a-citrix-hdx-virtual-app-or-desktop/ or daily tasks, activities thus reducing System Administration time which equates to cost savings or shifting more IT time onto providing the very best near to local like delivery and user experience as they have more time.

The Goal of this PoC
In this blog post I will describe how-to setup and deploy the “Citrix Cloud – XenApp and XenDesktop Service” using Microsoft Azure as my resource location of choice for this PoC to deliver virtual apps & desktops (Server based) including enabling remote access in its simplest form using the NetScaler Gateway Service which enables secure, remote access to virtual apps & desktops from anywhere with an internet connection using the Citrix Receiver or the HTML5 Receiver all without having to deploy a NetScaler in your resource location – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/netscaler-gateway-as-a-service.html and accesing a published Skype for Business 2015 HDX optimised virtual app powered by the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.x.n – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-1.html published from a Windows Server 2012 R2 OS server to virtual desktop powered by Windows Server 2016.

Traffic Flows, Metadata & Credential Handling
The following provides insight into the traffic flows when/how users connect to there virtual apps & desktop when using the Citrix Cloud – XenApp and XenDesktop Service.

NetScaler Gateway Service
http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/netscaler-gateway-as-a-service.html

XAD Service
http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/technical-security-overview.html

Comparing services and pricing is available at – https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/subscriptions.html

Pre-requisites & System Requirements
0. Trial Checklist – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/workspace-cloud/downloads/apps-desktops-trial-checklist.pdf which via the XAD Service eDoc root at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service.html.
1. An Azure subscription with sufficient credits and compute resources for your own personal requirements for your own PoC. You’ll also need to understand the concepts of Azure so I’d suggest you begin with reviewing the online documentation available at – https://azure.microsoft.com/ or visit VMFocus blog at https://vmfocus.com/2016/11/07/70-533-implementing-microsoft-azure-infrastructure-solutions-prep-exam-experience/ and scroll to the prepartion text in bold.
2. A Citrix Cloud account with access to the XAD Service check out – https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/ for details and information about a trial.
3. Citrix Cloud Connector downloaded from your XAD Service to your Azure resource location onto a shared folder e.g network share on your Windows domain controller or file server. For the basic’s of how-to download and install check out the installation overview at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/citrix-cloud-connector/installation.html.
4. Download the VDA’s from https://apps.cloud.com/downloads which is only accessiable once your have sucessfully authenticated at https://citrix.cloud.com/.
5. A Windows Server 2012 R2 VM running at a min “Active Directory”, “DNS” and the “Citrix Cloud Connector” and one more VM optional only if you want to keep costs down but preferred to match a real-work scenario would be to have a second Windows Server 2012 R2 VM running the “Citrix Cloud Connector” so that you have a pair of connectors talking to Citrix Cloud.
6. A pair of Windows Server 2012 R2 one to be used for or as a +hosted shared server virtual desktop and the other to deliver virtual apps e.g Skype for Business 2015-16 HDX Optimised Doc’s – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-1/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-overview.html, video overview at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpOSi_FkA7c.
7. A Windows Server 2016 VM to be your second +hosted shared server virtual desktop (Preferred choice for me :-)) so you can demonstrate publishing virtual apps into both +virtual desktops and demonstrate Windows Server 2016 as a DaaS VD or just a show and tell back to your organisations management to begin thinking moving to Windows Server 2016 from 2008 R2 or 2012 R2.

Deploying your Citrix Cloud Connectors
1. Prior to starting your installation please be sure to switch “Enhanced Security Configuration (ESC)” off during the installation.
2. Right-click on the CC Connector and run as Administrator.
3. Enter in your Citrix Cloud Administrator access details and you’ll receive a list of available customer accounts in your case you should only have one so select it and continue.
4. The installation will install the required software components and prior to finishing it will perform “connectivity test” this will take up to 60 seconds.
5. Make some coffee or tea if you’re British or a British South African born while the Citrix Cloud Connector communicates with the Citrix CLoud control plane successfully registers.
6. Navigate to Citrix Cloud select from the menu bar in the top left-hand corner “Identity & Access Management” on the “Domains” tab you should now see your domain with a status of “Ready ” if you see amber anywhere this is because one of your connectors is not in a ready state or you only have 1x connector in your choosen resource location.
7. Don’t proceed until your connector(s) are in a Ready state in Citrix Cloud, this is very important!

Deploy your Virtual Apps & Desktops
1. At https://citrix.cloud.com/ select under “Services List” parallel to the “XenApp and XenDesktop Service” click on “Manage” blue button. Note that you can also get to mgmt consoles by clicking the menu icon top left-hand corner and from the list select the service that you wish to administer e.g XAD Service.
2. You’ll now be redirected to https://apps.cloud.com/ and scroll to the bottom of the webpage to identify what your cloud hosted StoreFront server address is e.g https://tttemea10.xendesktop.net/Citrix/StoreWeb/, right click and say open in a new tab.
3. Now click on the downwards arrow on “Manage” and you’ll see two options e.g “Service Creation” and “Service Delivery”. Please click on Service Delivery which should take you to https://apps.cloud.com/delivery and you’ll see the below available options. Simply toggle to select your preferred delivery options for delivery of your virtual apps & desktops choosing in this case to utilise the Citrix Cloud – XAD Service cloud hosted StoreFront and or NetScaler Gateway Service. I will follow-up with another blog post in the future covering off deploying this PoC BUT using StoreFront and NetScaler (Unified) Gateway in your chosen “resource location” BUT for now I am keeping it clean and simple. Please verify that your toggle’s match what you see in the below image prior to proceeding (Also see the 3rd tip!!!). If want to use StoreFront – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/setting-up-storefront.html and NetScaler – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/getting-started.html#par_anchortitle_1403 in your resource location the read the provided links above.


TIP/HINT 1: You can choose to toggle off “Session Reliability”.
TIP/HINT 2: Where you configure the XAD Controller point this to the Citrix Cloud Connector.
TIP/HINT 3: The NetScaler Gateway Service is sold separately from the XAD Service as of 2017 Q1 ref – https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/subscriptions.html

4. Now click on the downwards arrow on “Manage” and now please click on Service Creation which should take you to https://apps.cloud.com/manage you’ll notice a spinning icon in the middle of your screen for a few seconds and then your securely hardened Studio console will be avaiable to you published using the latest HTML5 Receiver which includes auto screen resizing dynamically (change the browser window size :-)), copy and paste.
5. Create your “Machine Catalog(s)” as per normal if your unsure then follow the steps as outlined at http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/install-configure/machine-catalogs-create.html then return back to Citrix Cloud published Studio. Create three machine catalog’s if following the blog post 1x machine catalog for virtual apps powered by Win Srv 2012 R2, 2x virtual desktops one powered by Win Server 2012 R2 and one by 2016. Once you have created your machine catalog’s then check that the VM within each “Machine Catalog(s)” have a successful Registered State if the VM(s) in your each catalog(s) don’t register then review my quick troubleshooting guidance below at the end of this blog article.
6. Next create a “Delivery Group” almost like normal once agian if your are unsure the how-to is avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/install-configure/delivery-groups-create.html remeber agin if following this blog post 1x delivery group for virtual apps powered by Win Srv 2012 R2 and 2x delivery groups for virtual desktops powered by Win Server 2012 R2 and 2016 BUT there is one very important exception which is that once you select the machines and you get to the user section be very sure to select “⚹Leave user management to Citrix Cloud. This makes the Delivery Group available as an offering when configuring your Citrix Cloud Workspaces.”http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/get-started/creating-and-publishing-a-workspace.html.



6. Now that you have created a Machine Catalog, Delivery Group you need to assign users to these resources so click the menu icon in the top left-hand corner and select “Workspaces“. You’ll see “My First Workspace” just ignore it for now and select the “+ Workspaces” icon it’s large you just cannot miss it! Note that workspaces are now referred service offerings which you assign to users from your Library – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/get-started/assigning-users-to-offerings-using-library.html.
7. Enter in a name for your workspace e.g PoC Workspace.
8. Select “✎ Manage” under your Workspace name and now from the available “Citrix Cloud Services” list select the “XenApp and XenDesktop Service” and you’ll see your delivery group(s) dependant if you completely followed this blog post on the right-hand side so simply select your virtual apps and virtual desktops that you wish to publish to this workspace, it’s your choice but in this PoC we’ll be selecting all avaiable delivery groups to delivery virtual apps & desktops. Once selected click on “Update Workspace” blue button above.
9. Your workspace now contains virtual apps & desktops that can be consumed by subscribers e.g users.
10. Now that you have created your first Workspace e.g PoC Workspace in Citrix Cloud using the XenApp & XenDesktop Service all that is left to do is to add users BUT in a Citrix Cloud world they are known as “subscribers“!
11. Select your e.g PoC Workspace once more and click on “Subscribers” tab and you’ll see a domain list below on your left-hand side so select your “domain” and to your right you’ll see an input field type in your subscriber’s username e.g lynd which will then query your AD via the Citrix Cloud connector securely and it will find and return your user(s) e.g lyndon-jon@x1co.eu and once it is listed select the user(s) from your query and they will be added to the list below, now repeat the process to add all other test/poc subscribers or AD test/poc security groups to your e.g PoC Workspace and then click on the “Update Workspace” blue button above to save the subscribers to this workspace.


TIP/HINT: You can also select AD Security Groups not just AD users.

Initial Test
Your users/subscribers should now be able to login to the Cloud hosted StoreFront available at e.g https://YOURCUSTOMERNAME.xendesktop.net using an HTML5 internet browser or Citrix Receiver.

HDX Policies
Please assign your policies as you prefer to users, delivery groups e.t.c. You’ll also notice that I have not applied a FPS limit to every policy only the ones that are balanced as most often these need to adjusted to be fit for purpose for standard office workers to enable user density gains on the backend and bandwidth savings while maintaining a decent and good UX. My personal preference is “HDX Adaptive Display v2“.

HDX Adaptive Display v2 HDX Adaptive Display v2 (Balanced) Thinwire Compatible Mode Thinwire Compatible Mode (Balanced) H.264
1.”Use video codec for compression” then select the option to be “For actively changing regions 1.”Use video codec for compression” then select  “For actively changing regions
2. “Preferred color depth for simple graphics” then select “16 bits per pixel” and also try 24.
1.”Use video codec for compression” then select the option to be “Do not use video codec 1.”Use video codec for compression” then select the option to be “Do not use video codec
2. “Preferred color depth for simple graphics” then select “16 bits per pixel” and also try 24.
3. “Frames Per Second” then enter in a value of “25-30“.
1.”Use video codec for compression” then select the option to be “For the entire screen
2. “Frames Per Second” then enter in a value of “30” (Optional)
My personal preferred choice My 2nd personal preferred choice

Advanced Remote Access using a NetScaler in your Resource Location with(out) StoreFront
The following has been tested using the latest NS firmware 11.1 available in the Azure marketplace as of 05/03/2017.

1. Login to NetScaler admin WebUI using the following firmware 11.1.x.n
2. Check that your appliance is correctly licensed.
3. Select the “Unified Gateway” wizard.
4. Enter in your assigned VIP (private IP addr or in Azure NSIP:8443) and enter in a vServer friendly name e.g myUG
5. Select to “Install Cert” a valid public CA signed cert either *.pfx vs. *.pem.
6. Configure LDAP either use an exciting or add a new server for LDAP auth and choose the “Server Logon Name Attribute” as userPrincipalName .
7. Select “Portal Theme” and select “RfWebUI”
8. Now under the under “Applications” select and add “XenApp/XenDesktop” and now enter in your resource location or Cloud-Hosted StoreFront “FQDN” and select “Test Connection” which should retrieve and auto configure the required settings and thereafter a green bar will appear if successful if not then manually configured based upon the following guidance below.

– Enter in “Site Path” e.g /Citrix/StoreWeb/
– Enter in your Sign Sign-on Domain e.g x1co.eu
– Enter in “Store Name” e.g Store
– Enter in “Secure Ticket Authority (STA) Server” which will be the Citrix Cloud Connector IP addr
– StoreFront server IP Addr:

Option 1 – If using the cloud-hosted StoreFront FQDN e.g https://*.xendesktop.net then please use the IP addr of the Citrix Cloud Connector in your resource location.
Option 2 – If using a StoreFront server in the resource location please use its IP addr.

9. Do not configure a “Xen Farm” please just select and “Continue” and complete steps to finish the Wizard.
10. The dashboard overview of “Unified Gateway” should indicate all up and green.

Remote PowerShell SDK for the XenApp and XenDesktop Service
Coming but have a read of – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/remote-powershell-sdk.html in the intermin.

Troubleshooting Guidance
VDA Registration Issue
1. Make sure that forward and reverse DNS is setup correctly for the VDA’s and the CC Connectors.
2. Check that the following Citrix Cloud services “Citrix Remote Broker Provider” and “Citrix Cloud Agent System, Logger & WatchDog“are successfully started on your Citrix Cloud Connector(s) VM instances.
3. Ensure that HTTPS/443 is NOT disabled outbound on any of your CC Connectors either via the Windows Firewall or your hardware or virtual f/w ACL’s.