Category Archives: Citrix Workspace Cloud

Azure AD SAML Sign-in with Virtual Smartcard to Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops

Consider this an evergreen post as of 10/06/2020

Introduction
The purpose of this blog post to aim for a consistent modern authentication experience for employees when consuming Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops (CVAD) + CVAD Service regardless of where the (CVAD) workloads are running, either in *Azure, *AWS, *GCP or *On-Premises. The primary priority is that the employees identity is owned and managed by a cloud identity platform e.g Azure Active Directory (AAD) and the employees identity within each resource location* for CVAD usage maps to AD shadow accounts. These AD shadow accounts represent the employee as a UPN e.g human.name@domain, with a RANDOM long complex password that the employee doesn’t need to ever know and all IT is required to do beyond creating a AD shadow account is then assign the right vs. relevant security privileges and access to CVAD including Policies meeting local, geo of industry compliance and governance while maintaining a great employee experience.

The second priority is that the employees device can frictionlessly access CVAD resources using either a Forward Proxy, SD-WAN Overlay Network or ICA Proxy. I do recognise that many organisations are still required to make use of a VPN style strategy at the current moment and therefore this solution can also work for those devices as well repurposing the existing Citrix Gateway to also support a Full VPN beyond ICA Proxy or you can use other well established and trusted VPN solution providers.

Leveraging a Bring Your Own “either Enterprise vs. Personal” Identity (ByoI) is a concept I ponded way back in 2017 and now feels like the right time to pick that up concept again during the current Workplace transformation happening all around the world due to world wide COVID-19 pandemic. Using a ByoI strategy as high level vision you can efficiently deploy CVAD to any *Azure, *AWS, *GCP region or *On-Premises with less friction and you don’t need to be worry about “Password Syncing” just replicate the employee’s UPN + AD Security Privileges + CVAD Access & Policies where its required. It has the added benefit if you want do mix and match public cloud workloads to avoid lock-in amongst other topics, you’ll be providing a common and consistent login interface + experience irrespective of where the workload is sat.

It another brilliant benefit is the on-boarding of 3rd Parties (3P’s) using ByoI concept with a business check at the edge, the 3P brings there owned Identity and in the current world we live in I don’t think that is bad thing it could even strength that employees individual security as there identity will be bound to a smartphone which knows more about your individuals habits and you that you know yourself. If we can unlock a co-shared responsibility identity model between the individual + organisation we can truly aim for a passwordless workspace that only uses virtual smartcards or tokens.

Finally the on-boarding of M&A employees can be faster as you can generate them a few days after commercial signing with a new brand identity that resides in Azure AD (or Google, OKTA e.t.c) whilst they continue accessing existing workplace apps + data with current AD credentials, IT + HR + Business can choose when to layer in the “NEW” Workspace Platform for Work from group perspective into the existing Workspace with less friction and complexity. Yes this final topic is complex when we think about merging different Business IT and IT Systems together, a CVAD strategy with FAS bridges the GAP reducing friction and complexity for IT to sun rise a new Workspace stack for that newly acquired organisation while sunsetting the exciting Workspace stack and those new M&A employees get to on-board beyond the Workspace into there new organisations people, its culture, vision and values and avoids the IP drain that often can easily happen.

The Employee Experience

High Level Architecture
The scenario below depicts accessing a StoreFront server on any device type from within the Workplace fabric in any office locally or world wide or from a IT managed device that makes use of a Full VPN, Forward Proxy technology; WFH Citrix SD-WAN appliance where traffic passes over an SD-WAN overlay network; Citrix Endpoint Management enrolled smart device with per-app mVPN configured and finally irrespective of the devices management status you can use ICA Proxy* to access CVAD resources anywhere over the internet inclusive of any home via a Citrix ADC (formerly NetScaler) using the Gateway functionality which is “VPN-Less*”.

Systems Requirements & Pre-requisites
1. A UAT or Test CVAD 1912 LTSR Site that already setup. My personal one runs in AWS EC2 as it retains hosting connections or public clouds to preform MCS provisioning of machines from customer own and managed control plane. You can also use the Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops (CVAD) Service or sign-up at https://citrix.cloud.com/ and engage your local Citrix representatives to get a trial setup for the CVAD Service.
2. Deploy a new VM which will run the following Citrix 1912 LTRS StoreFront and Federated Authentication Service (FAS) roles to create a new “Store” on StoreFront called “AAD” which will be configured to accept the Azure AD SAML token which will then convert the AAD SAML tokens into a Citrix virtual smartcard to SSO the employee onto CVAD resources.
3. Install StoreFront – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/1912-ltsr/install-standard.html after reading the system requirements – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/1912-ltsr/system-requirements.html.
4. Setup and Configure FAS Role on your StoreFront Server – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/federated-authentication-service/1912/install-configure.html after reading the system requirements carefully – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/federated-authentication-service/1912/system-requirements.html, this part shouldn’t be a problem e.g leaning on on Security teams whom control the Enterprise CA Admins as you’ll hopefully be using a proper UAT or Test CVAD environment with all the Microsoft management servers and roles including an Enterprise CA which FAS requires and access to AD introduce new GPO’s.
5. An Azure AD “personal or business test” tenant.

Deployment Guide

Azure AD Setup & Configuration – Personal Home Lab Edition
If you have a separate Azure AD tenant in Azure you can proceed to the next section, however if you are an IT Pro that wants to test out how to convert Azure AD SAML logins to Citrix virtual smartcards for CVAD the following the below guidance below for setting up a personal ADD tenant with a personal Azure account for your home lab. WARNING I am not an Azure AD nor on-premises AD expert, therefor follow the leading practises found in Microsofts documentation for Azure AD.

1. Navigate to https://portal.azure.com and sign-in with your live vs. personal Microsoft account. Select β€œCreate a resource”.
2. Select β€œIdentity” then select β€œAzure Active Directory”.
3. Enter in an β€œOrganisation Name, Initial domain name and select your Country or region”.
4. The wizard will begin creating your AAD tenant .
5. Once it completes click the hyperlink within β€œClick here to manage your new directory”.
6. At the Overview page of your new AAD tenant select β€œUsers” under β€œManage” section.
7. Select β€œ+ New user” under the β€œAll Users (Preview)” Overview you’ll notice your personal email addr.
8. You’ll notice when creating a new employee account for your AAD tenant that you can only append domain.onmicrosoft.com to the username, I’ll explain how-to convert that to user@domain and remove the UPN requirement of user@doamin.onmicrosoft.com in the next few steps. For now fill the following fields β€œUser name”; β€œName”; β€œFirst name”; β€œLast name”; β€œPassword” (choose or auto-generate) and the select β€œCreate” keeping the defaults as they are.
9. Your new AAD employee is successful created, you can assign roles. NOTE for my personal testing purposes I didn’t configure anything as I’ll delete that test employee AAD account after my testing.
10. At this point I’m not going to deploy nor setup the β€œAzure AD Connect” in my Citrix Cloud Resource Location as I want the employees primary identity to always reside in Azure AD as the single source of truth, and then bring that identity to my Citrix Cloud Resource Location e.g Bring your own Identity (ByoI) and after a successful AAD SAML login map that to a hardened AD Shadow account with long complex password that the employee will never know and all I need to do it assign the AD security privilege and access for CVAD resources. This approach means that employee will NEVER enter in a AD password within a Citrix Cloud Resource Location that is configured for AAD (or Google, OKTA e.t.c) when using CVAD 1912 LTSR StoreFront and the Federated Authentication Service (FAS) in a Resource Location(s). For complex environments yes you’ll likely deploy the β€œAzure AD Connect” software as a role somewhere to replicate the employees but you don’t need to replicate there passwd or you can provision the employee twice once in AAD as in the example above and then again manually in AD in the Resource Location as there corresponding AD shadow account which matches the UPN from AAD when authenticating using SAML to StoreFront, the choice is yours but I found for testing purposes a manual in each is far less frictionless.

On-Premises Active Directory (AD) within your Resource Location
1.Create a new AD “Shadow” account that matches the “User Principal Name (UPN)” in AAD e.g user@domain, generate a random long complex password which they don’t need know and then assign or inherit the right vs. relevant AD security groups, GPOs that you would usually assign to a CVAD consumer.
2. On-board your domain into Azure AD which required verifying it with a MX record to avoid using user@domain.onmicrosoft.com so that you can use user@domain keeping it simple and less complex.

Installation and Configuring the Federated Authentication Service (FAS)
1. On the new VM that you just installed 1912 LTSR StoreFront role onto from the existing mounted ISO run the autorun splash screen and select β€œFederated Authentication Service”.
2.Read the EULA which you’ll need to β€œAccept the Licenses Agreement” to continue.
3. Accept the defaults and select β€œNext” on the “Core Components” page.
4. Accept the defaults and select β€œNext” on the “Firewall” page.
5. Once the installer is finished select β€œFinish” to close.
6. Open a PowerShell window in Admin mode then copy & paste the following code below, which will enable a trust between the CVAD Controller and the StoreFront server, minimise this window you’ll require it later.

Set-BrokerSite -TrustRequestsSentToTheXmlServicePort $true

7. Navigate to the following path β€œC:\Program Files\Citrix\Federated Authentication Service\PolicyDefinitions\” on the current StoreFront server that you installed FAS role onto, copy the following two files β€œCitrixFederatedAuthenticationService.admx” and β€œCitrixBase.admx” the entire folder β€œen-US” to a network share which will need to be accessible from your Windows Domain Controller or WDC.
8. Connect to your Windows Domain Controller (WDC) via RDS from the current StoreFront + FAS server and copy the two *.admx FAS files including folder β€œen-US” from your network share to the following path on the β€œC:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions” on your WDC.
9. Open an β€œMMC” console and load the β€œGroup Policy Management Editor” snap-in, at the prompt for a Group Policy Object, select β€œBrowse” and then select ”Default Domain Policy”.
10. In the MMC console navigate to β€œDefault Domain Policy [server name] > Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Citrix Components > Authentication” and you should see the following three policies available β€œFederated Authentication Service”, β€œStoreFront FAS Rule” and β€œIn-session Certificates”.
11. Select and open the β€œFederated Authentication Service” policy, next select to β€œEnable” it followed by selecting the β€œShow” button parallel to β€œDNS Addresses” label and enter in the FQDN e.g. β€œserver.domain” of your StoreFront + FAS server and then select β€œOK” and then select β€œOK” to save the policy configuration and enabling FAS.
12. Next select and open β€œIn-session Certificates” and select β€œEnabled” and in the β€œConsent timeout (seconds):” field type in a value of “30” which is the default.
13. Next close the MMC console and open up the existing PowerShell (Admin mode) and copy and paste the following code to force a Group Policy Update. 

gpupdate /force

14. Minimise the RDS connection from your WDC so that you are back on your StoreFront + FAS server. Search and open up Citrix FAS in Admin mode, if you don’t you will be notified in the UI and then select β€œrun this program as administrator” which will reload the FAS UI in Admin mode.
15. Select to β€œDeploy” for β€œDeploy certificate templates”.
16. Select β€œOk” on the pop-up window that appears.
17. You’ve now successfully deployed the certificate templates, now select β€œPublish” for β€œSet up a certificate authority”.
18. Select the right Enterprise Certificate Authority (CA) from the available list and select β€œOk”.
19. You’ve now deployed the certificate templates successfully to your Enterprise CA, now select β€œAuthorize” for β€œAuthorize this service”.
20. Select the right Enterprise Certificate Authority (CA) from the available list (same as above) and select β€œOk”.
21. The FAS UI will display a spinning icon as the authorisation request is pending on the Enterprise CA server. 
22. Connect to your Enterprise CA via RDS and the β€œMicrosoft Certification Authority” MMC Console and navigate to β€œCA > CA Server > Pending Requests” you’ll see pending certificate right click it select β€œAll Tasks > Issue” and the certificate will be issued. 
23. Verify the issues certificates are issued by selecting β€œIssued Certificates” and verify you can see two issues certificated that begin with β€œCitrix_RegistrationAu…”.
24. Minimise your RDS session to your Enterprise CA and return to the StoreFront + FAS server, you now notice the β€œAuthorize this service” says β€œReauthorize” which is correct as the FAS service is now authorised with the Enterprise CA. Next select β€œCreate” for β€œCreate a rule”, which launch a new window.
25. Accept the default β€œCreate the default rule (recommended)” and select β€œNext”.
26. Accept the default β€œCitrix_SmartcardLogon (recommended)” and select β€œNext”.
27. Select the previously selected and configured Enterprise CA you Authorised and select β€œNext”.
28. Select β€œAllow in-session use” and select β€œNext” if you enabled the following policy β€œIn-session Certificates” earlier.
29. Select β€œManage StoreFront access permissions (access is currently denied)” in red text which will open a new window.
30. Remove β€œDomain Computers” and add the β€œServer” running the StoreFront + FAS roles and under β€œPermissions” to β€œAllow” then select β€œApply” and β€œOk”.
31. The screen will update with β€œManage StoreFront access permissions” to now be in blue text, now select β€œNext”.
32. Select β€œManage user access permissions (all users are currently allowed)” in red text which will open a new window.
33. You can change to default β€œDomain Users” to your own test AD security group, then under β€œPermissions” to β€œAllow” then select β€œApply” and β€œOk”.
34. The screen will update with β€œManage user permissions (all users are currently allowed)” to now be blue text, now select β€œManage VDA permissions (all VDAs are currently allowed)” which is in red text.
35. You can change to default β€œDomain Computers” to your own test AD security group that your Citrix Virtual Delivery Agents (VDA) are found within, then under β€œPermissions” to β€œAllow” then select β€œApply” and β€œOk”.
36. The screen will update with β€œManage VDA permissions (all VDAs are currently allowed)” to now in blue text, now select β€œNext”.
37. Now select β€œCreate” and a “Default” FAS rule.
38. You have now successfully setup and configured Citrix FAS, you still need to enable FAS Claims for your “AAD” store on StoreFront which is covered later in this blog post.

Creating a new Store call “AAD” for Azure AD SAML Authentication in StoreFront
1. Open Studio and select “StoreFront” then select β€œStores” and the on the β€œActions tab” select β€œCreate Store”.
2. On the splash screen select “Next“.
3. Type in β€œAAD” for the β€œStore Name” field and click β€œNext”.
4. Select β€œAdd” list a CVAD controller, a new window will appear where you need provide the following information a β€œDisplay Name” e.g Citrix Cloud Connectors vs. CVAD 1912 LTSR, for the “Type” select β€œCitrix Virtual Apps and Desktops” and under β€œServers” list select β€œAdd” and type in the Citrix Cloud Connector or CVAD 1912 LTSR addresses and choose β€œTransport type” either HTTP 80 or HTTPS 443 (Preferred) and click “OK”.
5. You are now returned to the “Delivery Controller” page with a list of either Citrix Cloud Connectors or CVAD Controllers 1912 LTSR, click “Next“.
6. Now on the “Configure Authentication Methods” page select β€œSAML Authentication” and leave β€œUser name and password” checked as YES, then click β€œNext”.
7. Ignore “Remote Access” configuration and click “Next“. NOTE: I will update this blog post at a later date with the Remote Access via Citrix Gateway formerly NetScaler Gateway.
8. Accept the default’s on the “Configure XenApp Services URL” and click “Create”.
9. StoreFront will begin creating your new “AAD” Store on your StoreFront server, once the wizard completes select “Test Site” to verify you can see a webpage that displays Citrix Receiver or you can navigate to β€œhttps://FQDN/Citrix/AADWeb/” replacing the FQDN with your own to verify the webpage is available.

Generating AAD SAML Configuration for StoreFront
1. In the Azure AD UI in the Azure Portal select β€œEnterprise applications” node.
2. When the UI updates in the centre select “Select β€œNew application”.
3. You are taken to the “Add an Application” wizard and presented with three options select “Non-gallery application“.
4. Next provide a name for your own application e.g AAD-SAML-CVAD1912LTSR and then click “Add” at the bottom.
5. The AAD wizard completes and you are taken to the “Overview” page for “AAD-SAML-CVAD1912LTSR“, now select “Users and groups” from within this view.
6. Add an native AAD user(s). Note do not add any employee that does not have a AD shadow account setup and configured in the Citrix Cloud Resource Location (RL).
7. Now from the same “Overview” page for “AAD-SAML-CVAD1912LTSR” select “Single Sign-on” and on the “Select a single sign-on method” wizard select “SAML” and will start the AAS SAML wizard.
8. Select the pencil icon for “Basic SAML Configuration” to configure the following fields as follows below and select “Add“.

Identifier (Entity ID): https://FQDN/Citrix/AADAuth
Reply URL (Assertion Consumer Service URL):https://FQDN/Citrix/AADAuth/SamlForms/AssertionConsumerService
Sign on URL: https://FQDN/Citrix/AADWeb

9. Check under “User Attributes & Claims” portion that the “Name” field is configured to β€œuser.userprincipalname”.
10. Scroll to “SAML Signing Certificate” and click to download the β€œFederation Metadata XML” e.g. AAD-SAML-CVAD1912LTSR.xml, now save or transfer it to your StoreFront server at C:\Temp.

Create and Configure a Azure AD SAML Trust in StoreFront
1. If you have transferred the *.xml file e.g “AAD-SAML-CVAD1912LTSR.xml“, then on your StoreFront server create a folder called β€œTemp” on β€œC:\” and transfer the downloaded *.xml file.
2.Open PowerShell in admin mode or launch it from Studio 1912 LTSR. Copy & paste the following code below, however if opening the PowerShell with Admin privileges without Studio 1912 LTSR then copy & paste this cmdlet first before proceeding with the configuration & “$Env:PROGRAMFILES\Citrix\Receiver StoreFront\Scripts\ImportModules.ps1“. You will notice the virtual path for the Store is already set here to AAD so you can copy and paste it as is. This code sets up and configures SAML for the ADD Store.

$storeVirtualPath = “/Citrix/AAD” 
$auth = Get-STFAuthenticationService -Store (Get-STFStoreService -VirtualPath $storeVirtualPath) 
$spId = $auth.AuthenticationSettings[“samlForms”].SamlSettings.ServiceProvider.Uri.AbsoluteUri 
$acs = New-Object System.Uri $auth.Routing.HostbaseUrl, ($auth.VirtualPath + “/SamlForms/AssertionConsumerService”) 
$md = New-Object System.Uri $auth.Routing.HostbaseUrl, ($auth.VirtualPath + “/SamlForms/ServiceProvider/Metadata”) 
$samlTest = New-Object System.Uri $auth.Routing.HostbaseUrl, ($auth.VirtualPath + “/SamlTest”) 
Write-Host “SAML Service Provider information: 
Service Provider ID: $spId 
Assertion Consumer Service: $acs 
Metadata: $md 
Test Page: $samlTest “
 

3. Next copy and paste the following code which will ingest SAML configuration from the Azure AD *.xml that you downloaded earlier and copied to C:\Temp on the StoreFront server.

Get-Module “Citrix.StoreFront*” -ListAvailable | Import-Module
# Remember to change this with the virtual path of your Store.
$StoreVirtualPath = “/Citrix/AAD”
$store = Get-STFStoreService -VirtualPath $StoreVirtualPath
$auth = Get-STFAuthenticationService -StoreService $store
Update-STFSamlIdPFromMetadata -AuthenticationService $auth -FilePath “C:\Temp\AAD-SAML-CVAD1912LTSR.xml”


4. Validate there are not error(s) on screen that need resolving.
5. Minimise your PowerShell window you’ll need it again shortly, now open up Studio or StoreFront MMC console and navigate to the “Stores” and select “AAD” and select “Manage Authentication Methods“.
6. Select the cog icon parallel to β€œSAML Authentication” and then select β€œIdentity Provider” you should see that your AAD SAML configuration is setup and configured, leave it as is DO NOT TOUCH it!
7. Close all windows including Studio or StoreFront.

Enabling FAS for Converting Azure AD SAML Tokens to Virtual Smartcards
1.Open up your existing PowerShell window and copy and paste the following code below, which will ENABLE FAS for your ADD Store to convert AAD SAML tokens received into virtual smartcard that will be used to SSO the employee onto his/her Citrix virtual app and or desktop. You’ll notice the code is configured for the “AAD” Store so you can copy and paste as is.

Get-Module “Citrix.StoreFront.*” -ListAvailable | Import-Module
$StoreVirtualPath = “/Citrix/AAD”
$store = Get-STFStoreService -VirtualPath $StoreVirtualPath
$auth = Get-STFAuthenticationService -StoreService $store
Set-STFClaimsFactoryNames -AuthenticationService $auth -ClaimsFactoryName “FASClaimsFactory”
Set-STFStoreLaunchOptions -StoreService $store -VdaLogonDataProvider “FASLogonDataProvider”


2. Validate there are not error(s) on screen that need resolving, if there are none you can nose close the PowerShell window.

Testing your Azure AD SAML to Virtual Smartcard Login
1. Navigate to https://FQDN/Citrix/AADWeb which will redirect you to a AAD login.
2. Enter in your UPN e.g user@domain and then complete the required 2FA vs. MFA requirements setup by your organisation as requirement onscreen.
3. You will be returned to https://FQDN/Citrix/AADWeb and SSOed onto UI, depending on your setting your desktop will either auto launch of you’ll have to manually launch it yourself. The initial login will take slightly longer than usual as its generating you that initial virtual smartcard between StoreFront, FAS, AD and your Enterprise CA.
4. Your Citrix vDesktop or vApp should launch successfully and SSO the on without prompting for any credentials.

Troubleshooting
1.If you receive ANY error once returned to https://FQDN/Citrix/AADWeb post the AAD SAML login open a new browser tab in the same session and copy and paste the following URL https://FQDN/Citrix/StoreAuth/SamlTest to see if you have any oblivious errors e.g user@domain.onmicrosoft.com from Azure AD which doesn’t map to the AD Shadow account that is user@domain so its a UPN mismatch and the sign-on will continue to fail.
2. If the employee can sign on to https://FQDN/Citrix/AADWeb and the Citrix vApp or vDesktop launches but they see a credential prompt with “Other User” check and see that you configured FAS for the correct Store with SAML Authentication setup and configured if not using my example of “AAD” as the Store setup and configured on StoreFront.

ICA Proxy Remote Access with Azure AD SAML
Coming…

Final Thoughts on Bring your own Identity (ByoI) Strengthening Security through Co-Shared Responsibility
Coming…

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


Get Smart with Citrix AutoScale & Power Capacity Management during COVID-19

I’ve noticed a number of folks asking what do as my existing Citrix AutoScale + Power and Capacity Management policies aren’t powering on my public cloud workloads any more, especially when they need it most!? What is happening? Firstly “this is not a Citrix issue” it’s a public cloud capacity issue in all the major players by selective “POPULAR” instance types for commonly used workloads like delivering virtual apps & desktops and its affecting by indvidiual regions e.g UK and not the whole public cloud providers capacity world wide to be clear and transparent.

If you make use of Citrix AutoScale and Power Capacity Management for mission critical CVAD workloads for better P&L management vs. capacity peaks then please DISABLE IT for those Delivery Groups (DG) within the CVAD Service temporarily to maintain business operations and internal SLA’s for service delivery of CVAD workloads to employees WFH during CVOD-19. Disabling AutoScale is strategically very important during these current times, it enforces that identified mission critical workloads by Delivery Group are always on-demand 24/7 to meet operational business demands. Its important to highlight this applies to any vendors and even in-house vs. community built power and capacity management tooling platforms should also be DISABLED for all business mission critical workloads so that daily business operations are not impacted.

Why do organisations use Citrix AutoScale and Power Capacity Management?
Its for a couple of scenarios, usecases which I will collectively sum up as follows below:

1. Save money not running VM instances in public clouds 24/7 when they aren’t required, therefore saving you a substantial amount of money when looking to better manage your P&L.
2. Your employees typically work 21 business days within a month (30 days) the rest is made up of time off e.g weekends, so why keep all that capacity powered on and consuming more money unnecessarily including carbon emissions. On that note how many of you leave your data centres fully powered on or even home labs when you they aren’t required? Our world needs us to make smarter and better decisions to lets act and save our world for our future unborn grand children.
3. Support spikes/peaks in virtual app & desktop consumption with a capacity buffer.

You can learn more about Citrix AutoScale at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops-service/manage-deployment/autoscale.html#three-types-of-autoscale-user-interfaces included the supported CVAD use cases “Autoscale user interface for Multi-User OS e.g CVA Delivery Groups“, “Single-User OS e.g CVD pooled vs. static VDI Delivery Groups“. 31/03/2020 I noticed that Citrix TechZone published a technical document on the same date as this article and I think you’ll find if very useful and insightful as its very technical eDocument – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/tech-zone/learn/tech-briefs/autoscale.html.

Why your should DISABLE it!
COVID-19 is a world wide pandemic and hopefully a once in life time vs. century event. The number of employees now Working from Home (WFH) world wide is incredible, it’s placed a macro burden on many consumer services where some are in a degraded state or have intentionally degraded themselves to free up more bandwidth capacity over the internet in Europe for example Netflix – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51968302. Its equally true for IT business services e.g virtual meetings and of course public cloud providers whom have run out of capacity for popular VM instance types in Europe, and this is why you want to disable AutoScale so that your mission critical workloads are not stopped + deallocated and then returned the public cloud provider pool where they will be consumed by someone else and keep up 24/7, other organisation’s may have paid upfront to reverse a number of instance types for a period of 30/60/90 days and this is achieved by holding back any/all returned capacity and finally likely redistributed to critical government agencies and department for example in the UK the National Health Service (NHS) to keep health workers productive managing COVID-19 and supporting patients.

Act & Think of Others
Please be responsible and make sustainable choices and only keep mission critical workloads on-demand 24/7 that are essential to daily business operations. Finally a personal ask if you are an IT Professional who’s home lab partially runs in a public cloud as its extended from on-premises please be respectful, mindful and aware that if your region is experiencing capacity issues PLEASE turn off and deallocate those VM instances types so that capacity can be returned to the public cloud pool during working days of the week to support businesses whom need it vs. government agencies and or health departments supporting people in-need of help and support medical and or otherwise.

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

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 β€œFor 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.

Deploying a PoC with the Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) Apps & Desktop Service now Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop Service (Draft)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) – App’s & Desktop Service with a AWS EC2 resource location 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 necessary 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
AMAZON WEB SERVICES – aws
SECURITY GROUPS – sg
ELASTIC COMPUTE CLOUD – ec2
HYBRID CLOUD PROVISIONING – hcp
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
CITRIX WORKSPACE CLOUD CONNECTOR – cwc connector/agent
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE – iaas
CITRIX WORKSPACE CLOUD – cwc
CITRIX LIFECYCLE MANAGE

Video Citrix Workspace Cloud: How It Works

PoC Introduction & Overview (This is a Public Draft Blog Article & May Contain Some Errors)
In this particular instance I will be deploying a Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) PoC using the Apps & Desktop service which is Citrix online service and is essentially made up of five compoments in my personal view these are people (Users, Consultants & SysAdmins), the Control Plane which is hosted by Citrix and is high available and accessible at – https://workspace.cloud.com/, Resource Locations which could be private, public (IaaS) or hybrid clouds which host and run your actual CItrix workloads e.g servers or desktops OSes with the VDA’s installed and optionally StoreFront and or NetScaler Unified Gateway, Receiver for access to your published virtual apps & desktops and finally the CWC connector which makes everything just work safe & securely.

Please note that I will update this blog post with a how-to re deploying NS for remote access from AWS EC2.

Datasheet for Citrix Workspace Cloud
https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/explore-workspace-cloud-take-a-test-drive-or-trial.pdf

What you need
For this PoC I may refer to AWS and XenServer concepts as my home lab is deployed in a Hybrid Cloud model e.g some of my Citrix workloads are in hosted in AWS EC2 (N.Virgina) while others are running on a XenServer 6.5 SP1+ host at my house in London. You don’t have to use AWS like I am for your PoC you could use any IaaS provider e.g Azure, Rackspace, Peer1 or even on-prem with your own host(s) running XenServer, Hyper-V and of course vSphere :-).

1 – CWC trial account entitling you to the CWC Apps & Desktop Service and Identity & Access Management e.g for adding users from your domain and to download the CWC Connector.
2 – Your resource location of choice mine is AWS from here on in through-out this blog article.
3 – 1x Windows Server 2012 R2 I’ll call this VM WDC01 running AD, DNS at a minimum and the Citrix Receiver (http://receiver.citrix.com), CWC Connector downloaded on the desktop (explained later).
4 – 1x Windows Server 2012 R2 domain joined and I’ll call this VM CXA01 with the latest XA 7.8+ Server VDA (https://www.citrix.com/downloads.html which requires a valid Citrix.com customer/partner account with access details ) downloaded.
5 – AWS security groups (on-prem f/w ACL) to allow outbound traffic on TCP 443 (HTTPS) to the Internet, allow HTTPS/ICA/HDX/RDS traffic including HDX RealTime ports for audio and video between all VM’s within your chosen network.
6 – Some suggested test application examples could be Microsoft’s Office 2016 or OpenOffice, Notepad ++, The Gimp, Autodesk Viewer. WaRnInG!!! Disclaimer – Please refer to the ISV’s EULA for terms of usage prior to downloading, installing, configuring and publishing virtual apps to test and play with!.
7 – *Create friendly DNS entries to be used later for WDC01 e.g DNS entry of cwccontroller.axendatacentre.com or your could stick with host name.domainname format it’s your choice. Note: Be sure to setup and configure not just fwd. but also reverse DNS within resolution/look-up!

Setting up your Resource Location
1 – Login as the Domain Admin on WDC01 and navigate to https://workspace.cloud.com and sign in with your trial access details provided by Citrix.
2 – Select from the list on the very TOP left-hand corner Identity & Access Management next click the plus/+ sign and follow the onscreen prompts to download the CWC Connector/agent.
3 – Before installing the CWC Connector/Agent please be sure to read the following documenation – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/what-is-a-workspace-cloud-connector-/workspace-cloud-connector-technical-details.html. Once downloaded double click on the CWC Connector/agent and when prompted enter in your CWC trial access details and the installation will complete successfully if the access details provided are correct and if 443 HTTPS is enable outbound to the Internet from WDC01 to https://workspace.cloud.com.
4 – Take a short 1-3 min comfort break then refresh your web page for https://workspace.cloud.com and navigate back to Identity & Access Management and you should see your domain appear within the list, then you may proceed. If you don’t check your firewall ACL’s locally on the Windows server or virtual f/w at the edge of your VPC network and also check your AWS Security Groups are setup correctly to allow in/outbound access on HTTPS/443.

Note: If you turn off WDC01 you’ll receive and error at this page and manage & monitor tabs within the Apps & Desktop Service are NOT accessible until access is restored! Likewise if you only have 1x CWC Connector/agent then you may see an amber warning under domain within Identity & Access Management as you only have 1x CWC Connector/agent and it suggested even for a PoC to install 2x instead of 1x.

5 – Login as a Domain Admin on CXA01 and mount the XA 7.8+ VDA media by right clicking and left clicking on Mount then navigate to Windows Explorer and double click on D drive that has recently mounted with the XA 7.8 installation media and then proceed to select to install the Server VDA from the splash screen or if your downloaded the Server VDA *.exe (suggested & recommended) from Citrix.com then double click to install the VDA. In each case you’ll require 2x reboots as per normal like on-prem installations however now on CXA01 there is one exception at the controller step type in cwccontroller.axendatacente.com* or the hostname.domainname for WDC01 (Point to the CWC Connector/agent that you previously installed) and then continue with installation and once the installation is completed on CXA01, then verify that the VDA has registered and is communicating with WDC01 e.g cwccontroller.axendatacentre.com by reviewing CWC service or the event logs within Computer Management. Tip: Install to enabling remote connections initially to get your head around how the CWC Apps & Desktop Service actually works.
6 – You’ve now successfully completed setting up your XenApp worker for your chosen resource location in my case it’s an AWS EC2 located out of N.Virginia. If your curious about the CWC connector there is a tech overview avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/what-is-a-workspace-cloud-connector-/workspace-cloud-connector-technical-details.html be sure to review it.
7 – Now we need to continue with creating a machine catalog, delivery group in the hosted Studio and obviously publishing your virtual apps & desktop (server based).

Create a Machine Catalogue and Delivery Groups to publish Virtual apps & desktops
1 – Now go back to the homepage at https://workspace.cloud.com and to the right of the Apps & Desktop Service click “Manage” to launch the management interface which provides you with an Overview page (Scroll to the bottom to find out your cloud hosted StoreFront address. Tip: If you get an red bar with an error message check that your CWC Connector/agent at your resource location is up and available and showing as green for your domain at the Identity & Access Management tab!.
2 – Scroll to bottom of the overview web page to find out exactly what your cloud hosted StoreFront addr is. It should follow the following format https://{TENANT NAME}.xendesktop.net/Citrix/StoreWeb/. Right click on it to open a new tab and to remain at https://apps.cloud.com/. You should be able to login using your test AD security group. Tip: You won’t see any published virtual apps or desktops currently as you have not created a machine catalogue or delivery group.
3 – Go back to the Manage Apps & Desktops Service web page and click Manage or Monitor this will embed a custom, hardened published app version of Studio or Director using the HTML5 Receiver so please ensure that you are utilising an HTML5 compliant internet browser that supports the HTML5 Receiver.
4 – Assuming you’ve clicked on Manage firstly navigate to Hosting Connections create a connection to your chosen resource location either on-prem or cloud (Private or Public) details for setting up hosting connections are available at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-8/manage-deployment/connections.html. Once setup wait 1-2 min before proceeding you don’t have to by the way! I do.
5 – Click Machine Catalogue and create as per normal for detailed on how-to please refer to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-8/install-configure/machine-catalogs-create.html. Tip: I’d suggest as its your first time using the CWC Apps and Desktop service create your machine catalogue with a single VM with the VDA installed to allow remote connections as described earlier to allow you to get around how the CWC Apps and Desktops Service actually works. You don’t have to either it’s your choice.
6 – Click Delivery Groups and create as per normal aswell and please refer to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-8/install-configure/delivery-groups-create.html for guidance delivering virtual apps (Skype for Business 2015 also implment the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/01/12/citrix-and-microsoft-unveil-v2-solution-for-skype-for-business/ for more information) & desktops (Windows Server 2012 R2). TIP: The name you provide your Delivery Group filters through to the Workspaces at – https://workspace.cloud.com/workspaces and becomes the default name of your published virtual & desktops services that you will assign to your subscribers (users) workspace.
7 – You’ve now successfully setup a Machine Catalog and Delivery Group using the CWC Apps & Desktop Service to published a virtual apps & desktop, however prior to accessing your virtual apps & desktops you’ll need to create a Workspace and add subscribers (users) including which published resources your subscribers (users) are able to access otherwise they wont be able to login nor access any published resources.

You should have the Server VDA and CWC Connector now installed see the below example image below.

Create a Workspace to Delivery published virtual apps & desktops
1 – A workspace consists of a collection of services from CWC e.g Secure Documents (ShareFile), Apps & Desktop Service (XenApp/XenDesktop) and so forth that SysAdmins can combine together to form e.g a Pre-Sales workspace that may consist of a virtual apps e.g Skype for Business 2015 that is also offloaded with the HDX Optimisation Pack 2.0 – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-0/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-about.html and a virtual desktop e.g a dedicated Windows 10 or 2012 R2 desktop. A workspace also consists of subscribers (users) who access the workspace which contains published resources created by Citrix SysAdmins. Please ref to http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/get-started/creating-and-publishing-a-workspace.html which explains how-to create a workspace, define subscribers and published resources.
2 – Once you have created a Workspace and assigned subscribers, resources then users can login at https://{TENANT}.xendesktop.net/Citrix/StoreWeb/ from there resource location and gain access to there virtual apps & desktops.
3 – Managing your newly created Workspace is easy following this useful online document from eDocs – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/workspace-cloud/workspace-cloud/get-started/manage-a-workspace.html.

Example of my virtual desktop (Server based) delivered by CWC using the XenApp 7.8 VDA. I also use the same theme for my complete XenApp 7.8 deployment in AWS yes I have both deployed and configured πŸ™‚

A first for me
This is the first time I’ve written a blog post (primarily) completed in the air traveling from somewhere between London – England, Oslo – Norway and Stockholm – Sweden.

Disclaimer
This blog article should be considered to be a draft still and therefore may contain errors and I will be updating and adjusting it time permitting and adding in how-to front this CWC Apps & Desktop service deployment in my AWS EC2 resource location with NetScaler Unified Gateway – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT739UoR8d0.