Category Archives: PoC

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…

Top 10 Suggested Unified Experience Tips for Citrix Users 2016

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

Shortened Names
XENDESKTOP – xd
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
XENAPP – xa
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

Suggested Top 10 for 2016
This is numbered 1 through 10 but in reality is in no particular order!

1. E-mail discovery for Citrix Receiver using DNS SRV records – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/windows/4-3/receiver-windows-install-wrapper/receiver-windows-cfg-command-line-42.html internally and externally on the Gateway – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler-gateway/10-1/ng-xa-xd-integration-edocs-landing/ng-clg-integration-wrapper-con/ng-clg-session-policies-overview-con/ng-clg-storefront-policies-con/ng-clg-storefront-email-discovery-tsk.html.
2. Implement SplitDNS or more technically correct “split-horizon DNS” – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-horizon_DNS my favourite personally over email based discovery :-)!
3. Brand your NetScalers (Unified) Gateway – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler-gateway/11-1/vpn-user-config/custom-portal.html and App Store (StoreFront) – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-7/manage-citrix-receiver-for-web-site/unified-receiver-experience.html to match and keep it clear, clean and simple!

4. Implement HDX Adaptive Display v2 available in 7.11+ – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/graphics-policy-settings.html as your default Graphics Mode and if you can’t then Thinwire Compatible Mode – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/hdx/thinwire.html.

5. If using Skype for Business 2015 or 2016 implement the HDX RealTime Optimisation Pack 2.x.n http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/hdx-optimization/2-1/hdx-realtime-optimization-pack-overview.html to offload the video/audio to the local end-points (Windows, Mac and Linux) saving on backend compute and density loss for XenApp.*

6. Implement domain pass-through for internal users – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-7/plan/user-authentication.html.
7. Deploy the (latest) HTML5 Receiver for remote access – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/html5/2-2/user-experience.html.

8. When using Citrix Receiver for Windows (with HDX engine 14.4), the GPU can be used for H.264 decoding wherever it is available at the client – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/windows/4-5/improve.html.
9. Deploy Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR) – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/self-service-password-reset/1-0.html.

10. The most difficult to justify probably re the cost(s) but assigning a low end vGPU GRID profile or utilising the Intel Iris Pro Graphics with XenServer 7 to provide enough/suitable GPU capacity to all virtual apps & desktops (oldISH and modern) provides a much better experience so setup a PoC to see and try if for yourself and finally NVidia now supports H.264 offloading onto there GRID Cards in 7.11 🙂 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_59c9.

Front XenApp 7.11+ in Azure with NetScaler (Unified) Gateway 11.x.n

The following content is a brief and unofficial overview of how-to front your virtual apps & desktops powered by XenApp 7.11 with NetScaler 11.x.n using Microsoft Azure (ARM). 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
XENSERVER – xs
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
NETSCALER – ns
NETSCALER UNIFIED GATEWAY – nsug
AZURE RESOURCE MANAGER – arm
IDENTITY ACCESS & MANAGEMENT – iam
MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION – mfa
SECURITY ASSERTION MARKUP LANGUAGE – saml

Why this Blog Article?
I’ve had a lot of cloud 1st strategy conversations with IT Pro’s, Citrix SysAdmins & organisations alike recently so I thought everyone whom is searching for how-to front XenApp with an Azure NetScaler could benefit from this blog post :-). This blog post covers a how-to even with NetScaler in single IP mode to achieving https://FQDN (Image 2) for the gateway vs. https://FQDN:8443 (Image 1) when deploying NetScaler in Azure (ARM).

Deploying NetScaler 11.x.n using Azure Resource Manager (ARM)
1. Login to https://portal.azure.com
2. I presume that you have setup a your network, IAM if not refer to https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/get-started/ for getting started how-to from Microsoft.
3. Click on + New in the top left of the ARM web ui and type in NetScaler and select NetScaler VPX Bring Your Own License or for a quick review check out – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/marketplace/partners/citrix/netscalervpx110-6531/.
4. Click Create
5. Enter in a name for your NS virtual appliance e.g ne1nug01 and select the VM disk type
5. Enter in a username and choose auth to be either SSH public key or Password I choose password to access the NS Admin WebUI for simplicity of all readers of this blog.
6. Select your chosen of default Subscription if you have more than one and then select your existing Resource Group where you XenApp 7.11+ environment and XenApp 7.11+ VDA Workers and your mgmt. VM running AD/DNS server resides. Remember I am keeping this simple as it’s intended for PoC’s only!
7. Continue to select your chosen Azure instance for NetScaler I choose DS2_V2 Standard which consists of 2 Cores, 7GB of RAM.
8. Select your storage account, virtual network & subnet e.t.c and high availability set then click Select to continue.
9. Review your purchase of NetScaler and then click Ok to purchase and Azure will begin building your NetScaler VPX in your Azure chosen subscription which will take no more typically than 10 minutes.

Setting up & Licensing your NetScaler on Azure
Firstly be aware that when deploying a NetScaler instance on Azure for virtual apps & desktops you’ll be setting up NetScaler to run in single IP mode (YES!) which means that you’re connecting to internal TRU resources on the NetScalers IP addr (NSIP) but you connect using different ports e.g ICA Proxy on 8443 so lets begin with the setup.

1. Login into your NetScaler using the NS Admin Web UI do not provide a SubnetIP Addr (SNIP) just select Do It Later and proceed with the initial setup as per normal.
2. Now that you have setup your NetScaler you need to license it so remain logged into and open a new tab in your browser of choice and Google “Citrix Eval Store” or save this link – http://store.citrix.com/store/citrix/en_US/cat/ThemeID.33753000/categoryID.63401700
3. Select under Networking -> NetScaler ADC
4. Next select the following model “VPX” select variation e.g “Platinum 1000” select duration e.g “90 Days”.
5. Complete the onscreen process note that you will require a .Citrix.com account or you need to create an account.
6. Once you receive an e-mail with your key/code head over to at https://www.citrix.com/account/toolbox/manage-licenses/allocate.html or goto and select find and allocate your licenses or look for the licensing button (link) and select it.
7. If your key/code it not visible select “Don’t see your product?” in text in/around the top right-hand side. A pop-up appears now enter in the code provided on e-mail from the Citrix Eval Store e.g “CTX34-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX” and continue.
8. You will need to enter in the Host Id of your NetScaler it can be found once logged in using the NS Admin Web UI “NetScaler -> System -> System Information” then look under the heading “Hardware Information” and you find “Host Id” copy and paste it into the required field and then download the license file.
9. In the NS Admin Web UI click the cog icon top right then select licensing and upload the license and select to reboot the NS to apply the license.
10. Log back in and enable the features that you require e.g right click on the “NetScaler Gateway” and select “enable” e.t.c

Setup Type Choice 8443 Default without an Azure L/B for XenApp using the XenApp/XenDesktop Wizard
Now that you have setup NetScaler within your Azure subscription in your chosen region you’re ready to begin setting up NetScaler to front virtual apps & desktops (Server OS 2012 R2 or 2016) powered by XenApp 7.11+.

Sample Text Based Diagram

User Azure NetScaler StoreFront XenApp
https://FQDN:8443/ Accepts requests from Azure to NSIP on https://8443 (Single IP Mode) Accepts requests on the Gateway & Call-back FQDN on https://FQDN:8443 Accepts & launches user’s virtual app(s) & desktop(s) as requested

1. Login to your NetScaler VPX click “Settings -> Licensing” now check that License type is Platinum and Model ID 1000
2. Select the XenApp/XenDesktop wizard and review the prerequisites carefully prior to continuing BUT in summary you’ll need an SSL Cert, LDAP service account + details, XenApp 7.11+ environment with StoreFront.
3. Enter in the static IP addr assigned by Azure or OTHER METHOD of your NetScaler VPX YES that’s right!
4. IMPORTANT STEP: Change the default port of 443 to 8443 on the Gateway IP addr
5. Set Up the rest of the XAD wizard as normal
6. IMPORTANT STEP: Setup StoreFront to allow remote access however the configured default gateway and Call-back FQDN addresses MUST include 8443 e.g https://go.x1co.eu:8443 instead of just https://go.x1co.eu
7. Setup external DNS entries e.g go.x1co.eu to point to your NetScalers static IP addr found in the Azure ARM Web UI and once you have verified it is functioning correctly using a shell (IPCONFIG /FLUSH after settin-up the DNS entries waiting 10-15 min depednant upon your ISP) the open up an internet browser and type in e.g https://go.x1co.eu:8443 and dont forget the :8443 at the end of the FQDN.
8. Attempt to login either using sAMAccountName e.g username or userPrincipalname e.g username@x1co.eu and then you should be able to successfully login and launch your virtual apps & desktop as per the below image.

Image 1


Setup Type 443 for XenApp using an Azure Load-Balancer & the NetScaler XenApp/XenDesktop Wizard

Sample Text Based Diagram

User Azure Azure Load-Balancer NetScaler StoreFront XenApp
https://FQDN/ https received request and forwarded to NetScaler on https://FQDN:8443

Accepts requests from Azure L/B on https://FQDN fwd to NSIP on https://8443 (Single IP Mode) Accepts requests on the Gateway from HTTPS://FQDN but the Call-back FQDN is on https://FQDN:8443 Accepts & launches user’s virtual app(s) & desktop(s) as requested
https://FQDN ↔ AzureL/B ↔ NetScaler:8443 NetScaler https://FQDN:8443 ↔https://FQDN StoreFront StoreFront Call-back https://FQDN:8443
StoreFront configured NetScaler Gateway https://FQDN

1. If you are choosing this option as your preferred lets hope then complete steps 1-5 and also step 7 to save you time!
2. IMPORTANT STEP: Setup StoreFront to allow remote access however the configured default gateway MUST BE e.g https://go.x1co.eu NOTICE NO :8433 YES not :8443 here. Now on the call-back FQDN addresses YOU MUST include 8443 e.g https://go.x1co.eu:8443 instead of just https://go.x1co.eu otherwise fronting NS with an Azure L/B to acheive HTTPS://FQDN for the XAD Gateway (ICA Proxy) will NOT WORK!!!!
3. Now switch to the Azure ARM Web UI. You should probably read the following useful resources – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/documentation/articles/load-balancer-overview/ and for PowerShell creation check out – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/documentation/articles/load-balancer-get-started-internet-arm-ps/ for any Citrix consultants out there.
4. Azure Load-balancer and click on the “+” at the top and provide a “Name” and for the type choose “Pubic” and select your Azure “Subscription” “Existing Resource Group” and its location (Same as NetScaler deployed instance) then click “Create”
5. Now it will list the available public IP addr just select the “+”
6. Enter in a name and choose your assignment choice “Dynamic” vs. “Static” and click OK.
7. Azure will then provision your Azure L/B (Wait….Maybe coffee or tea break?)
8. Once created select your Azure L/B
9. Select “Backend Pools” enter in a name then choose your availability set and then your VM’s or VM e.g NetScaler. Azure will then provision your Azure L/B with a backend pool (Wait….)
10. Select “Frontend IP Pool” click “+” enter in a name then choose your IP addr e.g NetScaler VM and then enter in a name (all names should differ makes identification easier so a good naming convention helps 🙂 now) and choose your assignment choice “Dynamic” vs. “Static” and click OK (Updating….)
11. IMPORTANT STEP: Select “Inbound NAT Rules” select the resource from your Frontend IP Pool list from the previous point (10). Select the service “HTTPS” and port to be 443 then select the target “NetScaler VM” and then vErY iMpOrtAnt select under “Port Mapping -> Custom” and in the “Target Port enter in 8443” and click save. (Wait…)
12: Now navigate to https://FQDN and attempt to login either using either sAMAccountName e.g username or userPrincipalname e.g username@x1co.eu and thereafter you should be able to successfully launch your virtual apps & desktop published by XenApp 7.11+. The below image represents the end goal when fronting an Azure NetScaler in Single IP Mode with an Azure Load-Balancer as per the below image.

NetScaler VPX in Azure Deployment Guide
http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/workspace-cloud/downloads/NetScaler-VPX-in-AZURE-Deployment-Guide.pdf

Advanced Setup & Configuration
The following how-to’s are from a 2016 Citrix Technology Advocates (CTA) – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/05/23/expanding-recognition-for-community-contributors-citrix-technology-advocates/ Dave Bretty – http://bretty.me.uk/ which covers off how-to setup and configure FAS, NetScaler SAML/ADFS Proxy, Azure MFA and much more, so follow the links in order listed below.

1. http://bretty.me.uk/putting-it-all-together-citrix-xendesktop-adfs-azure-mfa-netscaler-unified-gateway-and-citrix-fas-part-1/
2. http://bretty.me.uk/putting-it-all-together-citrix-xendesktop-adfs-azure-mfa-netscaler-unified-gateway-and-citrix-fas-part-2/
3. http://bretty.me.uk/putting-it-all-together-citrix-xendesktop-adfs-azure-mfa-netscaler-unified-gateway-and-citrix-fas-part-3/
4. http://bretty.me.uk/putting-it-all-together-citrix-xendesktop-adfs-azure-mfa-netscaler-unified-gateway-and-citrix-fas-part-4/
5. http://bretty.me.uk/putting-it-all-together-citrix-xendesktop-adfs-azure-mfa-netscaler-unified-gateway-and-citrix-fas-part-5/
6. http://bretty.me.uk/putting-it-all-together-citrix-xendesktop-adfs-azure-mfa-netscaler-unified-gateway-and-citrix-fas-part-6/

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 🙂

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.

Deploying XenApp 7.x in AWS EC2

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp 7.8 in AWS EC2 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
SECRUITY 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
FEATURE PACK – fp
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE – iaas
CITRIX WORKSPACE CLOUD – cwc
CITRIX LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT – clm
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm

Experience Deploying My 1st Virtual Desktop & Apps in AWS
The following screenshot is of a virtual desktop (Windows Server 2012 R2 powered by XenApp 7.8) hosted in AWS EC2 located in N.Virginia, US delivered Windows 8.1 (Yes I know I need to get to Win 10 :-)) laptop running Citrix Receiver Windows 4.4 in London, England with the HDX Thinwire Compatible Mode graphics mode configured with a Preferred Color Depth set to 16-Bit and the performance is very good considering what Ive configured I then adjusted my HDX policies to then switch to HDX SuperCodec (H.264) the UX gets even better providing an even closer HD local like experience in my personal view only so give it ago for yourself.

The HDX policies overview is documented below so for now back to my experience deploying XenApp 7.8 on AWS.

It was substantially easier than I anticipated or even expected as the AWS documentation is easy to understand I believe however that maybe due to the fact I used to previously work for a Managed Services ISP in City of London so many concepts related to Managed Hosting, IaaS, Private and Hybrid Cloud come quiet naturally to me.

Thinwire+ (Thinwire Compatible Mode) 16-Bit Preferred Graphics

Supercodec (H.264)

Introduction to Provisioning XenApp Workloads on AWS EC2
Citrix has had the capability to deploy virtual applications and desktops powered by XenApp 6-7.x.n for quiet sometime utilising the traditional Manual CTX SysAdmin approach then Citrix introduced a concept entitled Hybrid Cloud Provisioning (HCP) under the unified FMA architecture for XAD some time ago which allows CTX SysAdmins the capability to expand there existing Citrix workloads e.g virtual apps and desktops (server based only) to IaaS providers e.g AWS or often generically referred to as the Cloud by adding in a secure new hosting connection within Studio for AWS the requirements include providing the Connection URL, API key and Secret key from your AWS EC2 account ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-connections.html. You can utilise this exact same concept to provision XenApp based workloads from within a AWS EC2 XenApp 7.x FMA Site as described in detail in the following deployment guide entitled “Deploy XenApp 7.5 and 7.6 and XenDesktop 7.5 and 7.6 with Amazon VPC” available at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX140427. Finally if I have not explained well enough what hybrid cloud provisioning actually is powered by XenApp 7.x then this short and simple YouTube video from Citrix below should hopefully re-enforce your understanding of HCP.

You can still utilise hybrid cloud provisioning within XenApp 7.8 today and Citrix continues to evolve with its next generation cloud 1st approach of provisioning of Citrix workloads within IaaS, Private and Hybrid clouds with Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) its now known as Citrix Cloud. How does it work? Once more there is a fantastic YouTube video which demonstrates setting up, configuring, publishing and delivering a Windows virtual application utilising CWC by one of Citrix’s CTO its well worth watching!

Finally you can utilise Citrix Lifecycle Management (CLM) to automate the deployment and auto scaling of your Citrix workloads on AWS EC2, however this topic is currently not in scope for this blog article however I may update this blog article in the future to include provisioning XenApp on AWS EC2 powered by Citrix Lifecycle Management (CLM).

Pre-requisites & System Requirements for Deploying a XA 7.8 PoC in AWS EC2 (Draft + The Basic’s Only)
0. Check that your XAD license entitlement is correct at – https://www.citrix.com/go/products/xendesktop/feature-matrix.html to provision XenApp workloads on AWS EC2. As of writing and publishing this blog article you require XenApp or XenDesktop Enterprise or above licensing in order to provision workloads on AWS and also Azure.
1. You need an AWS account, Credit card
2. Choose your EC2 region e.g N.Virgina
3. Create your “Security Groups” which acts as a virtual firewall for ICA 1494, 2598 Session Reliability, HTTPS 443, RDS 3389 (SysAdmin access)
4. Lunch an single instance from the EC2 dashboard under “Create Instance” this will be your mgmt. VM
5. Decrypt the passwd & login your mgmt. VM install your require roles e.g AD, DNS as a min requirement for XA 7.x
6. Lunch another single instance from the EC2 dashboard under “Create Instance” this will be your XA PoC VM
7. Download the media from Citrix.com and any FP’s and install all the components onto your XA PoC VM (Studio, Director, Controller, MS SQL Express, StoreFront, License server)
7. Install the latest VDA (existing connections) once ready launch Studio and create your Site, configure your machine catalogue and delivery groups.
8. Modify SFS default.ica file to include your external static IP and check your Windows f/w rules to ensure 1494 is correctly configured to allow traversing NAT’s
9. Navigate to https://AWS-XA-PoC-VM/Citrix/StoreWeb/ and login as a domain admin or user and launch a virtual app and or desktop.
10. Shutdown and turn off your VM’s within your AWS VPC when you are finished with your tests to ensure that your cost(s) are kept to a minimum.

Tuning Your AWS EC2 Virtual Apps & Desktop’s
1. Configuring TCM or ECM is very well documented at the following web links at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-8/hdx/thinwire-compatibility-mode.html, https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/23/thinwire-compatibility-tuning-lowering-your-bandwidth-even-further/ however I have also listed in table format below what polices you need to select and then apply to your test domain users or group (preferred).

Begin with the following HDX policies listed below to enable TCM/ECM/Thinwire+/Thinwire Compatible Mode and be sure to check out CTX202687 described below in-line with the Very High Definition Experience HDX Policy template.

Policy Name Default Value Comment
Preferred color depth for simple graphics 24 bits per pixel Legacy Mode
Target frame rate 30 fps Legacy Mode
Use video codec for compression Do not use Video codec Force ECM on explicitly by turning H.264 off (Testing)

2. Configuring the super codec (H.264) is actually very easy select the Very High Definition Experience form the HDX templates in Studio and create a policy from it applying again to your test security group (preferred) or domain users it’s your choice. Please note that this policy will enable H.264 however it will default to TCM if you connect from a device that does not support H.264.
3. Finally for all those advanced CTX consultants and SysAdmins out there check the following CTX article – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX202687 entitled “HDX Graphics Modes – Which Policies Apply to DCR/Thinwire/H.264 – An Overview for XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6 FP3” which documents each policy for each HDX encoding or graphics mode supporter by XAD 7.8

Delivering a Virtual Desktop with the Linux VDA 1.0-1

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test Linux VDA 1.1 (NOTE: The HDX 3D Pro video is a preview only from the Citrix YouTube channel) with XAD 7.3 FP3+ 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.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
FEATURE PACK – fp
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
DISTRUBUTIONS – distro’s
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd

Preview of HDX 3D Pro with a Linux VDA
Please note that the following YouTUBE video represents a preview only of HDX 3D Pro with the Citrix Linux VDA.

An Introduction & Overview
Citrix released the Linux VDA 1.0 which enables and allows for the safe, secure delivery of Linux based virtual desktops that are controlled by Citrix Studio however VM provisioning and on-going image management is maintained by traditional Linux tools these include but are by no means limited to Puppet or Chef.

Currently only the SuSE Linux and Redhat Enterprise Linux distro’s are supported however numerous Citrix professionals around the global have successfully setup and delivered a Linux VD utilise CentOS following the steps based in the “Installation Guide for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 1.1” which is available at – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/xenapp-xendesktop-7-6/downloads/Linux%20Virtual%20Desktop%20Installation%20Guide%20for%20Redhat%20Enterprise%20Linux.pdf or for CentOS focused approach check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/08/25/installing-the-linux-vda-on-red-hat-or-centos-6/ written by Adrian Taylor – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/author/adriant2/.

As this is my first time writing about Citrix’s Linux support its worth noting and mentioning that Citrix provided a tech preview (TP) ref – https://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/aug-2014/citrix-offers-technology-preview-of-linux-virtual-apps-and-deskt.html prior to the official GA launch of the Linux VDA 1.0 which in my view received very positive feedback and comments in particular from with the UK/Ire Citrix partner community.

What’s New
1. Obviously my fav is “Support for Thinwire Compatible Mode” 🙂
2. The Linux VDA supports dual monitor out-of-the box with maximum resolution of 2560×1600 per monitor and can be configured to support up to 9 monitors.
3. Improved Active Directory and Centrify support*
4. Further extended OS support for Redhat and SuSE Linux enterprise editions. Please read the following for CTX blog article re support issues for other Linux OS disto’s at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/16/supporting-linux-distributions.
5. Linux XDPing which is available at –
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX202015.
6. Support for Linux Dedicated VDI Desktops which in the initial Linux VDA 1.0 released targeted a hosted shared VD approach as Linux is a multi-user OS.
7: * For a comprehensive overview of all the features in the Linux VDA 1.1 please check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/23/whats-new-in-linux-virtual-desktop-v1-1/.

Use Case(s)
Its essentially about providing customers with the choice and flexibility to delivery either a VD that is based upon Windows OS with Microsoft Office 20xn, 3rd party apps OR a supported Linux OS with OpenOffice/Libra Office, 3rd party apps.

Pre-requisites & System Requirements for Deploying the Linux VDA 1.1 (Draft + The Basic’s Only)
1: Download one or both Linux VDA’s for there Redhat or SuSE along with the script which is available at the Linux VDA download area – http://www.citrix.com/downloads/xenapp/components/linux-virtual-desktop-11.html.
2: The following Citrix Receivers are currently supported: Windows Receiver version v4.2+, Linux Receiver version v13.0+, Mac OSX Receiver v12+, Android Receiver v3.4+, iOS Receiver 5.9.4+, HTML5 Receiver 1.6 (via Access Gateway).
3:…..

More coming….

What’s new with XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack (FP3)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test XenApp, XenDesktop FP3 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.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
STOREFRONT SERVER – sfs
FEATURE PACK – fp
THINWIRE PLUS – thinwire +
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE – thinwire c
USER EXPERIENCE – ux

What is new in FP3?
0: ++An absolutely MUST read entitled “HDX Graphics Modes – Which Policies Apply to DCR/Thinwire/H.264 – An Overview for XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6 FP3” which is available at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX202687 prior to implementing any of the new graphics mode/encoder(s) within XAD 7.6 FP3.
1: Support for Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, in the Standard VDA for Windows Desktop OSes.
2: HDX Broadcast updates include the following:

Framehawk (Admin guide – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/xenapp-xendesktop-7-6/downloads/Framehawk%20Administration%20Guide.pdf) virtual display channel is integrated into the standalone VDA package.
Thinwire Compatible Modehttp://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-hdx-landing/thinwire-compatibility-mode.html also referred to as Thinwire +/Plus is the very latest encoder to deliver a fantastic and rich X1 UX for virtual apps and desktops delivered from Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 and 10 powered by XAD 7.6 FP3. To learn more about check out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2015/10/09/a-big-leap-in-ica-protocol-innovation-for-citrix/. Set the “Use video codec for compression” to “Do not use” which will force the use of Thinwire Compatibility Mode by default for user ICA/HDX sessions on XAD 7.6 FP3.

HDX Framehawk Performance in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 FP3

3: ++Updated Studio built-in policies ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-policies-article/xad-policies-templates.html which include the following:

– Very High Definition User Experience+
– High Server Scalability *+
– High Server Scalability-Legacy OS **
– Optimized for WAN *+
– Optimized for WAN-Legacy OS **
– Security and Control

+ New or adjusted to meet today’s new requirements
* Windows 8.1-10, Windows Server 2012 R2
** Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

4: Support for signature devices (Wacom) and drawing tablets which can be applied by adding the following USB device policy settings ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-policies-article/xad-policies-settings-wrapper/xad-policies-settings-ica/xad-policies-settings-usb.html.
5: The HDX 3D Pro VDA used to deliver HDX Rich Graphical apps now supports full-screen apps including 3D and gaming apps within single monitor for ICA sessions.
x: For a full and compete list with accurate descriptions and overviews please check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-whats-new.html.

What’s new with StoreFront 3.0.1?
This release contains a number of fixed issues ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3/sf-about-30/fixed-issues.html including support for TLS 1.0-1. Please beware that SSL 3.0 is NOT supported and Citrix strongly recommends that you do not use it.

Fronting XenMobile 10.x.n with NetScaler 10.5.x.n – 11.x.n

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test a NetScaler Gateway 10.5.x.n or NetScaler Unified Gateway 11.x.n fronting a XenMobile 10.x.n XMS virtual appliance prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

Shortened Names
XENMOBILE – xm
XENMOBILE SERVER – xms
VIRTUAL APPLIANCE – v/a
FEDERAL INFORMATION PROCESSING STANDARDs – fips
NETSCALER GATEWAY – nsg
NETSCALER UNIFIED GATEWAY – nug
VIRTUAL IP ADDRESS – vip
MOBILE APPLICATION MANAGEMENT – mam
MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT -mdm
CERTIFICATE AUTHORITY – ca

Deployment Preparation Overview (DRAFT & MAY CONTAIN ERROR(S))
0. The section also contain the pre-requite, system requirements for each virtual appliance (V/A) for NetScaler and the XenMobile Server (XMS).
1. Review the XenMobile comparability matrix at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenmobile/10-1/xmob-system-requirements/xmob-10-understand-compatibilitymatrix-con.html to choose the correct NS build vs. XMS build.
2. Download the V/A’s for each at signing in with your Citrix partner access details.
3. You need an SSL certificate a wildcard is recommend for simplicity and this should be using at min a 2048-bit key for your CSR that you submit to your CA. If you are experiencing the following issue enrolment issue Profile Installation Failed “The server certificate for ‘https://’ is invalid“ the please review http://axendatacentre.com/blog/2015/03/29/xenmobile-10-0-poc-considerations/ to help resolve this issue.
4. Generate an APNS certificate following this process at http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenmobile/9/xmob-dm-config-requesting-apns-con.html and sign your APNS certificate with Citrix at – https://xenmobiletools.citrix.com/.
5. You need to be aware that the port communication between the different components has changed and also the placement of the XMS V/A in XenMobile 10. A network diagram can be viewed at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenmobile/10-1/xmob-arch-overview-con.html I would recommended that you please refer to the figure 4. MDM and MAM modes and also figure 5. Cluster deployments.
6. XenMobile 10 today as of writing this blog post requires the following FQDN and IP ADDR reservations to be made available when fronting a XMS V/A with NS appliance either virtual or physical 10.5.x.n and 11.x.n. Please note that for simplicity I will refer to a NetScaler Virtual Appliance V/A from here on in.

a – 1x Public routable FQDN for MDM e.g enroll.axendatacentre.com
b – 1x Public routable static IP addr that resolves to the MDM FQDN
c – 1x Public routable FQDN for MAM e.g apps.axendatacentre.com as Secure/Worx’s apps utilise a mVPN via WorxHome now SecureHub
d – 1x Public routable static IP addr that resolves to the public FQDN MAM
e – 1x DMZ private static IP addr for Gateway for your mVPN traffic
f – 1x DMZ private static IP addr for Load-balancing the MAM traffic
g – 1x DMZ private static IP addr for MDM traffic e.g enrolling and on-going device mgmt.
h – 1x DMZ private static IP addr for the actual XMS V/A

Sample PoC Diagram
* refers to the “.axendatacentre.com” ending the FQDN.

MDM (b) Firewall MDM (a/g) NetScaler Installation FQDN (h) XMS
enroll.*
81.xxx.nnn.100
enroll.*
192.168.2.30
enroll.enroll.axendatacentre.com
MAM (d) MAM (c/e/f)
apps.*
81.xxx.nnn.101
apps.*
192.168.2.31
192.168.2.33

7. NetScaler today as of writing this blog article requires the following IP ADDR reservations for NetScaler to allow you to front Citrix e.g “XenMobile”, ShareFile e.t.c and none-Citrix workloads e.g web services, exchange servers, application servers and much more.

– 1x DMZ private static NetScaler IP addr
– 1x DMZ private static NetScaler Mgmt IP addr for mgmt. of your NS virtual or physical appliance
– 1x DMZ private static Subnet IP addr for the NetScaler to access resources within your TRU network

8. Once you have successfully deployed your XMS use the built-in 30 day licenses for the initial configuration then allocate some eval licenses against the XMS hostname. You can allocate XM 10 licenses by choosing the “MDM/Enterprise 99 User” from – http://store.citrix.com/store/citrix/en_US/pd/productID.306222300/ThemeID.33753000. Once you have licensed the XMS V/A then proceed to successfully deploy the NS V/A and login into the NS V/A mgmt. interface which will be the NS’s mgmt IP addr find the HostID or utilise the following CTX article entitled “How to Allocate NetScaler VPX Licenses” – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX133147 which will be required to license your NS V/A. Once you have the HostID visiting the Citrix Evaluation Store at – http://store.citrix.com/store/citrix/en_US/cat/ThemeID.33753000/categoryID.63401700 and allocate as an eXaMpLe a 3000 VPX at platinum for 90 days at – http://store.citrix.com/store/citrix/en_US/pd/productID.278306700/ThemeID.33753000 and also allocate a “Universal 99 Concurrent User Connection” from – http://store.citrix.com/store/citrix/en_US/pd/productID.282559700/ThemeID.33753000 once again for 90 days.
9. Reboot both the NS, XMS V/A and validate that they are back up and running and functioning as expected using the CLI and or the Admin WebUI’s of each V/A.

Let’s Deploy XMS fronted by a NS (DRAFT & MAY CONTAIN ERROR(S))
1. Login into NS Admin WebUI and navigate to the licensing tab and validate that you have all green ticks and ensure that you have 99-104 Universal licenses if not please read step 8 above before proceeding.
2. In the bottom left-hand corner click on “XenMobile” and select “XenMobile 10” from the dropdown list on the XenMobile initial wizard welcome page.
3. Under the NetScaler for XenMobile section to the left-hand side select the following “Access through NetScaler Gateway” (MAM e.g Worx’s Apps) and “Load Balance XenMobile Servers” (MDM) and then click on Continue.
4. Enter in the IP addr e and leave the port as 443 and provide a Virtual Server Name then click Continue.
5. Select and existing wildcard card certificate or upload a new wildcard certificate then click Continue.
6. Select and existing LDAP binding or create a new LDAP binding and then click Continue. Example of a Base DN for the domain axendc.co.za with domain users residing with the default Users folder within AD would e.f “Cn=Users,dc=axenc,dc=co,dc=za“.
7. Under Load-Balancing FQDN for MAM enter in a for the FQDN and for the IP addr beneath is enter in IP addr f and then click Continue. Please leave the defaults as is for now BUT please be aware that we will are not be performing any SSL Offloading, split tunnelling.
8. Select the same SSL cert as per step 5 above unless its NOT a wild card certificate in-which case then please upload the SSL cert for the MDM FQDN before proceeding. Click Continue.
9. Click “Add Server” under the XenMobile Servers section and enter in IP addr h and the click Continue. Note: Port for communication is 8443!
10. Click “Load Balance Device Manager/XenMobile Servers“.
11. Enter in the IP addr g and alter or leave the default name of the Virtual Server and click Continue. Note: Communication is HTTPS or SSL_Bridge as we choose not to perform HTTP or SSL Offloading in step 7 above.
12. You’ll notice that your XenMobile Servers IP addr’s are already automatically inserted under the XenMobile Servers section click Continue. Note: The Ports for communication are 443, 8443!
13. Click Done!
14. You have now successfully deployed a single XMS V/A fronted by a NS V/A. Once the wizard has completed you can click Edit under the “NetScaler Gateway” section on the top right-hand side under the Test Connectivity button to back into the wizard and modify the split tunnelling options to meet your organisations needs and or requirements.

XenMobile 10.0 PoC Considerations

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test XenMobile 10.0 prior to deploying in a PoC which will eventually mature to a Pilot, UAT then finally into an 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.

Shortened Names
XENMOBILE – xm
XENMOBILE SERVER – xms
VIRTUAL APPLIANCE – v/a
FEDERAL INFORMATION PROCESSING STANDARDs – fips
NETSCALER GATEWAY – nsg
MICROVPN – mVPN
FIREWALL – f/w
CERTIFICATE – cert
ACTIVE DIRECTORY – ad
INFRASTRUCTURE-AS-A-SERVICE – iaas
ENTERPRISE MOBILITY MANAGEMENT – emm
MOBILE CONTENT/INFORMATION MANAGEMENT – mc/im
MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT – mdm
MOBILE APPLICATION MANAGEMENT – mam

Preparation & Pre-requisites (DRAFT & MAY CONTAIN ERROR(S))
1: XenMobile 10 is completely different from XenMobile 9 as it is now a single harden Linux V/A and the communication paths between the NSG and the XMS V/A are also now differently likewise setting and configuring XM 10 is different from XM 9 and its substantially more quicker and easier.
2: Never use a production NSG for a customer PoC why? When you upload the trial licenses it will require the NSG V/A to reboot which cannot be completed in a production environment without a scheduled and carefully planned maintenance window.
3: You may want to use the latest NS(G) firmware for the XM PoC to achieve the best possible outcome, result and of course to have the best optimal performance.
4: XenMobile has the ability to integration of a number of the Citrix products to form an end-2-end EMM solution that encompasses MDM, MAM, MC/IM.
5: Identify and visually understand where potentially all the components/products sit within the whole overall mobility solution. Here is a great visual reference that is clean and clear to understand – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenmobile-10/xmob-arch-overview-con.html for XenMobile 10.
6: Review the pre-requites and checklists if available for each product that you wish to deploy within XenMobile. I have listed a few here for you starting with all the required ports:

Architecture – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenmobile-10/xmob-arch-overview-con.html
System Requirements – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenmobile-10/xmob-system-requirements.html
Ports – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenmobile-10/xmob-deploy-component-port-reqs-con.html
Pre-Installation Checklist – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenmobile-10/xmob-xenmobile-install-checklist.html

7: Now that you have an understanding of the requirements I would strongly advise that you also read through the XenMobile security whitepaper available at – http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/xenmobile-security.pdf. Although you may not actually want to read through this whitepaper even just a brief glance at the MDX technology sections will provide you with a greater understanding of mVPN’s and the MDX framework that powers all of Citrix’s Worx App’s – http://www.citrix.com/products/xenmobile/tech-info/worx-mobile-apps.html.

Pre & Post Discovery Meetings (DRAFT & MAY CONTAIN ERROR(S))
1: Ensure that you educate the organisation as to what XenMobile is and it’s capabilities surrounding enterprise mobility management commonly referred to EMM. I often find that individuals still today don’t have a very clear and defined understanding of what is MDM and MAM are so its worth educating your customer.
2: I would suggest that you setup 2-3 GoToMeeting sessions a minimum. This is to ensure and allow the organisation to ask any questions surrounding the pre-requites and system requirements of XenMobile including supporting any and all external dependencies e.g iOS Enterprise Developer Account for signing Worx’s apps. The second reason is to ensure that all the pre-requites have been completed successfully prior to you arriving onsite to complete a PoC implementation and to answer any further Q&A the organisation has. If the organisation has not completed the pre-requites then proceed with the third GoToMeeting and if the pre-requites have still not being completed successfully I would strongly advise escalating to managers on both organisations and rescheduling your PoC deployment date to an alternative date as the chances of your PoC being successfully will be less likely and as for example the required ports may not be opened correctly, certificates for securing communication are completed etc. If you do choose to proceed you’ll more than likely spend a great deal of time troubleshooting in order to successfully complete your XenMobile 10 PoC deployment.
3: Decide on a database platform note that Postgres SQL is built-in to the XMS V/A and it is recommended PoC deployments only, where as a remote MS SQL database is best utilised for production deployments.
4: Decide upon the MDM management addr for mobile devices which should be a FQDN e.g mdm.axendatacentre.com. If you intend to manage devices both in and outside of your organisation I would recommended implementing SplitDNS ref – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-horizon_DNS.

Example of SplitDNS
///////////////////
Internal 10.10.1.1 resolves to mdm.axendatacentre.com over the corporate trusted Wi-Fi or wired ethernet
External 8.8.8.100 resolves to mdm.axendatacentre.com over 3/4G

5: Login to your Citrix My Account at – http://www.citrix.com/ locate and click Partner Central (Opens a new tab) then once the web page loads click Sales in the navigation menu bar and click on SalesIQ (Opens a new tab) then once loaded click on PoC Central scroll down and download the XenMobile PoC kit. Note only valid Citrix Partners may download content from Citrix SalesIQ.

How-to resolve – Profile Installation Failed The server certificate for “https://XM-FQDN:8443” is invalid when enrolling a device against XenMobile
1: The following error message Profile Installation Failed The server certificate for ‘https://XM-FQDN:8443″ is invalid is received when enrolling iOS 7.x.n + with XenMobile 10.
2: The issues is related to the private key within the exported *.p12/pfx certificate when exported from a Windows machine with either Certificate Manager or IIS Manager on Windows Server.
3: I would suggest that you download and run DigiCert Certificate Utility for Windows from – https://www.digicert.com/util/ on the server that originated the CSR that was used to generate a wildcard certificate. Once the tool is open find your wildcard cert and follow the steps at – https://www.digicert.com/util/pfx-certificate-management-utility-import-export-instructions.htm to export the certificate BUT before you proceed with the export please highlight the intended wildcard certificate and select “Test Key” once its completed successfully select “Export Certificate” option.
4: Upload the exported DigiCert p12/pfx cert to the XMS V/A for both the server and the SSL listener and restart the XMS V/A.
5: Once the XMS V/A is online login to both the SFP and the Admin WebUI to validate that the XMS V/A is active and responding as normal/expected.
6: Begin enrolling your iOS device and the following error message Profile Installation FailedThe server certificate for “https://” is invalid should no longer appear and you should be able to successfully enroll your iOS device.

PoC Notes & Tips
1: Deploy your first few XenMobile 10.0 PoC as single entities without the complexity of clustering, load-balancing e.t.c
2: Stick with 2 devices during a PoC to maximise your success and remember a PoC is designed to prove a concept or that a technology works as described.
3: If your deploying ShareFile On-Prem SZ remember to backup the SZKeys.txt in the root of your ShareFile Data CIFS share.
4: Support NetScaler Gateway (Builds + Versions) for XM 10.0 currently include – 10.5.55.8 MR5, 10.5.54.9 MR4, 10.5.53.9 MR3, 10.1.130 MR and 10.1.129 MR ref – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/worx-mobile-apps/xmob-10-understand-compatibilitymatrix-con.html. Please review the following CTX article entitled “FAQ: XenMobile 10 and NetScaler 10.5 Integration” available at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200430 which is a great and resourceful CTX article.
5: Although this is typically not considered during a PoC Citrix provides detailed overview of scaling XenMobile 10.0 from 1000 up to 100,000 devices fronted by both VPX and MPX NS appliances – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenmobile-10/xmob-scaling-xm.html.