Category Archives: Microsoft

I’ll be presenting at UCDay 2017 and why you should consider attending yourself!

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

This year I am honoured to be presenting at UCDay 2017 (founded by MVP Andrew J. Price) which is described as being the UK’s Premier Microsoft Community Conference (check out the speakers for a starters!) which is to be held on 9th October at National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, UK with this years sessions key focus on Microsoft Azure, Skype for Business, Office365, Exchange & Cloud. Personally I’ll be delivering the following community session entitled “Deploying Citrix (Cloud) Workloads in Azure and Beyond ARA” details about my session are available at – http://www.ucday.co.uk/timetable/event/deploying-citrix-cloud-workloads-in-azure-and-beyond-ara/ and if you have any asks vs. requests for me to cover during my session please feel free to DM on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/lyndonjonmartin or LinkedIn @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyndonjonmartin.

On a personal note I am seriously keen myself to take the opportunity to learn, network, connect with my peers and attend some of the other knock out sessions (when its NOT my session), so be sure to check out all the sessions at – http://www.ucday.co.uk/schedule/#not-set:all delivered by community IT Pro’s focused on EUC, UEM, Workspaces, Public Cloud (Azure), UC & Collaboration and more and then get registered for a ticket at – http://www.ucday.co.uk. For me attending UCDay is an absolutely MUST weather you’re a customer vs. partner vs. consultant vs. vendor (think Microsoft eco-system) and it will enable you to gain invaluable insights from industry experts focused on the above topics and more from around the globe YES thats right not just the UK! Check out the speakers bios at – http://www.ucday.co.uk/ourspeakers/.

As I published this blog post it got me thinking as this is my very first UCDay I’d like to understand the origins of UCDay, how as a presenter vs. attendee on the day I can benefit from attending this great event. So I posed the following questions to the Founder of UC and Cloud Day Andrew J. Price http://lyncme.co.uk (Personal Site) whom is also an Office Servers and Services MVP.

1. How has UCDay changed vs. evolved since you first founded it and delivered that first opening keynote?

UC Day has evolved from a dedicated Microsoft UC Event into a leading Community Conference focusing on all the whole Microsoft 365 stack. When I originally started this journey I never expected it to grow as much as its done over the past 3 years. There is a lot of work happening in the background to continue the growth of this event to becoming a leading EMEA region conference that is free for all to attend.

2. What can attendees expect from the day based upon your experience?

Attendees can expect an action pack day full of networking with sponsors, peers and industry leaders in all things Microsoft Cloud related. UC and Cloud Day is a perfect platform for like minded invidiuduals to learn and grow as IT Professional and create new partnerships with our sponsors.

3. What are the key takeaways for attendees about the day vs. sessions?

Attendees will be able to take away knowledge from real world scenarios that our speakers encounter during their engagements with customers, as well new professional contacts that may assist with existing or future projects.

4. You are a MVP for Office Servers and Services what is it and how many other MVP’s will be at UCDay?

MVP Status is given to community leaders who go above and beyond the call of duty to share their experience with the Microsoft Community. I am recognised as Office Servers and Service MVP for my work within the Office 365 and Skype for Business communities. This year we will have over 20 MVPS across multiple award categories from around the global.

5. Any hints for what you’ll be discussing in your keynote at UCDay this year?

I will be talking about the “evolution” of UC Day and handing over to Microsoft who will be delivering the latest message about the “evolving” marketspace.


I hope to see you at UCDay this year.

All the best,
L-J

2017 UKI #CitrixPartnerLove Challenge #8 Find My Location

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

You can download the image at https://t.co/TutUZ9taVS to print.

SAML Sign-in to Virtual Smartcard for Virtual Apps & Desktops

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test accessing virtual apps and desktops authenticated via SAML IdP (Google OAuth) powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.14.1+ and NetScaler Unified Gateway 11.1 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
FEDERATED AUTHENTICATION SERVICE – fas
SECURITY ASSERTION MARKUP LANGUAGE – saml
IDENTITY PROVIDER – idp
SERVICE PROVIDER – sp
USER AGENT – ug
NETSCALER UNIFIED GATEWAY – nug or netscaler ug
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
STOREFRONT – sf

What is OAuth?
Wikipedia definition – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OAuth and Google’s definiton – https://developers.google.com/identity/protocols/OAuth2.

What is SAML?
Wikipedia definition – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Assertion_Markup_Language.

Why this blog article?
For me as organisations begin shifting to a Cloud native or Cloud First (i prefer hybrid cloud) stratergy they begin too embrace PaaS e.g Citrix Cloud, Office 365 BUT a common major problem is where does the users identity live and do I need replicate it (read-only, passwd hashes e.t.c) and secondly mobilising of data repositories is another major requirement vs. problem. ShareFile can help in solving your data mobilisation problems which I will follow up in a separate blog article in the future to expand upon this, but for now back to SAML and Identity.

Utilising the Federation Authentication Service or FAS for short which is part of XenApp and XenDesktop (see feature matrix – https://www.citrix.co.uk/products/xenapp-xendesktop/feature-matrix.html) in-line with NetScaler UG enables organisations to solve numerous problems about identity (where is lives vs. its synced to data centres A through C e.t.c) enabling access to any type of app fronted by NetScaler Unified Gateway working inline with FAS.

NetScaler for me is your organisations front door (knock knock) e.g https://go.axendec.com or if you know me #10 Downing Street from on any device and it controls how the users authenticates requirements e.g AD, AAD, SAML vs. OAuth 2.0, Biometrics (e.g VeridiumID watch – https://www.veridiumid.com/video-citrix-ready-partnerspeak-veridium/ which is Citrix Ready and be sure to check out https://www.veridiumid.com/biometric-authentication-technology/biometric-connectors/), however in this scenario i’ll focus on access from devices that support a modern web browser (HTML5) to keep it simple. The below table depicts a user that has successfully loaded onto NUG with SMAL vs. OAuth 2.0 credentials and they can go left towards SaaS web apps or right towards virtual apps & desktops where FAS + StoreFront + Int Windows CA will generate a virtual smart card from the SAML token passed from NetScaler to SSO onto the required resource e.g Windows Server 2016 virtual desktop.

SaaS NetScaler Unified Gateway Virtual Apps & Desktops
User logins with SAML credentials e.g AAD, Google OAuth 2.0
← SAML or OAuth 2.0 Token →
Office365 XenApp & XenDesktop,
StoreFront, FAS & Internal Windows CA

PoC SuGgEsTeD Architecture Diagram – BASIC
I have gone for a very simple diagram approach here to help those will little to no knowledge on SAML, OAuth 2.0, AD Shadow accts, virtual smart cards get up to speed.

User Login Flow (Not Step by Step its High Level)
1. The user navigates to the SAML IdP logon webpage setup, configured and hosted by NetScaler UG.
2. The user is automatically redirect to the Google auth login web page to authenticate.
3. Once the user is successfully authenticated at Google they are re-directed back to the NetScaler UG and auto signed in and auto redirected (Responder Policy) to the configured Unified Gateway (my use case here) or ICA Proxy vServer.
4. The user can then select from a choice of Full vs. Clientless VPN or Virtual Apps & Desktops (Selected). Note that in the username will be user@domain while still on the NetScaler UG.
5. The user is SSO onto ReceiverforWeb hosted + powered by StoreFront and the user selects to launch an there choosen HDX virtual app and or desktop(s), you’ll now notice that the username is now first, last name.
6. StoreFront initiates and generates a ICA/HDX file for the user while communicating with FAS + internal Windows CA to generate a virtual smart card for the user that will be used to SSO the user onto there requested resource(s) e.g a Virtual Desktop.
7. The user receives the ICA/HDX file and Receiver automatically launches his/her virtual app and or desktop.

Demonstration WhoamI?

PoC SuGgEsTeD Architecture Diagram – ADVANCED

The Actual Login Flow
Coming…*

Pre-requistes & System Requirements – Google OAuth 2.0
1. Navigate to https://console.developers.google.com/projectselector/apis/credentials and sign-in with your Google credentials.
2. Select “Credentials” under API Manager then select to “Create” a Project
3. Enter in a new “Project Name” and read and review Googles EULA and notification service about updates etc.
4. Google will create your Project
5. Select “Create credentials” and from the drop down select “OAuth client ID”
6. Configure “OAuth consent screen” the bare minimum is to select “Product name shown to users” e.g MYProJectName and then select “Save” you can return later and complete …
7. Now you need to create a client ID select the application type to be “Web Application”
Enter in a friendly name:
– For “Authorized JavaScript origins” enter in “:4443”
– https://YOUR-FQDN:4443
– For “Authorized redirect URIs” enter in “:4443”
– https://YOUR-FQDN:4443/oauth/login
– Select “Create” twice
Google will now create your OAuth credentials and a popup screen will appear with your “Client ID” e.g xnxnxnxnxnxnxnxnxnxnx.apps.googleusercontent.com and “Client Secret” e.g 123456789xnxnxn
8. Now store of copy of these for later in a safe please as you’ll need it for the NetScaler configuration later.

Pre-requistes & System Requirements – Citrix
NetScaler
1. Review the deploying NetScaler guide for your chosen resource location at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler/12/deploying-vpx.html. If your wondering what a Resource Location click this link – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/about/what-are-resource-locations.html.
2. Download vs. deploy your NetScaler virtual appliance on your own terms e.g upload and boot on a hypervisor vs. deployed via a IaaS market place.

– Traditional hypervisors configurations for PoC vs. Home purposes only 2vCPU 2-4GB of RAM
– Cloud hypervisors e.g Azure, AWS for PoC vs. Home purposes only 2vCPU 3.5GB or RAM

3. Licensing Your NetScaler
3.1 You’ll need to license the appliance so obtain trial of e.g VPX 1000 and or 3000 from http://store.citrix.com/store/citrix/en_US/pd/productID.278306700/ThemeID.33753000 or search for Citrix Eval Store at Google.com.
3.2 The above link should redirect your to the NetScaler ADC part of the Eval Store
3.4 Select model type of “VPX” then select variation e.g “1000 vs. 3000 Platinum” and for duration select “30, 60 or 90 Days“.
3.5 Complete the onscreen steps and please note that you will require a valid Citrix.com account or you need to create an account in order to complete the trial request to obtain the eval license.
3.6 Once you’ve received your eval license via email navigate to at https://www.citrix.com/account/toolbox/manage-licenses/allocate.html and select find and allocate your licenses or look for the licensing button (link) and select it.
3.7 If your eval license it not visible e.g created by a Citrix rep or one of our partners –https://www.citrix.com/buy/partnerlocator/ select “Don’t see your product?” top right-hand side (small text!). A pop-up appears now enter in the eval lic provided in the format of “NNNN-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX” and select to continue.
3.8 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.
3.9 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.
3.10 Your NetScaler is now licensed now simple enable the required features that you need vs. require by right clicking a feature e.g NetScaler Gateway select “enable” e.t.c

4. If your in a Public Cloud setup your (Network) Security Groups to allow you external traffic to your NetScaler and i’d suggest that your disable SSH on port 22 from the world and only enable https 443 and use a Windows server + PuTTY within your Azure RG vs. EC2 VPC to interact with your NetScaler. Note: I am keeping it simple here re DMZ/Edge vs. TRU vs. Mgmt networks. Traditional rules apply for Private Cloud setups or WWW vs. DMZ vs. TRU vs. Mgmt networks.

Federated Authentication Service (FAS)
1. Download FAS Software is part of the XAD 7.9+ ISO – https://www.citrix.co.uk/downloads/xenapp-and-xendesktop/ and select 7.15 LTSR
2.
System Requirements – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/secure/federated-authentication-service.html
3. Deploy GPO Policies – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/secure/federated-authentication-service.html#par_anchortitle_6ba9/
– List + Enable XAD Broker/Controller
– Enable in-session certificate support
4. Certificate Authority – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/secure/federated-authentication-service.html#par_anchortitle_27dd. You may require or choose an Internal Microsoft Windows CA 2012 R2 or 2016 (Test with in this PoC)
Active Directory Certificate Services – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831740.aspx
– Configuring Windows for Certificate Logon – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX206156
– Setup Certificate Authority – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/secure/federated-authentication-service.html#par_anchortitle_8dfa
5. VERY IMPORTSANT When Configuring User Rules for FAS list all the required StoreFront Servers, VDA’s and User(s) either by individual object or group e.g. AD Security group PoC SAML Users – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/secure/federated-authentication-service.html#par_anchortitle_6ba3
6. Enable FAS for the default or custom Store on StoreFront – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/secure/federated-authentication-service.html#par_anchortitle_32e2
7. A full AD Admin account for all components will help and save time during the PoC

Deploying @gmail login to NetScaler using OAuth 2.0 / SAML
Coming….

Recommended Reading
Credit to Citrix *CTP Dave Brett – http://bretty.me.uk/citrix-xendesktop-7-9-google-accounts-and-fas-for-xendesktop/ and I’d strongly recommend your read his blog post! His approach vs. requirements differs slightly from that of my own requirements. He saved me a lot of time and in testing + reading through eDocs so @dbretty thank you!


#CitrixPartnerLove
However in the *interim if your a Citrix Partner and you want to learn more and how to deploy this today! You can access the following on-demand entitled “SAML to Virtual Smartcard Sign-in for Virtual Apps & Desktops” at – http://enablement.citrix.com/library/items/1261 BUT you will require a valid Citrix partner login.

2017 UKI #CitrixPartnerLove Challenge #6 Traffic Flows

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

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

My Best of #CitrixSynergy 2017

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

Shortened Names
CITRIX USER GROUP COMMUNITY – cugc
HYPER CONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE – hci

Introduction
Its my 5th #CitrixSynergy and this is def one of the best Synergy’s I have ever had the privilege of watching virtually from London, England. Why not in person? I prefer to watch virtually as I am to consume more content faster and translate that into content to update Citrix partners/customers in a timely manner at high level and tech deep dive where required in particular areas or topics. Finally this blog post will most likely change over the next 2-3 weeks as I consume all of the Synergy 2017 content as when/how I can.

My Highlights of the Key Notes
Vision Keynote

– 4:45 Citrix User Group Community – https://www.mycugc.org THANK YOU! Join the community today its powered by some of the most passionate Citrix and Technology advocates from around the global!
– 11:00 Red Bull Racing I’m not going to say anything you need to watch it!
– 21:45 Cloud powers the world
– 27:00 Digital Frontier Companies
– 39:00 Citrix Secure Digital Workspace with a software-defined preimeter
– 40:57 Citrix Workspace Services and a brief demonstration by Citrix’s CEO
– 42:25 SD-WAN / Gateway / WebApp Firewall / DDoS (NS 12+) as a Service
– 47:35 Citrix Analytics Service
– 1:01:00 “Better Together” and video message from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
– 1:12:25 Citrix + Google Chromebook (Skype for Business, Office365 and much more…)
– 1:18:00 Healthcare customer story “Partners Healthcare”

Technology Keynote

– 22:00 Unified Workspace (its Adaptive and Contextual by device/location and it changes the users published resources and its access type!) which brings together some of the most crucial aspects of todays modern apps, desktops, data & your location in a single view with casting capabilities but not demoed as instead instead*
– 29:00 *Workspace IoT (SmartSpaces) demonstration with a users own mobile phone enables an auto login to a Win 10 VD at guest location including welcoming the user based upon his/her smart phone used as there identity. Security people feel free or you will be going nuts right now!
– 32:30 Its all about layering you guessed it Citrix App Layer enabling IT to say YES! Note demo was demoed using a Samsung DEX check it out – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/03/29/instant-desktop-computing-from-the-new-samsung-galaxy-s8-smartphone/
– 39:40 Workspace Appliance Program e.g HCI
– 42:35 Protect against Zero day attacks with XenServer and BitDefender which is available but is something which Citrix announced on 21/06/2016 yes thats right 2016 entitled “A Revolutionary Approach to Advanced Malware Protection” – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/06/21/a-revolutionary-approach-to-advanced-malware-protection/ 21/06/2016 yes 2016!
– 47:00 Brad Anderson Corporate Vice President of the Enterprise Client & Mobility @Microsoft discusses shortly and then prefers to demonstrates our joint Citrix + Microsoft “Better Together” capabilities in Mobility, Virtualisation delivery from Azure and more.
– 1:01:38 Digital Jungle discussion its def worth your time if you about security and managing the experiences of your users workspace!
– 1:47:25 Vision of how the Digital Workspace is going to evolve

Citrix Synergy TV Breakout Sessions
The following are my current top sessions to watch in no particular order that I believe you’ll gain a lot of value out of watching BUT note that this may change as I continue to consume more of the on-demand content from Synergy 2017.

– SYN318 A to Z: best practices for delivering XenApp, XenDesktop – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnnZTKBy18c&feature=youtu.be

– SYN111 – What’s new with Citrix Cloud and what’s to come – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-UunHGKqLY

– SYN120 – NetScaler SD-WAN updates – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdqIkCb86uU

– SYN103 – Citrix App Layering – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBYoVeAYnSA

– SYN118 – What’s new with NetScaler ADC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMefjGwRMeU

– SYN121 – What’s new with NetScaler Unified Gateway – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ovb4TIb5JY&t=28s

– SYN115 – Why should I use ShareFile if I already have Office 365? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kESgKT7_mJw

Innovation Super Session
Awaiting for the on-demand video publication but for now I will leave you with the following Tweet as a thought or rather a reminder to make sure that you watch it if you missed it!

Synergy 2017 Advocates Blog Posts
Citrix Synergy 2017 – It’s a Wrap – See all the most important announcements listed here! By Christiaan Brinkhoff. – https://blog.infrashare.net/2017/05/29/citrix-synergy-2017-its-a-wrap-see-all-the-most-important-announcements-listed-here/

XenApp Essentials Services Understood powered by Citrix Cloud

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace powered by the Citrix Cloud XenApp Essentials 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
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
MACHINE CREATION SERVICES – mcs
AZURE REMOTEAPP – ara
XENAPP ESSENTIALS SERVICE – xes
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
REMOTE DESKTOP SERVICES – rds

What is it?
It is a replacement for the deprecated Microsoft Azure RemoteApp (ARA) – https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/enterprisemobility/2016/08/12/application-remoting-and-the-cloud/ (“…Support existing Azure RemoteApp customers on the service through August 31st, 2017..“) which provides simplicitic beauty of Microsoft Azure RemoteApp now with the “Secure by Design” enterprise security methodology, platform scalability with FMA in 7.x and HDX virtual app delivery protocol capabilities & power of Citrix XenApp.

ARA brought Remote Desktop Services (RDS) capabiltiies from a multi private cloud deployments on Windows Server to Azure with non-persistent RDS/RDP sessions delivered from the Microsoft Azure Cloud only! The XA Essentials Service is only available from Microsoft Azure Marketplace hosted on Azure and only supports the delivery of Windows apps delivery from Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016 prepared Templates or Bring Your Own Templates (BYOT) uploaded. Citrix has prepared a full FAQ available at – https://www.citrix.com/global-partners/microsoft/resources/xenapp-essentials-faq.html

Overviews & Demonstrations
Introducing XenApp Essentials Service is a demonstration of the Service by Citrix.

Extend the Microsoft RDS platform in Azure through Citrix solutions was a presentation at Microsoft Ignite 2016.

What Feature’s Are Available?
The following feature matrix compares XenApp, XenDesktop Platinum vs. XenApp & XenDesktop Service vs. Azure Marketplace XenApp Essentials vs. Azure Marketplace XenDesktop Essentials
https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/reference-material/xa-xd-deployment-options-feat-comp-matrix.pdf.

High Level Getting Started, System Requirements & Pre-requistes
1. You’ll need an Azure subscription with a resource group defined with a virtual network.
2. Define your preferred Azure region which you can ref from – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/regions/.
3. Decide on your AD stratergy which can be Active Directory sat in the Azure resource location using a min A3 Standard VM instance for AD or you can utilise “Azure Active Directory Domain Services” and eDocs suggested that you review – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory-domain-services/#main prior to implementing AAD for the XA Essentials Services vs. traditional AD.
4. Define your preferred OS strategy for the service which currently supports server OSes for Windows Server 2012 R2 or 2016 and you’ll need to define master image stratergy e.g BYO image or a Citrix prepared image for the service! Notes: “(a)BYO with your own Server OS template including apps + licenses for those apps or choose Citrix prepared templates with Apps. (b)RDS CALS w/SA to Azure or purchase RDS SALs.
5. Customer owned Azure Subscription as is responsible for per monthly IaaS consumption costs e.g compute, network, bandwidth & storage
6. Only MCS based provisioning is support for public (Iaas) clouds and for this Service hosted by Microsoft Azure.
7. Subscribe to XenApp Essentials Service through Azure Marketplace at – https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/Citrix.XenAppEssentials?tab=Overview.
8. Connect your Azure subscription to Control Plane operated by Citrix Cloud. Citrix Cloud controls customer Azure subscription via Citrix Cloud Connectors to provide capabilities to manage, provision and monitor your XenApp servers which will deliver your HDX virtual apps

Deploying your Virtual Apps (Draft!!!)

The above is an graphic from the official XA Essentials Service documentation from Citrix eDocs at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/xenapp-essentials.html and the below is my personal text based step by step summary explaining how to get started with the XA Essential Service powered by Citrix Cloud and Microsoft Azure based upon the Ignite session at – https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ck0mtVXqOuM. Please note that these steps can change as the service is delivered from Citrix Cloud which is a secure SaaS style evergreen control plane – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/about.html.

1. Before you begin you will requires a subscription to XenApp Essentials Service from
2. Azure Marketplace + Server Images + RDS CALS w/SA
3. Create app collection similar to ARA
4. Create a name
5. Domain Joined (Popular) or Non-Domain Joined (TBC)
6. Link Azure subscription to XAE and select Resource Group, Virtual Networks & Subnet
7. Enter in Domain details which include Domain name, OU, Srv acct + passed
8. Select template image Citrix provided or your OWN
9. Select capacity and mange costs  by selecting instance type and power settings scheme (saver logoff after 10min; standard after 1hr; performance after 4hrs or always on i.e do not perform any power mgmt
10. Enter in # of users concurrent and you’ll receive an estimate cost calculator prior to provisioning to understand the costs based on 40hr usage per month
Summary and the deploy
11. Time access is short as CC will provision your instances in your subscription
12. Select app collection click Apps tab then select apps to publish
13. Select users tab and search domain by user or group 
14. Return to Manage home and you’ll see that your app collection is now ready with a green tick
15. Select app collection and you’ll see the StoreFront URL to send to users
16. Users login with domain\user + passed
17. Users are now able to launch there HDX virtual apps secured by there organisations Cloud-hosted StoreFront FQDN which provides secure remote access via the NetScaler Gateway Service also review caveats re bandwidth through-puts below.

Caveats, Current Known Issues with the Service
The list of current know issues one are my ones to pay attention to most as of 04/04/2017 and a full list is available at http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/xenapp-and-xendesktop-service/xenapp-essentials.html so please check and read them all!

1. Live.com accounts cannot be used for authenticaiton
2. Users cannot launch and app if an existing RDS session is present on the XA VDA worker.
3. Machine catalogue failures may occur if deploying a VM instance size in a region that does not support that instance type any more.
4. A premium storage account is not supported see “Prepare Your Azure Subscription
5. Each end-user is limited to 1-GB outbound data transfer per month but you can increase the limit via by acquiring a 25 GB add-on via the Azure Marketplace see “StoreFront and NetScaler Gateway in XenApp Essentials Service
6. See eDocs for more…

My New Secure Workspace Ready in less than 15 min the #CitrixLife

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

Overview
Today I received my new Mac, yes I’ve decided to move from a PC to a Mac for various reasons (those whom know me are probably going really!?) but I still have a Windows 10 tablet PC which I use regually at home, but most importantly my Windows 10 Citrix issued virtual desktop powered by XenDesktop (Citrix on Citrix) follows me anywhere with Citrix Receiver or the HTML5 Citrix Receiver!

I didn’t even turn on my old PC I just started working within less than 15 min from my new MacBook connected to my Win10 VD via Receiver and i’ll just sort out what I need locally like Reflector, NAMP e.t.c over the weekend as its a busy week post our local partner event Citrix Partner Accelerator.

What Did I Do?
1. Unboxed my new Macbook
2. Plugged in the power and pushed the power button its been a while since I’ve heard that CHIME 🙂
3. Completed Apples on-boarding process including setting up iCloud including connecting to the Citrix employee Wi-Fi from our London, Paddington offices check it out at – https://twitter.com/CitrixUK/status/834742107055259650
4. Next I opened Safari and navigated to http://receiver.citrix.com and it auto detected for me that I am connecting from a Mac and presented me with a download link to Receiver for Mac 12.4.
5. Once downloaded I installed it simple!
6. Opened Citrix Receiver and i entered in my addr which then prompted me for my Citrix employee username, passwd and 2FA Token
7. BOOM Receiver synced all my virtual apps & desktops that I had previously selected on other device(s) within a few moments of signing in
8. I clicked on my Windows 10 Virtual Desktop powered by XenDesktop and my new mobile #SecureWorkspace is ready to go within less than 15 minutes!

What’s New in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.13

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.13 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
SECURITY ASSERTION MARKUP LANGUAGE – saml
LOCAL HOST CACHE – lhc
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
WINDOWS – win
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM – ceip
VIRTUAL APPS – va
DATA TRANSPORT LAYER – edt
FIREWALL – f/w
ACCESS CONTROL LISTS – acl
ADVANCED MICRO DEVICE – amd

What’s New
A full and complete list of what’s new is avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/whats-new.html. I’ll start with one of my Citrix passions which is any and everything surrounding HDX technologies.

1. HDX Adaptive Transport is disabled by default in XAD 7.13* also referred to as EDT is a new HDX graphics mode that utilises both the UDP and TCP protocols with a fallback to TCP where UDP isn’t available. The HDX engineering team have engineered this new Citrix protocol called Enlightened Data Transport (EDT) which utilises the existing Citrix ports 1494 (ICA/HDX) and 2598 (Session Reliability) for both TCP and now new UDP so f/w ACL changes are near enough straight forward. To test this new graphics mode internally:

– Configure the ACL between your test end-point and through your internal network (over a VPN) VM running the 7.13 VDA to allow UDP and TCP for 1494, 2598
– Your test VM instance could be running in Azure (connected on-prem via a VPN) or on XenServer 7.1 and remember must be running the latest desktop or server VDA
– Your test end-point must be running the following min Citrix Receiver versions for Windows 4.7, Mac 12.4 and for iOS 7.2
– *In Studio create a machine catalogue, delivery group or use an existing one with your VDA upgraded from e.g 7.12 to 7.13 and then create a new HDX policy e.g HDX-TestofEDT and select the following HDX policy entitled “” and choose “Preferred“.

2. AMD Multiuser GPU (MxGPU e.g GPU Virtualization works with vSphere only) on the AMD FirePro S-series server cards for HDX 3D Pro workloads only e.g Desktop OSes ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/hdx/gpu-acceleration-desktop.html+ with support for up to 6 monitors, custom blanking & resolution, high frame rate and only GPU Pass-through is supported on the following hypervisors XenServer and Hyper-V. For further details please ref to the AMD website at – http://www.amd.com/en-us/solutions/professional/virtualization.

3. Intel Iris Pro (5-6th Gen Intel Xeon Processor E3) graphics processors supports H.264 h/w encoding for virtual apps & desktops, HDX 3D Pro support for up to 3x monitors (Ref to install options+), custom blanking & resolution, high frame rate. For further details and compatible Intel processors ref to – http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/servers/data-center-graphics.html

4. Other HDX enhancements include:

– Bidirectional content redirection – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/bidirectional-content-redirection.html
– Wacom tablets improvements & connection methods – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/hdx/usb.html and also see http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/usb-devices-policy-settings.html
– File copying performance enhancements for client drive mapping

5. StoreFront 3.9 support for the following below and for a closer look check out the following CTX blog article – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/02/24/whats-new-in-storefront-3-9/

– HDX Adaptive Display
– CEIP automatic enrollment by default. To disable please ref to http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/install-standard.html#par_anchortitle_8ea6
– Importing of NUG configurations (ZIP file or via PowerShell) into StoreFront to setup through the XAD Wizard using the latest NetScaler UG 11.1.51.21+ ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/integrate-with-netscaler-and-netscaler-gateway/import-netscaler-gateway.html to reduce and avoid misconfigurations.
– Not new but if you’re looking to security harden your StoreFront standalone or cluster ref to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/secure.html
– SAML auth through against your preferred Store with NetScaler Unified Gateway configured as your IdP – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-9/configure-authentication-and-delegation/configure-authentication-service.html#par_anchortitle_d712

5. The Connection Quality Indicator is not part of the XAD 7.13 release but an invaluable Citrix tool for Citrix SysAdmins check out its capabilities at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/02/22/citrix-connection-is-slow-not-really/ and you can download it from – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX220774 and it also inclues group policies for better SysAdmin controls to enable or disable the tool which is supported from XAD 7.6 LTSR and upwards ref the CTX220774 article. The below image is taken from a Window 10 virtual desktop powered by XenDesktop 7.x.

6. Linux Seamless published applications from a Linux supported OS using the 7.13 VDA – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/linux-virtual-delivery-agent/7-13/whats-new.html and also please read the publishing apps for Linux at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/linux-virtual-delivery-agent/1-4/suse/configuring/publish-apps.html for advanced tips and guidance on seamless mode vs. window manger configuration.
7. LHC in 7.13 introduces a new support feature for brokering operations for Citrix Cloud when the internet connection between the Citrix Cloud Connector and the Citrix Cloud control plane at – https://citrix.cloud.com/ is in a failed state or unavailable due to an ISP outage. You can also force an outage following the documentation available at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/manage-deployment/local-host-cache.html++ by creating and manually modifying the following registry entry “HKLM\Software\Citrix\DesktopServer\LHC with entry of OutageModeForced” set to the value in the documentation++ to force an outage for testing and or evaluation purposes prior to implmenting Local Host Cache. I’ve embedded below a simple architectural recap of LHC introdcued in XAD 7.12 and you can read in more depth detail about Local Host Cache from a previous blog post available at – http://axendatacentre.com/blog/2016/12/13/whats-new-in-xenapp-xendesktop-7-12/.

Finally LHC still provides support for brokering operations for traditional XAD Controller Site Database on-prem ref ++. I’d also recommend that you watch this TechTalks To Go covering LHC in XAD 7.12 release.

8. Provisioning Services 7.13 now supports Linux streaming and a brand new caching technique only available and supported on XenServer 7.1 called PVS-Accelerator. Check the following YouTube video from Citrix entitled “Introducing PVS-Accelerator, only available with XenServer!” via https://twitter.com/juancitrix/status/835202277317148672.

9. HDX Thinwire enhancements in 7.13 have resulted in up to 60% bandwidth savings. Take a look at the following CTX blog post at – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/01/11/hdx-next-cuts-bandwidth-by-up-to-60-yes-sixty-percent/ which has some great high level LoginVSI 4.1.6 graphics comparing Thinwire in 7.12 vs. 7.13 on Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2016.
10. AppDNA what’s new ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/dna/7-13/whats-new.html now includes support for Windows 10 Anniversary Update (AU) and now defaultor analysis and reporting, Secure Web reports and finally improved importing to process to analysis OSes and apps. There are a few more to be sure to check out the whats news!

Deploying XenApp 7.13 for Evaluation & Testing Purposes
The fastest way to deploy and test the latest new features from Citrix XA 7.13 release with little to no effort is to deploy the “Citrix XenApp 7.13 Trial” from Microsoft Azure available and accessiable at – https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/citrix.citrix-xa?tab=Overview.

Removed from XenApp and XenDesktop 7.13
Please be sure to read and review the complete removed features and future removal features within XAD 7.x platform topics on Azure Classic, AppDisks, Desktop OS support and supported HDX Graphics Modes e.t.c –
https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-13/whats-new/removed-features.html.

Viso Stencils from Citrix’s Ask the Architect – https://twitter.com/djfeller for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.13.


Image credit: https://twitter.com/djfeller/status/836557405173477376

https://virtualfeller.com/2017/02/28/visioxenappxendesktop713/

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.

What’s new in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.9

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.9 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.

Shortened Names
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
VIRTUAL DELIVERY AGENT – vda
HIGH DEFINITION EXPERIENCE – hdx
INDEPENDENT COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE – ica
EXPERIENCE 1st – x1
VIRTUAL DESKTOP – vd
VIRTUAL APPS – va
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm or thinwire+

What’s New THAT You Probably Missed!
So firstly I thought I’d start with what consultants, IT Professionals and most importantly CTX SysAdmins been an ex-one myself may miss with the latest XenApp & XenDesktop 7.9 release and then cover the what’s new e.g most commonly known as a blog article up.

1 – Windows 10 support under the XAD 7.6 Long Term Service Release (LTSRP) – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/06/13/a-sneak-peek-behind-the-scenes-of-the-long-term-service-release-ltsr/ but the detail about been compliant is avaiable at the following CTX article titled “CTX205549 XenApp and XenDesktop Servicing Options (LTSR) FAQ” – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX205549 and then search for How do I get a Windows 10 VDA that is 7.6 LTSR compliant? on the web page. The following Citrix LTSR Assistant tool note its “Tech Preview – v1.0.0.32” but has been updated as of 10 June 2016 and can be downloaded at – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX209577 but its NOT recommended when using with a production enviroment so against your UAT enviroment to ensure that your actual Citrix XAD PROD enviroment is XAD 7.6 LTSR compliant. For more in-depth information check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6-long-term-service-release/xad-whats-new.html which provides a link to the Windows 10 statement for CTX205549.
2 – Support for Windows 10 in the HDX 3D Pro VDA
3 – Federated Authentication Service or FAS leverages a MS CA to dynamically issue certs to logon users as if they where using a smart card and extends Citrix authentication capabilities is must read for any real (CTX) SysAdmin and security experts – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/secure/federated-authentication-service.html.
4 – New default HDX graphics behaviour within XAD 7.9 is to support the use of Thinwire Compatible Mode or more commonly referred to as Thinwire+ and then to utilise “Use video codec for compression” when preferred e.g when playing a video which makes alot of sense to me so I am very happy to see this new default behaviours kudos to the HDX engineers that would on HDX Graphics Modes! Great job again 🙂
5 – HDX 3D Pro support for Intel CPUs with Intel Iris Pro graphics 5th & 6th Generation check out the following eDoc article for the full details – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/hdx/gpu-acceleration-desktop.html. For a good overview and demonstration of this new GPU support for XAD 7.9 powered by XenServer 7.0 yes that is correct XenServer 7.0 watch the following YouTube clip. Also please be sure to check out the latest XenServer 7.0 documentation at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenserver/xenserver-7-0.html there is some seriously new very cool stuff which I will cover in another up and comming Blog article time permitting between work and family life.

6 – The HTML5 Receiver 2.0 introduces a enhanced floating toolbar and you can now control its behaviour by completely hiding it or an individual icon only so check out the how-to at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/html5/2-0/about-this-release.html and after that it descirbes the new Client side appswitcher feature which also means CTX SysAdmins dont have to install the Client side appswitcher seperately on your VDAs.
7 – The following guides are for XAD 7.6+ and onwards although not actually classed as NEW they are often missed I find:

– Implementation and Configuration Guides – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/implementation_guides.html
– Design Guides – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/design_guides.html
– Reference Architectures – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/reference-architectures.html

8 – Securing your StoreFront deployment is a must read in my person view – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-6/secure.html. AppDNA now also introduces a compliance module – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/dna/7-9/whats-new.html which helps SysAdmins identity if any apps that are due to be rolled out into your virtual app eco-system may introduce secuirty vulnerabilities or more importantly risk(s).
9 – Provisioning nVidia vGPU enabled XenDesktop machines powered by GRID K1 and K2 cards – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/provisioning/7-9/xendesktop-setup-wizard-vgpu.html.
10 – Finally you should be aware of the new installation & upgrade default behaviour changes for XAD 7.9 so be sure to read/review the full and complete list of whats new at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/whats-new.html.