Tag Archives: ARM

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

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

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/

What’s New and Understanding Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop 7.11 (Seven 11)

The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps and desktops powered by XenApp & XenDesktop 7.11 (Seven 11) 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
THINWIRE COMPATIBLE MODE – tcm also known as ecm or thinwire+

What’s New
1. XAD 7.11 infrastructure support on Windows Server 2016 for the Controller, StoreFront, Studio, Director, Server VDA, Session Recording Server & Agent, Universal Print Server.
2. Self-Service Password Reset 1.0 (SSPR) is now part of the StoreFront 3.7 & XAD 7.11 (Platinum feature) release and can be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2 and 2016* and allows users to unlock or reset their AD passwords through a series of questions. For a detailed overview please read the CTX blog entitled “StoreFront 3.7 has been released!“- https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/14/storefront-3-7-has-been-released/

3. SQL Server 2014 Express is still installed by default when installing the XAD Controller which became the default in XAD 7.9 release ref – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/whats-new.html#par_anchortitle_ddbe so be aware of the installation behavioural changes for SQL and SQL Server 2016 is now supported ref –http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/system-requirements.html#par_anchortitle_384a and for a full list of the supported databases for XAD please refer to http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX114501 which contains and up to date tablised view of XAD versions vs. SQL versions and which are and are’nt supported! Finally DB sizing can be found by referring to the LTSR release of XAD 7.6 at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/categories/solution_content/implementation_guides/database-sizing-guidance-for-xendesktop-7-6.html which has great guidance on database sizing for XAD 7.6+.

4. Publish URL’s, documents and media files from network shares (WAHOO!) is now available on as part of the XAD 7.11 release. It currently only supports publishing of content via PoSH cmdlets and all the examples can be found and a detaied overview of the feature is avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/install-configure/publish-content.html*.

Example Publishing a Word Document from Citrix eDoc’s*
New-BrokerApplication -Name ReadMe -PublishedName”ReadMe Document” -ApplicationType PublishedContent -CommandLineExecutable \\MyFolderShare\Documents\ReadMe.doc -DesktopGroup Content

5. Use of System Center Virtual Machine Manager to provision VMs used to create AppDisks. If you are unfamiliar with AppDisks the following YouTube video from the Citrix channel demonstrates how’s setup, create and assign your AppDisks to users virtual desktops. There is also a fantastic AppDisks FAQ avaiable at – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenapp-xendesktop/xenapp-xendesktop-7-8/downloads/AppDisk%20FAQ.pdf

6. Installation behavioural changes for CIS programs entitled “Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)” and “Citrix Call Home“. For more information please refer to and read – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/manage-deployment/cis.html.
7. New HDX enhancements include:

– A new HDX policy setting combining Thinwire Compatible Mode (ECM) and H.264 can be enabled by selecting the following policy Use video codec for compression and select For actively changing regions. If you do not then the default HDX graphics mode is used which is Use video codec for compression Use video codec when preferred. For a more detailed overview please check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/graphics-policy-settings.html.
– Up to 5% bandwidth reduction with the new behavioural enhancements for video content with Thinwire and requires XAD 7.11 with either Windows Receiver 4.5 or Linux 13.4.
– Support for USB generic mass storage devices for XenApp
TWAIN 2.0 scanning protocol support with Windows Receiver 4.5+
– New behavioural changes for the optimisation of client USB devices – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/usb-devices-policy-settings.html
– Support for publishing universal apps for Windows 10, Server 2016 using the Microsoft Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
– Support for H.264 hardware encoding with supported nVidia GPU cards (NVENC hardware encoding – https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-video-codec-sdk) and also to read the following entitled “Better Together: Citrix XenDesktop 7.11 + NVIDIA GRID” from – https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/09/14/citrix-xendesktop-nvidia-grid/!
Default VDA policy settings for XAD 7.11 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/policies/policies-default-settings.html

8. StoreFront 3.7 includes SSRP 1.0 as mentioned above in point 2., UI support for small form factor devices improving the user’s overall experience when you configur the unified Citrix Receiver experience on StoreFront against your Store(s) which can be configured by reffering to – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/storefront/3-7/manage-citrix-receiver-for-web-site/unified-receiver-experience.html so when connecting to from e.g Safari on an iPhone your end-users experience is way better try for yourself! Finally a great new addition or rather enhancement to Zones in StoreFront 3.7 & XAD 7.11 is that now client location based zone preference passes the zone information to the controller (required configuration – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/manage-deployment/zones.html#par_anchortitle_1db7) which in turn utilises this information to select the more appropriate workstation/server VDA’s that are closest in proximity to the user so when connecting to virtual apps & desktops there receive the best rich HD experience possible.
9. Windows Server 2016 analysis and reporting including Expanded security analysis with AppDNA 7.11 – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/dna/7-11/whats-new.html.
10. Automate Director notifications with Citrix Octoblu – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/director/alerts-notifications.html#par_anchortitle_1d19. For a detailed overview and look at this integration be sure to read the blog post – http://horacegoesskiing.com/index.php/2016/09/16/using-xenappxendesktop-7-11-alert-policies-with-octoblu/.
11. Support for Windows Server 2016 as a server and a target platform for PVS 7.11 including an enhanced diagnostic model so much more so be sure to review the PVS 7.11 online documentation at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/provisioning/7-11.html.
12. Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 FIPS 140-2 Sample Deployments (Technically NOT new but very useful for Citrix customers and partners alike) – http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/categories/public-sector/downloads/Citrix%20XenApp%207.6%20and%20XenDesktop%207.6%20FIPS%20140-2%20Sample%20Deployments.pdf
13. Provisioning Citrix workloads in Microsoft Azure using ARM is now available. For a detailed how-to read – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/install-configure/install-prepare/azure-rm.html but before deploying your VM’s be sure to read the following whitepaper entitled “The scalability and economics of delivering Citrix XenApp services from Microsoft Azure” available from – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/white-paper/xa711-scalability-azure-rm.pdf. To get started with deploying and using XenApp 7.x in Azure take a look at deploying the XenApp Trial in the Azure Marketplace at – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/marketplace/partners/citrix/citrix-xacitrix-xa-trial/ which will be you a complete XA 7.x enviromnent in Azure along with StoreFront, NetScaler and 2x VM’s to deliver a server virtual desktop and the other for delivery of just virtual apps.
14. Citrix Receiver 7.1 is ready for iOS 10 – https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/15/citrix-receiver-ready-for-ios-10/.
15. Finally be sure to check out and be aware of the list of known issues with XAD 7.11 release at – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new/known-issues.html

* Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is currently still in TP and is not officially released as of writing this blog post.

For a completely detailed summary of what is avaiable in XAD 7.11 (Seven 11) check out – http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-11/whats-new.html.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x.n (As of this blog post its 7.11) Features

Quick upgrade guide to XenApp 7.11 and XenDesktop 7.11 by #Citrix #CTP @ervik

Upgrading My Azure XAD 7.9 environment to XAD 7.11

Installing a XAD 7.11 PoC environment on Azure
I have testing installing XAD 7.11 (Seven 11) onto Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 or TP5 on Azure via the Azure Market Place – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/?term=Windows+Server+2016+TP5. The CLEAN installation that I performed did not have any issues or errors however the when creating the machine catalog for Windows Server 2016 TP5 even installing the Server DVA 7.11 it will revert to recommended VDA release of 7.8 only so you have been warned!

Once Microsoft releases Windows Server 2016 officially I will follow-up with an overview of setting up and configuring XAD 7.11 on Windows Server 2016 hosted on Microsoft Azure.

Scheduled & Coming…