Tag Archives: install guide

Installing XenDesktop 7 Part 4 – Creating Catalogues

In the previous articles we have gone through installing XenDesktop 7 on a single machine, creating your first farm and in the last article we demonstrated the installation of the Virtual Desktop Agent onto a Windows 8.1 Preview machine.

We are now going to show you how to configure a catalogue and how to make these machines available to your users.

On your XenDesktop Controller open up the Citrix XenDesktop 7 studio console and at this stage it should like like the following:

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Click on Create Catalogue

you are now presented with the create catalogue wizard click next, you can optionally choose not to display the first message again.

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First we need to choose the type of catalogue we are going to create, we have three options:

  1. Windows Desktop OS – For delivering Windows VDI machines
  2. Windows Server OS – For publishing XenApp desktops/applications
  3. Remote PC Access – For delivering remote access to physical PC’s

We are going to be selecting option 1 to deliver Windows Desktop OS

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Next we need to choose what type of infrastructure we are going to deliver physical or virtual, we are using virtual desktops. We also need to choose what delivery method you need.

The three options are

  1. Machine Creation Services
  2. Provisioning Services
  3. Other

We will be leveraging the inbuilt Machine creation services

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Next you need to choose what type of experience the users are going to have. You need to choose between static or dynamically assigned desktops and whether users will be able to make changes to their desktops. For the purposes of this demonstration we will be using dynamic desktops with the deployment of personal vDisk’s so that users have the option of dynamically installing their own applications, these design decisions should be completed prior to your deployments

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The wizard will now communicate to your virtual infrastructure and will give you the option to choose what virtual machine will be used as the base image for your new desktops. We have created a snapshot which you can see in the following image labelled as 0.1. This is so that any further updates to the Virtual machine can be made. With a new snapshot created, the desktop pool can be updated to use any newer snapshots.

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In the next screen you will be able to select how many virtual machines that you would like to create, how many vCPU’s you want to define, and the amount of RAM assigned to each machine. The defaults are created by what the virtual machine is currently setup with. You are also given the option to select how much capacity is to be assigned to personal vDisk’s, and the drive letter that the personal vDisk will be assigned once the machine is up and running.

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Next you need to select into what Organisational Unit (OU) the Desktop’s Active Directory Machine Accounts will be created. We have created a Computers OU under a Citrix OU in our domain in preparation for this.

You will also be able to select the machine name’s that are created, so we have created a default naming scheme of DMMSW81###, during the creation of the machines the ### will be replaced with an number to ensure that no overlapping machine names are used.

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Finally you will need to create a catalogue name and description and review the summary of what you are about to create:

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Click finish and the machine creation will begin. This may take some time dependant on your infrastructure and the number of machines that you have chosen to create.

The wizard will now create a copy of your master image, create the machines on your virtual infrastructure and create the relevant Active Directory computer accounts

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To finalise the deployment in XenDesktop 7 you now need to create a delivery group and assign some users:

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The first step in creating the delivery group is to select what catalogue of machines you would like to add, for this demonstration we only have the catalogue we created earlier, you will also need to assign the number of desktops from the catalogue that you would like to add.

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Next you need to choose what you are delivering. Shown here we are delivering the full desktop

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Next you will need to assign the users that you require to have access to these desktops.We recommend setting up Active Directory groups for each delivery group but you can add indivdual users if required.

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As we installed Receiver into the base image as part of the VDA installation, a nice new feature is the ability to configure receiver for a Storefront server automatically when creating the delivery groups, as we have not configured Storefront yet, this is not possible, but this can be changed at a later time

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The final screen is the usual summary. You are also given the options to name the delivery group and setup some options that users will see when they log into Storefront/NetScaler

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And that wraps up this part of the demonstration, as you will see you will have a lot more information in the Citrix studio console and you will be able to test the configuration that you have created:

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If you have any questions about the blog post please direct any questions to blogs@iconicit.co.uk

Installing XenDesktop 7 Part 3 – Installing XenDesktop 7 Virtual Desktop Agent

Before we can continue to create catalogues as part of our XenDesktop 7 installation series we need to have available Virtual Desktops. In this part of the series we will show you how to install the basic Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA). To complete this tutorial we are deploying the VDA to a Vanilla Windows 8.1 (Blue). The process and settings will be the same for any Windows 7 or 8 builds.

So after inserting ISO and progressing through the welcome screen, you will notice everything is greyed out that does not apply to installing on a client OS.

We need to select “Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Desktop OS”

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As we are going to utilise this a client VM for our XenDesktop 7 Farm, we will select the default “create a master image”

There is a second option to if you will be configuring the VDA for physical machines

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With the many improvements to XenDesktop 7 improved 3D hardware pass through capabilities utilising the likes of Nvidia K2 grid cards, you are offered to the option to utilise HDX3D pro. As we do not have this hardware in our infrastructure we will not be deploying it as part of this demo, so leave the default selection of no

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In the next part of the wizard you will be offered the opportunity to alter the default installation location. You will also be given the option to deploy the latest Version 4 of Citrix Receiver as part of the deployment, you may want to deploy this through third party software management tools such as Microsoft System Centre, but as part of this tutorial we will just install a the standard receiver.

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Next you will need to decide how you the VDA will register with the Dedicated Desktop Controllers (DDC) you are given four options:

  1. Do It later – not sure why you may want to do this unless you are creating generic builds for an LaaS solution
  2. Add it manually – here you can manually add the Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) of your delivery controllers, this adds extra burden as a delivery controller change will mean an image update is required
  3. Chose Locations from Active Directory – similar to earlier versions of XenDesktop, you can run a script to create relevant entries in Active Directory (AD) so you can dynamically update the list of DDC’s in AD this was the proffered method in earlier versions of XenDesktop, and remains so if you don’t plan on using Machine Creation Services (MCS) i.e using Provisioning Services (PVS)
  4. Let Machine Creation Services do it automatically – if you utilise MCS the delivery controllers will automatically add in their addresses when creating machines

For this tutorial we are using MCS so we will select option number 4 “Let Machine Creation Services do it automatically”

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The VDA installation process will then offer to setup the following automatically for you

  • Optimize the client, this will go through and disable certain services that are not required and optimize your machine for XenDesktop7
  • It will enable Windows remote assistance, so that you can connect to your clients from Desktop Director giving your support teams flexible assistance options
  • Utilise real time audio transport
  • Enable Personal vDisks,

This is a design decision that needs to be made as part of your solution. As part of this demo we are going to utilise personal vDisks so we are ticking this box.

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Similar to the Desktop Controller installation all of the firewall requirements are listed out for you. If you plan to add them manually, specifically if you do not use the Windows Firewall, the ports are listed as in previous posts.

We do use Windows Firewall so we are going to allow the installer to make these changes to the firewall rules

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Finally you will be presented with a summary of the selections that you have made. We strongly recommend that you read through these and make sure you have set everything up as you intended. As you can see all of the pre-requisites are installed as part of the installer.

Once you are happy click Install.

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The installer will take approximately 10 minutes based on your hardware specs and is surprisingly very quick to complete. All in all the VDA agent took just 6 minutes in our demo environment

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Once the installation has completed it recommended to restart the machine.

And that is it, the VDA agent as you can see is a simple installation process that runs very quickly

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Enjoy

If you have any questions about the blog post please direct any questions to blogs@iconicit.co.uk

Deploying Citrix XenDesktop 7 Part 2 – Configuring Your Site

In our previous post Installing Citrix XenDesktop 7  Part 1 we showed you how easy the initial installation is of the new Citrix XenDesktop 7 suite of products is. In this second part we are going to run through how to setup your first site ready to start deploying Windows 7 and 8 Virtual Desktops and Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012 XenDesktop for application publishing (XenApp).

Further to the existing pre-requisites in the previous post an SQL server is required, for a small deployment SQL 2012 express can be deployed as part of the installation. As before in the previous post we are utilising an existing SQL 2012 server where we have created a blank database called XenDesktop7 with a specified windows service account for authentication.

So the first step is to open the Citrix Studio console and click the getting started link

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The first screen presents you with two options, the first is the most simple deployment and enables you to configure your entire site in a single process, the second option “Create an Empty Site” will give a more granular approach to the deployment, we will select the first option and add a name to our site:

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The first task is to setup the connection to the database, if you have installed SQL express locally the information will be pre-polulated here for you. We are going to provide the fully qualified domain name of our SQL server (or an alias if you plan on moving it) and the name of the database

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Oce you have entered the details for your SQL server and database name (and instance name if required) we reccomend selecting the “test connection” button to ensure you have entered the correct information, because we are using a dedicated service account to access the database that is a different user account tot he one we are currently logged in as for the deployment the wizard will notify you of its lack of ability to connect to the SQL server select “OK”:

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A second popup box will offer you the option to alter the credentials used to access the SQL database go ahead and select “yes”

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You will then be presented with a standard windows security dialogue to enter your service account credentials:

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If you do enter incorrect credentials you will be given a little more help, a nice touch here I entered the credentials of the service account incorrect:

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Once you have the correct credentials and all tests are successful you can move on through the wizard

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The next step is to configure your license server. We have deployed the license server on the same machine so localhost:27000 is correct. You can then either utilise the free 30 day trial to carry on the setup, register a license key code or import an already activated license file.

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We need to configure your hosting infrastructure, here you have three choices, Citrix XenServer, VMware vCenter, or Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager. We are using XenServer.

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Once the hosting infrastructure is connected you will then be given the opportunity to select the networks that will be used by clients

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The storage will be setup next, by default if the wizard detects shared storage you will be able to choose the LUN’s that you would like to use, in the dropdown you will also see the options to add local storage should you not have any SAN infrastructure. If you want to utilise Personal vDisks (and why wouldn’t you?) you can set them to be hosted on a specific LUN or with the users virtual machines this will be a design decision you will need to make.

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With the deprecation/retirement of the Citrix streaming profiler, direct integration with App-V 5 management infrastructure is now possible. We will discuss this in more depth in a further post suffice to say the integration is a welcome step and makes publishing App-V applications a hell of a lot easier. For the purposes of this blog we are going select no but this can be changed at a later date:

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You will finally be presented with a final summary detailing your selections we  would recommend running through these and ensuring you selected everything correctly and click finish

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You will then get a progress dialogue detailing what changes are being made

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Once the configuration has completed the next steps will be to create catalogues, configure storefront and setup role based access for your administrators. you will then be ready to deploy your first servers and desktops.

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In Part 3 of this series we will run through some of the basic catalogue configurations for the XenDesktop for applications and of course XenDesktop VDI Clients.

If you have any questions about the blog post please direct any questions to blogs@iconicit.co.uk

Installing Citrix XenDesktop 7 Part 1 – Dedicated Desktop Controller

With the release of Citrix XenDesktop 7 this yesterday we have been busy updating our Demonstration Environment to showcase the latest technologies and to update some of our Virtual machines to utilise Microsoft Windows 2012 now that it is now a supported platform.

For this tutorial we are going to demonstrate the ease of deployment of your first Citrix XenDesktop 7 Dedicated Desktop Controller (DDC). On this virtual machine we are going to deploy the following components:

  • Citrix XenDesktop 7 Studio – the primary management platform for the new architecture
  • Citrix Desktop Director – the primary monitoring tool and the replacement for Citrix Edge sight
  • Citrix Storefront 2.0 – the updated release of Storefront 1.* and the replacement for the more traditional Web Interface 5.* infrastructure
  • Citrix Licensing server

In a production environment we would almost certainly separate these components onto their own virtual machines, but for this demonstration we will deploy all the required roles onto a single server.

As a minimum recommended specification the virtual machine is configured with the following hardware

Server OS Disk Drive 0 Disk Drive 1 Memory vCPU’s
Windows 2012 C:\ 50GB D:\ 20GB 5GB minimum 2

Citrix lists the full requirements for each separate application on their eDocs site here:

http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-7/cds-sys-requirements.html

The 5GB minimum recommended requirement is made up of the 3GB requirement for the Desktop Controller and 2GB for Storefront.

After inserting the CD (ISO) and letting the CD auto run you are first presenting with the new start screen this is where your journey begins:

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You are now presented with a list of options dependant on what products you would like to deploy,

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We are going to select “Get Started” and deploy our first delivery controller, as you can see from here you can deploy all of the required components

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If we were deploying a Citrix XenDesktop Delivery Agent we would chose one of the following:

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As you can see the installer has detected we are on a server OS and greyed out the options to install a Desktop OS Agent.

As we said earlier all of the components can be installed individually and these can be selected from the final column “Extended Deployment”

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Once we launch the Getting started column the wizard is a fairly simply run through as we will show you now. As usual with most software these days the first menu is to agree to the terms of the liscensing agreement and click Next:

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Next you are given the option of what location to install the components to by default this is C:\Program Files\Citrix, and what components you would like to install: for the purposes of this demonstration we are going to install all of the components on a single server VM:

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Next you can choose if you would like to install SQL Express Locally on your server for the data store, and whether you would like the Windows Remote Management tools installing to enable shadowing FROM the server you are deploying to. In this instance we already have a SQL 2012 Server with an empty database ready for our deployment so we are not going to install SQL Express locally. If you do install SQL Express and create a local database this can be moved to a full blown SQL installation at a later date. We are also going to install the Windows Remote Management tools as we are deploying Desktop Director on this server and we will want to manage out from this machine.

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The next menu gives you the option to setup any locally installed firewalls, we utilise the inbuilt Microsoft firewall where possible, so we will allow the installer to make the necessary changes, this is a nice improvement as it lists the changes you will need to make if your are running any third party firewall products and gives you the details to manually make the changes.

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The wizard will then show a summary of your selections it is always worth double checking that everything is as required and then simply click install. As you can see all of the pre-requisites are handled with the installer so Visual C++ 2008 runtime, IIS and the Remote Support features will all be installed as part of the product installation.

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The program will begin installing the components as can be seen it is estimated to take 10 minutes or so.

All in all the installation took 5 minutes and once it is complete you can then launch Citrix Studio and configure your site

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And that is it for installing CItrix XenDesktop 7, it takes 7 mouse clicks (coincidence or planned???)

Once the Studio has launched you will be presented with several options for configuring your site:

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We will create a new post detailing the configuration options and what is required to complete the initial configuration to get you site up and running in a future post. Check back soon for an update.

If you have any questions about the blog post please direct any questions to blogs@iconicit.co.uk