As most of you probably know, one of the main components that makes up Citrix XenMobile App edition is the App Controller. It provides us with our Mobile, Web and SaaS applications including any HTML5 based applications and web links. Applications first need to be signed, than wrapped, adding in the MDX binaries, before being uploaded to App Controller and assigned to your users. A process I’ll describe in more detail in one of my upcoming articles. During this blog I’d like to zoom in on the integration of StoreFront and highlight some of the options we have when it comes to using Worx Home and/or Citrix Receiver in contacting either StoreFront, App Controller or both. I’ll show you how we can launch, not only our Mobile, Web and SaaS apps, but Windows based desktops and applications as well, without using both platforms individually.
Just over three months ago I purchased my first Apple computer, a MacBook Air 13.3 Inch to be exact, and to go short, I love it! Sure, after working with Windows for over 14 years, I needed a few weeks to adjust, who wouldn’t. Although I now use it on a daily basis I haven’t really dug that deep into OS X, I mean, it all just works, so why would I? Lately I’ve been spending some more time on how Apple, and OS X in particular, actually works, what’s the magic behind it all? Closely related, enterprise readiness is another subject that drew my attention. During my visit at Citrix Summit in January I also attended a session named ‘Bring Your Own Mac’ a way to allow MacBook’s onto your private (Active Directory) domain, without compromising security, centralised management and.. the ability to use Windows applications!
Have you ever used the Citrix project Accelerator? No? You should! At least have a look and see what you make of it, so did I. Currently there are over 12.500 projects (active and closed) known by Project Accelerator, I’ll get to the how and why in a minute. According to the release notes it has been online and available in beta since December 2012, but I assume they’re only referring to the (upgraded) XenDesktop 7.1 version, right?! For those of you unknown with the concept, I’ll try and explain what it’s about and how it’s done.
The XenDesktop Site Configuration Database is an important part of your infrastructure, when it’s is down, users won’t be able to connect and IT won’t be able to make any configuration changes. Because of this you’ll probably want to implement some kind of high availability mechanism keeping your database up and running at all times, or at least to try and keep downtime at a minimum. During one of my recent presentations in which I talked about XD7 including it’s database dependency, a discussion around which type of (SQL) HA mechanism we should implement quickly formed… What options do we have?
StoreFront Multi-Site configurations are still fairly unknown. I guess this has something to do with XenDesktop 7 still being relatively new (I know, it’s actually a StoreFront 2.0 feature) and with this I mean, the addition of the XenApp functionality. Since zones are no longer part of XenDesktop 7, or the Flex Management Architecture (they’ve disappeared together with the Local Host cache) you’ll have to, in most cases, create separate Sites to achieve similar results. Especially if Sites are geographically separated. When using StoreFront Multi-Site configurations we can still add in load balance and failover capabilities, even when using geographically ‘Dispersed’ Sites, just like we are (or were) used to with zones. No NetScaler required, although it’s probably a good idea to implement one anyway.
This article was originally written as a guest blogger for intense School IT educational services. This may sound a bit weird to some, but Microsoft’s Windows XP is hot! Perhaps not as hot as it was when it was first released, but it’s not far of. Unfortunately not in a good way. Next year, in April 2014 to be exact, Microsoft Windows XP will no longer be officially supported. During this article I’d like to explore the end of life concept, what we can do to prevent potential issues and have a look at some of the possible migration and or upgrade scenarios we have at our disposal. Is it time to dump those fat clients? Adopt VDI? DaaS or Hosted Shared Desktops perhaps? Let’s see what’s out there.
If you are used to working with XenApp, then being able to create custom administrator roles is nothing new, it’s just there like it’s supposed to be. However, if you are a hardcore XenDesktop admin then this is probably something you’ve been waiting for. The predefined administrator roles (5 in total) in XenDesktop 5 just don’t cut it, and we want, or need, flexibility. Well… with the release of XenDesktop 7 it’s now all there. You’ll still find a set of predefined roles but with the added possibility of creating a custom role, finally!
Although Citrix has done an excellent job describing both the upgrade and migration process on their E-Docs website, I still feel it’s a subject that somehow needs to be part of my Blog series on XD7 as well. And since I did the same for the XenApp upgrade and migration tools out there it just wouldn’t be fair now would it?! Citrix already announced that, at the moment, there are no upgrade or migration paths available for existing XenApp customers. They are however working on a toolset, including a bunch of scripts, to assist customers in their migration from XenApp 6.5 to XenDesktop 7, which will be included in one of the future releases. Let’s get started, I’ll try and keep it short :-)
With XD7 lots of new features and capabilities are announced including some major infrastructural changes as well, especially when it comes to the integration of Citrix XenApp (FMA replaces IMA) more than just one step forward. But what about the different editions available, what does one get with the XD7 App edition for example or Enterprise edition for that matter? What’s in it for Subscription Advantage customers? How about the Trade-up program? XenDesktop 7 also offers some cool new monitor and analysis tools including the EdgeSight network analysis feature as part of Director which leverages the Citrix NetScaler HDX insight technology, but how do we get it?! For a full overview on all editions and features per edition scroll down.
With the approaching release of XenDesktop 7 also comes Provisioning Services 7 (PVS from now on) I’m not sure if both products will be released at the same time but it won’t be a surprise, let’s just leave it at that. Although the basic functionality and underlying architecture haven’t changed over the past few years, at least not significantly, it has become a very popular platform and continues to grow each day. With Machine Creation Services (MCS in short) on its heels, especially with the introduction of XenDesktop 7 in which MCS has again been improved and the EOL of Windows XP nearing, PVS will have to dig deep to keep up. I guess it’s up to Citrix which one will come out on top eventually.
Or FMA in short. Did you hear? Citrix officially launched XenDesktop 7 just a few weeks ago. One of the biggest releases in years! Of-course I’m just kidding, who could have missed that?! Citrix also announced XenApp 6.5 FP 2 which will be released in June, once again enhancing and extending XenApp’s life, a good thing if you ask me. Although it seems that the Independent Management Architecture (IMA) will probably be around for many more years to come, it’s all FMA from now on when it comes to future developments. I thought it might be a good idea (and time) to have a closer look at FMA. Is it new technology? No. Is it improved? Definitely! Detailed overview? Scroll down!
With all the Summit & Synergy madness going on you might have overlooked or missed the latest education / training news from Citrix (www.citrix.com/tv). Yesterday Citrix revealed their new Excalibur training roadmap or the ‘Excalibur Learning Journey’ as they like to call it, see below. It includes two introduction level courses (among others) of two hours each. The first one explains what Excalibur is all about and walks you through some of its new and improved features, the other one points out some useful tips and tricks to work with right from the get go. Both are here to help you decide to go with Excalibur right away or to wait another month or two :-) There might be a small fee to pay, not a 100% sure yet.
When I finished ‘Part two’ on Excalibur my Blog got viewed over 700 times in just the first three days, although that may not sound like a lot to some of you, to me it’s huge! I also received multiple kind and friendly messages complementing me on my writing and encouraging me to keep up the good work… unbelievable! A big thank you to everybody! One reader left a comment mentioning that although he liked Excalibur and the idea of XenApp and XenDesktop as combined products, he also found that it was primarily XenDesktop being referenced, steeling XenApp’s thunder, so to speak.
It took me a few weeks but I finally got my test lab up and running. For the past three months I’ve been part of a study group in which we prepared for the new MCSE Desktop Infrastructure exams. During that period one of our MCT’s Jasper Kraak (www.kraak.com) organized two study sessions of three day’s each, one for each exam. Because we were using the official Microsoft curriculum one of the prerequisites was that we had to set up our own virtual test environment for lab practice. You guessed it…When we were finished I took it home with me.
Again, lots of new and exciting stuff going on with Citrix! Since I’m still in the researching phase and building up my demo environment I will try and split this Blog into two parts, part one being mostly textual giving you an idea on what it’s about, explain some new and improved technologies being used and getting you into an XenDesktop state of mind (you’ll understand in a minute, keep reading) before moving on to the actual installation and configuration phase being part two, which will be more of an product review. I must say, it looks impressive so far :-)
I’m currently working on a new Blog in which I will discuss Citrix Project Avalon including the first two releases know as: Excalibur and Merlin. I’m still in the research phase to get my facts straight, give me a week or two, maybe three and I’ll report back.