Citrix Excalibur Tech Preview 6 Comments

As many of you might know Citrix are kind of melting all there product in one, a Cloud product. The project name is Avalon, with two releases until next year named Excalibur (what we will speak about in this blog post) and Merlin coming later next year. First, I spoke with many customers and other partner, and Citrix one more time did confuse everyone with all those names... Avalon, Excalibur, Merlin, Thor etc etc Almost 90% of the people I spoke with though Avalon, Excalibur and Merlin are three different products. Maybe I'm wrong but as far s I can see thing, Avalon is the code name for the final project then Excalibur and Merlin are just timeline version release until the final release and then a final product name. I must admit this one is a bit confusing everyone... This is like Citrix wants to show the big picture but just give a tiny pieces of the puzzle. Citrix Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview is available for download here : [link] Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview is our next-generation, unified desktop and app virtualization technology that is reinventing the delivery of Windows apps and desktops for mobility in the cloud-era.  The availability of this tech preview will allow Citrix customers and partners to have a first-hand look at a new unified FlexCast infrastructure combining VDI and Hosted Shared desktops and apps from a single platform. New features include: Simplified, unified, and expanded FlexCast 2.0 architecture New unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture combines simplified and integrated provisioning and personalization tools for both desktops and apps, delivered from either a desktop-based or server-based operating system. Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Host Windows 8 VDI desktops or VM hosted applications in addition to Windows Server 2012 server-based desktops and applications. This tech preview also supports Windows 2008R2/SP1 and Windows 7. SuperCodec for Optimized Graphics New enhancements to HDX using Deep Compression Codec technology double the visual performance of desktops and apps to mobile devices dynamically adapting for device type, form factor and network connection while still leveraging the processing power of modern tablets and smartphones Storefront for apps & data Create centralized enterprise app stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device, anywhere with the Citrix StoreFront. Intelligent configuration tools New intelligent configuration tools for deploying desktops and apps that proactively check configuration errors in real time while streamlining the…

WebInterface vs Receiver Storefront (CloudGateway) 23 Comments

CloudGateway is here to replace the good old WebInterface (end of support 2015) as WebInterface is one product, CloudGateway is a marketing name for several products : CloudGateway Express (Free) = Receiver Storefront + Access Gateway VPX CloudGateway Enterprise ($$$) = Receiver Storefront + Access Gateway + AppController If we want to compare the WebInterface to one of this component, that will be Receiver Storefront. This blog idea originally comes from Thomas Koetzing (CTP) blog post last year : Web Interface replaced by Citrix Cloud Gateway and I made several presentation about CloudGateway based on the table he build. I tried to maintain this table up to date with the new releases of Receiver Storefront. What is CloudGateway Citrix definition : Citrix CloudGateway is an enterprise mobility management solution that aggregates, controls and delivers Windows, web, SaaS and mobile apps, and data, to any device, anywhere. CloudGateway provides end-users with a unified single point of access and self-service to all of their business apps on any device anywhere. It also provides IT with a comprehensive single point of aggregation and control for all apps, data, devices and identities. CloudGateway helps IT and users Deliver all apps. Go beyond Windows apps to aggregate, control and deliver all apps including web, SaaS, mobile apps and data. Unified—not siloed. IT no longer needs to create and manage individual/soloed processes and tools to add new devices, user types and apps. Regain control and eliminate chaos. IT can manage and secure corporate IP, apps and data by unifying and automating controls for apps, devices and identities. Empower users by giving them every app they need in a unified, self-service app catalog that is available from any device, anywhere. My point of view is CloudGateway came too early on the market and WebInterface death have been announced too fast. With the lake of feature integrated in Receiver Storefront, the adoption by IT and companies will be slow. Citrix should have introduce a more feature complete product, of course Citrix needs to move fast and evolve as fast as possible to lead the market but simple fast make me think Citrix is big, way too big to move as fast as they were use to : New NetScaler 10 still include WebInterface instead of Receiver Storefront Citrix App Studio allow to provision WebInterface, no Receiver Storefront yet... Why's that ? Because Receiver Storefront is not mature for all our existing customer…

Receiver Storefront – adding a server to a server group 3 Comments

As I'm going through high availability architecture design for some customer with CloudGateway features, Receiver Storefront, I wanted to try in my XenServer @ home lab the "Join existing server group" option build in Receiver Storefront when you launch it for the first time. My first server already setup is SUOMIWEB02 and I want to install Receiver Storefront on the server SUOMIWEB01 which actually host my WebInterface 5.4. Since Receiver Storefront 1.1 you can install it on the same server as the WebInterface (for migration purpose). You can find bellow a brief description about what's new in the 1.1 version. What's New in Receiver Storefront 1.1 Pass-through authentication to AppController. Once logged on to Citrix Receiver or Access Gateway, users can access Web and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications through AppController without needing to authenticate again. For more information, see Planning Your Receiver Storefront Deployment. Default support for legacy clients. When you create a new store, access for older clients that support Web Interface XenApp Services sites is enabled by default. For more information, see Configuring Stores. Installation alongside Web Interface. Receiver Storefront can be hosted on the same Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) instance as Web Interface. For more information, see Installing and Setting Up Receiver Storefront. Other Features High availability. You can group your Receiver Storefront servers for increased scalability and fault tolerance. For more information, see Planning Your Receiver Storefront Deployment. Application synchronization. Subscribed desktops and applications follow users from device to device so that they do not need to subscribe to the same resources each time they use a different device. For more information, see Planning Your Receiver Storefront Deployment. Automatically provisioned applications. You can automatically subscribe all users to a core set of applications. For more information, see Integrating Receiver Storefront into Your Environment. One-click client configuration. You can configure Citrix Receiver for your users by making provisioning files available. For more information, see Configuring Stores. I won't explain the installation process again, it's very simple and you can still check it here if you need it : http://www.archy.net/2011/12/31/web-interface-moving-forward-to-receiver-strorefront/ Let's focus on the server I want to add to my existing setup, 1 server hosting Storefront Receiver with an external SQL database. This is the step by step how to you need to follow to do so : On the new Receiver Strorefront (SUOMIWEB01) server : On the existing Receiver Strorefront (SUOMIWEB02) server : On the new…

VDI Project – Not only a XenDesktop project (part.1) VDI Project - The framework (part.2) VDI Project - Hypervisor war (part.3) VDI Project - Desktops and applications delivery (part.4) VDI Project - User Environment Manager (part.5) Beginning a new project is every time a new challenge, new team, new processes and new environment. Each customer have its own past IT history and,  depend of the size, different IT, politics and complexity. This time I'm a desktop architect and I've been hired mostly for my Citrix skills. The challenge is the size of this new project, I will design for sure some Citrix architectures, XenDesktop, XenApp, PVS, maybe Access Gateway or Netscaler on a very large scale but I'm also responsible to design a complete workstation delivery service (automation / industrialization) and address all kind of endpoints, from the "classic" workstation to the well known iPad. This is my largest XenDesktop 5 project, I will use XenDesktop to bring flexibility and mobility to users. I will write some blogs along the project because I think this will be a great experience to share, technical and not technical. I can't wait to post some very technical stuff about IOPS with Citrix Provisioning Services, XenDesktop and Machine Creation Service related with storage. I will post every major subject for ex : The Software Framework, The Hypervisor War (these two blogs are almost finished) etc etc... I also want to share the non technical subjects because this is how a project live... Changing the way people are working in a company can be very painful, first you need to bring the idea of a change in their everyday life and then prove them they will have more time to work on more important project. Then you show they can save some money within 3 or 5 years. I can tell you this is the big part of a project and the less fun (for me) but this is a mandatory part of every project : Show the company board and managers how much they can save and explain to the IT staff they will be able to spend more time on larger scale issue and project, work more efficiently. This is a lot of work, first administrative / politics, then technical (POC) and very technical (Global Architecture) And I always I will learn so many thing, and I'm sure it will be a great…

If you need to build an EdgeSight architecture for more than 6000 agents, you need to know you will have to split your database and EdgeSight server (web server) associated with it. This next architecture doesn't include Edgesight database broker you will need for XenDesktop VDI deployment. If some of you are looking forward a VDI deployment for EdgeSight just let me know, Twitter, Facebook, email, comment or phone, I can make it simple for you, and you won't need to read the 300 documentation pages ! This is a slightly different approach with file share and database broker... A typical data upload size for an EdgeSight for Endpoints agent is 80KB. EdgeSight for XenApp agent data uploads are typically larger due to the greater amount of data collected and can reach 300KB. These data upload sizes depend on a number of factors such as the agent properties and the usage profile of the system hosting the agent. From Edgesight Admin guide page 22. Of course it depend how your worker are configured and what data you need to collect. I'm still trying to figure our how to calculate the amount of data transferred from agents to the web server, this is a complex calculation and it take a lot of time for something Citrix should provide. So architecture for large environment is the same as the one you could watch in the previous blog - Citrix Edgesight architecture scenario – part 1/2 - except you need to split database and EdgeSight server. Only one Citrix license server and you can also keep one SQL Reporting Services for both Edgesight servers. This configuration means you need to configure agents with a different http address, for example, at one customer I had 4000 XenApp servers and 5000 Endpoint agents, so I choose to split Endpoint agents on one Edgesight server and all XenApp on the other. This is not very handy when you want to check from XenApp servers to the endpoint statistics, but this is the way it is for now.  By multiplying EdgeSight environment, complexity is getting stronger and find the good information is sometimes a matter of hours instead of minutes... What Citrix should consider for the future of Edgesight : Stop to check Citrix licenses on the Edgesight Servers, only agents is enough I think, then we would be able to load balance Edgesight Servers and SQL…

During past years, I had to design and deploy several kind of Citrix Edgesight architectures, from the "POC" design to "Large deployment". I had to consider what was the best way to use this product and handle the number of devices to monitor. One type of architecture I didn't needed to use yet is with Citrix XenDesktop Virtual Desktop Monitoring and Edgesight Agent Database Server. Since Ressource Manager (RIP) disappear with Citrix XenApp 6, Edgesight became a mandatory tool to have the big picture of your XenApp farms health. It's of course a lot more than that with Platinum licenses, this will be the subject for another blog. This blog focuses on Citrix Edgesight 5.3. Important notes regarding supported database : SQL Server 2008 (Standard or better) or SQL Server 2005 SP2 or later (Standard or better). Note that SQL Server 2008 R2 is not supported, Important: Note the following configuration requirements: In SQL Server 2008, the Reporting Services Role called Manage Shared Schedules no longer exists as a stand-alone role; it is now part of the System Administrator Role. For more information, see Configuring Reporting Services for Citrix EdgeSight. SQL Server must be configured for case-insensitive collation. Case-sensitive collation is not currently supported for this release. SQL Server should be configured to use Windows Authentication or Mixed-Mode Authentication. Reporting Services is included with SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2005. Reporting Services can be installed on a separate machine from the data source. SQL Agent Service running and set to start automatically (if Reporting Services is installed on the machine) First when you need to practice and want to check out what is Citrix Edgesight, you can easily setup a VM with Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 x64, install SQL 2008 and its SP1 with Reporting Services. Then you can configure Internet Information Services (IIS) to host Edgesight's website and install the Citrix License Server as well on the same machine. Keep in mind this is for Proof Of Concept only and shouldn't be used in Production environment. Before going further you need to estimate the Edgesight SQL Database size regarding the number of agent deployed. Couple of year ago I had to request the mathematics law to Citrix support to know about that; now there is a tool EdgeSight Database Size Estimation Tool this is a Excel sheet witch estimate automatically the requested database size needed regarding the number…