Citrix Storefront 2.1 vs WebInterface 37 Comments

The 2.1 version of Strorefront came along with XenDesktop 7.1. There are few changes in this version comparing to the previous one and on the internal architecture of Storefront Services nothing new (reminder) : So with Storefront 2.1 out since few weeks not, many people requested an updated version of my side by side comparison between the WebInterface and StoreFront, so here it is. As always, comments are welcome and sharing your experience might be useful for the others !  

Citrix Storefront 2 (Preview) vs WebInterface 50 Comments

A new version of Strorefront is coming along with XenDesktop 7. There are a lot of change in this version comparing to the previous one but first here is a quick internal architecture of Storefront Services : What have changed with Storefront ? No more external database HTML5 Client improved Desktop Appliance Site Session pre-launch (for XenApp 6.5) International language support IPV6 Integrated smart card authentication Auth SDK Integrated with XenDesktop 7 Installer Management from Desktop Studio And after few week of test, I must admit this version is much faster then the 1.x versions. The fact Storefront doesn't need a SQL database is a major point on the architecture point, high availability and management side. Here is the installation step screenshots :         And an updated side by side comparison with Citrix WebInterface 5.4 :

Citrix CloudGateway 2.5 – MDX 5 Comments

What about MDX ? I think this is smart move from Citrix who push toward managing Apps and native Apps deployed to the mobile devices instead of trying to fully manage the device itself. Now this technology is not mature yet and needs some time and improvement and each version is a giant step forward. I'm really looking forward what's coming and soon be announced by Citrix. Overview Full support for both personal and corporate usage (BYOD) Corporate apps and data secure even on employee-owned devices New consumer-driven devices supported immediately No risk of corporate data loss or compliance exceptions when: Device is lost or stolen or employee leaves organization Collaboration / file sharing apps used on the device Governance is built-in Policies can be updated on hundreds of apps with no requirement to change source code No requirement for developers to change the way they develop apps or learn mobile security standards What is the meaning of MDX ? Mobile Device eXperience. There are 3 key MDX technologies :   Application wrapping tool Mobile App Wrap tool runs on Mac OS X Mobile App Wrap tool for Android Beta Available Takes a pre-compiled iOS native application bundle (.IPA) as input Produces repackaged iOS application bundle with Citrix app wrapper logic inserted (.MDX) Recertifies the repacked app with using a customer provided enterprise distribution profile TIP : Where are stored IPA files on your MAC OS ? Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion: ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications/ Mac OS X 10.6: ~/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications/ Windows 7: C:\Users\Username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications\ App Preparation Tool for iOS Applications (iOS only) installation The application can be launch from the Applications within the Citrix folder Using Citrix App Preparation Tool :   And then the application is asking for an iOS Distribution Provisioning Profile and iOS Distribution Certificate If you're like me and wondering how to get this two things, here you are : iOS Distribution Provisioning Profile [link] and [link] iOS Distribution Certificate [link] This is where it hurts... to get the iOS Distribution Provisioning Profile a subscription to the iOS Developer Program is required and this is about 99$ per year. Then the deployment can be done with the AppController   and voilà ! Since there are still a lot of NDA topics about this subject and since I won't pay 99$ to Apple to write a bit more about that, that's it for now but it gives a…

Citrix CloudGateway 2.5 – Configuration 14 Comments

One more time for those who won't have time to try another release here is a short and simple blog about Citrix CloudGateway 2.5, you'll be able to read and see accross this blog post different steps and screens to setup the AppControler. New version are coming along with every time as much new features as fixes from the previous releases. This new release, CloudGateway 2.5 is in fact an update of only one component, the AppController (from v2.0 to v2.5). The StoreFront Service remains the same version with v1.2, App Preparation Tool (MDX), Mobile App Management and ShareFile Sync for Receiver have been added to the CloudGateway package. And CloudGateway is now CloudGateway Enterprise. What's new : Administration Enhancements Email Provisioning file Basic Workflow Management AppController w/ShareFile Storage Zones Policies for Web/SaaS/Mobile apps Me@Work mobile apps (@WorkMail and @WorkWeb) Mobile Device Management Receiver for Windows VPN Integration AGEE UI Customization To read the full list of all the new features go here : [link] Initial Configuration After importing the application (Esx or XenServer), through the console or remote ssh access (if you enabled it) you can : Check System Date Check System Disk Usage Current used space Displays space available Toggle SSH Access To access same console menu via SSH No root access to the file system Reset Certificate Generates a self-signed certificate and becomes active Restart / Shutdown AppController The default and password are administrator/password, a prompt will appear when connecting the web ui for the first time to change it. Once the network configuration is done, the UI can be accessed with a browser : https://AppControlleripaddress:4443/ControlPoint/ Using the default login and password, a wizard appear to configure the appliance : Once you login again with the new password you define for the administrator, the brand new web UI looks very neat Then we can add role using the Role tab:   Now we can add/create applications and applications categories by using the Apps & Docs tab, to create new categories :   And to add Applications :   Adding Web Link Apps is as simple as that :   ShareFile configuration : Using a browser to navigate the AppController url will now present all the Apps configured above :   The blog serie : Citrix CloudGateway 2.5 - Configuration Citrix CloudGateway 2.5 - MDX Citrix CloudGateway 2.5 - ShareFile Citrix CloudGateway 2.5 - Access Gateway (Netscaler) Citrix CloudGateway…

myCitrix Synergy Barcelona 2012 4 Comments
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This year wasn't as surprising as it has been in the past years on the innovation and "really new stuff". Perhaps this is is because since I'm a CTP I know a lot more on Citrix plan before the announce it but I think the evolution Citrix brings into their product now will still take a year to go and be released and ready to go. Some announces are old already, many things have been announced at Citrix Synergy in San Francisco and many announces made were about products already available since couple of months. Anyway, here is my wrap up so far : ByteMobile is now part of Citrix, acquisition in july (Official Announcement here) over 6 billion mobile devices growing 50%+ mobile data is video & multimedia growth - 25x over the next 5 years This acquisition brings Citrix cloud networking convergence with mobile data a bit further. XenServer The general availability of the 6.1 released has been made one month ago (Official Announcement here) and the major features are : live storage migration batch conversion of vmware vms Citrix Cloudplatform integration XenClient XenClient Enterprise 4.5 is available now for ultrabook and after Citrix other acquisition this year (Virtual Computer) advanced set of features are coming along with this new realease : Broader hardware compatibility XenClient Enterprise is now localized VLAN tagging support External network access to Synchronizer via Citrix NetScaler SSL bridging SSL offload Windows 8 guest OS Native Windows experience A new display architecture Dual external monitors in a docking station 30% improvement in hypervisor boot time VM export support A Citrix community blog post detail every new feature released here : [click] Partnership with Microsoft is going the same weird way as it has always been :) Some numbers and information have been given during the keynote : 80% growth XenDesktop on Hyper-v Windows server 2012 with Hyper-v Improved vm density with hyper-v Windows 8 support native UI design & platform support + GoToMeeting GoToMypc ShareFile and AppDNA are supporting the new Microsoft Operating System as well Citrix Receiver for Windows 8 early release on Windows Store Here is some screenshot :   GoToMeeting HD faces now on iPad With this new release it's now possible to present with an iPad. You can also create meeting direclty from the iPad   Podio Updates and improvement to extend the work between meeting (team and customers) integration…

Microsoft NLB with CloudGateway (Receiver Storefront) 4 Comments

Many time at many of my customer place I had to install WebInterface and bring high availability  for this front web. The first thing coming in my mind every time and the first question I have is : "Ok, do you have an appliance (F5, NetScaler) to enable the load balancing ?" Most of the time it's yes, but we cannot use it to load balance WebInterface... So if you cannot use an application to load balance the WebInterface, the solution was to use what was build-in Microsoft Windows, the Network Load Balancing. Of course this is a dummy load balancing but it's better than nothing. The Micrsoft NLB runs as a Windows networking driver. Its operations are transparent to the TCP/IP networking stack. So basically, this is what I'm doing for WebInterface and it should work as well for Receiver Storefront (CloudGateway). Here a simple how to enable Microsoft NLB for 2 Receiver Storefront servers (at least) Information : Receiver Storefront server 1 : suomiweb01.suomi.inc, 192.158.0.103 Receiver Storefront server 2 : suomiweb02.suomi.inc, 192.168.0.109 nlb details : nlbstorefront.suomi.inc, 192.168.0.121 Network Load Balancing feature in Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 To enable NLB feature on Windows 2008 R2 there are two ways, the Server Manager GUI and with a PowerShell script (to make an unattended installation) Using the Server Manager GUI Using PowerShell with the following command : That's it for the installation of the NLB feature. Setting up the NLB This is quite easy as well, just log on one of the two Receiver Storefront server and follow the next screenshots :   And then add the second Receiver Storefront server : and here you are, your Receiver Storefront is available through the address we define during the setup and you can test the high availability but powering of one server. This is cheap this is easy and if you need a fast and reliable solution I will recommend this one. Be aware ! Remember with Receiver Storefront now, there is also another component you need to make high available, this is the database which store apps subscription for users. If you don't have an appliance to load balance your Receiver Storefront servers, if your servers are virtual, you can use the hypervisor high availability instead of using the Microsoft NLB, your choice ! Sources : Overview of the Network Load Balancing : [link]

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…

This is a new step in application and desktop delivery access point process but Citrix again made it very messy to understand (at least for me...) This is very important to know and understand every component of this new products, but between, Receiver Storefront, CloudGateway Express, CloudGateway Enterprise, AppController and all the past names, some of us can be lost, and our customer are even more lost... (nFuse, Web Interface  2 3 4 5 etc... and Receiver Storefront) If I remember well, at Synergy in Barcelona last October, CloudGateway had been introduce by Citrix CEO with this slide : Now when I read documentation about CloudGateway Express and Enterprise release, I think we lost something : The data "square" (ShareFile & RingCube (?)) is gone for now... Anyway, with the previous picture you can have a clear view about each component present in Citrix CloudGateway. First let's check what is the difference between CloudGateway Express and CloudGateway Enterprise : The difference is mostly around features, but what's not shown in Citrix edition and features matrix is a row with the price. CloudGateway Express is free because this product is here to replace the actual Web Interface and Program Neighborhood to give access to Windows App and Desktops. The enterprise edition is here to centralize access between Desktops, Windows Apps, SaaS and web applications. The upgrade from Express edition to Enterprise edition should be simple and painless, just need to try it out to check how simple it is :) Regarding the architecture, the big picture is simple, we had Web Interface, now we have Receiver Storefront and it should be it... But that's not :) To simplify user's life and give a centralized access to apps, again we need to build an architecture more complex than our good old Web Interface. In the previous image above, there is not that much difference if we consider Storefront is here to replace Web Interface and AppController as a new component to build a bridge between Desktops / Windows Apps and SaaS / Web Apps. The external access is still secured using an Access Gateway, I mean NetScaler Access Gateway (same product, new name), but if we look further, it more complicated than that : Same as Web Interface, high availability is possible with an external load balancing mechanism (ie NetScaler or MS NLB) Now an external database is required to host users…

Citrix issued a maintenance release last week for the Access Gateway. This is an important release for what's coming next with StoreFront and CloudGateway. It gives the possibility to customize the logon point in a very easy way. I took some screenshot to show you how simple it is to customize your logon point. You have the ability to customize each logon point. You need to log on your Access Gateway : https://FQDN/lp/adminlogonpoint then click on the Management top menu and chose Logon Points One you have your Logon Points list, you need to edit the one you want to customize by clicking on the brand new Customization tab : You can either build your own template easily, chose the default grey Logon Point or the Green Receiver one. You can now switch from the default grey Logon Point : to the new Green Receiver one in just few clicks : New features coming with the 5.0.4 maintenance release : Adding Web Resources for a Basic Logon Point in Access Gateway When you create a basic logon point, you can add Web resources that users can access when they log on with Citrix Receiver. Web resources define the Web pages, sites, or applications that you want to secure in Access Gateway. For more information, see Adding Web Resources to a Basic Logon Point in the Citrix eDocs library. Customizing the Access Gateway Logon Page You can create a custom logon page by configuring the settings in either a basic or SmartAccess logon point. You can use the default Access Gateway logon page, use the Citrix Receiver design for your logon page, or create your own logon page with your graphics and logo. For more information, see Customizing the Access Gateway Logon Page in the eDocs library. New Version of the Access Gateway Plug-in for Access Gateway 5.0.4 Access Gateway 5.0.4 contains an updated version of the Access Gateway Plug-in. Changes made to the internal framework of the Access Gateway appliance prevent compatibility with earlier versions of the plug-in. Users must install Access Gateway Plug-in Version 5.0.4. Important: To install or upgrade to Version 5.0.4 of the plug-in, users must be an administrator or have administrator rights on the user device, unless you update the plug-in by using an Active Directory group policy. You can upgrade the plug-in by using one of the following methods: Push the Access Gateway Plug-in to…