Reference Architecture Released: Citrix Service Provider on Microsoft Cloud OS

Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture Kicks off version 4 series of architectural documents for Citrix Service Providers

Source:http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/07/31/reference-architecture-released-citrix-service-provider-on-microsoft-cloud-os/

We are excited to announce the first in a wave of new architectural documents for Citrix Service Provider partners, the “Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS.” This fourth version of the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture provides detailed guidance on the particulars of implementing Citrix technologies for Desktops-as-a-Service on Microsoft Cloud OS, plus also communicates many of the high level architectural concepts that can be (and have been) applied in Citrix CloudPlatform based environments.

With the exciting innovations provided in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V 3.0, SMB 3.0, and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2, Citrix welcomed the opportunity to initiate our v4 Reference Architecture validation tests on this new platform.  To put it simply, there have been many critical innovations across both the Microsoft and Citrix solutions since the June 2012 release of the version 3 Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture. During the design (and discovery) phase we took some time to investigate the options to provide the solution that could best leverage the complementary Citrix and Microsoft capabilities.

Current Citrix Service Providers can download the new Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS on the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence.

Watch the Citrix blogs for a series of posts explaining the new details of the new Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS.

What’s new in the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture for CloudOS

The Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture enables Citrix Service Providers to deliver Windows applications, desktops, and data as Desktops-as-a-Service through an integrated set of Citrix and partner technologies:

–  Citrix XenDesktop® unifies the delivery of hosted applications and desktops (XenApp) with virtual desktops (XenDesktop) using a single architecture and management experience. Because of advancements in HDX technologies, this XenDesktop release improves the user experience, especially for mobile users on various endpoint devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, or Macs) across diverse bandwidth connections.

–  The Citrix Cloud Provider Pack (CPP) contains several Citrix Service Provider-specific enhancements that enable more effective multi-tenant management of the Citrix Service Provider solution.  Two key components of this CPP release are:

  • Citrix App Orchestration allows Citrix Service Providers to automate the delivery of applications and desktops in multi-tenant environments across multiple XenDesktop sites or XenApp farms, Active Directory domains, and datacenters. App Orchestration enables Citrix Service Providers to build offerings with a defined set of apps, desktops, and resources accessible to tenant users that are selected from an application storefront.
  • CloudPortalTM Services Manager provides an easy-to-use web portal that helps Citrix Service Providers manage service delivery and subscriber offerings, simplifying delivery across datacenters.

The architecture makes application and desktop services available to users of any Citrix Receiver enabled endpoint device over secured Internet connections using Citrix NetScaler®. For subscriber locations that aggregate a number of endpoints in a single setting, such as a small retail business, accounting office, or medical clinic, Citrix Branch Repeater can be added to provide a high-definition user experience to multiple endpoints over an optimized network connection. The administrative simplicity provided through the integrated Citrix software components allows subscriber volumes at very large scale to be managed with a relatively modest number of Citrix Service Provider administrators and tenant on-boarding personnel as compared to other models.

Enabling Faster Delivery of Desktops-as-a-Service

Companies of all sizes are looking for a smarter approach to managing the applications and data they use to run their business. More devices, more applications, and more places to work means business owners have to spend an increasing amount of time on IT. Citrix Service Providers can shift the focus for these customers back to where it matters the most — growing their business. By offering a bundle of applications, desktops, and IT services, customers can get the applications and desktops they need in an easy-to-use, pay-as-you-go subscription model.

This Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture represents a common view of technologies and best practices as recommended by Citrix and employed by many successful Citrix Service Providers. With core architectural innovations and cross-product integration, Citrix Service Providers can build a reliable, scalable, and high-performance solution in order to provide to provide tenants monthly subscriptions to Windows-based application and desktop services. The Citrix Service Provider licensing program and Citrix technologies provide a foundation for aggregating servers that can service millions of active subscribers across multiple tenants, while creating a single, comprehensive management view.  Ultimately this provides a solution that enables Citrix Service Providers to build flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions that meet customer needs at an attractive and competitive price point.

A Commitment to Service Providers: Continued Implementation Guidance

Today’s release is the first in a series of new Citrix Service Provider Architectural documents.  Keep up to date on the upcoming guidance for incorporating more technologies with a Citrix-based hosted services environment.

Get started now with Citrix App Orchestration 2.5 using guidance from the “What’s New in App Orchestration 2.5” document and embrace the latest App Orchestrations innovations. Watch the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence for more detail on App Orchestration, CloudPlatform and further developments from the Citrix Solutions Lab.

XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5

XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5

Citrix heeft enkele weken geleden nieuwe releases uitgebracht van XenDesktop en XenApp. Dus niet alleen een nieuwe versie van XenDesktop maar ook (terug van weg geweest) een nieuwe versie van XenApp versie 7.5. Dit is verrassend gezien het feit dat met de komst van XenDesktop 7 XenApp een onderdeel was geworden van het XenDesktop product als zijnde XenDesktop App edition. Nu dus toch weer een nieuwe release van XenApp als product. XenApp 7.5 is net als we al gezien hebben in de XenDesktop 7.x versie nu ook gebaseerd op de nieuwe FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA). Deze architectuur kennen wel al vanuit eerdere XenDesktop 7.x. versies. IMA heeft daarmee zijn langste tijd gehad en gaan we waarschijnlijk ook niet meer terug zien. FMA heeft onder andere als voordeel dat het minder architectuur nodig heeft en het met een “broker” functie werkt. Dus geen Datacollectors meer. FMA werkt met een “agent” functie, op de server of desktop wordt een agent geïnstalleerd waarmee het een onderdeel wordt van de Citrix omgeving. Het geeft daarmee voor XenApp net als in eerdere versies van XenDesktop ook de mogelijk gebruik te maken van de deployment oplossing van Machine creation services (MCS). Vanzelfsprekend is nog wel steeds remote desktop services nodig. Hieronder een overzicht van de FlexCast management architectuur.

 

FlexCast Management Architecture.png

Afbeelding 1: FlexCast management Architecture

Citrix Hybride Cloud Provisioning

Een van de zaken die er in de nieuwe release van beide producten in zit is het Hybride Cloud Provisioning. Dit geeft de mogelijkheid om bij het aanmaken van een machine pool dit niet op de bestaande lokale infrastructuur te doen maar direct naar de Cloud. Zo kan het schalen van een Citrix infra gecombineerd worden met Cloud resources. Het uiteindelijke resultaat moet zijn dat een omgeving schaalbaar en flexibeler wordt voor elke situatie.
Hybrid Cloud Provisioning.jpg
Hybride Cloud Provisioning

Remote PC Access

Al eerder aanwezig in XenDesktop maar nu ook terug te vinden in beide nieuwe releases is Remote PC Acces. Citrix remote pc acces geeft de mogelijkheid om een fysieke pc of elke andere pc of virtuele desktop os te voorzien van agent om vervolgens remote via de bestaande Citrix infrastructuur beschikbaar te maken. Hiermee kunnen bijvoorbeeld fysieke beheer werkplekken via Citrix beschikbaar gesteld worden. Het is ook ideaal voor de start met VDI zonder direct een complete VDI omgeving te moeten investeren. Er kan gewoon op de bestaande fysieke desktop doorgewerkt worden. Door een koppeling met System center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 te maken kan er zelfs met wake on lan gewerkt worden.
Remote PC Access Citrix.jpg
Afbeelding 2: Remote PC Acces

Upgrade path XenDesktop en XenApp 7.5

Upgrade path van bestaande Citrix omgeving naar de XenDesktop en XenApp versie 7.5 is zoals hieronder te zien is in de tabel in veel gevallen mogelijk door middel van een upgrade. Alleen bij de oudere versies van XenApp en XenDesktop is een nieuwe farm en dus migratie nodig. Overigens is het advies nooit een upgrade te doen tenzij de omstandigheden of grootte dit niet toelaten.
XenApp Upgrade Path.png
XenDesktop Upgrade Path.png

Storefront 2.5.

Met de nieuwe release van XenApp en XenDesktop is er ook een nieuwe versie van storefont gekomen versie 2.5. Ondanks de nieuwe release van Storefront en de mogelijkheden en daarmee het advies van Citrix om toch vooral naar storefront te gaan heeft Citrix de support van de oude webinterface versie 5.4 verlengt. Dit is gedaan om beheerders meer tijd te geven te migreren naar Storefront maar ook om de beheerders de kans te geven meerdere en vooral oude en nieuwe farms eenvoudig door elkaar te kunnen draaien om de migratie weer minder spannend te maken. Storefront 2.5 bevat wel de nodige verbeteringen die de migratie naar Storefront meer en meer de moeite waard maken. Een van de belangrijkste is toch wel het single sign on deel. Dit maakt het mogelijk om een gebruiker vanaf een domain joined systeem van buitenaf (via de NetScaler) met internet Explorer via het web applicaties zonder nieuwe authenticatie te laten starten. Deze verbetering is een echte klant wens en in veel gevallen een rede geweest om te wachten met de migratie naar storefront. In de nieuwe release van storefront zit eveneens een verbetering van de HTML5 receiver. Deze receiver speciaal ontwikkeld voor de Chromebook is ook handig in andere externe inlog mogelijkheden zoals een internet café. De verbeteringen in de HTML5 receiver zitten hem voornamelijk in de verbeterde ondersteuning van 2D en 3D applicaties maar ook audio is enorm verbeterd.
HTML 5 Receiver.png
Afbeelding 3: HTML5 Receiver
In de totale lijst van vernieuwingen en verbeteringen zijn geen spectaculaire zaken terug vinden. Dit was ook niet te verwachten. In de beide releases zijn vooral op kleine zaken enorme verbeteringen doorgevoerd. Al deze kleine zaken hebben echter wel een compleet beter resultaat op zowel beheer als de gebruikers ervaring. Zo zijn er verbeteringen in de touch ervaring op touch enabled devices en is er opnieuw veel aandacht uitgegaan aan de mogelijkheden over WAN en high latency verbindingen met zware 2D en 3D ondersteuning (server side rendering) want beide release meer dan de moeite waard maken.
Bent u geïnteresseerd in de nieuwe releases van XenApp en XenDesktop of heeft u vragen over de mogelijkheden van Citrix voor uw organisatie? Dan kunt u contact opnemen met Carlo Schaeffer via c.schaeffer@icento.nl of bellen naar 010 – 750 45 90.

Remove Favorites, Libraries and Network from Windows 7 / 2008R2 Common File Dialog (Windows Explorer)

Within Windows Explorer you got the common file dialog (Shown @ the screenshot below). Within this dialog you got a favorite link, a Libraries link and a network link. These links are in some cases a security problem. You don’t want users to use the libraries folder witch contains all users folders when they work on systems that share users for example XenApp servers. Also you don’t want users to browse the network or see auto discovered server names…Here is described how you get rid of it!

You can set these registry settings within the 2008 computer policy’s with the registry but there is a problem with the rights. Standard the system and the administrators don’t have rights to set the settings. You have to change the acl to set the registry keys!

1. To remove the Favorites, the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{323CA680-C24D-4099-B94D-446DD2D7249E}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:a0900100

Changing a0900100 to a9400100 will hide Favorites from Navigation Pane.

2. For Libraries, the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:b080010d

Changing b080010d to b090010d will hide Libraries from Navigation Pane.

3. For Network, the key is

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword: b0940064

This first part is, in the 32-bit world, the solution for the Windows Explorer ánd the Common File Dialog. But in the 64-bit world you need another registry key edited. This is basically the same key, but in the Wow6432Node ‘folder’ within the registry.
The trick!:

1. To remove the Favorites X64 , the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{323CA680-C24D-4099-B94D-446DD2D7249E}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:a0900100

Changing a0900100 to a9400100 will hide Favorites from Navigation Pane.

2. For Libraries X64, the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:b080010d

Changing b080010d to b090010d will hide Libraries from Navigation Pane.

3. For Network X64, the key is

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword: b080010d

Changing b080010d to b090010d will hide Libraries from Navigation Pane.

New! XenApp 6.5 Available Now!

These are exciting times for desktop virtualization.  The industry is growing and Citrix is leading the charge.  The XenDesktop product line is getting plenty of well-deserved attention, but today Citrix is also announcing exciting new enhancements for XenApp 6.5. Whether included as a component of XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum or deployed as a standalone product, XenApp has long been recognized as the de-facto standard in on-demand app delivery.  Now with turbo-charged app launches and a seamless multimedia experience over any network, XenApp 6.5 makes the user experience better than ever.

Instant App Access

The XenApp 6.5 feature generating the most excitement among customers is Instant App Access.  Gone are the days when users would have to wait several seconds for the creation of an ICA session before their application launched.  By creating an ICA session immediately upon user log-in to Citrix Receiver, Session Pre-Launch dramatically reduces overall application launch times. Since the ICA session is created even before the user clicks the application icon, the only remaining time to wait is for the application launch itself.  Depending on the application, this can be nearly instantaneous.

Similar technology allows an ICA session to linger after users close their last published app so that the next application launch is just as instantaneous.  While these features do consume a license, the time periods for lingering or pre-launch are configurable by the IT admin.

Seamless multimedia experience with HDX

With only a few exceptions, all of the HDX enhancements seen in XenDesktop 5.5 are also applicable for XenApp 6.5. For example, significant updates to HDX MediaStream for Flash mean that Adobe® Flash® content can be rendered locally over more network conditions than before.  This dynamically takes advantage of computing resources at the end point, resulting in even higher server scalability and a great user experience even at up to 300ms round-trip latency.

Multi-Stream ICA

IT administrators now have the option of delivering XenApp ICA traffic over up to four TCP/IP streams. Now instead of prioritizing the entire ICA pipeline over HTTP traffic, this feature enables more granular control for Quality of Service (QoS) routing.  Now customers can provide superior audio/visual quality for apps delivered over the WAN for example without disrupting other HTTP traffic.

Any Device, Anywhere with Citrix Receiver

XenApp 6.5 takes advantage of new Citrix Receiver enhancements for extreme multi-tasking, faster Windows app performance and advanced Linux device support. Customers can now deliver self-service apps to more than one billion devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones, and thin clients – and all major device operating platforms, including new environments like iOS, Android, and Google ChromeOS.   Add it all up and we’re talking about over 1 Billion devices.

Enhanced Desktop Experience

Previously provided as an add-on pack for XenApp 6.0, support for an enhanced desktop experience is now included as an integrated feature of XenApp 6.5. IT can transform the typical server desktop published by XenApp.  This feature enables support for themes, installs accessory apps, and allows for the display of high-res wallpapers.  With a Windows-7 like Start Menu and taskbar, users can enjoy the look and feel of a Windows 7 desktop, while IT can benefit from the server density and locked down image management of a hosted shared desktop

Desktop Director

When end-users need support help with their XenApp delivered apps, help desk support staffs can use the popular Desktop Director console that now includes the integrated capability to assist users with applications delivered by XenApp and with desktops delivered by XenDesktop.

Dynamic Data Center Provisioning

Now XenApp 6.5 deployments can be scaled in record time by creating “controller” or “worker” roles in a XenApp server farm.  Because workers in the farm need to sync much less data, fewer overall database transactions are required.  Plus, these new roles make the process of joining a large number of servers to a XenApp farm faster and easier.

These are just a few of the new features in XenApp 6.5.  For a full list of all features and a comparison to previous versions, you can refer to the new comparative feature matrix.

For a free interactive overview of XenApp 6.5 be sure to check out this new online course.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0 SP1 released

Are your datacenter costs rising? Does your current infrastructure make it difficult to scale up or down quickly to respond to the changing needs of your organization? To meet these challenges, you need a more cost-effective, agile way to provide IT services—quickly, efficiently, and on demand.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0 SP1 is a free, partner-extensible solution that allows you to dynamically pool, allocate, and manage datacenter resources. Using the Self-Service Portal, you can reduce IT costs, while increasing agility for your organization. The Self-Service Portal works with products and technologies you know and trust, like Windows Server and the System Center product suite. This solution delivers:

  • Automated web portals and a workload provisioning engine that integrates with System Center.
  • Tested guidance and best practices to help configure and deploy private cloud infrastructures.
  • Guidance to help partners easily extend functionality.
  • Localization in three languages: Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

Self-Service Portal Technology Partners

The Self-Service Portal includes powerful extensibility features for Microsoft technology partners. Independent software and hardware vendors can customize different virtual machine actions (create, delete, stop, start, shut down, connect, pause, and so on) to take advantage of the unique characteristics of their infrastructure.

Citrix

Citrix Integration Pack for Self-Service Portal

The integration pack integrates Essentials for Hyper-V with System Center by automatically provisioning the storage whenever a virtual machine is commissioned though the Self-Service Portal.
Learn more >

Compellent

Compellent Solution Pack for Self-Service Portal

Utilizing Windows PowerShell® with the Compellent Storage Center SAN, Compellent’s Solution Pack enables the integration and support for self-service provisioning of data storage resources with Virtual Machine Manager and Windows Server Hyper-V™ through the Self-Service Portal.
Learn more >

f5

F5 Solution for Self-Service Portal

The F5 solution for Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal adds the option for traffic management by the BIG-IP application delivery controller (ADC) within the service role section of a user request. Executing this option automatically configures the BIG-IP for the request of VMs as they come online.
Learn more >

HP

HP Services Using the Self-Service Portal

Accelerate your journey to the private cloud with HP’s Converged Infrastructure and HP Technology Consulting services. Begin with a short assessment, then continue to implementation based on HP’s deep experience in the datacenter. HP uses pre-developed scripts, portals, and cmdlets to integrate into your environment and build a self-service infrastructure.
Learn more >

Intel

Intel Cloud Builder Guide: Cloud Design and Deployment on Intel Platforms

The Intel reference architecture will assist organizations that require their cloud data and assets to reside on premises and those that need to support a new business domain with a separate IT infrastructure that is scalable and flexible.
Learn more >

NetApp

NetApp ApplianceWatch PRO 2.1.1

Accelerate virtual machine provisioning, and increase storage efficiencies in private cloud implementations managed by the Self-Service Portal with the integration scripts and PowerShell cmdlets included in ApplianceWatch PRO 2.1.1 that enable rapid provisioning of space-efficient VMs using NetApp FlexClone technology.
Learn more >

VKernel

VKernel Chargeback with Hyper-V

VKernel Chargeback with Hyper-V enables private clouds to automatically map virtualization costs to applications and customers by reporting on allocated costs and by measuring and expensing the actual consumption of server and storage resources by cloud customers.
Learn more >

Citrix releases Provisioning Services 5.6 SP1

Citrix has releases Service Pack 1 for Provisioning Services 5.6.

Here is a quick overview of what’s new to this release:

New in this Release

  • Microsoft Volume Licensing Automation
  • Both KMS and MAK models for Operating Systems are supported, as well as Office 2010 KMS licensing.

Deprecated in this Release

  • MarkDown command for Server parameter as well as the “Mark Server Down…” selection in the Provisioning Services Console.
  • Support for Windows 2000 Domain.

Removed in this Release
XenConvert is no longer shipping as part of the PVS Target Device installer. It is available as a separate download

Issues Fixed in this Release:

Active Directory

  1. In the “Add System Groups” dialog, users can now specify a full path, with wildcard support, to specify which user groups to display. For example, “test.local/users/u*” might return the “test.local/users/users” group. Likewise, using “test.local/*/u*” or “test*/u*” or “u*” might also be used as a search string for groups.
  2. GetGroups fails if parent domain DC is blocked by a firewall.
  3. Display AD return code if error during AD operation.
  4. We can now resolve Group names across domains and forests.

Installer
During installation of the TFTP server on a separate server the installation process returns failure.

Console/MAPI

  1. Ensure that all PVS servers in a farm have the same Advanced Settings. Added “Set Max Transmission Unit” menu choice to the Site node. This menu item is only available to Site and Farm Administrators. It opens a dialog that has a control like the one in the Server Advanced Properties dialog. The control is initialized with the value found for the first Server. The user can set a new value, and all of the Servers will be updated with the value selected. Since some Servers may fail the setting, a Partial error will be displayed if any fail being set. The ioBurstSize is adjusted if needed for the new value of the maxTransmissionUnits.
  2. Allow longer server names in PVS Console login dialog. The new limit is 255 bytes.
  3. Need to disable “Back” and “Done” during operations in StoreManagement Wizard.
  4. PVS Console display fields are too small to accommodate long AD names.

Configuration Wizard
Configuration Wizard does not automatically set server’s properties to AD if the system is already in an AD.

Imaging Wizard
Support copying NTFS hardlinks properly. This substantially reduces imaging time and also improves imaging progress estimation.

Volume Licensing
Office 2010 activation-KMS license.

Wake-on-LAN (WOL)
A PVS server with 2 NICs in seperate subnets is not sending out WOL packets to both subnets.

Database Offline
DB Offline is putting too much stress on the SQL server and causing the PVS Console to crash.

Target Device – Windows

  1. Status tray ICON still appearing after “Hide Status Tray” is checked.
  2. Bootstrap not sending Traffic to correct gateway.
  3. Pagefile warnings and failure to place page file on client‟s local HD when multiple partition structure exists with largest partition non NTFS. For all target devices to support DedicatedDumpFile feature properly, all local hard disk storage controllers must be set to the same operating mode, i.e., all are ATA or AHCI mode.
  4. BNIStack event log reports errors during protocol processing, events 99 to 138 should not report into the event log.

Target Device – Linux

  1. Imaging stalls on RHEL 5.2 and 5.3 x86_64 when imaging progress at 95%.
  2. Long delay in bringing up device’s properties if the device is active and running a Linux vdisk.
  3. System freezes while imaging Centos 5.3 x86 with default kernel.

To download click here ( may require a valid mycitrix.com account )