Installation and Configuration of Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.17 on Nutanix AHV Steps

XenDesktop VDI and XenApp are the products used by end users not professionals or IT admins. So the first priority should be given to user experience , then to user experience. So all they look for is best experience. Organizations loose lots of money just because the employee can’t work fast and access data or files they need.

With the help of Hyper converged solutions (HCI) like Nutanix AHV its easy to achieve speed. As with Nutanix everything is local ( compute & Storage ) so no limitations on factors like IOPS and stuff.

Short description of Nutanix: Nutanix is a software which can be installed on any hardware (servers) with local storage ( flash or hybrid). The CVM is a VM runs on each Host takes care of Data replication across nodes and IOPS. Prism is the management pane, AHV is Nutanix custom hypervisor which is very light and fast. VMWare ESXi, AHV, Hyper-V can be installed on a Nutanix HCI, so hypervisor is your choice.

The Nutanix Acropolis hypervisor running on Nutanix Acropolis Operating System (AOS) 4.6.1.x or later has been designated as Citrix Ready and is supported in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 or later, More details on support can be found here.

This post will cover the complete Installation and Configuration of Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.17 on Nutanix AHV. By the end of this post you will be comfortable to deploy VDI on Nutanix AHV.

VM Creation on Nutanix AHV

It might be silly to show this but i felt its important as most of us are not familiar with nutanix AHV. Windows VM’s on Nutanix AHV by default will not detect the Hard Drive and Network while installation. We need to install the Drivers while installing itself.  Steps 1 – 16 will guide you through them.

Step 1: Login to AHV (https://AHVclusterip:9440) Settings – Image Configuration

Step 2: Click upload and upload all the Windows OS ISO’s and Driver ISO.

Step 3: Name the ISO, select choose file – Select the ISO files.

 

Step 4: Now as all drivers and windows OS ISO are available in Nutanix. Click on VM – Table (view) – create VM

Step 5: provide Name – cpu and RAM – Scroll down

Step 6: Edit eh CD-ROM and select windows OS ISO.

Step 7: Select the ISO file – Add

Step 8: Now add Another Disk (Hard Disk) – Select the SCSI – size and click add

Step 9: Add third disk as CD-ROM and Select VitroISO ( AHV Drivers)

Step 10: Select Add New NIC

Step 11: Select the network and add

Step 12: Now start the VM , As shown below Hard Disk will not show. Click Load Driver below.

 

Step 13:Select the Corresponding driver amd64 folder for the OS you are installing.

Step 14: Select SCSI ( 3rd one) – Next to install driver. Repeat the same for all the three drivers.

Step 15: Second one is for Network.

Step 16: Now all 3 drivers are installed. Select the Hard disk and Next

Citrix XenDesktop  & XenApp 7.17

Pre-requisites

Any implementation is straight forward when pre-requisites are handy. here you go…

  • Nutanix AHV is setup and cluster IP of Nutanix AHV is accessible.
  • ISO/exe for Nutanix AHV Windows Drivers (VirtISO) and latest XenDesktop AHV Plugin.
  • Create 2 Windows server 2016 for XenDesktop Controllers on AHV following steps 1-16
  • Create one windows 10 for VDI master image on AHV following steps 1-16
  • Create 1 Windows server 2016 for XenApp server on AHV following steps 1-16
  • All machines renamed and joined to domain.
  • Nutanix AHV cluster IP, reachable form Controller servers.
  • DHCP scope for Windows 10 VDI tested and working.
  • Service account to install XenDesktop controllers ( ctxadmin)
  • Service account ctxadmin to have access to Database servers to create SQL DB’s , i suggest sysadmin first, after installing set permissions as listed in this citrix article .
  • Login credentials to Nutanix AHV cluster.
  • OU for VDI Creation and delegated permissions on domain to service account to create & Delete computer objects.

Installing XenDesktop Controller

In this section will install XenDesktop Controller. Hope the pre-requisites are already done.

Step 17: Mount ISO on a windows server 2016 prepared for Controller – run AutoSelect

Step 18: Select Start

Step 19: Click on Delivery Controller

Step 20: Accept and Next

Step 21: Select all the components required and click Next

Step 22: Select SQL express if you don’t have an external SQL Cluster. its not recommended for production, use only SQL Express for POC.

Step 23: Review and Next

Step 24: Review and finish

Step 25: Restart if prompted to do so. Installation will continue after restart.

Step 26: installation will continue as shown below.

Step 27: select call home options and click next

Step 28: Review and Finish to complete the Controller installation.

XenDesktop Site Setup

Step 29: Once the studio is launched. Select Deliver applications and desktops to create site.

Step 30: select fully configured this will do most of the work automatically like store creation and stuff. provide Name for site and next

Step 31: provide the SQL cluster or SQL always on details as shown below – Next . DB’s will create automatically.

Step 32: If you already hav a license server point to it, else first 30 days will work normally.

Step 33: At Connection for machine management – Select No machine management ( will do it later as we need to install plugins)

Step 34: review and next

Step 35: review and next

Step 36: review and finish

Step 37: Now the XenDekstop site is created. Will move to installing Second Controller.

Additional XenDesktop Controller Configuration

Login to second controller using the same service account used for first one installation and follow the steps 17 through 28 listed above. Once installation is completed.

Step 38: Select connect this server to an existing site

Step 39: provide the fqdn of primary one and click ok. This will automatically join this controller to the same site.

Step 40: Select Yes

Step 41: Once its finished – review both controllers in Configuraiton – Controllers.

With this we had installed the XenDesktop Primary and secondary controller. will move to storefornt configuration.

StoreFront Configuration

Once the second controller added to existing site – Storefront & Stores will also be configured automatically as shown below.

Step 42: Click on server group to verify the servers.

Change Base URL and Verify Configuration

Step 43: By default storefront base URL will be primary one fqdn, change it to your Storefront load balanced fqdn. In my case it is storefront.sslab.com. Select propagate changes after doing any changes to that it will reflect to others.

Step 44: review that both controllers are present.

Step 45: Receiver for web site is shown below. This url used to login.

Change Colors and Logos in Storefront

Changing colors and Inserting logos are common things. below steps will help

Step 46: select Store – Select the store name – right click – select manage receiver for web site.

Step 47: Select configure.

Step 48: Select Customize Appearance – upload logos with the pixel size shown below and change colors and select Ok.

Add trusted domains in Store

By default users need to provide domain name to login, to avoid that we need to provide trusted domains.

Step 49: Select Store – Manage authentication methods

Step 50: select settings – configure trusted domains

Step 51: Add – trusted domain name – make sure the domain (sslab.com or sslab) name given here is same while configuring storefront configuration in Netscaler as well.

Configure Storefront for Netscaler Gateway

This is an Optional, If you are using Netscaler for ICA proxy for VDI and XenApp below needs to be configured.

Note: the gateway url ( external facing url) dns record need to be added on storefront local host DNS records with the VIP for call back to work. If not cannot connect errors might appear in netscaler.

Below blogs for NetScaler will help in installing and configuring Netscaler.

NetScaler 12 – XenDesktop/Xenapp Gateway Configuration Steps

NetScaler 12 Step by Step Installation and Configuration Guides

Step 52: Select configure remote access settings – Add

Step 53: Click Add on the remote access screen – Provide Name, External URL

Step 54: Add the controller fqdn or IP ( it should be same as in netscaler config)

Step 55: provide call back url same as your external fqdn

 

Step 56: Finish

 

Step 57: Select Enable – no vpn tunnel – select netscaler – Ok

Nutanix AHV Plugin & Host Connection

XenDesktop require Nutanix AHV plugin to be installed for the host connection for AHV to work. Download the latest plugin from Nutanix site.

Note: these steps needs to be done on both controller servers

Nutanix AHV Plugin Installation on XenDesktop Controllers

Step 58:  Start the MCS plugin for XenDesktop 7.9 or later

Step 59: Accept and next

Step 60: review and next

 

Step 61: Install

Step 62: Finish to complete the isntallation

Step 63: Verify that C:\Program Files\Common Files\Citrix\HCLPlugins\CitrixMachineCreation\v1.0.0.0 path is available as shown below.

Step 64: Run below commands to register the plugins

PS C:\> Add-PSSnapin Citrix.*
PS C:\> Cd “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Citrix\HCLPlugins\”

PS C:\Program Files\Common Files\Citrix\HCLPlugins> .\RegisterPlugins.exe ñPluginsRoot “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Citrix\HCLPlugins\CitrixMachineCreation\v1.0.0.0”

Step 65: run below commands to Restart XenDesktop Services then verify that Plugin is installed. Custom Nutanix AHV should be visible.

Restart the Services using below 3 commands.

Restart-Service -Name “Citrix Host Service”
Restart-Service -Name “Citrix Broker Service”
Restart-Service -Name “Citrix Machine Creation Service”

Use below command to verify Custom Nutanix AHV

Get-HypHypervisorPlugin

Note: these steps 58 to 65 should be done on both XenDesktop Controllers.

Host Connection for Nutanix AHV

Now as Plugin is installed on both controllers. We can add connection.

Step 66: Select Studio – Configuration – Hosting – Add Connection.

  • Connection Type: Nutanix AHV
  • Connection Address : Nutanix AHV Cluster IP
  • User Name: admin
  • Password: Nutani AHV password

 

Step 67: Select the Nutanix Network and give a Name to be visible in studio.

Step 68: review and finish

 

Step 69: Now with this the Connection is created as shown below. We can move to creating windows 10 VDI installation and provisioning VDI.

 

Windows 10 VDA Installation & Configuration

In this section will install Desktop VDA 7.17on a windows 10 image, Then create Catalog to create VDI on Nutanix AHV and delivery group to provide VDI access to users.

Windows 7  is not supported for installing Desktop VDA 7.17 only  Windows 10, minimum version 1607 is supported. please check system requirements here before proceeding to install VDA.

Desktop VDA Installation

Step 70: Mount the XenDesktop 7.17 ISO on the Windows 10 Master Image and run auto select as shown below.

Step 71: Click Start as shown below

 

Step 72: Click on Desktop VDA as shown below

 

Step 73: Select Create a master image

Step 74: if you require receiver select it if not remove.

 

Step 75: review and select next

 

Step 76: Provide xendesktop controllers fqdn and click on add. Green marks should show as shown below, this means the connection to controller is success.

 

Step 77: review and next

 

Step 78: review the ports and select next

Step 79: Click Install to install VDA on master image

Step 80: Once VDA is installed, select call home if required and next

Step 81: Click finish so that windows 10 master image will restart to complete VDA installation.

Windows 10 Machine Catalog Creation on Nutanix AHV

Step 82: Now as Nutanix AHV host connection is created and Windows 10 Master image is ready.

Take snapshot of the Master image by login to nutanix ahv console https://clusterip:9440

Then under machine catalogs – click create machine catalog.

 

Step 83: review and next

 

Step 84: Select Desktop OS

 

Step 85: Select MCS and Machine with power management so that Controller will controll the shutting down and powering on of VDI.

 

Step 86: select random or static as per your requirement.

Step 87: Select the Nutanix Container ( its like DataStore) – Next

Step 88: select the Snapshot taken in Step 82 for windows 10 master image and next

 

Step 89: provide no of VM’s , cpu and ram for VDI

 

Step 90: Select the domain, OU to create computer accounts and Provide naming convention as shown below.

Note: the service account used for Controller installation should have create computer objects access on Active Directory. This can be done with delegation permissions.

 

Step 91: Provide and name for catalog and finish

 

Step 92: review that VDI catalog is created.

Windows 10 VDI Delivery group creation

Step 93: As the Catalog is created now we need to provide access to users for VDI.

Select Delivery group – Create delivery group.

 

Step 94: review and next

 

Step 95: select the no of VM’s from catalog to be added to this delivery group. Note that we can have multiple delivery groups using VDI from same catalog.

 

Step 96: Select restrict use  – Add ad group for VDI users

 

Step 97: No apps required from VDI so Next

 

Step 98: In the desktops view – ADD – provide a display name for this VDI ( users will see this name in store )

 

Step 99: review and next

Step 100: Provide Name, review and finish

VDI Power management and Registration Check

Step 101: Now we need to set power management for Delivery group

Select delivery groups on left – select VDI group – Click on Edit delivery group on Right

Step 102: Go to Power management – select week and week ends drag the line as you wish.

 

Step 103: In my case i selected all VDI to be on always , Click on delivery group and VDI will be on , Status should show as Registered. with this your VDI is good. If its not showing registered this Citrix article might help you https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX126992

XenApp 7.17 VDA Installation & Configuration

In this section will install Server VDA on a windows server 2016, Then create Catalog and delivery group with applications to provide access to users.

Server 2012 is not supported for installing Server VDA 7.17 only 2012 R2 and 2016 are supported. please check system requirements here before proceeding to install VDA.

Create a windows server 2016 VM for Xenapp server VDA on Nutanix As shown in Steps 1 to 16. Select Server 2016 drivers in VirtIO drivers CD.

XenApp Server VDA installation on Server 2016

Step 104: We believe that you had created a server 2016 VM on Nutanix AHV, Now mount XenDesktop 7.17 Media and select Auto select

Step 105: Select Start ( both xenapp or xendesktop will take to same page)

Step 106: Select server OS VDA and next

Step 107:  (Option 1) If you are creating a master image so that Xendesktop Controller will create Xenapp servers then select Create Master Image.

In my case i am not doing this, i use other option to enable connections so that power and others we will manage manually.

Step 108:(Option 2) Select Enable Connections to a server machine – Next

Step 109: review and next

Step 110: review and next

Step 111: Provide Xendesktop controller fqdn , select test connection and add. it should show green to indicate communication is successful.

Step 112: review and next

Step 113: review and next

Step 114:review and next

Step 115: review and finish

Step 116: once RDS role installed server VDA will restart, login after restart to continue rest of installation.

Step 117: Once installation is finished after restart, review and next

Step 118: review and finish, server will restart to complete installation.

XenApp machine Catalog Creation

Step 119: Now we need to add xenapp server in catalogs as shown below. select create machine catalog

Step 120: review and next

Step 121: server os – next

Step 122: Machine that not power managed and other technology as shown below and next

Step 123: Add computers – add xenapp server – it should show as below – next

Step 124: provide name to catalog – finish

Step 125: once created click on the catalog – xenapp server should show registered. This means we are good, if not follow this citrix article to help you with failed registrations.

XenApp Application Publishing – Delivery Group Creation

Step 126: Now take a snapshot of VM and install all custom apps on xenapp server.

Now as Catalog is created, we need to provide access to users for applications. Click on create delivery group as shown below.

Step 127: Review and next

Step 128: select no of machines here 1 – Next

Step 129: Select restrict use – add – add ad group for users who need access to applications.

Step 130: Click on add – start menu and select apps.

Step 131: select all the apps – ok- next

Step 132: review and next

Step 133: I wanted to give users the server Desktop also, only to some admins. so click on add – provide name – ok

Step 134: give a name to delivery group and finish

XenApp Application Limit Visibility to users

Step 135: Its a general thing that you dont want all users to have access to all apps. In that case. add all the application groups in Step 129.

This screenshot is same as Step 129, Add group here first then to the application.

 

Step 136: then limit visibility by  select application as shown – properties

Step 137: Add the group who need access to calculator, remember others cannot see this until part of this ad group.

VDI & XenApp on Nutanix AHV Testing

Step 138: As we had successfully installed VDI and XenApp on Nutanix AHV, Its time for testing.

Login to the storefront web url as shown below.

 

Step 139: As we customized colors with green its shown below. Select desktops – Click them to launch

Note: make sure you have latest receiver installed.

 

Step 140:select apps and review if you have access.

 

Step 141: VDI launched

 

Step 142: Server desktop launched

Step 143: Applications launched

Step 144: review the connection center of receiver .

With this XenDesktop & XenApp 7.17 installation on Nutanix AHV is completed.

Refer below blogs for installing and configuring Netscaler.

NetScaler 12 – XenDesktop/Xenapp Gateway Configuration Steps

NetScaler 12 Step by Step Installation and Configuration Guides

Hope this post is useful. Leave your comments and feedback…

Siva Sankar

Siva Sankar works as Solution Architect in Abu Dhabi with primary focus on SDDC, Mobility, Virtualization, VDI, HCI and Network Virtualization products from VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft.

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