Installation and Configuration of Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.17 on vSphere 6.7 Steps

Citrix VDI is the best in class when it comes to user experience, simplicity and security. HDX protocol is very light and its been developed for years to make it the best protocol for application and desktop delivery. Even though Citrix provides XenServer as a hypervisor, Its a common choice for most to go with Citrix XenDesktop on VMWare vSphere. There might be many reasons one being ESXi is very stable and most of the people are comfortable with that and dont want to try a new hypervisor.

Will cover detailed steps of installing and configuring Citrix XenDesktop and Xenapp 7.17  on vSphere 6.7 ( vCenter 6.7 and ESXi 6.7). this post will give you complete confidence to setup a VDI for production and POC purposes.

If you need to have a quick look on vCenter 6.7 setup below blogs will guide you.

Installation of vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 with an embedded Platform Services Controller.

Installation and Configuration of vCenter server 6.7 VCHA with external load balanced PSC implementation

Citrix XenDesktop  & XenApp 7.17

Pre-requisites

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

  • vCenter 6.7 server with Cluster of ESXi hosts for VDI.
  • Create 2 Windows server 2016 for XenDesktop Controllers.
  • Create one windows 10 for VDI master image on vCenter server and place in a VM folder.
  • Create 1 Windows server 2016 for XenApp server.
  • All machines renamed and joined to domain.
  • vCenter server reachable form Controller servers ( fqdn of vCenter)
  • 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 of vCenter server with admin access.
  • 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 1: Mount ISO on a windows server 2016 prepared for Controller – run AutoSelect

Step 2: Select Start

Step 3: Click on Delivery Controller

Step 4: Accept and Next

Step 5: Select all the components required and click Next

Step 6: Select SQL express if you don’t have an external SQL Cluster. its not recommended for production, use only SQL Express for POC.

Step 7: Review and Next

Step 8: Review and finish

Step 9: Restart if prompted to do so. Installation will continue after restart.

Step 10: installation will continue as shown below.

Step 11: select call home options and click next

Step 12: Review and Finish to complete the Controller installation.

XenDesktop Site Setup

Step 13: Once the studio is launched. Select Deliver applications and desktops to create site.

Step 14: select fully configured this will do most of the work automatically like store creation and stuff. provide Name for site and next

Step 15: provide the SQL cluster or SQL always on details as shown below – Next . DB’s will create automatically.

Step 16: If you already hav a license server point to it, else first 30 days will work normally.

Step 17: At Connection for machine management – Select No machine management ( will do it later as we need to install plugins)

Step 18: review and next

Step 19: review and next

Step 20: review and finish

Step 21: 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 1 through 12 listed above. Once installation is completed.

Step 22: Select connect this server to an existing site

Step 23: provide the fqdn of primary one and click ok. This will automatically join this controller to the same site.

Step 24: Select Yes

Step 25: 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 26: Click on server group to verify the servers.

Change Base URL and Verify Configuration

Step 27: 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 28: review that both controllers are present.

Step 29: 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 30: select Store – Select the store name – right click – select manage receiver for web site.

Step 31: Select configure.

Step 32: 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 33: Select Store – Manage authentication methods

Step 34: select settings – configure trusted domains

Step 35: 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 36: Click Add on the remote access screen – Provide Name, External URL

Step 37: Add the controller fqdn or IP ( it should be same as in netscaler config)

Step 38: provide call back url same as your external fqdn

 

Step 39: Finish

 

Step 40: Select Enable – no vpn tunnel – select netscaler – Ok

vCenter Certificate Installation & Host Connection

vCenter server Certificate needs to be installed on Controller server for successful communication of vCenter server from the controllers.

Note: Certificate needs to be installed on both controller servers

vCenter server Certificate installation on XenDesktop Controllers

Step 41:  Open browser on the XenDesktop Controller server and open vCenter fdqn. Click on Certificate and go to details

Step 42: Select copy to file

Step 43: select Base 64 encoded

Step 44: browse and provide a name to the certificate to be exported

Step 45:click finish to export the certificate. This certificate needs to be installed on Both controller servers

Step 46: Open the certificate on the Controller servers, select local machine

Step 47: Browse and select trusted people

Step 48: select finish to install certificate in trusted people.

Step 49: verify that there are no certificate errors on both controller servers.

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

Host Connection for vCenter Server

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

Step 50: Select Studio – Configuration – Hosting – Add Connection.

  • Connection address: https://vcenter-vc01.sslab.com/sdk
  • User Name: ctxadmin@sslab.com ( this user to have admin access on vCenter)
  • Password: Provide vCenter password.
  • Connection Name: vCenter6_7

 


Step 51: Browse and select the vCenter cluster created for hosting VDI.

Step 52: select the datastore for OS, pvdisk and temporary files. you can choose diff datastores for diff types.

Step 53: select the network – Next

Step 54: review and finish

Step 55: Click on Hosting and review that vCenter is added

 

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 vmware infra 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.

Create a VM and install windows 10 OS, install vmware tools and windows patches.

Desktop VDA Installation

Step 56: Mount the XenDesktop 7.17 ISO on the Windows 10 Master Image and run auto select as shown below.

Step 57: Click Start as shown below

 

Step 58: Click on Desktop VDA as shown below

 

Step 59: Select Create a master image

Step 60: if you require receiver select it if not remove.

 

Step 61: review and select next

 

Step 62: Provide xendesktop controllers fqdn and click on add. Green marks should show as shown below, this means the connection to controller is success.

 

Step 63: review and next

 

Step 64: review the ports and select next

Step 65: Click Install to install VDA on master image

Step 66: Once VDA is installed, select call home if required and next

Step 67: Click finish so that windows 10 master image will restart to complete VDA installation.

Windows 10 Machine Catalog Creation on vCenter server

Step 68: Now as vCenter host connection is created and Windows 10 Master image is ready.

Then under machine catalogs – click create machine catalog.

 

Step 69: review and next

 

Step 70: Select Desktop OS

 

Step 71: Select MCS and Machine with power management so that Controller will controll the shutting down and powering on of VDI.

 

Step 72: select random or static as per your requirement.

Step 73: select the Master image that is created for installing windows 10 VDA.

Step 74: provide no of VM’s , cpu, cache and ram for VDI

Step 75: 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 76: Provide and name for catalog and finish

 

Step 77: review that VDI catalog is created.

Windows 10 VDI Delivery group creation

Step 78: As the Catalog is created now we need to provide access to users for VDI.

Select Delivery group – Create delivery group.

 

Step 79: review and next

 

Step 80: 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 81: Select restrict use  – Add ad group for VDI users

 

Step 82: No apps required from VDI so Next

 

Step 83: In the desktops view – ADD – provide a display name for this VDI ( users will see this name in store )

 

Step 84: review and next

Step 85: Provide Name, review and finish

VDI Power management and Registration Check

Step 86: 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 87: Go to Power management – select week and week ends drag the line as you wish.

 

Step 88: 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 vCenter, install VMWare tools on the server.

XenApp Server VDA installation on Server 2016

Step 89: We believe that you had created a server 2016 VM on vCenter, Now mount XenDesktop 7.17 Media and select Auto select

Step 90: Select Start ( both xenapp or xendesktop will take to same page)

Step 91: Select server OS VDA and next

Step 92:  (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 93:(Option 2) Select Enable Connections to a server machine – Next

Step 94: review and next

Step 95: review and next

Step 96: Provide Xendesktop controller fqdn , select test connection and add. it should show green to indicate communication is successful.

Step 97: review and next

Step 98: review and next

Step 99:review and next

Step 100: review and finish

Step 101: once RDS role installed server VDA will restart, login after restart to continue rest of installation.

Step 102: Once installation is finished after restart, review and next

Step 103: review and finish, server will restart to complete installation.

XenApp machine Catalog Creation

Step 104: Now we need to add xenapp server in catalogs as shown below. select create machine catalog

Step 105: review and next

Step 106: server os – next

Step 107: Machine that not power managed and other technology as shown below and next

Step 108: Add computers – add xenapp server – it should show as below – next

Step 109: provide name to catalog – finish

Step 110: 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 111: 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 112: Review and next

Step 113: select no of machines here 1 – Next

Step 114: Select restrict use – add – add ad group for users who need access to applications.

Step 115: Click on add – start menu and select apps.

Step 116: select all the apps – ok- next

Step 117: review and next

Step 118: I wanted to give users the server Desktop also, only to some admins. so click on add – provide name – ok

Step 119: give a name to delivery group and finish

XenApp Application Limit Visibility to users

Step 120: 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 121: then limit visibility by  select application as shown – properties

Step 122: Add the group who need access to calculator, remember others cannot see this until part of this ad group.

VDI & XenApp on vSphere 6.7 Testing

Step 123: As we had successfully installed VDI and XenApp on VMWare vCenter and ESXi, Its time for testing.

Login to the storefront web url as shown below.

 

Step 124: As we customized colors with green its shown below. Select desktops – Click them to launch

Note: make sure you have latest receiver installed.

 

Step 125:select apps and review if you have access.

 

Step 126: VDI launched

 

Step 127: Server desktop launched

Step 128: Applications launched

Step 129: review the connection center of receiver .

With this XenDesktop & XenApp 7.17 installation on vSphere 6.7 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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