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.
Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp 7.17
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
XenDesktop Site Setup
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.
With this we had installed the XenDesktop Primary and secondary controller. will move to storefornt configuration.
Once the second controller added to existing site – Storefront & Stores will also be configured automatically as shown below.
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.
Change Colors and Logos in Storefront
Changing colors and Inserting logos are common things. below steps will help
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
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.
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 61: Install
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 -PluginsRoot “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Citrix\HCLPlugins\CitrixMachineCreation\v126.96.36.199”
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
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
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 71: Click Start as shown below
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
Step 90: Select the domain, OU to create computer accounts and Provide naming convention as shown below.
Windows 10 VDI Delivery group creation
Step 93: As the Catalog is created now we need to provide access to users for VDI.
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
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 107: (Option 1) If you are creating a master image so that Xendesktop Controller will create Xenapp servers then select Create Master Image.
XenApp machine Catalog Creation
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.
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.
VDI & XenApp on Nutanix AHV Testing
Step 138: As we had successfully installed VDI and XenApp on Nutanix AHV, Its time for testing.
Step 139: As we customized colors with green its shown below. Select desktops – Click them to launch
With this XenDesktop & XenApp 7.17 installation on Nutanix AHV is completed.
Refer below blogs for installing and configuring Netscaler.
Hope this post is useful. Leave your comments and feedback…