Product Documentation

Citrix MCS in vSphere

A Citrix Machine Creation Services (MCS) for vSphere connector configuration contains the credentials and storage location required to publish layered images to MCS in your vSphere environment.

You can publish layered images to MCS running in a vSphere environment by using a Citrix MCS for vSphere Connector Configuration. In the Connector Configuration wizard, be sure to configure a Virtual Machine Template, so that the Layered Image you publish will be in a ready-to-use VM, the image shut down and a snapshot taken. You can use the VM in your Horizon environment without further modifications.

Each Connector Configuration is set to publish layered images to a specific storage location in your MCS environment, so you may need more than one MCS Connector Configuration if publishing to multiple locations. Further, you may want to publish each Layered Image to a location convenient to the system you will be provisioning with the published image. For more about Connectors, and Connector Configurations, see Connect.

Notes:

This Connector Configuration is for publishing layered images. You cannot package Layers in the MCS environment.

Personal vDisks are not supported for Citrix MCS. The published desktop images will be non-persistent. Currently, vDisks can only be used when publishing to Citrix PVS.

Before you start

The first time you create an Image Template for publishing layered images to a location in your MCS environment, you will create a Connector Configuration for that location.

Required information for this Connector Configuration

The Citrix MCS for vSphere Connector Configuration wizard let’s you browse for the vCenter Server, Data Store, and Host to use for a new configuration.

Important:

The fields are case sensitive, so any values that you enter manually must match the case of the object your environment, or the validation will fail.

  • Name - A useful name to help identify and keep track of this connector configuration.
  • vCenter Server - The name of the vSphere server with which the appliance will integrate.
  • vCenter User Name - The user name of the account that the appliance will use to connect to vSphere.
  • vCenter Password - The password of the account that the appliance will use to connect to vSphere.
  • DataCenter Name - The name of the vSphere DataCenter in which the appliance will create and retrieve virtual machines.
  • Virtual Machine Template (recommended) - Virtual Machine Template that can be used to clone a VM with the hardware settings for MCS, including memory, CPUs and video settings. You can specify the host, datastore and network for configuring the resulting VMs. The list of choices contains only custom VM templates, rather than actual VMs or any of the built-in templates. The OS version used by the selected template must match the OS version that you are using for publishing layered images. The template must not have any disks attached, and must have at least one network card attached. If it does not, you will see an error when trying to validate or save the configuration.
  • DataStore Name - The name of the vSphere DataStore in which the appliance will create and retrieve virtual machines.
  • ESX Host Name - The name of the vSphere ESX Host on which the appliance will create and retrieve virtual machines.
  • Network Name - The name of the vSphere Network in which the appliance will create and retrieve virtual machines.
  • Virtual Machine Folder Name - The name of the vSphere Folder in which the appliance will create and retrieve virtual machines.

Create a Connector Configuration

To enter values:

  • The first three vCenter fields must be entered manually. Once the credentials in those fields are validated, you can select values for the remaining fields from drop-down menus.
  • To enter values manually: Click to put the cursor in the field and type the value.
  • To select a value from a drop-down list: Click once to put the cursor in the field, and a second time to choose from a list of possible values.

To add a new Connector Configuration

  1. On the wizard for creating a Layer or for adding a Layer Version, click the Connector tab.
  2. Under the list of Connector Configurations, click the New button. This opens a small dialog box.
  3. Select the Connector Type for the platform and location where you are creating the Layer or publishing the image. Then click New to open the Connector Configuration page.
  4. Enter the configuration Name, and the vCenter Server, vCenter User Name, and vCenter Password). For guidance, see the above field definitions.
  5. Click the CHECK CREDENTIALS button below the vCenter fields. The DataCenter field is then enabled with a list of DataCenters available.
  6. Select the DataCenter, and the remaining dropdowns will be enabled.
  7. (Recommended) Select a virtual machine to use as the template. Although a VM Template is optional, it is strongly recommended.
  8. Complete the remaining fields and click the TEST button to verify that the appliance can access the location specified using the credentials supplied.
  9. Click Save. The new Connector Configuration should now be listed on the Connector page.

Script Configuration (Optional, Advanced feature)

When creating a new Connector Configuration, you can configure an optional PowerShell script on any Windows machine running an App Layering Agent. These scripts must be stored on the same machine that the App Layering Agent is installed on, and are run only after a successful deployment of a Layered Image. Some preset variables are available to enable scripts to be reusable with different template images and different connector configurations. These variables also contain information needed to identify the virtual machine created as part of the published layered image in vSphere.

The running of these scripts will not affect the outcome of the publish job, and progress of commands run in the script are not visible. The vSphere connector logs contain the output of the script that ran.

Configure a script

Remember that this step is optional. If you want a script to run each time a Layered Image is published, complete these steps using the values described in the sections that follow.

  1. Complete and save the Connector Configuration as described above.

    Note:

    Before selecting the Script Configuration page, you must save (or discard) any edits to the Connector Configuration settings,

  2. If the Navigation menu on the left is not open, select it and click Script Configuration to open the Script Path page.
  3. Complete the required fields using the values detailed herein, and then click Save.

Script Configuration fields

Enable script - Select this check box to enable the remaining fields. This allows you to enter a script that runs each time a Layered Image is published.

Script Agent - The agent machine where the scripts will be located and run from.

Username (optional) - The user name to impersonate when running the script. This can be used to ensure the script runs in the context of a user that has the needed rights/permissions to perform the operations in the script.

Password (optional) - The password for the specified username.

Script Path - A full path and filename on the agent machine where the script file resides.

Other Script Configuration values

PowerShell variables

When the script is run, the following variables are set and can be used in the PowerShell script:

Value Applies to connector types Value determined by which code Description
connectorCfgName All Common code The name of the connector configuration that the script configuration is associated with.
imageName All Common code The name of the layered image template that was used to build/publish the layered image.
osType All Common code The operating system type of the published layered image. It can be one of the following values: Windows7; Windows764; Windows200864; Windows201264; Windows10; Windows1064
virtualInfrastructureServer All vSphere connector code The vCenter server specified in the connector configuration.
vmName All vSphere connector code The name of the virtual machine that was created.
vmId All vSphere connector code The virtual machine ID taken from the mobref of the vm (i.e. “vm-12345”)
vmUuid All vSphere connector code The virtual machine UUID as set by the underlying highbrd.

User Impersonation

The App Layering Agent, which runs as a service on a Windows machine, runs under either the local system account or the network account. Either of these accounts may have some special privileges, but they often are restricted when it comes to running specific commands or seeing files in the file system. Therefore, App Layering gives you the option of adding a domain user and password that can be used to “impersonate” a user. This means that the script runs as if that user had logged onto the system so that any commands or data will be accessible subject to those user rights and permissions. If a user name or password is not entered, the script runs using the account under which the service is configured to run.

Script Execution Policy

Script execution policy requirements are generally up to you. If you intend to run unsigned scripts, you must configure the execution policy to one of the more lenient policies. However, if you sign your own scripts accordingly, you can choose to use a more restrictive execution policy.

Citrix MCS in vSphere