- XenApp Essentials Service
- XenDesktop Essentials Service
The Citrix XenDesktop Essentials Service allows management and delivery of Windows 10 virtual desktops from Microsoft Azure.
XenDesktop Essentials Service is designed specifically for the Azure Marketplace. Citrix and Microsoft partner to deliver an integrated experience for XenDesktop Essentials and Azure IaaS. This partnership gives you a single interface to deliver a complete Windows 10 digital workspace from Azure.
By using XenDesktop Essentials Service, you can:
Citrix XenDesktop Essentials Service simplifies Windows 10 deployment. You can deploy desktops quickly, manage at scale, and deliver a rich user access experience from a single management plane.
You manage the Windows 10 desktops by using Studio and you monitor sessions from Director. Users connect to their Windows 10 virtual desktops by logging on with Citrix Receiver.
XenDesktop Essentials, the Citrix Cloud, and Microsoft Azure work together. During configuration, you create a Microsoft Azure subscription. After that, you install the Citrix Cloud Connectors, which provide access to your Azure resources from Citrix Cloud. You then create a Windows 10 master image that includes the VDA. The master image provides the template for desktops you deliver to users.
When you complete those tasks, you create a host connection to Microsoft Azure. Studio and Director are available in your cloud console. Use Studio and Director to manage and monitor your XenDesktop Essentials Service.
Deploy NetScaler VPX to provide secure access to Windows 10 desktops from anywhere. You provide your users with a URL to a workspace or StoreFront.
Users connect to their desktops by using Citrix Receiver, with the URL you provide. When users log on to Citrix Receiver, the Windows 10 desktop icon appears in the workspace or StoreFront window.
For new customers (from December 2017), XenDesktop Essentials includes a workspace URL, usually in the format https://<yourcompanyname>.cloud.com. After you set up XenDesktop Essentials, test and share the workspace URL link with your subscribers to give them access to their desktops.
For details about the workspace, see Workspace configuration.
Further updates will follow for customers who purchased XenDesktop Essentials before December 2017. Currently, those customers continue to use cloud-hosted StoreFront, as outlined in this article. (XenDesktop Essentials does not support on premises StoreFront.)
The diagram shows an architectural overview of a XenDesktop Essentials Service deployment.
For detailed information about buying or canceling XenDesktop Essentials, download the following document.
XenDesktop Essentials Service requires certain complementary products and components and specific account permissions for installation, configuration, and operation.
XenDesktop Essentials Service is designed to support Microsoft Azure exclusively. Your Azure environment must meet certain minimum requirements to support XenDesktop Essentials Service:
Microsoft requires the Azure Active Directory tenant in the Azure subscription to deploy Windows 10 desktops. You can use the Azure Active Directory tenant or another active directory to identify authorized users.
Use the same virtual network for the DNS entry and desktop subnet.
Citrix Cloud Connector authenticates and encrypts communication between Citrix Cloud and your resource locations. With XenDesktop Essentials Service, your resources are located in Microsoft Azure. Citrix Cloud requires that you install the Citrix Cloud Connector on two virtual machines to ensure continuous availability of your resource locations.
For more information about Cloud Connectors, see Citrix Cloud Connector.
The Citrix Cloud Connector servers must meet the following minimum requirements:
You cannot clone an installed Cloud Connector virtual machine. Install Cloud Connectors separately on each machine.
To download and install the Citrix Cloud Connector to Azure virtual machines
The Cloud Connector accesses the Citrix Cloud during installation to authenticate, validate the installer permissions, and then download and configure the services the Cloud Connector provides. The installation uses the privileges of the user who initiated the installation.
After installation, Citrix Cloud registers your domain in Identity and Access Management. For more information, see Identity and Access Management.
Before you start, ensure that you have your Azure Active Directory credentials and your subscription ID available. The Azure AD user who creates the host connection must be a native cloud user in the Azure AD or synchronized for the enterprise domain. The user account cannot be an invited or delegated Microsoft account.
Connect to Azure
On the Add Connection and Resources page:
After you click Use existing, the Existing Service Principal Details page appears:
In preparation for hosting the desktops, install the Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) software on the Windows 10 virtual machine. The VDA software
To install the VDA on the base image
Create a Storage Account
In Microsoft Azure, you need a storage account to host the base image virtual hard disk. You can host the drive in an existing storage account or create a storage account.
Important: Upload the Windows 10 master image to the destination storage account in Azure before you create the machine catalog.
To create a storage account for images
After you create a storage account, create a blob container and then name it to reflect the virtual hard disk, such as "VHDs."
To create a blob container for image VHDs
Create a machine catalog for XenDesktop Essentials
Machine catalogs are collections of virtual desktops that you manage as a single entity. These virtual desktops are the resources you provide to your users. All the machines in a catalog have the same operating system and the same VDA installed.
Typically, you create a master image and use it to create identical virtual machines in the catalog.
To create a machine catalog
In your Citrix Cloud console, go to the Manage tab and select Service Creation.
The virtual machines are created and a new storage account appears in the Microsoft Azure dashboard. While machine catalog services deploy the virtual machines, a preparation virtual machine with a VHS is created temporarily in Azure.
To identify the image name in Microsoft Azure
A Delivery Group is a collection of machines selected from one or more machine catalogs. The Delivery Group specifies which users can use those machines.
After completing these steps, edit the delivery group to configure access for users. You can add or remove users and change user settings.
Add or remove users in a delivery group
Change user settings in a delivery group
The name of this page can appear as either User Settings or Basic Settings.
Assign users access in the Citrix Cloud
Your Windows 10 virtual desktops are assigned to the groups added to the subscribers list.
The NetScaler VPX virtual appliance is available as an image in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. When you deploy NetScaler VPX on Microsoft Azure Resource Manager (ARM), you can use the Azure cloud computing capabilities. You can use NetScaler load balancing and traffic management features for your business needs.
You can deploy NetScaler VPX instances on Azure Resource Manager in one of two ways:
If you have users who connect from a remote location, configure NetScaler VPX in Azure to create secure connections between Citrix Receiver and Windows 10 desktops.
To configure NetScaler VPX in Azure
When the deployment is complete, use the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to one of the Cloud Connector machines. When you connect, you continue to the NetScaler VPX configuration from the NetScaler administration console.
For complete configuration information, see Deploying Citrix NetScaler VPX on Microsoft Azure in the NetScaler Product Documentation.
After you configure NetScaler VPX in Azure, enable NetScaler Gateway in Citrix Cloud.
To configure the NetScaler Gateway settings for secure access
When the virtual machine restarts, log on again by using NetScaler credentials.
Configure XenDesktop Settings in NetScaler VPX
After you configure the previous settings, run the Quick Configuration Wizard in NetScaler VPX. For more information, see Configuring Settings with the Quick Configuration Wizard.
Configure NetScaler VPX for High Availability and Load Balancing
In a Microsoft Azure deployment, a high availability configuration of two NetScaler virtual machines is achieved by using the Azure load balancer. The load balancer distributes client traffic across the virtual servers configured on both the NetScaler instances.
If the client traffic originates from the internet, deploy an external load balancer between the internet and the NetScaler VPX instances to distribute client traffic. For more information about using this configuration, see Configuring NetScaler VPX in High Availability Mode in Azure Resource Manager (ARM).
You can also add inbound port 80 to the NetScaler network security group to configure NetScaler by using its public IP address. After the configuration is complete, you can delete the inbound port 80 rule to secure access to the management console.
Either workspace or cloud-hosted StoreFront delivers the service to user devices. In the Citrix Cloud console:
Service delivery through workspace
After you create the first catalog, XenDesktop Essentials configures the workspace URL automatically. This URL appears under the catalog details. You can customize the workspace URL and the appearance of workspaces. You can also enable the tech preview version of federated authentication using Azure Active Directory. For details, see Workspace configuration.
Service delivery through cloud-hosted StoreFront
Remote access using NetScaler VPX