Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Connection to XenServer

Create and manage connections and resources describes the wizards that create a connection. The following information covers details specific to XenServer virtualization environments.


Before creating a connection to XenServer, you need to first finish setting up your XenServer account as a resource location. See XenServer virtualization environments.

Create a connection to XenServer

When you create a connection to XenServer (formerly Citrix Hypervisor), you must provide the credentials for a VM Power Admin or higher-level user.

Citrix recommends using HTTPS to secure communications with XenServer. To use HTTPS, you must replace the default SSL certificate installed on XenServer; see CTX128656.

You can configure high availability if it is enabled on the XenServer server. Citrix recommends that you select all servers in the pool (from Edit High Availability) to allow communication with the XenServer server if the pool master fails.

You can select a GPU type and group, or pass through, if the XenServer supports vGPU. The display indicates if the selection has dedicated GPU resources.

When using local storage on one or more XenServer hosts for temporary data storage, make sure that each storage location in the pool has a unique name. (To change a name in XenCenter, right-click the storage and edit the name property.)

You can use Citrix Provisioning (formerly Provisioning Services) and Machine Creation Services (MCS) to provision:

  • legacy BIOS for supported Desktop or Server OS VMs.
  • UEFI for supported Desktop or Server OS VMs, including Secure Boot.


Pool operator permissions or higher are required when configuring MCS.

Use IntelliCache for XenServer connections

Using IntelliCache, hosted VDI deployments are more cost-effective because you can use a combination of shared storage and local storage. This enhances performance and reduces network traffic. The local storage caches the master image from the shared storage, which reduces the number of reads on the shared storage. For shared desktops, writes to the differencing disks are written to local storage on the host and not to shared storage.

  • Shared storage must be NFS when using IntelliCache.
  • Citrix recommends that you use a high performance local storage device to ensure the fastest possible data transfer.

To use IntelliCache, you must enable it in both this product and XenServer.

  • When installing XenServer, select Enable thin provisioning (Optimized storage for Virtual Desktops). Citrix does not support mixed pools of servers that have IntelliCache enabled and servers that do not. For more information, see the XenServer documentation.
  • In Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, IntelliCache is disabled by default. You can change the setting only when creating a XenServer connection; you cannot disable IntelliCache later. When you add a XenServer connection:
    • Select Shared as the storage type.
    • Select the Use IntelliCache check box.

Required XenServer permissions

The XenServer permissions are role-based (RBAC). The Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) feature in XenServer allows you to assign users, roles, and permissions to control who has access to your XenServer and what actions they can perform. The XenServer RBAC system maps a user (or a group of users) to defined roles (a named set of permissions). The roles have associated XenServer permissions to perform certain operations.

For more information, see Role-based access control.

The role hierarchy, in order of increasing permissions is: Read-Only → VM Operator → VM Admin → VM Power Admin → Pool Operator → Pool Admin.

The following section summarizes the minimum role required for each provisioning task.

Creating a host connection

Task Minimum role required
Add a host connection using the information obtained from XenServer Read-Only
View users and their assigned role Read-Only

Power management of VMs

Task Minimum role required
Power on or off the VMs VM Operator

Creating, updating, or deleting VMs

Task Minimum role required
Add or remove VMs to existing snapshots schedules VM Power Admin
Add, modify, delete snapshot schedules Pool Operator
Publish master image Pool Operator (Requires switch-port locking)
Create a machine catalog Pool Operator: Requires switch-port locking
Add or remove VMs (not GPU enabled VMs) VM Admin
Add or remove VMs (GPU enabled VMs) Pool Operator
Add, remove, or configure virtual disk or CD devices VM Admin
Manage Tags VM Operator

For more information on RBAC roles and permissions, see RBAC roles and permissions.

For information on switch port locking, see Use switch port locking.

Where to go next

More information

Connection to XenServer