Product Documentation

About this release

May 02, 2016

What's New

  • Support for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 and XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8
  • Upgrade support for SCCM 2016: Customers who have upgraded to SCCM 2016 can use Citrix Connector 3.1 with SCCM 2016.

Known Issues

  • Connector 3.1 Custom Collection Implementation: Performing an SCCM R2 SP1 upgrade on Connector 7.5 introduced a Device Collection Mismatch error in the Connector Service. As a work around, Microsoft issued a temporary hotfix. An SCCM hotfix is required: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3074246
    • Connector 3.1 is required to upgrade the previous SCCM versions to SCCM 1511 or above.
    • Connector 3.1 modifies the existing collections to be rooted under Custom Collection rather than the Device collection so the SCCM pre-requisite checks can pass during an upgrade.
    • For the collection migration to succeed Connector 3.1 grants connector service user required administrative permissions on the All Custom Resources. This additional permissions can be verified by navigating into the security settings under Administration tab from the SCCM Console.
  • The Connector does not support publishing applications to administrative folders in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6. Otherwise, Connector 3.1 is fully compatible with XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6.

    After the Connector publishes an application to a Citrix Delivery Site, moving it in Citrix Studio to a different administrative folder prevents the Connector from maintaining the desired state of the publication and any changes made to the publication through Configuration Manager will fail. The Connector publishing task throws an exception for that publication only. To work around this issue, do not use Studio to move an application after the Connector publishes it. [#500630]

  • The Connector configuration wizard might not complete if the Configuration Manager site includes multiple SMS Providers and not all of them are available. To work around this issue, repair or remove the unavailable SMS Providers. [#316]
  • The Configuration Manager console is unable to load a deployment technology that is not registered with it. As a result, the console crashes during the following operations when the console extensions for the Connector 3.1 and the XenApp 6.5 Connector are used in the same deployment:
    • When you choose the Create Deployment Type command for an application that has a deployment type created with the other Connector console extension. [#56]
    • When you select a deployment type created with the other Connector console extension. [#184]

    To work around these issues, install the missing console extension.

  • When using the Connector console extension on a machine that does not have the Connector service installed, opening the Properties dialog box for an entry in the Citrix Application Publications list results in an error. To work around this issue: [#586]
    1. Go to Application Management > Applications, select an application that has the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop deployment type, and select the Deployment Types tab. Notice that the Technology Title field is blank for the Citrix deployment type.
    2. Double-click the Citrix deployment type entry. After about ten seconds Configuration Manager loads the properties. You can then open the Properties dialog box for publications.
  • The orchestration task does not complete and the Citrix.ConfigMgr.OrchestrationTask log includes the entry "System.Management.ManagementException: Quota violation". To work around this issue, quadruple the memory limits, as described in WMI Error: 0x8004106C Description: Quota violation, while running WMI queries. [#705]
  • In the Update machine wizard on the Rollout Strategy page, the statement "Select this option if you are using the Citrix Connector for System Center Configuration Manager" does not apply to all cases. If you are using MCS for Server OS machine catalogs, use Studio to orchestrate the update of image clones.
  • A VDA that is installed with the command-line option /servervdi has an IsMasterImage property of false unless the option /masterimage is also specified. As a result, the Connector does not include the related catalog in the Designate Update Device list. To work around this issue, reinstall the VDA, making sure to include the command line option /masterimage. [#489771]
  • An application remains published after you use the Studio Rollback machine update command to revert to the previous version of a master image. To work around this issue, disable the application until the machines are compliant or remove the publication from Configuration Manager, which will remove it from Studio. Be aware that those actions will make the application unavailable to all users. [#635]
  • When changes are made to the properties of a Citrix publication from two Configuration Manager consoles at the same time, only one set of changes is saved. [#314]
  • In a failover configuration with Delivery Controller, such as Connector 1 pointed to Delivery Controller A and Connector 2 pointed to Delivery Controller B: If Delivery Controller A is shutdown, Connector 1 will not fail over to Delivery Controller B. To work around this issue, manually stop the Connector 1 service so that operations fail over to Connector 2 and Delivery Controller B. [#711]
  • After you uninstall the Connector component "Citrix Group Policy Management" from the Delivery Controller, Studio crashes if you click the Policies node in Studio. To work around this issue, reinstall the Citrix Policies plug-in from the XenApp and XenDesktop installation media. [#661]

Core concepts

This section summarizes the XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructure concepts which are essential to understanding how Citrix Connector works and how it differs from XenApp 6.5 Connector.

Supported versions of XenApp and XenDesktop use a combination of machine catalogs and Delivery Groups to organize resources. XenApp 6.5 uses folders and worker groups to organize applications and servers.

Machine catalogs

Machine catalogs are a collection of machines that share the same configuration, including operating system, applications, or desktop mode.

  • Desktop OS machine catalogs are used to deliver applications from Windows desktop operating systems or to deliver generic or personalized desktops to users.
  • Server OS machine catalogs are used to deliver applications or desktops to users.
  • Remote PC Access machine catalogs are used to provide users remote access to their physical desktops.
    While the Connector synchronizes Remote PC Access machine catalogs, it does not orchestrate application or update installation for them.
    Note: The Remote PC Access Wake on LAN feature requires Configuration Manager. For information, refer to Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and Remote PC Access Wake on LAN.

The Connector synchronizes each machine catalog into Configuration Manager as a device collection so you can deploy applications to them.

The machines in a machine catalog are the XenApp or XenDesktop workers, also referred to as session machines. For Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services (MCS), machine catalogs include the VMs for the master images and the machine clones.

Delivery Groups

Delivery Groups define the applications and virtual desktops that a set of users can access. Delivery Groups also control which machine catalogs provide applications and desktops to users. The relationship between machine catalog types and Delivery Groups is described in the documentation for XenApp and XenDesktop.

The Connector synchronizes each Delivery Group into Configuration Manager as a user collection.

The following figure shows how the machine catalogs and Delivery Groups managed by XenApp and XenDesktop relate to Configuration Manager when used with the Connector.


Machine Catalogs and Delivery Groups synchronized into Device and User Collections

Master image management

XenApp and XenDesktop provide centralized image management, enabling you to manage a single master image and provision from it many session machines, also referred to as machine clones.


Master image management diagram

A master image is a virtual hard disk that contains the OS. A master image is used by a provisioning technology to create the machines that provide applications and desktops to your users. Depending on the provisioning technology used, the master image can also be used to create a machine to host applications and desktops.

A Citrix administrator selects a provisioning method when creating a machine catalog in XenApp or XenDesktop. The Connector supports each of these methods.

  • MCS — Uses a master image within your environment to manage virtual machines, enabling you to manage and update target devices through one master image.
  • Provisioning Services — Allows computers to be provisioned and re-provisioned in real-time from a single shared-disk image. The desktops and applications are delivered from a Provisioning Services vDisk that is imaged from a master target device, enabling you to leverage the processing power of physical hardware or virtual machines. The Connector supports multiple master VMs, each provisioned with a different set of applications for various Delivery Groups.
  • Manual provisioning — Manages and delivers desktops and applications that you have already migrated to VMs in the data center. You can manage target devices (session machines) on an individual basis or collectively using Configuration Manager. When you add clone machines to a machine catalog, Configuration Manager automatically deploys applications to them. As a result, Citrix administrators only have to manage software patches and OS updates.

The following diagram shows the relationships between provisioned assets, Configuration Manager, and XenApp or XenDesktop.


Connector integration with XenDesktop and ConfigMgr

Important: In Configuration Manager, the Connector uses an update device to represent a master image. Before deploying applications to most machine catalog types managed by MCS or Provisioning Services, you choose an update device to receive the deployment.

Citrix Connector components

The following diagram shows the components used in a Citrix Connector solution. The topics in this section describe each component.


Connector components

Citrix Connector service

Citrix Connector service is the bridge between a XenApp or XenDesktop (Citrix) Delivery Site and Configuration Manager. The Connector service:

  • Synchronizes XenApp or XenDesktop machine catalogs with device collections.
  • Synchronizes XenApp or XenDesktop Delivery Groups with user collections.
  • Orchestrates software installation to device collections.
  • Publishes applications to users in Delivery Groups.
  • Deploys the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop deployment type to users in user collections.
  • Ensures that applications are not published until all required machines have the application successfully installed by Configuration Manager.
  • Provides high availability when more than one Connector service is installed.

Configuration Manager console extension

The Configuration Manager console extension enables the Configuration Manager console to work seamlessly with supported versions of XenApp and XenDesktop. The Connector adds items to the Configuration Manager console such as:

  • A Citrix Delivery Sites node under Assets and Compliance > Device Collections. This node includes Citrix machine catalogs.

     

    Citrix Delivery Groups under Device Collections

     

    The Connector also adds a Citrix Delivery Sites node under Assets and Compliance > User Collections. That node includes Citrix Delivery Groups.

  • A Citrix Application Publications node under Software Library > Application Management. Items in this node are published across all Citrix Delivery Sites.

     

    Citrix Application Publications under Application Management

     

  • A Citrix-specific deployment type, named Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, which is required only to deploy Citrix hosted applications to the Configuration Manager Application Catalog or Software Center on devices managed by Configuration Manager.

     

    Citrix DT in Type list

     

  • Two commands on the Configuration Manager ribbon that appear when you select a machine catalog in a device collection.

     

    Connector commands in ribbon

     

Citrix Connector agent

The Citrix Connector agent runs on Desktop OS and Server OS machines that are members of Citrix machine catalogs. The Connector agent handles application and software update installation by coordinating with the Configuration Manager idle policy feature. The Connector agent also orchestrates deployments for Server OS machines that are managed by Provisioning Services or manually.

Citrix deployment handler

The Citrix deployment handler is an optional component that is required only to deploy Citrix hosted applications to the Configuration Manager Application Catalog or Software Center on devices managed by Configuration Manager. In that scenario the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop deployment type must have the highest priority.

Important: The Citrix deployment handler is not required to publish applications to Receiver.

The Citrix deployment handler works with the Configuration Manager client as follows:

  • If an application has the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop deployment type as the highest priority, the Citrix deployment handler adds to the Windows Start screen or menu an icon that launches the Citrix hosted application. To users, those applications appear and operate like locally installed applications.
  • If an application does not have the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop deployment type, or that deployment type does not have the highest priority, Configuration Manager handles the deployment.

Citrix policies

Citrix policies configure how the Connector agent handles items such as advanced warning messages and forced logoff messages for Server OS machine catalogs that are managed by Provisioning Services or manually. There is also a policy that configures the Connector agent maintenance frequency.

All Connector policies have default settings. Be sure to review the defaults to verify that they are appropriate for your environment. For setting descriptions and defaults, see Connector for Configuration Manager Policy Settings.

XenApp or XenDesktop VDA

The XenApp or XenDesktop VDA communicates with Delivery Controllers that manage user connections. The VDA enables Connector to obtain information about an image, such as its provisioning type, whether it is a master image, and whether the OS image is out of date.

Provisioning Services Agent

Provisioning Services allows computers to be provisioned and re-provisioned in real-time from a single shared-disk image. The Connector agent running on a production vDisk image detects when a new vDisk image is available and delivers the new image during the next maintenance window. The Provisioning Services agent is required only for shared images and must be installed on the master vDisk image.

Citrix Receiver and StoreFront

On devices that are not managed by Configuration Manager, users access virtual desktops and applications in Receiver from stores managed by StoreFront. The Connector works with Receiver on all user devices supported by XenApp or XenDesktop. The Connector also works with the Web Interface version supported by XenApp or XenDesktop.

On devices that are managed by Configuration Manager, users can access applications from the Configuration Manager Application Catalog and Software Center. Although users will not see Receiver in this scenario, the Connector requires StoreFront use with Receiver on managed devices. StoreFront provides application icons to Configuration Manager Application Catalog and Software Center.