Citrix Connector 3.1 provides a bridge between Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and XenApp or XenDesktop, enabling you to extend the use of Configuration Manager to your Citrix environments. Connector 3.1 is compatible with XenApp 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, and 7.8 and XenDesktop 7.1, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, and 7.8.
With Citrix Connector, you can unify day-to-day operations across the physical environments you manage with Configuration Manager and the virtual environments you manage with XenApp or XenDesktop. The Connector:
The Citrix Connector documentation is intended for administrators who are familiar with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 and the compatible versions of XenApp or XenDesktop.
In addition to this product documentation, you can refer to the Citrix Connector forum.
The Connector provides a clear mapping between your XenApp and XenDesktop machine catalogs and Configuration Manager device collections. In addition, as you prepare a deployment, the Connector provides assistance through Configuration Manager console messages and the Machine Catalog Properties so you can correctly target application installation and updates.
If you are not familiar with the machine catalogs in your Citrix environment, determine which catalogs are the correct targets for particular application and update deployments. The following table can help you determine the machine catalog to target based on the following characteristics:
The user data on a randomly allocated desktop is discarded when a user logs off. The user data on a statically allocated desktop can be stored on the local disk or on a Citrix Personal vDisk (PvD).
As indicated in the following table, the component that manages deployment varies based on the provisioning method and the machine catalog type.
When the Connector orchestrates application installation, it notifies users before the next maintenance window to ensure that no users are logged in when the software is being installed. That feature is based on the idle policy, which does not apply if user data is saved on a local disk. For more information, refer to Deployment orchestration.
|Provisioning method||Machine catalog type||Desktop type||Allocation type||User data handling||Notifications managed by|
|Personalized||Static||Saved on PvD||Studio|
|Personalized||Saved on local disk||Studio|
|Server OS||Hosted shared||Random||Discarded||Studio|
|Provisioning Services||Desktop OS||Generic||Random||Discarded||Not applicable|
|Personalized||Static||Saved on PvD||Not applicable|
|Server OS||Hosted shared||Random||Discarded||Connector|
|Manual||Desktop OS||Personalized||Random or Static||Saved on local disk||Configuration Manager|
|Server OS||Hosted shared||Random||Discarded||Connector|
How user data is handled generally determines where you install software and updates:
For information about application deployment, click a link in the preceding table, in the Provisioning method column.
The Connector provides for each machine catalog a summary of its characteristics, including information about how to handle the catalog. To view that information, navigate to Device Collections > Citrix Delivery Sites > Catalog, right-click a catalog in the list, and choose Machine Catalog Properties. Click a property to view its description.
When considering whether to edit or delete a device collection created by the Connector, be aware that:
Changes to other device collection properties might adversely impact Connector operations.
The Connector supports the MSI, App-V, and Script deployment types built in to Configuration Manager. The Connector also provides 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.
When choosing a deployment type, consider the following:
For information about creating deployment packages and software update groups, refer to the Microsoft TechNet documentation for System Center Configuration Manager.
The Connector enables you to target applications to MCS based machine catalogs that have a single master image and many machine clones based on the master image. The Connector integration with MCS incorporates the tasks that you normally perform during provisioning setup and configuration.
Create a script-based application
As you review the following diagram, consider how the provisioning setup and configuration tasks will fit into your workflow. For example, if administrators for both Configuration Manager and XenApp or XenDesktop will be involved the following process, determine how those teams will coordinate their efforts.
Steps 1 - 3: After a master image is created, a Citrix administrator uses Studio to create a Machine Catalog and Delivery Group.
Step 4: After the Connector synchronizes Configuration Manager with XenApp or XenDesktop, a Configuration Manager administrator designates an update device for the master image and then deploys applications.
Step 5: A Configuration Manager administrator monitors compliance status to ensure that the application deployment is complete.
Step 6: A Citrix administrator uses Studio to update the machine catalog, which applies the updates to the master image.
Step 7: A Configuration Manager administrator monitors compliance status to ensure that deployment to machine clones is complete. Applications are then ready for publishing.
Note: Steps 4 - 7 are performed repeatedly over the life of the machine catalog.
The Connector enables you to target applications to Provisioning Services based machine catalogs that have a single master image, known as a vDisk, and many machine clones based on that vDisk. The Connector integration with Provisioning Services incorporates the tasks that you normally perform during provisioning setup and configuration.
As you review the following diagram, consider how the provisioning setup and configuration will fit into your workflow. For example, if administrators for Configuration Manager, XenApp or XenDesktop, and Provisioning Services will be involved the following process, determine how those teams will coordinate their efforts.
Steps 1 - 3: A Citrix administrator uses Provisioning Services to create maintenance and clone VM templates, create a vDisk, and then run the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. That wizard deploys virtual desktops to VMs and adds the virtual desktops to a machine catalog.
Step 4: A Citrix administrator uses Studio to create a Delivery Group.
Step 5: A Configuration Manager administrator designates an update device for the master image and then deploys applications.
Steps 6 - 7: A Citrix administrator uses Provisioning Services to create a new vDisk version and then boots the maintenance VM with the new vDisk version.
Step 8: A Configuration Manager administrator monitors compliance status to ensure that the application deployment is complete.
Step 9: A Citrix administrator uses Provisioning Services to promote the new vDisk version to production.
Step 10: A Configuration Manager administrator monitors compliance status to ensure that deployment to machine clones is complete. Applications are then ready for publishing.
Note: Steps 5 - 10 are performed repeatedly over the life of the machine catalog.
Deployment orchestration refers to how updates to machine catalogs are rolled out, including when they occur and the user experience. The provisioning method and OS type of a machine catalog determines which product handles the orchestration, as shown in the following table.
|Provisioning method||OS type||Product handling orchestration tasks|
|Deployment to master image||Deployment to clones||Notifications|
|Machine Creation Services||Desktop OS or Server OS||Connector||Studio||Studio|
|Provisioning Services||Desktop OS||Connector||Provisioning Services||Not applicable|
For manually managed Desktop OS (VDI) machines, Configuration Manager handles deployment orchestration. Deploying an application to VDI machines makes it available to users.
For manually managed Server OS (hosted shared) machines, the Connector handles deployment orchestration. Applications are available for publishing to users after all specified machines are updated.
The remainder of this section discusses how the Connector orchestrates deployment. To minimize disruptions to user sessions, the Connector:
You can configure maintenance windows in Configuration Manager and in the Connector configuration wizard. If no maintenance window is defined, Configuration Manager uses a 24x7 maintenance window.
If you specify a maintenance window in the Connector configuration wizard, the Connector assigns a maintenance window named Citrix Service Window to all device collections when they are first created. You can later add, edit, or delete maintenance windows in the Maintenance Windows tab of the device collection Properties.
During a maintenance window, Citrix Connector orchestrates:
Note: For manually provisioned machines, the Connector does not install MSI applications if there are connected user sessions. The Connector installs App-V applications regardless of user session status.
The Connector works with the Configuration Manager idle policy feature to defer and trigger application installation for pooled desktops managed by MCS or Provisioning Services. In those scenarios, user data is not stored on the VM.
The Connector enables the Configuration Manager idle policy feature by adding a Citrix XenDesktop Client Settings item in Administration > Client Settings. That item includes the Additional software manages the deployment of applications and software updates property.
With the idle policy enabled, the Connector orchestrates application installation:
The Connector policies control user notifications about pending installations for Server OS machine catalogs managed by Provisioning Services or manually. For information about the default settings, refer to Connector for Configuration Manager Policy Settings.
Note: As indicated in the table at the start of this topic, the Connector does not orchestrate deployment for all machine catalog types. For example, Studio manages user notifications for machine catalogs managed by MCS.
To ensure that the Connector policy settings are tuned for your environment, review them in Studio. The policies include how far in advance users are notified about pending installation and updates, the interval between subsequent notifications, and the message title and text.
For forced logoff situations, the policies include the grace period between a notification about a forced logoff and that action, as well as the message title and text. The following timeline, from the start of the maintenance window through scheduled maintenance, indicates the advance warning time period, the advance warning frequency interval, and the force logoff grace period.
Be sure to review whether the default policy settings are appropriate for your environment. If you choose a custom maintenance window when you configure the Connector, the default start and stop times (1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.) and the default advance warning time period (16 hours) mean that a user notification is sent at 9:00 a.m. You might wish to change those settings to improve the user experience.
The Connector enables you to publish applications to user devices. While you can use the Connector to manage master images for desktops, you cannot use it to publish desktops to users.
The following diagram shows the application publishing process.
Before you begin publishing applications to user devices, consider the type of user devices you want to target and how the applications should appear on those devices. Your answers to the following questions will guide your choices when setting up application publishing.
For MSI and App-V applications, Connector defaults to the icon specified in the deployment type. For script-based applications, Connector defaults to the Citrix Application icon.
When you publish an application, you specify these settings in the Citrix Publishing Wizard. The Connector publishing task resets the options in Studio with the choices specified in the Citrix Publishing Wizard.
Note: The XenApp 6.5 Connector supports only SCCM 2012 SP1 and SCCM 2012 R2. The XenApp 6.5 Connector does not support SCCM 2012 R2 SP1, SCCM 1511 or SCCM 1611.
A Mixed environment with Citrix Connector and XenApp Connector enables you to:
To see a unified list of applications from XenApp 6.5 and XenApp 7.5, 7.6, 7.7 or 7.8 or XenDesktop 7.1, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7 or 7.8. Receiver users must connect to StoreFront. Receiver users who connect to a particular XenApp or XenDesktop server will see only the applications published by that server.
Follow these best practices when using Citrix Connector 3.1 with XenApp 6.5 Connector:
This topic summarizes the roles and Connector-related responsibilities for administrators who manage Active Directory, System Center Configuration Manager, and Citrix products. The size and structure of your organization determines whether one or several administrators handle the responsibilities.
Active Directory administrator responsibilities include the management of user accounts and their permissions, computer accounts, and security groups.
An Active Directory administrator must create a service account for Connector.
Configuration Manager administrator responsibilities include the management of applications, asset inventory, client desktop software, OS updates, and client device compliance. A Configuration Manager administrator uses the Configuration Manager console to:
A Configuration Manager administrator uses the Citrix Connector configuration wizard to:
Citrix administrator responsibilities include the management of host connections, machine catalogs, and Delivery Groups. The capacity and infrastructure planning by a Citrix administrator includes the number of virtual desktops needed and which desktops and applications are provided to Delivery Groups.
A Citrix administrator uses Citrix Studio to:
A Citrix administrator uses the Provisioning Services console to: