Proof of Concept guide for Getting Started with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Service

Contributors

Author: Ana Ruiz

Special Thanks: Mayank Singh

Overview

The Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop service allows you to provide employees with a full workspace from any device while leaving most of the setup, upgrades, and monitoring to Citrix. IT will continue to manage and control the virtual machines, applications, and policies on the back end, while Citrix manages all the key infrastructure, installation, setup, and upgrades needed to maintain a Citrix environment. This reduces administrative overload and ensures you have all the latest features and functionality.

Conceptual Architecture

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service Architecture

Components

Hosted by Citrix:

  • Workspace: complete digital workspace that lets you securely deliver apps, desktops, files, & microapps to your end-users
  • Gateway Service: allows secure, contextual remote access to apps and data
  • Virtual Apps and Desktop Service: allows IT to provide virtual apps and desktops to their end users

Hosted by Customer:

  • Cloud Connector: serves as a channel for communication between Citrix Cloud and your resource location. Although this is hosted within the customer’s resource location, it is managed by Citrix and kept evergreen. A minimum of two Cloud Connectors per resource location is recommended so that there is no loss in communication with Citrix Cloud.
  • Virtual Delivery Agent: The VDA is used to register with the Cloud connector so connections can be brokered between the end-user’s device and the virtual machine

Scope

This proof-of-concept guide will describe the following:

  1. Creating a Citrix Cloud account
  2. Requesting a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service trial
  3. Creating a new Resource Location and installing the Citrix Cloud Connectors
  4. Installing Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent on the virtual machines
  5. Creating a Machine Catalog in Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops service
  6. Creating a Delivery Group
  7. Launching a session from Citrix Workspace

Prerequisites

VM Requirements

Prior to starting this POC, you will need to create an image and install any applicatioon you would like to deliver to your end users.

Virtual Delivery agents (VDAs) are required on each physical or virtual machine that delivers applications and desktops. These will register with the cloud connectors. VDAs can be installed in either single-session or multi-session OS. The following operating systems are supported:

  • Windows 10 (see CTX224843 for edition support) multi-session and single session
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer

Cloud Connector Requirements

The cloud connectors act as the communication channel between the components hosted in Citrix Cloud and the components hosted in the resource location. The cloud connectors act as a proxy for the delivery controller in Citrix Cloud. To install the Citrix Cloud Connectors in your environment, you require (at least two) Windows Server 2012 R2 or later server machines/VMs. You require static IPs for these two machines. Windows installation and domain join of these machines must have been done in advance. The system requirements for the Cloud Connectors are here. Review the guidance on the cloud connector installation here. The machine the Citrix Cloud Connector runs on must have network access to all the virtual machines that are to be made available on the internet via the Citrix Workspace.

Some requirements Citrix Cloud Connector installation (installer performs checks for these) are:

The Citrix Cloud Connector machine must have outbound Internet access on port 443, and port 80 to only *.digicert.com. The port 80 requirement is for X.509 certificate validation. See more info here

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.7.2 or later must be pre-installed on the machine

Time on the machine must be synced with UTC

The Cloud Connector Connectivity Check Utility tool can be used to test the reachability of the Citrix Cloud and its related services

Deployment Steps

Create Citrix Cloud Account

If you are an existing Citrix Cloud customer, skip to the next section: Obtain Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Trial. Ensure that you have an active Citrix Cloud account. If your account has expired, please contact your account manager to enable it.

  1. Go to the Citrix Cloud.
  2. If you are new to Citrix Cloud click Sign up and try it free in the bottom left. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Create Cloud Account
  3. Enter your business details and Check the “I’ve read, understand and agree to the Terms of Service” check box, if you agree. Click Continue. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Enter Business Details
  4. Select an appropriate region to host your Citrix Cloud deployment. Click Continue Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Select Region
  5. If you chose the wrong region, then you can click Change to go back to the previous page and select the right region. Confirm that you have chosen the correct home region, Check the “I acknowledge that my home region is set to < Region you chose >” check box. Click Continue. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Confirm Region
  6. Provide the name of your company in the Company Name text box. If you agree then check the “I’ve read, understand and agree to the Terms of Service” check box and click Sign Up Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Verify Information
  7. Click Sign In Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Sign In
  8. Verify your email id, by clicking Sign in to Get Started in the email you received from Citrix Cloud. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Email Note: If you are unable to locate this email, please seach your spam folder. The subject of the email is: Complete your Account Setup from: donotreplynotifications@citrix.com
  9. Once the account is confirmed, Enter and Confirm the password. Click Create Account. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Password

Obtain a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Trial Account

  1. Enter Username and Password Click Sign In. (If your account manages more than one customer select the appropriate one) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Cloud Sign In
  2. Click Citrix Cloud on top of the page. Search for the Citrix Virtual Desktops Service Tile. Click Request Trial. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Cloud Request Demo
  3. If you know who your account team is, please reach out to them to get the trial approved. If you are unsure who your account team is, please continue to next step.
  4. Click Request a Call Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Request Call
  5. Enter your details and in Comments section specify “Citrix Virtual Desktops service trial”. Click Submit. Citrix Sales will contact you to give you access to the service. Note: This is not immediate, a Citrix sales rep will reach out Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Request Call Info

Create a Resource Location

Resource locations contain the resources required to deliver applications and desktops to your users. Your resource locations will include your active delivery domain controller, your hypervisor or cloud services (hosts), your session hosts, and your cloud connectors.

  1. Log in to your Citrix Cloud Console from your cloud connector (this can be done via RDP).
  2. Under Resource Locations Click Edit or Add New Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Add or Edit Resource Location
  3. Click Add a Resource Location Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Add Resource Location
  4. Click the ellipses on the top right of the new resource location. Click Manage Resource Location. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Manage Resource Location
  5. Enter a new name of the New Resource Location. Click Confirm Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Name Resource Location
  6. Under the newly created resource location click + Cloud Connectors Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Cloud Connectors
  7. Click Download. Click Run once the download finishes Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Run
  8. Citrix Cloud connectivity test successful message should be displayed. Click Close. If the test fails, check the following link to resolve the issue. You may also use the Cloud Connector Connectivity Check Utility tool to verify all addresses are reachable Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Connection Test
  9. Click Sign In and Sign in to Citrix Cloud Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Sign In Connector
  10. From the drop down select the appropriate Customer and Resource Location (Resource location dropdown will not be displayed if there is only one resource location). Click Install Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Chose Region
  11. Once the installation completes, a service connectivity test will run. Let it complete and you should again see a successful result. Click Close Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Test Connectivity
  12. Refresh the Resource Location page in Citrix Cloud. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Refresh
  13. Click Cloud Connectors Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Cloud Connector
  14. The newly added Cloud Connector is listed. Repeat to install another Cloud Connector in the Resource Location on the second Windows server machine that you had prepared. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Cloud Connector Warning

Install Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent

The Virtual Delivery Agent must be installed on all physical or virtual machines that will be used to deliver applications or desktops. In this POC, we are going to be installing it on virtual machines. These can be single-session OS or multi-session OS depending on your organization’s needs.

  1. Connect to the virtual machine the Domain admin. (for the purpose of this POC, we will be connecting via RDP) This will serve as the master image. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops RDP
  2. Open Citrix.com on a browser. Hover over Sign In and click My Account Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops My Account
  3. Sign in with your username and password. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Sign In
  4. Click Downloads in the top menu. From the Select a product drop down, select Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Drop Down
  5. In the page that opens, select the latest version of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Product Download
  6. Scroll down to Components that are on the product ISO but also packaged separately. Click the chevron to expand the section. Click Download File on the appropriate iso (depending on if you’re installing in a single or multi-session OS) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Product iso
  7. Check “I have read and certify that I comply with the above Export Control Laws” check box, if you agree. Click Accept. The download should begin. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Product terms and conditions
  8. Save the file. When the download completes, Click Open Folder Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Product Open Folder
  9. Click Run Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Product Run
  10. Select Create a master MCS image and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops MCS image
  11. Click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Core Components
  12. Choose the additional components that you need and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Additional Components
  13. Type in the name of your cloud connector. Click Test connection and then click Add Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Delivery Controller
  14. Add the second cloud connector and hit Next
  15. Choose the appropriate features and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Feautures
  16. Click the firewall and hit Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Firewall
  17. Review the components and click Install Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Summary
  18. If you want to collect diagnostic information click Connect, otherwise uncheck and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Diagnostic
  19. Type in your Citrix Cloud credentials and click Ok Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Insight Service
  20. Click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Diagnostic2
  21. Once the installation is completed click Finish (this might require the machine to restart) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Finish Repeat the procedure for all the master images you want to make. The same process applies for multi-session OS, except you would download the multi-session OS iso.

Create a Hosting Connection to Citrix Cloud

Specific supported hypervisors can be found here

  1. Once the trial is approved, Login to Citrix Cloud from your local machine. Scroll to My Services, and locate Virtual Apps and Desktops service tile, click Manage Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Manage
  2. The service overview page is displayed. Scroll further down and find the Workspace Experience URL. Bookmark it. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Workspace URL
  3. Click the chevron next to Manage on the top left. Click Full Configuration Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Full Configuration
  4. In the Left Menu under Configuration. Click Hosting and then click Add Connection and Resources Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Hosting
  5. Select your connection type and input the necessary information Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Connection
  6. Decide whether you are going to use shared storage or local storage and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Storage
  7. Pick with where you want each storage type to be saved and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Manage
  8. Choose which network you want your virtual machines to use as well as a name for the resource and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Network
  9. Review the summary and if everything is accurate click Finish Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Finish

Create a Machine Catalog in Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops service

Use Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktop service to create a catalog of the virtual machines. We are going to be creating copies of the machine we installed the VDA agent.

  1. In the left menu under Citrix Studio. Click Machine Catalogs Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Machine Catalog
  2. In the Actions menu (right side). Click Create Machine Catalog Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Create Machine Catalog
  3. In the Machine Catalog Setup dialog, click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Intro
  4. Select the appropriate operating system for your machine catalog. This should match the operating system of the virtual machine where you installed the VDA Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Operating System
  5. Choose how you want to deploy your machines. In this POC guide, we are going to have Machines that are powered managed and deployed through Citrix Machine Creation Services. Click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Machine Management
  6. Choose how you want users to connect. Click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Desktop Experience
  7. Choose the VM in which you installed the VDA and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Master Image
  8. Specify the number of machines you want created and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops VM
  9. Active Directory accounts for the new VM can be created beforehand or can be created automatically. Specify which OU you want these new VMs to be a part of. Determine the naming scheme that you want these new machines to have and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Computer Accounts
  10. Enter credentials that have sufficient permissions to create machine accounts in active directory and click Ok Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Credentials
  11. Enter a Machine Catalog name. Review—and click Finish Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Summary
  12. This will now create a copy of the master image and create your machine catalog Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Creating Machine Catalog
  13. Once completed you will see your machine catalog appear in your Citrix Cloud console Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Confirmation

Create Delivery Group

  1. From the left side menu click Delivery Groups to start creating your delivery group. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Delivery Group
  2. Click Create Delivery Group from the Actions menu. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Create Delivery Group
  3. In the Create Delivery Group dialog that opens click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Introduction
  4. Select the catalog you created earlier and choose the number of machines from the machine catalog that will be assigned to this delivery group. Click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Machines
  5. You can choose to assign users at this stage, or leave the user management to Citrix Cloud and assign users through the Citrix Cloud library. Click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Users
  6. You can specify applications that will appear to the end users under their workspace or if you want to deliver only the desktop, leave this blank and click Next Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Applications
  7. Choose the name of your Delivery group as well as the display name that your users will see and click Finish Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Finish

Add Users

  1. Go back to main menu of Citrix Cloud and click on View Library Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Library Offering
  2. You will now see your offerings available. Click on the ellipses and click on Manage Subscribers Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Manage Subscribers
  3. Choose the user or group that you want to assign to those resources Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Resources

Launch a Session from Citrix Workspace

  1. Open the Workspace URL you had saved earlier (from Citrix Cloud) to the gain access to the Citrix workspace. Login as a domain user you assigned the resources in the previous section Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Log in
  2. If this is the first time you are launching a session from the browser, you may get the following pop up. Ensure Citrix Workspace App is installed and click Detect Workspace Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Detect Workspace
  3. Click View all Desktops. You will now see the desktop that we assigned in the previous section Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Start Session
  4. The session should launch giving the user access to their virtual desktop

Additional Information

The Citrix Cloud Resource Center can help you learn more about features, and search to resolve issues.

  1. Click the blue compass arrow at the bottoom of the Citrix Cloud page Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Help
  2. Click Search Articles. This allows you to search through a list of product documentation and Knowledge Center Articles Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Search
  3. Enter a search query Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops How To

You will have access to a list of product documentation and Knowledge Center articles for common tasks without leaving Citrix Cloud.

Proof of Concept guide for Getting Started with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Service