Proof of Concept guide for Getting Started with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Service
Author: Ana Ruiz
Special Thanks: Mayank Singh
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.
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
This proof-of-concept guide will describe the following:
- Creating a Citrix Cloud account
- Requesting a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service trial
- Creating a new Resource Location and installing the Citrix Cloud Connectors
- Installing Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent on the virtual machines
- Creating a Machine Catalog in Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops service
- Creating a Delivery Group
- Launching a session from Citrix Workspace
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
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.
- Go to the Citrix Cloud.
- If you are new to Citrix Cloud click Sign up and try it free in the bottom left.
- 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.
- Select an appropriate region to host your Citrix Cloud deployment. Click Continue
- 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.
- 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
- Click Sign In
- Verify your email id, by clicking Sign in to Get Started in the email you received from Citrix Cloud. 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: email@example.com
- Once the account is confirmed, Enter and Confirm the password. Click Create Account.
Obtain a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Trial Account
- Enter Username and Password Click Sign In. (If your account manages more than one customer select the appropriate one)
- Click Citrix Cloud on top of the page. Search for the Citrix Virtual Desktops Service Tile. Click Request Trial.
- 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.
- Click Request a Call
- 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
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.
- Log in to your Citrix Cloud Console from your cloud connector (this can be done via RDP).
- Under Resource Locations Click Edit or Add New
- Click Add a Resource Location
- Click the ellipses on the top right of the new resource location. Click Manage Resource Location.
- Enter a new name of the New Resource Location. Click Confirm
- Under the newly created resource location click + Cloud Connectors
- Click Download. Click Run once the download finishes
- 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
- Click Sign In and Sign in to Citrix Cloud
- 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
- Once the installation completes, a service connectivity test will run. Let it complete and you should again see a successful result. Click Close
- Refresh the Resource Location page in Citrix Cloud.
- Click Cloud Connectors
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Open Citrix.com on a browser. Hover over Sign In and click My Account
- Sign in with your username and password.
- Click Downloads in the top menu. From the Select a product drop down, select Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
- In the page that opens, select the latest version of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7
- 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)
- 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.
- Save the file. When the download completes, Click Open Folder
- Click Run
- Select Create a master MCS image and click Next
- Click Next
- Choose the additional components that you need and click Next
- Type in the name of your cloud connector. Click Test connection and then click Add
- Add the second cloud connector and hit Next
- Choose the appropriate features and click Next
- Click the firewall and hit Next
- Review the components and click Install
- If you want to collect diagnostic information click Connect, otherwise uncheck and click Next
- Type in your Citrix Cloud credentials and click Ok
- Click Next
- Once the installation is completed click Finish (this might require the machine to restart) 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
- 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
- The service overview page is displayed. Scroll further down and find the Workspace Experience URL. Bookmark it.
- Click the chevron next to Manage on the top left. Click Full Configuration
- In the Left Menu under Configuration. Click Hosting and then click Add Connection and Resources
- Select your connection type and input the necessary information
- Decide whether you are going to use shared storage or local storage and click Next
- Pick with where you want each storage type to be saved and click Next
- Choose which network you want your virtual machines to use as well as a name for the resource and click Next
- Review the summary and if everything is accurate click 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.
- In the left menu under Citrix Studio. Click Machine Catalogs
- In the Actions menu (right side). Click Create Machine Catalog
- In the Machine Catalog Setup dialog, click Next
- Select the appropriate operating system for your machine catalog. This should match the operating system of the virtual machine where you installed the VDA
- 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
- Choose how you want users to connect. Click Next
- Choose the VM in which you installed the VDA and click Next
- Specify the number of machines you want created and click Next
- 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
- Enter credentials that have sufficient permissions to create machine accounts in active directory and click Ok
- Enter a Machine Catalog name. Review—and click Finish
- This will now create a copy of the master image and create your machine catalog
- Once completed you will see your machine catalog appear in your Citrix Cloud console
Create Delivery Group
- From the left side menu click Delivery Groups to start creating your delivery group.
- Click Create Delivery Group from the Actions menu.
- In the Create Delivery Group dialog that opens click Next
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Choose the name of your Delivery group as well as the display name that your users will see and click Finish
- Go back to main menu of Citrix Cloud and click on View Library
- You will now see your offerings available. Click on the ellipses and click on Manage Subscribers
- Choose the user or group that you want to assign to those resources
Launch a Session from Citrix Workspace
- 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
- 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
- Click View all Desktops. You will now see the desktop that we assigned in the previous section
- The session should launch giving the user access to their virtual desktop
The Citrix Cloud Resource Center can help you learn more about features, and search to resolve issues.
- Click the blue compass arrow at the bottoom of the Citrix Cloud page
- Click Search Articles. This allows you to search through a list of product documentation and Knowledge Center Articles
- Enter a search query
You will have access to a list of product documentation and Knowledge Center articles for common tasks without leaving Citrix Cloud.