Product Documentation

Host desktops and applications

May 03, 2015

To deliver hosted applications and desktops to your users through Studio, evaluate the following environment characteristics.

  • What types of users do you support?
    • Perform well-defined tasks that do not need personalization or offline access, such as call center operators.
    • Perform various tasks, and optionally can install and manage their own applications on virtual machines, such as internal, external contractors, third-party collaborators, and other provisional team members.
    • Work from home or other locations, and need access to specific software or data on their corporate desktops to perform their jobs remotely.
    • Need to access locally installed applications directly on their physical devices and access that same application from their virtual desktop.
    • Require the ability to launch Windows applications without requiring network access on their Windows device.
  • What delivery environment do you need?
    • Inexpensive server-based delivery to minimize the cost of delivering applications to a large number of users, while providing a secure, high-definition user experience.
    • Centrally managed applications and desktops that users cannot modify.
    • Adequate resources for users who must consumes a single machine when they log on and modify and save applications and data.
    • Access to centrally managed Windows App-V applications and deliver them to user devices.
  • What types of applications do you want to deliver?
    • Any Windows application.
    • Applications that might not work well with other applications or might interact with the operation system, such as the NET framework.
    • Applications running on older operating systems such as Windows XP or Windows Vista, and older architectures, such as 32-Bit or 16-Bit.
    • Applications that are delivered to remote users from an office computer.
    • Specialty or niche applications that are not yet virtualized, such as AutoCAD, or applications that require access to local hardware, such as DVD burners.
    • Microsoft supported App-V applications.
  • Where are the applications that users need?
    • Physical or virtual machines in a datacenter.
    • Older operating systems such as Windows XP or Windows Vista.
    • Windows App-V servers.
    • Remote user machines.

Once you determine your user and delivery requirements, see Choose an application and desktop delivery method for details about selecting the method for providing applications and desktops to user devices through Studio.

Choose an application and desktop delivery method

The method you choose to provide applications or desktops to users depend on the types of applications and desktops you are hosting, the available system resources, and the types of users, and user experience you want to provide.

Choose between the following application and desktop delivery methods:

  • Hosted applications or Desktops on:
    • Server OS machines
    • Desktop OS machines
  • Hosted desktops on Remote PC Access
  • Hosted applications through:
    • Local App Access — Integrates users' locally-installed applications and hosted applications within a hosted desktop environment.
    • Microsoft Application Virtualization applications (App-V) — Deploys App-V applications from a virtual application server as hosted applications to user devices. Once configured as described in Microsoft Application Virtualization, these applications are available to add to application Delivery Groups or desktop and application Delivery Groups. Note the following:
      • All versions prior to App-V 5.0 are not supported.
      • The App-V 5.0 client does not provide offline access to applications.
      • Use the following version combinations for App-V and XenApp or XenDesktop components:
App-V version XenDesktop or XenApp versions
Delivery Controller Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA)

5.0 R5TM

XenDesktop 7.0, 7.1, 7.5

XenApp 7.5

7.0, 7.1, 7.5

5.0 Service Pack 1

XenDesktop 7.0, 7.1, 7.5

XenApp 7.5

7.0, 7.1, 7.5

5.0 Service Pack 2

XenDesktop 7.0, 7.1, 7.5

XenApp 7.5

7.1, 7.5

Regardless of the method you choose, applications and desktops are virtually delivered to a user devices from a machine in a Delivery Group to which the user is assigned.

Delivery options

These sections describe the situations, users, and considerations for selecting Studio application and desktop delivery methods.

Server OS machines

Use Case

You want

Inexpensive server-based delivery to minimize the cost of delivering applications to a large number of users, while providing a secure, high-definition user experience.

Your users

Perform well-defined tasks and do not require personalization or offline access to applications. Users may include task workers such as call center operators and retail workers, or users that share workstations.

Application types

Any application.

Benefits and considerations

Benefits

Manageable and scalable solution within your datacenter.

Most cost effective application delivery solution.

Hosted applications are managed centrally and users cannot modify the application, providing a user experience that is consistent, safe, and reliable.

Considerations

Users must be online to access their applications.

User experience

User requests one or more applications from StoreFront, their Start menu, or a URL you provide to them.

Applications are delivered virtually and display seamlessly in high definition on user devices.

Depending on profile settings, user changes are saved when the user's application session ends. Otherwise, the changes are deleted.

Process, host, and deliver applications

Process

Application processing takes place on hosting machines, rather than on the user devices.

The hosting machine can be a physical or a virtual machine.

Host

Applications and desktops reside on a Server OS machine.

Machines become available through machine catalogs.

Delivery

Machines within machine catalogs are organized into Delivery Groups that deliver the same set of applications to groups of users.

Server OS machines support:

  • Desktop and applications Delivery Groups that host both desktops and applications.
  • Application Delivery Groups that host only applications.

Session management and assignment

Sessions

Server OS machines run multiple sessions from a single machine to deliver multiple applications and desktops to multiple, simultaneously connected users. Each user requires a single session from which they can run all their hosted applications.

For example, a user logs on and requests an application. One session on that machine becomes unavailable to other users. A second user logs on and requests an application which that machine hosts. A second session on the same machine is now unavailable. If both users request additional applications, no additional sessions are required because a user can run multiple application using the same session. If two more users log on and request desktops, and two sessions are available on that same machine, that single machine is now using four sessions to host four different users.

Random machine assignments

Within the Delivery Group to which a user is assigned, a machine on the least loaded server is selected. A machine with session availability is randomly assigned to deliver applications to a user when that user logs on.

Desktop OS machines

Use Case

You want

A client-based application delivery solution that is secure, provides centralized management, and supports a large number of users per host server (or hypervisor), while providing users with applications that display seamlessly in high-definition.

Your users

Are internal, external contractors, third-party collaborators, and other provisional team members.

Your users do not require off line access to hosted applications.

Application types

Applications that might not work well with other applications or might interact with the operation system, such as Microsoft .NET framework. These types of applications are ideal for hosting on virtual machines.

Applications running on older operating systems such as Windows XP or Windows Vista, and older architectures, such as 32-bit or 16-bit. By isolating each application on its own virtual machine, if one machine fails, it does not impact other users.

Benefits and considerations

Benefits

Applications and desktops on the master image are securely managed, hosted, and run on machines within your datacenter, providing a more cost effective application delivery solution.

  • On log on, users can be randomly assigned to a machine within a Delivery Group that is configured to host the same application.
  • You can also statically assign a single machine to deliver an application to a single user each time that user logs on. Statically assigned machines allow users to install and manage their own applications on the virtual machine.

Considerations

Running multiple sessions is not supported on Desktop OS machines. Therefore, each user consumes a single machine within a Delivery Group when they log on, and users must be online to access their applications.

This method may increase the amount of server resources for processing applications and increase the amount of storage for users' Personal vDisks.

User experience

The same seamless application experience as hosting shared applications on Server OS machines.
Process, host, and deliver applications

Process

The same as Server OS machines except they are virtual Desktop OS machines.

Host

The same as Server OS machines except they are virtual Desktop OS machines.

Delivery

The same as Server OS machines except Desktop OS machines can exist only in a desktop Delivery Group.

Session management and assignment

Sessions

Desktop OS machines run a single desktop session from a single machine. When accessing applications only, a single user can use multiple applications (and is not limited to a single application) because the operating system sees each application as a new session.

Random and static machine assignments

Within a Delivery Group to which a user is assigned, when users log on they can access:

  • Statically assigned machine so that each time the user logs on to the same machine.
  • Randomly assigned machine that is selected based on session availability.

Remote PC Access

Use Case

  • You want to provide:

    Employees with secure remote access to a physical computer without using a VPN. For example, the user may be accessing their physical desktop PC from home or through a public Wi-fi hotspot. Depending upon the location, you may want to restrict the ability to print or copy and paste outside of the desktop.

    Bring your own device support without migrating desktop images into the datacenter.

Your users

Employees or contractors that have the option to work from home, but need access to specific software or data on their corporate desktops to perform their jobs remotely.

Host

The same as Desktop OS machines.

Application types

Applications that are delivered from an office computer and display seamlessly in high definition on the remote user's device.

Benefits and considerations

  • Provides a manageable and scalable solution within your datacenter.

    Capitalizes on your existing physical desktop investment.

  • You can optionally allow users to start their remote machines through the Microsoft Configuration Manager Wake On LAN feature. Otherwise, their remote machines must be kept online for users to access their applications.

User experience

User requests a connection to their office machine.

Process, host, and deliver applications

Process

Application processing takes place on the office computer, rather than on the remote user's device.

Host

The same as Desktop OS machines.

Deliver

The same as Desktop OS machines.

User management and assignment

Remote PC Access machines run a single connection from a single machine, which provides access to a user's office computer.

Local App Access

Use Case

You want

To integrate users' locally installed applications and hosted applications within a hosted desktop environment.

Your users

Want to access applications installed locally on their physical laptop, PC, or other device directly from their virtual desktop.

Application types

  • Video conferencing software such as GoToMeeting.
  • Specialty or niche applications that are not yet virtualized, such as AutoCAD.
  • Applications that require access to local hardware, such as DVD burners.

Benefits

Provides a flexible application delivery solution. If users have local applications that you cannot virtualize or that IT does not maintain, those applications still behave as though they are installed on a virtual desktop.

Because applications are installed and run on the user's device, less storage and processing resources are required on the network.

Users can access all their applications from one location. This eliminates the need to toggle between a virtual and physical desktop to use an application.

User experience

Users can start and seamlessly display the application:

  • From a shortcut on their virtual desktop.
  • Directly on their physical desktop.

Application changes are saved to users' devices.

Process, host, and deliver applications

Process and host

Applications are installed and run locally on the user's device.

Delivery

The user launches the locally-installed application using a shortcut to locally-installed applications on the user's virtual desktops.

Session management and assignment

Sessions

When a user disconnects from a virtual desktop session, locally-running applications remain on the user's local machine in local application windows. User-hosted applications also remain on the user's local machine.

If a user logs off the session or shuts down the virtual desktop, all locally-running application windows in the session are closed, just as with any other local application.

App-V applications

Use Case

You want

To centrally manage Windows App-V applications and deliver them to a user's device using Citrix Receiver.

Your users

Require the ability to launch Windows applications without requiring network access on their Windows device.

Applications types

All Microsoft supported App-V applications.

Benefits and considerations

Benefits

Supported on both Server OS machines and Desktop OS machines.

This is a scalable and affordable solution that shares applications by multiple App-V users from a single machine.

Considerations

All versions prior to App-V 5.0 are not supported.

The App-V 5 client does not support offline access to applications.

User experience

Same as hosted shared applications except that the user always requests the application using Citrix Receiver, then the application is seamlessly delivered to the user's device.
Process, host, and deliver applications

Process and host

Applications are streamed from App-V servers and then run on machines within your datacenter.

Delivery

When a user requests an application using Receiver, that application is delivered to those users from desktop and application Delivery Groups to which users are assigned.

Session management and assignment

Sessions

Each user's machine runs a single session from which the user can run all assigned applications.

Evaluate applications

To evaluate and solve compatibility issues for deploying desktop and web applications, or for operating system upgrades, the AppDNA application migration software provides definitive information to help accelerate your deployment.

AppDNA helps you determine the effects of application issues and proposed implementations on your environment, devices, and users.

Because AppDNA integrates with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and Active Directory, you can easily import applications that are in ConfigMgr and use their silent switches during any automated repackaging. You can also:

  • Create application groups that represent your organization's structure in AppDNA
  • View the reports and assessment results according to these groups

AppDNA performs a static analysis of each application's files, registry entries, and API use (that is, the application's "DNA") to assess whether the application is suitable for:

  • A variety of platforms, including new versions of Windows servers and clients
  • A 64-bit server environment
  • A shared server-based deployment
  • Multiple simultaneous users in separate sessions
  • Application virtualization with App-V

When AppDNA detects potential application issues on a particular platform, it provides detailed information about steps that you can take to resolve the issue.

For full documentation of AppDNA, including system requirements, installation instructions, and getting started information, see the AppDNA in eDocs.

Enhance the user experience for mobile devices

XenApp and XenDesktop deliver a superior user experience for mobile users, often with no special configuration required. Integrate XenApp and XenDesktop with other Citrix products to provide additional features to your mobile workforce.
Feature: Provided by:
High definition user experience on 3G and 4G networks HDX

In most cases, the default Citrix policy settings provide the best user experience.

Touch-friendly interface to virtual desktops and applications, optimized for tablet devices Mobile Experience policy settings

The default settings generally provide the best user experience.

Remote access to office PCs from other devices, including smart phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs Remote PC Access

Citrix Receiver

Automatically provisioned applications to all users of a store Citrix StoreFront

Citrix App Controller

Email-based account discovery, enabling users to set up an account by entering their email address Citrix StoreFront

Citrix NetScaler Gateway (for remote connections)

Secure access to stores, desktops and applications Citrix StoreFront

Citrix NetScaler Gateway

Simplified print management that allows network printing from any device Universal Print Server
Optimized performance and delivery of services to branch offices and mobile users Citrix CloudBridge
Role-based management, configuration, and security for corporate and employee-owned mobile devices Mobile Solutions Bundle (XenMobile MDM and CloudGateway)