Create a machine catalog

May 28, 2016

If you will use Citrix tools (Machine Creation Services or Provisioning Services) to create VMs for your deployment, prepare a master image or template on your host hypervisor. Then, create the machine catalog.

Make sure the host has sufficient processors, memory, and storage to accommodate the number of machines you will create.

Prepare a master image

The master image contains the operating system, non-virtualized applications, VDA, and other software. VMs are created in a machine catalog, based on a master image you created earlier and specify when you create the catalog.

Good to know:

When using Provisioning Services, you can use a master image or a physical computer as the master target device.

  • Remote PC Access machine catalogs do not use master images.
  • Microsoft KMS activation considerations when using Machine Creation Services:
    • If your deployment includes 7.x VDAs with a XenServer 6.1 or 6.2, vSphere, or Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager host, you do not need to manually re-arm Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office.
    • If your deployment includes a 5.x VDA with a XenServer 6.0.2 host, see CTX128580.

Important: If you are using Provisioning Services or Machine Creation Services, do not run Sysprep on master images.

  1. Using your hypervisor’s management tool, create a new master image and then install the operating system, plus all service packs and updates.

    The number of vCPUs and amount of memory are not critical at this point because you can change those values when you create the machine catalog. However, be sure to configure the amount of hard disk space required for desktops and applications, because that value cannot be changed later or in the catalog.

  2. Make sure that the hard disk is attached at device location 0. Most standard master image templates configure this location by default, but some custom templates may not.

  3. Install and configure the following software on the master image:

    • Integration tools for your hypervisor (such as XenServer Tools, Hyper-V Integration Services, or VMware tools). If you omit this step, your applications and desktops might not function correctly.
    • A VDA for Windows Server OS or VDA for Windows Desktop OS (Citrix recommends installing the latest version to allow access to the newest features. During installation, enable the optimization option, which improves performance by reconfiguring certain Windows features.
    • Third-party tools as needed, such as anti-virus software or electronic software distribution agents. Configure services such as Windows Update with settings that are appropriate for users and the machine type.
    • Third-party applications that you are not virtualizing. Citrix recommends virtualizing applications because it significantly reduces costs by eliminating the need to update the master image after adding or reconfiguring an application. In addition, fewer installed applications reduce the size of the master image hard disks, which saves storage costs.
    • App-V clients with the recommended settings, if you plan to publish App-V applications.
    • When using Machine Creation Services, and you will localize Microsoft Windows, install the locales and language packs. During provisioning, when a snapshot is created, the provisioned VMs use the installed locales and language packs.
  4. When using Provisioning Services, create a VHD file for the vDisk from your master target device before you join the master target device to a domain.

  5. Join the master image to the domain where desktops and applications will be members, and make sure that the master image is available on the host where the machines will be created.

  6. Citrix recommends that you create and name a snapshot of your master image so that it can be identified later. If you specify a master image rather than a snapshot when creating a machine catalog, Studio creates a snapshot, but you cannot name it.

Prepare a master image for GPU-capable machines on XenServer - When using XenServer for your hosting infrastructure, GPU-capable machines require a dedicated master image. Those VMs require video card drivers that support GPUs and must be configured to allow the VM to operate with software that uses the GPU for operations.

  1. In XenCenter, create a VM with standard VGA, networks, and vCPU.
  2. Update the VM configuration to enable GPU use (either Passthough or vGPU).
  3. Install a supported operating system and enable RDP.
  4. Install XenServer Tools and NVIDIA drivers.
  5. Turn off the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) Admin Console to optimize performance, and then restart the VM.
  6. You are prompted to use RDP. Using RDP, install the VDA and then restart the VM.
  7. Optionally, create a snapshot for the VM as a baseline template for other GPU master images.
  8. Using RDP, install customer-specific applications that are configured in XenCenter and use GPU capabilities.

Create a machine catalog

Before you start the machine catalog creation wizard, review the following procedure to learn about the choices you will make and information you will supply. When you start the wizard, some of the items may not appear or they may have different titles, based on your environment and the selections you make.

From Studio:

  • If you have created a Site but haven’t yet created a machine catalog, Studio will guide you to the correct starting place to create a machine catalog.
  • If you have already created a machine catalog and want to create another, select Machine Catalogs in the Studio navigation pane, and then select Create Machine Catalog in the Actions pane.

The wizard walks you through the items described below.

  • Operating system

    Each catalog contains machines of only one type:

    • Windows Server OS – A Windows Server OS catalog provides desktops and applications that can be shared by multiple users.
    • Windows Desktop OS – A Windows Desktop OS catalog provides desktops and applications that are assigned to individual users.
    • Remote PC Access – A Remote PC Access catalog provides users with remote access to their physical office desktop machines. Remote PC Access does not require a VPN to provide security.

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) supports only Server OS machine catalogs (and Server VDI, see Server VDI), not Desktop OS or Remote PC Access catalogs.

  • Machine management

    Indicate whether machines in the catalog will be power managed through Studio:

    • Machines are power managed through Studio or provisioned through a cloud environment (for example, VMs or blade PCs). This option is available only if you have a hypervisor or cloud environment connection already configured. You probably configured a connection when you created the Site. If not, you can create a new connection later and then edit the machine catalog.
    • Machines are not power managed through Studio (for example, physical machines).

    Indicate which tool you will use to deploy machines:

    • Machine Creation Services (MCS) – Uses a master image or template to create and manage virtual machines.
      • MCS is not available for physical machines.
      • Machine catalogs in cloud environments use MCS.
    • Provisioning Services – Manages target devices as a device collection. A Provisioning Services vDisk imaged from a master target device delivers desktops and applications.
    • Other – A tool that manages machines already in the data center. Citrix recommends you use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager or another third-party application to ensure that the machines in the catalog are consistent.
  • Desktop experience

    For machine catalogs containing Desktop OS machines that will be used to deliver desktops:

    • Specify whether users will connect to a new (random) desktop each time they log on, or if they will connect to the same (static) desktop each time.
    • If users connect to the same desktop, specify what will happen to any changes they make on the desktop. You can save changes to a separate Personal vDisk or the user’s local VM disk, or you can discard changes. (If you choose to save changes to the separate Personal vDisk, you specify the drive letter and size later in the wizard.)
  • Master image or machine template

    Select the master image (non-cloud) or machine template (cloud) you created earlier. Remember: If you are using Provisioning Services or Machine Creation Services, do not run Sysprep on master images.

  • Security

    (Cloud environments) Select one or more security groups for the VMs; these are shown only if the availability zone supports security groups. Choose whether machines will use shared hardware or account-dedicated hardware.

  • Virtual machines or Device collection or VMs and users

    Specify how many virtual machines to create. You can choose how many virtual CPUs and the amount of memory (in MB) each machine will have. Each VM will have a 32 GB hard disk; this value is set in the master image, it cannot be changed in the catalog.

    If you indicated previously that user changes to desktops should be saved on a separate Personal vDisk, specify its size in gigabytes and the drive letter.

    If you plan to use multiple Network Interface Cards (NICs), associate a virtual network with each card. For example, you can assign one card to access a specific secure network, and another card to access a more commonly-used network. You can also add or remove NICs from this wizard.

  • Machine accounts

    (Remote PC Access catalogs) Specify the Active Directory machine accounts or Organizational Units (OUs) to add that correspond to users or user groups.

    You can choose a previously-configured power management connection or elect not to use power management. If you want to use power management but a suitable connection hasn’t been configured yet, you can create that connection later and then edit the machine catalog to update the power management settings.

  • Computer accounts

    Each machine in the catalog must have a corresponding Active Directory computer account. Indicate whether to create new accounts or use existing accounts, and the location for those accounts.

    If you use existing accounts, make sure you have enough unused computer accounts for the machines that will be created.

    You can browse Active Directory to locate the existing accounts, or you can import a .csv file that lists the account names. The imported file content must use the format:

    pre codeblock [ADComputerAccount] ADcomputeraccountname.domain ...


    For catalogs containing physical machines or existing machines, select or import existing accounts and assign each machine to both an Active Directory computer account and to a user account.

    For machines created with Provisioning Services, computer accounts for target devices are managed differently; see the Provisioning Services documentation.

    Also specify the account naming scheme for the machines that are created – hash marks (#) in the scheme represent sequential numbers or letters that will be included with additional name text you provide.

  • Name and description

    On the final page of the creation wizard, you specify the name and description of the machine catalog. This information appears in Studio.