Product Documentation


Mar 23, 2015

Component overview

Installing a XenDesktop environment includes the following core components:
  • The Delivery Controller is responsible for managing user access, plus brokering and optimizing connections. Controllers also provide the Machine Creation Services that create desktop and server images for Virtual Machines (VMs).

    A Site can have more than one Controller for high availability of components and services, as well as workload balancing for larger deployments. A Site is the name you give to a product deployment. It comprises the Controllers and the other core components and VDAs, Host connections (if used), plus the machine catalogs and Delivery Groups you create and manage. A Site does not necessarily correspond to geographical location, although it can.

    The Controller communicates with the Site Configuration Database to obtain session and configuration information. By default, this Database is installed when you install the Controller and is configured when you create a Site. This Site Configuration Database stores configuration changes recorded by the Configuration Logging Service, plus trend and performance data that is used by the Monitoring Service and displayed by Citrix Director. Citrix recommends that you specify different locations for the Configuration Logging and Monitoring databases if you use these features and store more than seven days of data. You can configure different databases for each of these services after you have create a Site.

  • You configure and manage your deployment from Citrix Studio.
  • Administrators, help desk, and other support personnel use Citrix Director to monitor the deployment.
  • Citrix Licensing manages your Citrix licenses.
  • StoreFront authenticates users to Sites and manages stores of applications and desktops that users access.

You can install the core components on the same server or on different servers. For example, to manage a smaller deployment remotely, you can install Studio on a different machine than the server where you installed the Controller. To accommodate future expansion, consider installing components on separate servers; for example, install the License Server and Director on different servers.

In addition to the core components, an environment requires a Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) on each VM on the Host, on standalone virtual or physical machines, and on servers that host applications or desktops. The VDA registers for communication with the Controller, then manages the HDX connection with user devices.
  • A Host is a representation of a XenServer pool, ESX cluster, or SCVMM cluster, with storage and a virtual network. You create and store VMs on the Host. If you are using Machine Creation Services or Provisioning Services to provision VMs, you install and configure the VDA once on a master image.
  • If you are using separate standalone virtual or physical machines, you install a VDA on each machine.

There are two general types of VDAs: one for Windows servers and another for Windows desktops. The VDA for Windows Desktop OS is used in full deployments and Remote PC Access deployments. The VDA for Windows Desktop OS also offers an HDX 3D Pro version that is optimized for applications and desktops that use a GPU for hardware acceleration.

When you install a VDA, Citrix Receiver is also installed by default. Citrix Receiver provides secure on-demand access to documents, applications, and desktops from any user device.

The Components in this release document illustrates a typical deployment.

Component installation and Site creation sequence

You can install components using a wizard-based graphical interface or a command-line interface, which enables scripted installation. Both methods install prerequisites automatically.

Unless otherwise noted, the following tasks are described in the documents in this section.
  1. Install the core components.
  2. From Studio, create a full deployment Site or a Remote PC Access Site.
  3. If you will be using provisioning tools, install a VDA for Desktop OS and choose to build a master image. Otherwise, install a VDA for Desktop OS or a VDA for Server OS directly on each machine. You can customize configuration settings for the VDA later.
    • Profile management is installed during VDA installation.
    • When you install the VDA, a new local user group called Direct Access Users is automatically created. On a VDA for Windows Desktop OS, this group applies only to RDP connections; on a VDA for Windows Server OS, this group applies to ICA and RDP connections.
    • When you install a VDA for Windows Server OS, the installer automatically installs and enables Remote Desktop Services role services, if they are not already installed and enabled.
    • For Remote PC Access configurations, install the VDA for Windows Desktop OS on each physical office PC that users will access remotely.
    • See the HDX 3D Pro documentation for information about using the HDX 3D Pro version of the VDA.

After installing components and creating a Site, follow the guidance in Studio to create machine catalogs and Delivery Groups. Citrix also recommends you change the location of the Configuration Logging and the Monitoring Databases. See Change secondary database locations. If you chose during component installation to configure firewall port exceptions manually, do so now.

Prepare for installation

Before beginning the installation:
  • Read the Known Issues and System requirements. Review the procedure for the installation task to learn about choices and information you will specify during installation.
  • Decide where you are going to install the core components.
    • Be sure that each operating system has the latest updates; otherwise, prerequisite installation can take significantly longer to complete.
    • Be sure that the Controller and Host servers have synchronized system clocks. Synchronization is required by the Kerberos infrastructure that secures communication between the machines.
  • If you plan to install a component in a location other than the default C:\Program Files\Citrix, make sure that location has execute permissions for network service.
  • Decide where to install the Site Configuration Database. By default, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express is installed when you install the Controller. If you want to use a different supported SQL Server edition, you do not have to install it before you install the core components; however, it must be installed before you create the Site. Review database considerations in the Plan documentation, and set up any mirror, cluster, or other supported redundancy infrastructure.
  • Consider whether you will move the Configuration Logging and Monitoring databases after you create the Site. If needed, install SQL Server software on those servers, plus any redundancy infrastructure.
  • Set up your virtual infrastructure, if you will be using hosted Virtual Machines (VMs). When you configure a full deployment Site later, you specify Host information. See the host platform documentation for setup instructions, and the Integrate documentation for host deployment information.
  • Configure your Active Directory domain. See the Microsoft documentation for instructions.
    • The servers where you will install the core components must be in the same forest.
    • Do not attempt to install any components on a domain controller.
    • As well as being a domain user, you must be a local administrator on the machines where you are installing core components. After you create a full deployment Site, that user account is automatically made a Full Administrator.
    • If you install the license server, that user account is automatically made a full administrator on the license server.
  • When you create objects before, during, and after installation, it is best practice to specify unique names for each object (for example networks, groups, catalogs, resources).