June 15, 2020

Virtual Apps and Desktops in 2020

My colleagues Mayank Singh and Rob Beekmans, both Architects in Technical Marketing, packed a ton of good information into this video If you want to see what's new with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Citrix Managed Desktops, and Citrix SD-WAN in 2020 (so far) and have 91 minutes, I recommend watching the whole thing. Here are a few demos and sections that I want to provide shortcuts to.

Microsoft Teams Optimization Browser Content Redirection (BCR)
  • Browser Content Redirection renders whitelisted webpages on the endpoint and seamlessly feeds it back into the session.  Offloading video rendering to endpoints provides both a great user experience as well as reduces backend VDA resources.
  • Supported VDA browsers: Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Edge (new Chromium). Edge is in Tech Preview.
  • Overview and configuration starts here https://youtu.be/UcEmqQjdQUY?t=2925
  • Configuration and demo video of watching YouTube without and with BCR https://youtu.be/UcEmqQjdQUY?t=3250
  • Learn more in Citrix Docs
FSLogix and Office 365
  • FSLogix will only save data for a single session. It does not support accessing multiple sessions and consolidating to its profile container. Use Citrix User Profile Manager to write back profile data to FSLogix when accessing more than one session at a time https://youtu.be/UcEmqQjdQUY?t=1985

Machine Creation Services (MCS)
  • What is it and how does it work? https://youtu.be/UcEmqQjdQUY?t=656
  • Machine Creation Services Input-Output (MCSIO). Deeper dive into MCS workings. It was revamped in version 1903 for on-prem hypervisors and Azure. Allows for placement of the master and caching disk on different storage. This allows you to use HDD (vs SSD) which scales higher (more users per machine) and provides better response time for users https://youtu.be/UcEmqQjdQUY?t=1239
  • Publishing an app or desktop using Citrix Managed Desktop (Citrix TechZone) and MCS.  Keep in mind Managed Desktops has a simplified web wizard vs Studio https://youtu.be/UcEmqQjdQUY?t=754
  • Azure on-demand provisioning using MCS. It creates machines on power-on which means you only pay for what you use. Overview and demo using Apps and Desktop Service https://youtu.be/UcEmqQjdQUY?t=1073
Citrix App Layering
Business Continuity

I hope this furthers your understanding of what's new in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.  Stay tuned for a bunch of exciting announcements in the second half of 2020.

March 8, 2020

Citrix Storefront + Netscaler GW Optimal Gateway Routing. 1 Farm - Multiple Zones

Citrix Storefront + Netscaler GW Optimal Gateway Routing. 1 Farm/Site - Multiple Zones

This post is to share how I setup Optimal Gateway Routing (HDX Routing) using zones. I found a lot of documentation on how to set this up for multiple farms (Noted below). However I wasn't able to really find detailed information on how to set this up for just zones.

A quick run down of the environment I'm working on here.
1 Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops Farm/Site
Delivery Controllers in 2 geographically separated datacenters
Pairs of Netscalers also in the 2 datacenters noted above
9 zones within the farm. 2 within the above mentioned datacenters and 7 in offices across the nation. 
VDI's published out of the datacenters and testing publishing out from the offices

Apps published out of all locations (Initially for local access for each office) I'm sure there may be questions about how/why we are publishing apps and desktops but I don't want to get too in the weeds about that.  

Anyway so you probably came here because you ran through the other articles you google'd and didn't get what you were looking for when you were getting ready to configure the zone portion within the Storefront HDX routing settings. If you haven't read those articles yet please go run through them. See below. They have all the prerequisites you'll need to start this process. Once you have your certificates with SAN's for each of your netscaler gateways, have applied them then this is where we will pick up.


Configure Delivery Controller Zones

In your storefront config highlight your store and manage your delivery controllers for the site. Here I've created 2 different groups of controllers -- one for each datacenter.

Once you have those separated highlight the first set and click Edit

In the Edit Delivery Controller windows choose the Advanced Settings -- Settings button


In the Configure Advanced Settings click on the area next to the Zones field

In the Delivery Controller Zone Names window click on the Add button and fill in the zone names per appropriate site.

Once you fill in each of the zones it should look like below. Click OK. Follow this same procedure for your other zone(s).

Configure Storefront Optimal HDX Routing (AKA - Optimal Gateway Routing)

Complete the next steps after all of your zones have been configured. 

Highlight site and then click the Configure Store Settings link on the right. 

At this point I'm assuming you have gone through the setup of the location specific netscalers. If you haven't yet this is a good article. (https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX215663)

In the Configure Store Settings window click on the Optimal HDX Routing tab on the left. Then highlight the location that we are configuring.Once the site is highlighted click on the Manage Zones button.

In the Manage Zones window click on the Add button and fill in the zone names per appropriate site. 

After you have filled them in they should look like below as appropriate to each location. Click Ok. (This should look familiar as we did this for the delivery controllers earlier. They should mimic those settings per location)

Back in the Configure Store Settings window the settings should be updated like below.

Rinse and repeat this procedure for your other location(s. When completed it should look like this. Click Apply and then Click OK.

Oh and one more thing. Make sure to turn on user mapping and aggregation on Storefront to prevent users from having multiple icons of the same published app/desktop. 


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