XenApp Essentials Services powered by Citrix Cloud

The following content is a brief and informal pre-requisites guide to setup, configure and test delivering virtual apps from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace by Citrix Cloud XenApp essentials service before de-ploying in a PoC, Pilot or production environment. The content of this blog is based on own personal assessment and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or best practices or that of the views of Citrix.

Getting Started, High Level System Requirements & Prerequisites

  1. Azure subscription is required with a resource group defined with a virtual network.
  2. Define your preferred Azure region.
  3. Your AD strategy can be decided with Active Directory situated in the Azure resource location. Use a min A3 Standard VM instance for AD in that case or “Azure Active Directory domain ser-vices, ” and eDocs can be utilized before implementing Azure Active Directory for the XenApp Essentials Services.
  4. It’s important that you define your preferred OS strategy for the service which currently supports Windows Server 2012 R2 or 2016, and master image strategy is needed to be defined, e.g., BYO image or a Citrix prepared the image for the service! Notes: “(a) BYO with your server OS tem-plate including apps + licenses for those apps or choose Citrix prepared templates with Apps. (b)RDS (Remote Desktop service) CALS w/SA to Azure or purchase RDS SALs.”
  5. Customer-owned Azure Subscription as is responsible for per monthly IaaS consumption costs, e.g., compute, network, bandwidth & storage
  6. Only Machine creation services (MCS) based provisioning is support for public (Iaas) clouds and this Service hosted by Microsoft Azure.
  7. Azure Marketplace offers a subscription to XenApp Essentials Service. You can make a c
  8. Connection to Azure subscription to Control Plane operated by Citrix Cloud. It controls customer Azure subscription via Citrix Cloud Connectors to provide capabilities to manage, provision and monitor your XenApp servers which will deliver HDX virtual apps

Transition from Microsoft Azure RemoteApp to XenApp essentials

Microsoft Azure RemoteApp (ARA) – which provides the simplistic beauty of Microsoft Azure Remote-App deprecated over time and now is replaced with Citrix XenApp having “Secure by Design” enterprise security methodology, platform scalability with FMA in 7.x and High Definition Experience (HDX) virtual app delivery protocol capabilities. ARA incorporated Remote Desktop Services (RDS) capabilities from a multi private cloud deployment on MS Windows Server to MS Azure with non-persistent RDS/RDP sessions delivered. Again this delivered only from Microsoft Azure cloud. XenApp Essentials Service is only available from Microsoft Azure Marketplace hosted on Azure. It supports the delivery of Windows apps from Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016 prepared templates or customized templates.

How to deploying XenApp Essentials

xen-app

Based on the image above here is step by step procedure for XenApp essential deployment.

Note that steps can change as the service is delivered from secure SaaS-style Citrix Cloud with the ever-green control plane.

Before you begin, ensure that you have the subscription to XenApp Essentials Service from Azure Marketplace + Server Images + RDS CALS w/SA.

  1. Create app collection like Azure Resource App and create a name for this app
  2. Name can be domain Joined (Most Popular) or non-domain Joined
  3. Link Azure subscription to XenApp Essential and select Resource Group, Virtual Networks & Subnet
  4. Enter domain name, OU, Srv acct + passed
  5. Select Citrix provided template image or your customized template
  6. Select capacity and manage costs by choosing instance type and power settings scheme Enter # concurrent users, and you’ll receive an estimate cost calculator before provisioning which will help you understand the costs based on 40hr usage
  7. Short access time as CC will provision your instances in your subscription
  8. Select app collection, click Apps tab then select apps to publish
  9. Select users tab, search domain by user or group
  10. Return to Manage home, and you’ll find your app collection is ready with a green tick
  11. Select app collection, and see the StoreFront URL to send to users
  12. Users login with domain\user + passed12
  13. Users will now able to launch their HDX virtual apps secured by their organizations Cloud-hosted

StoreFront FQDN which provides secure remote access via the NetScaler Gateway Service also review caveats re bandwidth throughputs below.

  1. Authentication using Live.com accounts cannot be used
  2. Launch an app if an existing RDS session is present on the XenApp VDA is not permitted.
  3. Machine catalog failures may occur if deploying a VM instance size in a region that does not sup-port that instance type
  4. No premium storage account is supported see “Prepare Your Azure Subscription.”
  5. Each end-user is limited to 1-GB outbound data transfer per month, can be increased to 25 GB limit with add-on via the Azure Marketplace.

Deploying XenApp Essentials Service

The XenApp Essentials provides secure access to virtual Windows apps. This service is based on proven XenApp and XenDesktop technology. Citrix Cloud hosts this Service; it includes the workspace experience and the NetScaler Gateway Service along with core management services. Your app workloads run in your company Azure subscription.

Check the image below for the architectural overview of a basic XenApp Essentials Service cloud typical deployment:

xen-app-1.

Users can connect to your on-premises data center. Connections between the Azure cloud and on-premises data center occur through a secure VPN connection. Users connect through XenApp Essentials to file servers, license servers or Active Directory over a secure VPN connection.

References:

 

Image Credit by Citrix systems.

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Shiv Kishan Suthar -Technical Architect- IMS @ YASH Technologies

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September 14, 2017

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