Citrix Cloud – Part 5

SMART MIGRATE
This article will discuss the smart tool known as Smart Migrate.

We have already covered Smart Check and Smart Scale in previous articles so now it is time to talk about this tool which helps with your Xenapp 6.x to 7.x migrations.

Log in to the Citrix Cloud and let’s go through the purple window (Influenced there by a historical children’s program)

Once you click on Smart Migrate you can see or add additional projects.

If we click Add Project we can get started creating the migration.

Name your project.

We will chose the Fully Automated option.

Next you get clear instruction of the steps involved in order to carry out a successful migration.

Once you have digested the above click Next.

Now we are going to connect our Xenapp 7.x delivery Controller to the Workspace Cloud/Citrix Cloud.

We are unable to see our Delivery Controller so we need to download an agent.

The screenshot below highlights yet again clear instruction on how to do this.

Once the above is carried out you should be able to highlight your controller.

Once again if you do not see your XA6.x controller carry out the agent install on your XA6.x controller.

You can now choose the XA6.x controller and put in your Administrative Farm credentials.

 

Once you have agents installed on your XA6.x Controller we can start the Farm analysis.

At this point Smart Migrate will collect all data about your applications and their properties as well as any policies in your environment.

Note:

I came across an issue where my analysis of my XA6.x Farm would fail.

The Smart Migrate tool will provide you with logs so you are able to analyze the reason for failure.

In my case I had an invalid server entry with an application.

You can selectively choose the servers and the applications published to them that you wish to migrate to the Xenapp 7.x environment. You are also able to do this with policies when choosing the analyzed policies tab.

In order to fix this issue you have to look at using the Dscheck utility within an elevated cmd prompt in your XA6.x Farm.

To check any invalid entries in my Xenapp 6.x database:

Dscheck /full apps < c:\apps\apps.txt

I investigated the .txt file and I then ran the following to clean the apps.

DSCHECK /full apps /clean

This allowed Smart Tools to complete the analysis.

Proceeding on you should now see your XA6.x Farm data for apps and policies.

Once you have chosen your desired apps/policies you can Proceed to Migration.

You are also able to create a new Delivery Group within the XA7.x environment or choose an existing one to migrate the settings in to.

Note:

My migration failed and the following error was seen.

The fix for the above was the following:

The Citrix Common Commands is from the XenApp 6.5 SDK which was removed from 7.13, but can be re-installed by downloading and installing the 6.5 SDK.

In my case I downloaded the following to the XA7.x controller:

Once this was done I could successfully continue and migrate my applications from XA6.x to XA7.x using Smart Tools.

Take my word for it the apps and policies migrated in to the chosen delivery groups and icons, users were all correct. No need to faff around with permissions.

Nice and easy and you will agree saves a lot of time.

Please read about Smart Scale and Smart Check here:

http://wp.me/p8leEE-89

http://wp.me/p8leEE-7B

 

Citrix Cloud – Part 4

Smart Scale

This post will discuss one of the Smart Tools available with Citrix Cloud called Smart Scale.

Basically, the tool allows you to connect to your site via an agent that you download on your controllers and provide an overview of your delivery groups and machines.

The screen shot below shows my site already added along with others.

Agent Install

Clicking Add Site will prompt you to download an agent with clear instruction.

Once you have installed the agent (nothing complex – just next, next) you will see your site and can enter it by clicking View Site.

Drilling in to Site Details

Within the next screen, you will see the below tabs.

You will also see a variety of graphs.

Estimated Savings

Capacity Utilization

Machines (On)

Machines in Maintenance Mode

Sessions (Capacity)

Load Index

You can drill further into the graphs and view sessions and get an idea of when they launched and finished.

In the graph below, we can see that one machine is switched on in the delivery group but we did have two. Around 5.40 the machine went down.

This can be explained in my case by the next rather cool feature of Smart Scale and that is controlling how many Xenapp machines you want on during certain time frames.

Clicking the configure tab shown here you can manage this.

 

Schedules and Capacity Management

The following screen shows that I can control session count on my servers.

We can also control schedule based scaling!

Clicking the Create New tab

….. we are presented with this screen.

We have a variety of options to configure such as the minimum number of machines you wish to keep alive.

We also can create a custom time schedule for our machines in the delivery group.

Once you have created your schedule by clicking Create it will be listed under the Schedules title.

We can create multiple schedules that will control how many machines are up.

Heading back to the initial Smart Scale page for your site, you can see under Machine Activity events such as Smart Scale bringing down the servers due to a preconfigured Schedule I had.

This is verified by looking in my Studio console on my Delivery Controller.

Overview

The Events tab is self-explanatory

Site Details gives me an overview of my Delivery Controllers and Delivery Groups. In my case I know one Delivery Controller is switched off and I have not enabled Smart Scale for the other Delivery Group in the screen shot. You are also able to Sync Site Data.

Enabling Smart Scale

To enable Smart Scale this is done at a Delivery Group level.

Final THOUGHTS

The beauty of Smart Scale is you can control multiple sites from any location with internet access.

I can log on to my Citrix Cloud and check how many servers are up, if any machines are in maintenance mode and what my current site configuration is looking like. I can change my Server load easily by changing schedules and capacity management.

I feel this tool is only going to get better and more advanced over time.

The Smart Tools Suite allows you as the Citrix Partner to keep a close eye on your customer environments and provide that proactive touch. In my role as a Citrix Support Consultant it is a welcome addition to my ever growing arsenal of tools.

Citrix Cloud – Part 3

Smart Checks

Smart Check is basically a mechanism to run periodic health checks in your site.

Citrix Partners can utilize scheduled checks to confirm Site Health.

It is part of the Smart Tools suite of products within the Citrix Cloud Services.

This article will only highlight screen shots rather than descriptive actions as this feature is still in preview mode and is subject to change.

What I want you to take away is the proactive ability this provides for your customers.

The screen shot below already has multiple sites added that are running Health Checks.


To link your site to Smart Tools you are required to download agent and run this on your Delivery Controller.

When you enter the Smart Check feature you are prompted to download the agent.



 

Once the agent is saved you should copy it and run it on your Delivery Controller.



Now click Next.



You can see in the screen shot below instructions on installing the agent. At this point you run the agent you just downloaded.



On the Controller run the agent:

Accept the terms and run through the setup.



Click Finish.



The Smart Tools agent set up is basically a next, next install on the delivery controller.

Once installed this will be detected and you can click next within the cloud portal.



Add your administrative site credentials.

  

Now you should see your site linked to the Smart Check utility.

Click the Get Started tab.



After clicking Get Started the site details are being uploaded.

 

Details about your site start appearing.



Once everything is uploaded you get some pretty good problem reporting on your site.

 

Navigating within your Smart Check site you can view health of your Delivery Controllers.



You can schedule a health check daily, weekly etc.

The screen shots below highlight some of the options.




You can set daily, weekly tasks and specific times to kick off the checks.

  

You can choose a Health report or site details.



 

We can drill down further into the sections for more information.

The next few screen shots show you information on services, controller availability and delivery groups.



Here I can see problematic services.





Smart Check is a pretty impressive addition to the Smart Tools suite and allows Citrix Partners to provide proactive rather than reactive measures to the Citrix environment.

If you want to know more about the Citrix Cloud I hope the articles so far have been informative and if you need help with transitioning and managing your Citrix environment to the Cloud I do have a Citrix Partner in mind who could help you 😉

Please check out my Citrix Cloud – Part 4 Post on Smart Scale (http://wp.me/p8leEE-89)

Citrix Cloud – Part 2

 Part 2 – Managing THE XENAPP/XENDESKTOP SERVICE
Introduction
In part 1 (http://wp.me/p8leEE-6d) we showed how easy it is to set up an on-premise environment to the Citrix Cloud.

In this part, we will show you how to manage your users and images using the Citrix Cloud Xenapp and Xendesktop Service Management. I think you will find it somewhat familiar.

A few of the screenshots already have infrastructure applied so we are adding additional Catalog and Delivery Groups.
Navigate to the Xenapp and Xendesktop Service within the Citrix Cloud subscription.

Click on Manage and Service Creation.

Look familiar?

Now the first thing we should do is create a zone and add your hosting infrastructure to the Cloud environment.

Create a zone and add your connector within the zone.

Next we need to add the hosting infrastructure.

In my example I have added my local Xenserver Resources.





I am choosing local Xenserver storage.





Next screen you choose the network resources you are connecting to.



Click Finish.



My CitXen environment is now shown in the Studio console.

Machine Catalog
Next we need to create a Machine Catalog.



In my example I am choosing a Xenapp O/S deployment.



I have chosen the deployment method as MCS and my resources will be allocated to the CitXen Zone.



I have chosen my MCS snapshot image with my apps installed and selected the  minimum functional level.



I am deploying out one machine from this image.



Next I choose the domain and active directory OU location for my computer accounts.



 

I then choose the naming scheme for the machines I am deploying: CWCXA##



Input your administrative credentials.





Choose Machine Catalog Name and description



Click Finish



I can see my machine being provisioned via MCS on to my local Xenserver host.



My Machine Catalog is now visible in the console.



Next we need to create a Delivery group to assign users to this Catalog.
Delivery Group




I have chosen the Machine Catalog just created.



NOTE: This next screen shot is only an option in Cloud deployments.

The option I have chosen here lets Citrix Cloud manage my Workspace's.

“Leave user management to Citrix Cloud”

Workspace's are now known as Library’s.

A library is an offering that you can assign to users. (My delivery group will be offered up as a resource for users to use)



Continue through Delivery Group wizard and finish the Delivery Group and navigate to the Library node.
Library Offerings


You can now see your Offerings in the library (Basically your Delivery Groups with no assigned users…yet!)



Click on the 3 dot dial button and then Manage Subscribers.



Here you can choose the users who will have access to your delivery group resource.

Choose your domain and users to add.






Domain users is already added in my example.



Now you can see a number next to the Delivery Group offering indicating AD membership has been added.

Connectivity
Once you have added your resources to the cloud, created your Machine Catalog, created your Delivery Group offerings you can now get your apps and desktops.

Click the Xenapp and Xendesktop Service –



Navigate to the Manage tab and choose Service Delivery.

It is here you can see the URL for connectivity.

In my example we have Storefront and Netscaler Gateway services in the cloud.

I will explain in a later blog why I prefer the on premise Storefront and Netscaler.

Briefly the reason why is because features like two factor authentication and any other ADC feature other than Gateway is not available in the Citrix Cloud.

You also need to think about having Storefront within the resource location for connectivity to the environment if your ISP provider decides not to play nice one day.

Use the URL to access the environment (internal/External).



Log in and reap the rewards of a wonderful, Simple Cloud solution.


 

My desktop launches with all my applied GPO policies, UPM profile best practices, mapped drives and custom settings.
 

GPO User restrictions shown limiting control panel visibility.



My active session can be viewed and managed in the Citrix Cloud Xenapp and Xendesktop Service.



Here you can see the initial logon time and subsequent logon time.
 
So, the familiar management and ease of installation so far allow you as an administrator to really concentrate on your customer’s needs, apply best practices and effectively proactively maintain and manage the solution.

In part 3 (http://wp.me/p8leEE-7B) we will look at one of the Smart Tools called Smart Check.

Citrix Cloud – Part 1

Introduction

So, you have heard by now the term Cloud. If you have not your head must be up in one.

So, Citrix Cloud, what is it all about? There are plenty of articles and videos explaining this.

https://youtu.be/QywoWo9fDgY

http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/about.html or check out - https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-cloud/ for more information.
What I will do is list some, not all advantages of Citrix Cloud and then get right into a superb offering (Xenapp and Xendesktop Service) by those women and men at Citrix and show the simplicity of migrating to the cloud.

Reduced costs and footprint

No SQL server or licensing cost

Costs of running servers reduced

Power costs reduced

More Floor space

More Storage space

IT Operations simplified

Less network and storage infrastructure required

Server procurement

Always on latest technology

Automatic upgrades

Select services

Easily grow consumption

Easily decrease consumption

Most up to date technology

Familiar administration

Smart Tools

Ongoing health checks
Now you have considered the advantages and watched the videos and read the links above, I will show you the simplicity of transitioning your local site in to the cloud.

This is the first of many articles I will write on the Cloud.

Part 1 - Hooking up to the Citrix Cloud

Part 2 – Managing the Xenapp and Xendesktop Service

Part 3 – Smart Check

Part 4 – Smart Scale

Part 1 -Hooking up to the Cloud

Once you have your cloud subscription details -

https://onboarding.cloud.com/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=citrix.com&utm_campaign=cwc-citrix.com%20-%20wwwb0515cwc_testdrive_promo

and you have logged in you should create a resource Location.

https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/about/what-are-resource-locations.html

Now download software called a connector. It does what it says on the tin. Connects your environment (Resource location) to the Citrix Cloud.
Connector Installs
You should connect to the Citrix Cloud on a 2012r2 machine minimum that you have designated for this role. The machine should have TCP 443 outbound access and internet connectivity.

Within your Resource location navigate to download your Connector software.





Save the file and run.









Once install procedure begins you will be asked to sign in to your Citrix Cloud using credentials.



The connector will continue with the install.
From here you can choose the subscription that you have set up.

NOTE (Partners can manage multiple subscriptions).

The connector will continue with the install.



All being well your connectivity tests should prove successful.

 

 
Do a refresh and you should now see your site in your resource location within Citrix Cloud.

 
You can now check within Identity and Access Management if your domain is present.



I can now see my domain as a resource within the Citrix Cloud.

 
If you head back to your resource location (click tab in left corner next to the words “Citrix Cloud” and choose Resource Locations), Citrix kindly reminds you of some best practice.

 
You should proceed with the second connector install on a second machine designated for the role!

Once you have done this your environment is connected to the citrix cloud.
What does this mean?

Well now you have SQL, Delivery Controllers, Studio, Director, Licensing, Provisioning capability moved off your site to the Citrix Cloud with minimal effort.

Yes, there is an immediate reduced footprint in your resource location.

Your AD environment is now accessible so the fun stuff of managing, maintaining and provisioning workloads can begin!

In part 2 (http://wp.me/p8leEE-6z) I will move on to managing the Xenapp and Xendesktop Service.