Feb 22, 2016

Installing and Configuring Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 (Part 4)


In this part we will continue with the basic configuration, starting with creating a Delivery Group.


If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to :

 

Introduction

In the third part of this series we started with the installation of the VDA component. The machines running this VDA component are the actual machines the user will execute their (daily) tasks on. After the VDA installation part, we started with the basic configuration of a XenDesktop site by configuring a Machine Catalog.

Creating a Delivery Group

When a Machine Group is available it is possible to create a Delivery Group. A Delivery Group is a collection of Desktops and/or Applications, which can be used on the machines added to the Delivery Group out of a Machine Catalog. Just as with the Machine Group you can use the option within the actions pane or the right mouse button menu.

 Figure 1: Create a Delivery Group

The wizard also starts with an explanation of the Delivery Group option, you can check the option 'Don’t show this again' so that his information is not shown next time.

 Figure 2: Getting started with Delivery Groups

The first step is to select the Machine Catalog that will be used for this Delivery Group. All available Machine Catalogs will be shown and you select which one you would like to use. Next you need to provide the amount of machines from the Machine Catalog that will be added to this Delivery Group. I advise to assign all machines in the Machine Catalog to one Delivery Group to keep the infrastructure simple and understandable.

 Figure 3: Assigning a Machine Catalog to a Delivery Group

Secondly we need to select if this Delivery Group will be used to provide Desktops, Applications or both.

 Figure 4: Delivery Group Delivery Type

The next step is to assign users to this Delivery Group. Those users will be able to access the selected delivery types. During this installation wizard the users will be added to all selected Applications. Later on, you can change this assignment. In this window we also see one of the new options in XenDesktop 7.6: the possibility to allow access to anonymous users to the Delivery Group (as mentioned you also need to configure your StoreFront correctly for this feature).

 Figure 5: Assigning users to the Delivery Group

When you have selected Applications during the Delivery Type the next step is to select which applications should be published. The wizard tries to determine which applications are available, but you can provide an application manually. When you have App-V Publishing configured, App-V packages can also be selected (I will discuss the App-V Publishing later in this article series).

 Figure 6: Selecting applications for publishing

When you are using silos (nowadays different Delivery Groups) you can configure a StoreFront Store, this Store will be configured within the Receiver on the machines in the Machine Catalog automatically. 

 Figure 7: Configure StoreFront automatically within Receiver

The last step is to provide a Delivery Group Name, Display Name and a Delivery Group description (optional). The Display Name is shown to the end user, while the Deliver Group Name is used for the administrator view within the Studio Console.

 Figure 8: Delivery Group Summary

The wizard will create the Delivery Group and when this process is finished the Delivery Group will be shown within the Studio Console. Within the console additional settings can be configured on the Delivery Group. You need to select the Delivery Group and select Edit Delivery Group (available in the Actions pane or again the right mouse button menu).

 Figure 9: Edit Delivery Group

Within the Edit window several new options are available and logically also settings that we already configured during the wizard.

For example, Users and Delivery Type were already showing in the wizard. Out of this configuration screen you can change the users or the Delivery Type. From the Delivery Type you can also change the Display Name (for the end-users) of the Delivery Group. A new configurable option is Application Prelaunch, which was not shown in the previous wizard. This is a new functionality in XenDesktop 7.6, which was also available in XenApp 6.5. With Prelaunch, a session is alreadystarted for the user, while the user did not select any applications. When the user selects an application later, from an end-user perspective, the application starts directly.

By default Prelaunch is not configured, here you can change that behavior. I must say that I really like the implementation of this feature. You can configure it for all users configured to the Delivery Group or a specific group (of users). You can also specify the time a session will stay active when pre-launched. By default it’s configured for 2 hours, personally I think that is a pretty long period. Optionally you can also specify additional rules to end the prelaunched (unused) session if the load on the machine is getting too high.

 Figure 10: Configure Application Prelaunch

The same applies to Application Lingering. This is also a new feature in XenDesktop 7.6, which was also available in XenApp 6.5. With Session Linger the session of the user won’t be closed directly when the user closes the application on the machine. In the case of using Published Application the user does not have to wait to create a full new session when switching between Published Applications. Just like the Application Prelaunch the option is disabled by default. When you enable Application Lingering you can specify the time interval the session should be kept alive. Again the default time interval is pretty long (8 hours). The session can also be closed by specifying maximum load values allowed, before lingered session will be shutdown.

 Figure 11: Configure Application Lingering

The next option is called User Settings. Here you can edit/set-up the description of the Delivery Group, but also other settings we could not configure during the wizard like the amount of Desktops available per user and securing the ICA traffic.

 Figure 12: User Settings

The StoreFront tab shows the same options as during the Delivery Group creation wizard, while Access Policy offers new settings. Within Access Policy you can configure how the Delivery Group may be accessed. Only via the Citrix NetScaler Gateway or also other possibilities like directly through Citrix StoreFront.

 Figure 13: User Settings

The last configurable item is configuring a Restart Schedule. You can create a pretty flexible reboot schema based on a start time and an interval time. You can send users a message that the machine will be restarted within the specified timeframe.

 Figure 14: Restart Schedule

On the Applications tab of the delivery group (available when you selected as Delivery Type Applications or Desktops and Applications). Out of the Actions pane you can add additional applications to the Delivery Group. Also just like the Delivery Group per Application, you can configure additional options via the properties of the application.

 Figure 15: Application view within the Delivery Group

Within the first configurable item called Identification we can change the Application Name (both from an end-user or administrator perspective). Here we can also add a description or keywords. Those keywords are useful when connecting via StoreFront and users can search for applications.

 Figure 16: Application view within the Delivery Group

Within Delivery the application icon can be changed, an optional application category can be filled in and we can add a shortcut to the user’s desktop.

 Figure 17: Delivery application properties

At the location tab we can specify the exact location of the application including the command line argument and working directory.

 Figure 18: Application Location configuration

Already discussed during the Delivery Group Wizard, by default the Published Applications are assigned to the user group selected during the wizard. Happily Citrix currently offers the option to assign an application to a specific group or users. This can be done in the Limit Visibility part, where you can configure which user could use this application.

 Figure 19: Application Location configuration

The last configurable option is the File Type Associations. Here you can configure which file type extensions should be configured for the Published Application.

 Figure 20

We have now configured the Delivered Group completely. It is now possible for a user to connect to the XenDesktop infrastructure and can start a Desktop and/or Published Applications.

 

Summary

In this part we configured a Delivery Group and discussed the setting which can be configured. With the creation of the Delivery Group the XenDesktop infrastructure can be used by the end-user to start a Desktop or Applications. In the next part we will start with showing users starting a Desktop or Application on the XenDesktop infrastructure followed by some advanced configuration options of the XenDesktop Infrastructure.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to :



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