What is the XenApp and XenDesktop service?
The XenApp and XenDesktop service (formerly Apps and Desktops service) of Citrix Cloud enables you to deliver virtual applications and desktops using XenApp and XenDesktop technology. As with on-premises XenApp and XenDesktop deployments, the XenApp and XenDesktop service requires you have a supported hypervisor or cloud provider environment, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure Classic, Citrix XenServer, or VMware vSphere. The XenApp and XenDesktop service provides the functions that would otherwise be provided by the XenApp and XenDesktop Delivery Controllers in an on-premises deployment.
By default, the XenApp and XenDesktop service uses a hosted version of StoreFront to deliver applications and desktops; however, you can use your own StoreFront servers if you prefer. You can also use NetScaler VPX with the XenApp and XenDesktop service to provide secure external access to your applications and desktops.
To learn more, see About the XenApp and XenDesktop Service on the Citrix Product Documentation web site.
What does the XenApp and XenDesktop Resource Location Setup blueprint do?
The XenApp and XenDesktop Resource Location Setup blueprint enables you to create a resource location on AWS that you can use with the XenApp and XenDesktop service to deliver applications and desktops to your users. Similar to resource locations in Smart Tools, a resource location for the XenApp and XenDesktop Service is where the machines reside that provide the applications and desktops you make available to your users. These are machines that you manage through the AWS management console.
Important: Use Smart Tools to set up your very first resource location in Citrix Cloud. If you choose to set up your first resource location manually, the option to use Smart Tools for subsequent resource locations is not available.
To create the resource location, this blueprint performs the following actions:
- Create a virtual private cloud (VPC) with public and private subnets, configures security groups, and deploys a NAT instance with a public IP address. The NAT instance enables machines in the private subnet to access the Internet.
- Create a bastion host instance so you can administer machines in the private subnet using RDP. This instance resides in the public subnet of the VPC.
- Deploy an Active Directory domain controller and create a domain. This machine resides in the private subnet of the VPC.
- Deploy two Cloud Connector machines, joined to the domain and added to the private subnet of the VPC.
- (Optional) Deploy two Server VDA machines, one configured for RDS and one configured for VDI, joined to the domain and added to the private subnet of the VPC.
- (Optional) Deploy a StoreFront server, if you don't want to use the Citrix-hosted StoreFront that comes with the XenApp and XenDesktop Service. This machine is joined to the domain and added to the private subnet of the VPC.
- Configure a NetScaler VPX instance and configure NetScaler Gateway for secure external access. You will need to subscribe to NetScaler VPX on the Amazon Marketplace. Citrix provides the required certificates and generates the URL your users will access.
Provisioned machine configurations
The blueprint includes recommended configurations for each machine that Smart Tools provisions to the deployment. The following recommendations are displayed when you configure the VM for each machine tier in the deployment.
Operating system (for all machines): Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition
|Machine Type||AWS Instance Type||Memory (GB)||Disk Size (GB)|
|Domain controller||M3 Medium||3.75||32|
|Cloud Connectors||M3 Medium||3.75||32|
|Server VDA (RDS)||M3 Large||7.5||64|
|Server VDA (Server VDI)||M3 Medium||3.75||32|
Important: This blueprint includes conditions for deploying the components above on supported resource locations. When configuring the VMs for each machine tier, you must allow Smart Tools to provision new VMs during deployment. Using existing machines with this blueprint is not supported and will cause the deployment to fail.
When you log on to your Citrix Cloud account and click Get Started for the XenApp and XenDesktop Service, Citrix Cloud gives you the option of using Smart Tools to deploy your resource location. When you choose the Smart Tools option, Citrix Cloud transitions you to Smart Tools to complete the blueprint deployment process. After completion, you can return to Citrix Cloud to set up the XenApp and XenDesktop Service.
When you deploy this blueprint, Smart Tools adds the blueprint to your library. Additionally, all Administrator users in your Smart Tools account will have access to the blueprint.
Download the walkthrough
For complete step-by-step deployment instructions, download Setting Up a Resource Location for Apps and Desktops with Citrix Smart Tools (PDF). The guide walks you through the following tasks:
- Setting up your AWS account keys for use with the XenApp and XenDesktop service and Smart Tools
- Subscribing to NetScaler VPX in the Amazon Marketplace
- Configuring and deploying the XenApp and XenDesktop Resource Location Setup blueprint
Before you deploy this blueprint, perform the following actions:
- Create an AWS account. To sign up for AWS, visit http://aws.amazon.com.
- Request access to the XenApp and XenDesktop Service. To request access, visit https://citrix.cloud.com, log on to your account, and click Request Trial from the Citrix Cloud home page.
- Using the AWS Management Console, create access keys for your AWS account. These keys allow Smart Tools to deploy VMs to AWS on your behalf. Afterward, you also use these keys to set up the XenApp and XenDesktop Service. As a security best practice, Citrix recommends using the access keys of a specific IAM user with Full Access permissions to Amazon EC2 and VPC functions.
- Subscribe to NetScaler VPX in Amazon Marketplace.
Deploy the blueprint
- Log on to the Citrix Cloud web site and then, from the Control Center, click Get Started for the XenApp and XenDesktop Service.
- From the XenApp and XenDesktop Service home page, click Use Smart Tools. XenApp and XenDesktop Service directs you to Smart Tools so you can configure your resource location. This might take a few minutes to complete.
- On the Overview page, enter a deployment name. The default deployment name is XenApp and XenDesktop Service: Resource Location Setup. Click Next.
- On the Resource Location page, specify your AWS account details and then click Next:
- In Resource Location, select Add New Resource Location.
- Select Amazon Web Services and then click Next.
- On the Amazon Web Services setup page, enter the following details and then click Add:
- Name: Enter a friendly name for your AWS account.
- Access Key ID: Copy and paste the Access Key ID for the IAM account you want to use with Smart Tools.
- Secret Access Key: Copy and paste the Secret Access Key from the IAM account you want to use with Smart Tools.
- Deploy Storefront: Select yes to add a Storefront server to your deployment. By default, Smart Tools does not deploy an additional Storefront server.
- Create RDS Template: By default, Smart Tools deploys a VDA machine and configures it for RDS. If you don't this VDA included in your deployment, select no.
- Create Server VDI Template: By default, Smart Tools deploys a VDA machine and configures it for Server VDI. If you don't want this VDA included in your deployment, select no.
- Under VM Tiers, select the AWS deployment location you set up earlier. Smart Tools connects to your AWS account and the Configure VM wizard appears.
- On the Choose a Region page, select the AWS region where you will deploy your resource location.
- On the Choose an AMI page, select the Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter 64-bit base image.
- On the Instance Details page, in Network, select Create VPC with public and private subnets. When prompted, enter a VPC name and then click Create VPC. Click Next.
- On the Credentials page, in Key Pair, select Create new key pair. When prompted, type a friendly name for the key pair and then click Create Key. Save a copy of the key as a PEM file. You will need this key to access the machines in your resource location later. Click Next.
- On the Networking page, accept all the default values and click Next.
- On the Summary page, leave Copy this configuration to other VM tiers. This allows Smart Tools to copy the VM settings for the Domain Controller to the other machines that Smart Tools will provision.
- Click Finish. Smart Tools returns you to the Size page.
- AdministratorName: Enter a username for the domain administrator. The default username is Administrator.
- AdministratorPassword: Enter a password for the domain administrator.
- DomainName: Enter the fully qualified domain name you want to use for the domain controller Smart Tools provisions. Example: XDDomain.com
- Test User Password: Enter a default password to assign to the User1 and User2 accounts that Smart Tools creates in the CWC Users group.
Smart Tools displays the Deployment Details page which shows the progress of your deployment. From here, you can see the status of your deployment as Smart Tools executes each step.
How long does the blueprint take to finish?
Deploying a resource location can take up to three hours. When each server is successfully provisioned, Smart Tools sends you an email notification. Be aware that some steps take longer than others to complete. When the deployment is finished, Smart Tools sends you a final email notification.
How do I know when the resource location is ready to use?
- Check your email. When the deployment is finished, Smart Tools sends you an email notification indicating your deployment was successfully completed. Wait for this notification before proceeding.
- Verify the Cloud Connectors have registered with Citrix Cloud. To do this, click the menu button in the upper-left corner of the page and select Resource Locations. Each of the Cloud Connectors that Smart Tools deployed displays a green check mark to indicate it registered successfully.
- Verify the domain you specified has registered successfully with Citrix Cloud. To do this, click the menu button in the upper-left corner of the page and select Identity and Access Management. The Domains tab displays the domain for your new resource location with a green indicator showing the domain is online.
What do I do next?
When your resource location is ready, you can set up the XenApp and XenDesktop Service. To do this, you perform the following tasks:
- Create a host connection.
- Set up machine provisioning.
- Create a Delivery Group.
For instructions, see Getting Started with the XenApp and XenDesktop Service on the Citrix Product Documentation web site.