Citrix XenApp Essentials is now available on Microsoft Azure.
Citrix XenApp Essentials is replacing Microsoft Azure RemoteApp and customers can now benefit the technology from Citrix in a simplified portal on Azure to deliver published apps to any device from any Azure datacenter.
Citrix XenApp Essentials is the fastest and easiest way to securely deliver Windows apps from Microsoft Azure to any device. This unique application virtualization service combines industry-leading XenApp technology with the power and flexibility of Microsoft Azure to provide a simple, prescriptive, and easy-to-consume app delivery solution. Citrix and Microsoft deliver an integrated experience that simplifies onboarding for XenApp Essentials and Azure IaaS, providing a single interface to design, deploy and deliver virtualized Windows apps from Azure.
Centralize Control and Increase Mobility with Citrix XenApp Essentials
Scale app workloads easily in Azure for temporary or contract workers without acquiring expensive hardware.
Mobilize your workforce by providing access to legacy Windows apps from anywhere, at any time and on any device.
Easily expand to branch offices around the world by centrally managing your app workloads and leveraging the Azure data center.
Simplify provisioning, on-going management and monitoring of Windows apps hosted on Azure.
New offerings with XenApp (On-Premises, Cloud and Azure ONLY)
Below gives you an overview on how you can deploy Citrix XenApp Essentials On-Premises, in any Cloud and the new Microsoft/Citrix offering XenApp essentials in Azure ONLY.
Below gives you a visual understanding on the new offerings from Microsoft and Citrix with their new cloud offerings XenApp Essentials in Azure.
Prices for XenApp Essentials in Azure
Users added today will be charged at the a prorated rate of $0.39 for the remainder of the current month. This amount will be charged immediately.
Users added today 30th March 2017 will be charged at the a prorated rate of $0.20 for the remainder of the current month. This amount will be charged immediately.
Citrix XenApp Essentials is today now available in all Azure datacenters around the world, this is amazing, and you can now build fast a solution, there is no wait time to buy servers, on Azure its ready to be used, you just need a creditcard 🙂
How do I find Citrix XenApp Essentials on Azure
Goto https://portal.azure.com and login with your Azure ID/pwd, under ressources click add and search for Citrix, then you will see the XenApp essentials service offering.
How do I deploy XenApp Essentials
The following graphic shows the flow of deploying XenApp Essentials.
XenApp Essentials – System Requirements
The following are the requirements to install and configure XenApp Essentials Service after you purchase the service from the Azure Marketplace.
To provision and deploy resources in Microsoft Azure correctly, you need the following:
An Azure account.
An Azure subscription.
An Azure Active Directory global administrator account in the directory associated with your subscription. The user account must have Owner permission for the Azure subscription to use for provisioning resources.
Deploy resources such as virtual machines, storage accounts, database, and virtual network.
Create and manage the resource group that is a container for resources you want to manage as a group.
XenApp Essentials Service supports configuring machines by using Azure Resource Manager only.
You must have a Citrix Cloud account to configure XenApp Essentials Service.
XenApp Essentials Service creates Cloud Connector virtual machines automatically.
XenApp Essentials supports the following web browsers:
Users connect to their apps by logging on with Citrix Receiver. XenApp Essentials Service supports the current version of Citrix Receiver for each user device operating system.
You can download the latest version of Citrix Receiver from the Citrix website.
Deploying XenApp Essentials Service
Citrix Cloud hosts the XenApp Essentials Service. The XenApp Essentials offers secure access to virtual Windows apps. This service is based on XenApp and XenDesktop technology. The service includes StoreFront and the NetScaler Gateway Service along with core management services.
Your app workloads run in your Azure subscription.
The following diagram shows an architectural overview of a basic XenApp Essentials Service cloud deployment:
You can also allow users to connect to your on-premises data center. Connections between the Azure cloud and your on-premise data center occur through a VPN connection. Users connect through XenApp Essentials to your license server, file servers, or Active Directory over the VPN connection.
The XenApp Essentials Service has the following known issues:
Creating the machine catalog fails if the virtual machine size is not available for the selected region. To check the virtual machines that are available in your area, see the chart at Products available by region on the Microsoft website.
You cannot create and publish multiple instances of the same app from the Start menu at the same time.
For example, from the Start menu you publish Internet Explorer. Then, you want to publish a second instance of Internet Explorer that opens a specific website on startup. To do so, publish the second app by using the path for the app instead of the Start menu.
XenApp Essentials Service supports linking a subscription by using an Azure Active Directory user account. XenApp Essentials does not support Live.com authenticated accounts.
Users cannot start an application if there is an existing Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) session on the VDA.Â This behavior only happens if the RDP session starts when no other users are logged on to the VDA.
You cannot enter a license server address longer than server.domain.subdomain.
If you perform multiple sequential updates to capacity management, there is a possibility that the updated settings will not properly propagate to the VDAs.
Set up a Microsoft Azure Account
Perform the following tasks in Microsoft Azure before setting up the connection in Citrix Cloud:
Create an Azure subscription.
Create a user in Azure Active Directory who is a global administrator for the subscription.
NoteYou must create the global administrator account in Azure Active Directory.
After you create your Azure account, you can prepare your Azure subscription.
Prepare Your Azure Subscription
When you prepare your Azure subscription, you configure the following:
Create a resource group and provide the following details:
Resource Group name
Create a virtual network in the resource group and provide a name for the network. You can leave all other default settings.
Create a when you create the master image. Note: A premium storage account is not supported.
Use an existing or create a domain controller. If you create a domain controller, do the following:
Use the A3 Standard or any other size Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual in the Resource Group and virtual network. This virtual machine becomes the domain controller. If you plan to create multiple domain controllers, create an availability set and put all the domain controllers in this set.
Create an Azure Active Directory and give it a unique name.
Create a classic virtual network to enable Domain Services.
When you create the classic virtual network, choose an IP address range that is different from the one you use with the XenApp and XenDesktop Service. You need two IP addresses and can use the /24 range.
Enable the Azure Active Directory Domain Services by switching to the classic portal. Navigate to the Active Directory node and open the new Azure Active Directory domain.
Enable the domain services for the directory.
When you complete this step, the DNS name and virtual network appear automatically. Ensure that the values are correct.
When you save the settings, it can take 30 minutes to an hour to set up Domain Services.
When provisioning Domain Services is complete, a new section titled IP ADDRESS appears. Refresh the page until you see two IP addresses.
Add a subnet IP address for the Azure virtual network.
Update the DNS settings for the Azure virtual network.
Edit the properties on the virtual network. Ensure that you enter both IP addresses created in a previous step.
Create an administrative group in the new Azure Active Directory domain. Use the following guidelines:
Create the group with the name AAD DC Administrators. The group must have this name.
Configure the DNS settings before adding users and groups.
Add members after creating the group.
Create a Resource Manager virtual network. Ensure that the deployment model you use is set to Resource Manager. Locate the Resource Manager virtual network in the same region as the classic virtual network.
Peer the Resource Manager virtual network to the classic virtual network. Peering connects the two virtual networks to the same region in Azure. After peering the networks, the two networks appear as a single virtual network. When you peer the two networks, ensure that you select the classic virtual network.
Add DNS servers to the Resource Manager virtual network. When you configure the DNS servers, type the IP address of the Azure Active Directory Services. Ensure that you type both IP addresses that appear in the Domain Services section on the Configure tab of your directory.
Prepare Your Master Image
You can use one of the following two images in your deployment:
Your own master image with your applications installed.
A Citrix-prepared image.
Citrix does not recommend using a Citrix-prepared image for production deployments.
When you prepare the master image, the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) installs on the image automatically. The VDA software enables the following:
Registers the machine with the XenApp Essentials Service.
Establishes and manages the connection between the machine and the user device.
Verifies that a Citrix license is available for the user or session.
Applies any configured policies for the session.
Communicates session information to the XenApp and XenDesktop Service through the broker agent included in the VDA.
VDAs are available for Windows server and desktop operating systems. VDAs for Windows Server operating systems allow multiple users to connect to the server at one time.
For more information, see Configure VDAs.
The VDA for Windows desktop operating systems is not supported in XenApp Essentials Service.
Prepare a Master Image
You create the master image by using the Azure Resource Manager. When you prepare your master image, the steps you must take in the Azure portal are:
Create a Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows 2016 server virtual machine.
You can also use existing server virtual machines. When you use existing machines, you can use the resource group, virtual network, and storage account associated with the machine. The storage account is where you create the virtual hard disk (VHD). Note: Create the VDA template with standard (non SSD) storage. Also, do not join the VDA to a domain.
Connect to the virtual machine after you create it and when it is running. Important: Do not run Sysprep on the image.
Install the applications on the virtual machine. The apps are available to your users when they log on with Citrix Receiver.
Install the VDA on the virtual machine. When prompted for the Delivery Controller address, select Let MCS configure.
Skip the installation of Citrix Receiver and App-V. Use the default settings for the remainder of the configuration steps.
Restart the VDA and complete the VDA installation steps by following the instructions on the page.
Test starting the applications to ensure that the configuration is correct.
Shut down the virtual machine.
When you create the virtual machine, the VHD is created in the storage account you specified. When you upload the master image, you must specify the storage account location in the XenApp Essentials console.
Link Your Azure Subscription
In the Citrix Cloud, you link your XenApp Essentials Service to your Azure subscription.
To link your Azure subscription
Log on to the Citrix Cloud for XenApp Essentials Service.
On the Manage tab, click Subscriptions.
Click +Add Subscription.
The Azure portal opens.
Log on to your Azure subscription by using your global administrator Azure credentials.
Click Accept to allow XenApp Essentials Service to access your Azure account.
XenApp Essentials service enumerates the subscriptions available in your account.
Select the subscription you want to use and then click Link.
Return to the XenApp Essentials Console to see the subscription in a linked state.
After you link your Azure subscription to XenApp Essentials, upload your master image.
To upload the master image
Log on to the Citrix Cloud for the XenApp Essentials Service.
On the Manage tab, click Master Images.
Click Add Image.
The Add an image page opens.
Specify the location of the VHD by selecting the following:
Name for the master image.
When you save the image, XenApp Essentials Service verifies the master image.
After verification, the image appears on the Master Images > My Images page.
A catalog is similar to collections in Azure Remote App. A Citrix XenApp Essentials Service catalog lists apps and resources that you can share with users on any device.
XenApp Essentials Service catalog uses a simpler approach to the combination of a machine catalog and a Delivery Group.
XenApp machine catalog and Delivery Group creation workflows are not available in XenApp Essentials Service.
When you add a catalog, you configure the following:
Create a name for the catalog.
Link your Azure subscription to the catalog.
Join the catalog to the domain.
Choose a master image.
Select the capacity and manage the cost of the apps.
Before you start creating your catalog, ensure that you have your Azure Active Directory credentials and your subscription ID available.
On the Manage tab, click Catalogs, and then click +Catalog.
On the Add a Catalog page, in Pick a Name, type the name of the catalog, select Domain Joined, and then click Save.
In Link your Azure subscription, provide your Azure subscription details. You can use a subscription you created previously or link a new Azure subscription. To use an existing subscription, do the following:
In Subscription Name, select the subscription from the list.
In Resource Group (Region), select the resource group to which the Azure subscription belongs. Use the resource group you created when you prepared your Azure subscription. XenApp Essentials Service creates Cloud Connectors in the resource group.
In Virtual Network, select the virtual network to which the Azure subscription belongs.
The virtual network is the same one you configured when you prepared your Azure subscription. Ensure that the virtual network can reach your domain controller by using the DNS entries
In Subnet, select the subnet to which the Azure subscription belongs and then click Save.
Under Join local domain, enter the following:
In Fully Qualified Domain Name, type your organizations domain name.
In Organizational Unit, type the OU to which users belong.
For example, OU=Essentials,DC=citrix,DC=com. Note: Adding the OU is an optional step.
In Service Account Name, type the account that by using permissions to join a machine to a domain and create machine accounts.
In Password and Confirm Password, type the password and then click Save.
In Choose master image, do one of the following:
Select Link an existing image and then do the following:
In Image Name, select the image.
Select Import a new image and then do the following:
In Subscription, choose the subscription.
In Resource Group, choose the group.
In Storage Account, choose the account
In VHD, choose the location of the virtual hard disk.
In Image Name, provide a name for the master image and then click Save.
In Select Capacity and Manage Cost, do the following:
In Pick compute, select a worker role.
The worker role defines the resources used. When you specify a worker role, XenApp Essentials Service determines the correct load per instance for you. You can use one of the options in the list or create your own custom option. The session count is used as a scale metric.
In Select scale settings, do the following:
Set the minimum number of running instances. XenApp Essentials Service ensures that the minimum of virtual machines are powered on all the time.
Set the maximum number of running instances. XenApp Essentials Service does not go beyond this number of virtual machines.
[Optional] If you want a different number of virtual machines running during peak times, select I want to set a schedule for peak time. Then, specify the following:
Days of the week for the peak time
Start and end times for each day
Minimum number of running instances
In Set idle or disconnected session time-out, set the time for when the session ends.
User sessions end automatically if the session remains idle or is disconnected for the specified time period. Shorter time-out values allow unused VDAs to power off and save costs.
After you configure your catalog, click Start Deployment to start catalog creation. This step can take 1-2 hours. If you specified many virtual machines, creating the catalog can take a longer time.
When the previous step is complete, you can publish apps and assign users and user groups. You need at least one published application and one user assigned to complete creating the catalog.
To update or add applications, update the virtual machine that you used to create the catalogs master image.
To update the master image
Power on the master image virtual machine.
Powering on the virtual machine does not affect the master image installed in Microsoft Azure.
Install any updates or applications to the virtual machine.
After installation, shut down the virtual machine.
In the XenApp Essentials Service console, add the new image that includes the path to the virtual machines VHD image.
To update a catalog
On the Manage tab, click Catalogs.
Click the ellipsis in the catalog that you want to update, and then click Update Catalog Image.
Select either Link an existing image or Import a new image. Enter the information that is appropriate for your choice.
In Time until automatic log-off, choose the amount of time before the session ends.
When you start the update of the master image, users can continue to work in XenApp Essentials until the processing is complete. Then, users receive a warning message to save their work and close applications. After closing all active sessions on the VDA, the update finishes on that VDA. Then, if users do not log off in the amount of time given, the session closes automatically.
Click Update to start updating the master image.
After configuring your catalog, you can publish apps for your users. The image you installed includes apps that you can publish.
To publish apps
Log on to the Citrix Cloud for the XenApp Essentials Service.
On the Manage tab, click Catalogs.
Click the ellipsis in the catalog for which you want to publish apps.
Click Manage Publishing.
On the Apps tab, click Publish Apps.
In the Publish Apps for <catalog name> page, select the apps for publishing.
When done, click Publish.
The Apps tab appears by using the list of published apps.
After you publish apps, you can add users and groups.
Add Users and User Groups
Log on to the Citrix Cloud for XenApp Essentials Service.
On the Manage tab, click Catalogs.
Click the ellipsis in the catalog for which you want to add users.
Click Manage Users.
On the Users tab, click +Add Users.
In the Assign Users for <catalog name> page, in Domain, choose the domain.
In the search box, type the name of the user or user group.
Repeat step 7 until you’ve added all users and groups.
Click Assign Users.
The Users tab appears by using the list of published apps.
StoreFront and NetScaler Gateway in XenApp Essentials Service
The XenApp Essentials Service in Citrix Cloud hosts a StoreFront site for each customer. After you create the catalog, the StoreFront site is created automatically. The StoreFront URL appears under the catalog details. Hosting StoreFront in the cloud means that you do not have to deploy or maintain StoreFront. Citrix keeps StoreFront current in the cloud.
To allow users secure access to their published apps, XenApp Essentials Service uses NetScaler Gateway Service. This service does not need any configuration by you. Each user is limited to 1-GB outbound data transfer per month. You can purchase a 25 GB add-on from the Azure Marketplace. The charge for the add-on is on a monthly basis.
Monitoring the XenApp Essentials Service
To monitor the overall performance of the Citrix XenApp Essentials Service for Azure, do the following:
Navigate to the XenApp and XenDesktop Service.
Click the Monitor tab.
Click the Catalog that you want to monitor.
You can view information on sessions, logon duration, in addition to other information.
You can choose a session and do the following tasks:
Disconnect the session.
Log off from the session.
Send a message
You can click each session to view extra details about the session such as processes, applications running, and more.