Citrix have released Delivery Services 1.0 which provides the infrastructure that enables the next generation of Receiver functionality.
Features of Delivery Services
Authentication Service. The Delivery Services Authentication Service communicates with XenDesktop sites and XenApp farms to authenticate users. Once a user’s credentials have been validated, the Authentication Service handles all subsequent interactions with the servers to ensure that users do not need to log on again.
Stores. Delivery Services stores enumerate the resources available to each authenticated user from XenDesktop sites and XenApp farms and send the results to the Citrix Receiver self-service view. Stores are also responsible for recording and retrieving users’ application synchronization data, and passing this information to the self-service view so that any differences can be resolved.
Application synchronization. Subscribed resources now follow users from one Windows computer to the next, so that they do not need repeatedly to make the same changes each time they use a different Windows computer. When a user adds, removes, renames, or moves a resource in a store with application synchronization enabled, details of the change are recorded in the store. Subsequently, whenever the user accesses the store from a different device running Citrix Receiver with the Citrix Self-service Plug-in for Windows, the same changes are automatically applied to the new device.
Integration with Citrix Online products. Delivery Services stores can be configured to include Citrix Online products, such as GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, and GoToTraining, along with the other resources. When users subscribe to a Citrix Online product, the associated client application is installed locally. Where Citrix Online accounts are not already available, users can be prompted to set up a trial account or to request an account from the IT department.
Citrix Delivery Services Management console. The Citrix Delivery Services Management console is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 snap-in that enables you to create and configure stores and the Authentication Service hosted on Delivery Services. The Citrix Delivery Services Management console enables you to perform day-to-day administration tasks quickly and easily.
How Delivery Services Works
Delivery Services employs Microsoft .NET technology running on Internet Information Services (IIS) and, optionally, Microsoft SQL Server to provide authentication and resource delivery infrastructure for Citrix Receiver and the Citrix Self-service Plug-in. Delivery Services integrates with your existing XenDesktop and XenApp infrastructure. An example of a typical deployment is shown below. This environment consists of the following components.
Authentication Service—authenticates users to the Citrix servers using explicit authentication and stores user credentials.
Stores—retrieve user credentials from the Authentication Service to authenticate users to the Citrix servers. Enumerate the resources currently available from the configured servers and send the details to the Self-service Plug-in.
Database—stores details of user subscriptions plus associated shortcut names and locations.
Citrix Delivery Services Management console—enables administrators to create and manage stores and the Authentication Service.
Citrix servers—provide desktops, content, and online and offline applications.
Self-service Plug-in—presents the resources and services available across the configured stores. Enables users to subscribe to and organize their resources. Integrated into and managed by Citrix Receiver.
Online Plug-in/Offline Plug-in—enable users to access their subscribed resources. Integrated into and managed by Citrix Receiver.
Citrix Receiver—manages plug-ins, including the Self-service Plug-in, on the user device.
Merchandising Server—delivers plug-ins and configuration updates to Citrix Receiver. Uses the Authentication Service to identify users.
The interactions that take place between the components in the environment shown above are described below.
- A user logs on to a device; Citrix Receiver starts automatically.
- If the user has not yet subscribed to any resources or if the user opens Citrix Receiver, the self-service view is displayed.
- The user logs on to the stores that the Self-service Plug-in is configured to contact.
- The Self-service Plug-in sends the user’s credentials to the Authentication Service.
- Merchandising Server uses the Authentication Service to identify the user and sends any configuration updates specified by the administrator to Citrix Receiver.
- The Authentication Service authenticates the user to the Citrix servers that provide the resources in the stores.
- Using the Authentication Service to provide the user’s credentials, the stores contact the Citrix servers, obtain details of the available resources, and send this information to the Self-service Plug-in.
- The Self-service Plug-in aggregates the resources from all the stores, but only those resources that the administrator has made available for this particular user are displayed in Citrix Receiver.
- When application synchronization is enabled for a store, the store queries the Delivery Services database and send details of the user’s subscribed resources and associated shortcuts to the Self-service Plug-in as part of the resource enumeration process.
- The Self-service Plug-in compares the configuration received from the store with the configuration of the current device to determine whether the user has subscribed or unsubscribed from any resources, or modified any shortcuts on any other devices.
- If any differences are detected between the user’s subscriptions on the current device and the configuration stored in the database, the Self-service Plug-in automatically adds and removes resources and moves or renames shortcuts to resolve the differences.
- The user subscribes to and organizes resources in the self-service view of Citrix Receiver.
- Shortcuts to the subscribed resources are added to the user’s device.
- Any offline applications to which the user subscribes are downloaded from the XenApp farm to the user device by the Offline Plug-in. Once downloading is complete, the applications are available for use.
- If the user subscribes to a Citrix Online product, the associated client application is installed locally on the device. If configured by the administrator, the user may also be prompted to create a Citrix Online account or request an account from the IT department.
- When application synchronization is enabled for a store, the Self-service Plug-in notifies the store of any changes to the user’s subscribed resources and associated shortcuts. The store updates the database with the new configuration.
- The user clicks on a shortcut to a subscribed resource.
- For offline applications, the application starts and runs locally within an isolation environment.For desktops, content, and online applications, the Online Plug-in initiates a session with a XenDesktop or XenApp server providing the selected resource.