Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Core Software Install

Brian MurphySenior Information Technology Consultant
Holistic technology infrastructure strategy, design, engineering and implementation that is highly scalable, secure, optimized, automated
Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix Studio, Citrix Policies, Citrix XenApp
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Core Software Install
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 VMware SDK Certificate 
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Citrix Studio Configure New Site
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Citrix Studio Configure VMware Connection
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Windows 7 Gold Image Creation
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Citrix Policies Advanced Printing
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Citrix Policies - Lock Down Peripherals 
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Citrix Policies - Graphics and Audio

This article is the first in a high-level set of instructions for installing and managing Citrix XenDesktop proof-of-concept (POC) using existing hardware with a target number of users of 25 or fewer.

In this scenario, a XenApp 7.6 site exists with published applications and the customer uses Citrix StoreFront and Citrix Netscaler. A first attempt to show senior management and key individuals in IT a preview of Citrix XenDesktop VDI.

A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) proof-of-concept (POC) is possible when the prerequisites such as Citrix XenApp, StoreFront, and Netscaler exist. Citrix XenApp is a conduit for the business application where Citrix XenDesktop is a conduit for accessing the business application hosted on XenApp.  Citrix Storefront is the latest self-service technology from Citrix and it require Citrix Netscaler for full functionality.

The hardware is a Cisco blade server with 384 GB of RAM and EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array, located in a lab isolated from production.  Note: There is a firewall that separates this lab from production.

The software is Microsoft 2008 R2 server hosting XenDesktop 7.6 and Machine Creation Services (MCS), with the Active Directory 2008-R2 native mode domain and forest level. The Citrix XenApp 7.6 servers host several business applications existing in Production. The Citrix Provisioning services stream XenApp read-only instances from a single master image that resides on a “floating-NAS” share (CIFS). VMWare ESX 5.5 installed as the underlying hypervisor. The full administrator in Citrix XenDesktop Site is an Active Directory user named as a "service account" and granted appropriate rights in vSphere. []1]

XenDesktop requires a connection created to vSphere, and this requires a service account or Active Directory Domain Local Group with a custom "Role" or specific permissions. Anything done with Citrix Machine Creation Services requires permissions defined above and the most prevalent mistake is to confuse Citrix XenDesktop permissions with vSphere permissions.  
  1. To use Citrix Machine Creation Services (MCS) requires using a "Service Account" OR must run the Citrix Studio as the  Active Directory User must have rights or a "vSphere Role" having the rights shown in this Citrix document
  2. That service account should have full administrator permissions in the XenDesktop Site database
  3. A connection cannot get created without the self-signed certificate from the Windows vSphere Server OR a new third-party certificate
The goal of this section to eliminate concerns regarding physical hardware and provide a proven way to success with fewer defects by using vSphere to build and host master disks or VDI Gold Images.

  1. A service account has created in Active Directory for installing Citrix software and vSphere permissions
  2. The AD service account has been added to the Microsoft servers allocated for the proof-of-concept
  3. The AD service account added to a “role” in vSphere or has the permissions assigned according to the Citrix documentation
  4. Machine Creation Services (MCS) is implemented
  5. VMware vSphere access and permissions are required in order to create virtual machines (VMs) on allocated hosts
  6. Hardware allocated for VMWare ESX and vSphere virtual machine exists and is a member of the AD domain
  7. Datastores (storage) have been allocated and are available in vSphere 
  8. Citrix XenDesktop ISO has been downloaded from "My Citrix"
  9. Citrix XenDesktop licensing or trial licensing has been added to an existing Citrix Licensing Server (CLS)
  10. One of the datastores contains the required install ISO files or the files, are accessible by file share
  11. An Active Directory domain of "" has been established
  12. There is a matching AD DS-integrated DNS zone of ""

XenDesktop Delivery Controller Core Install
This section demonstrates the steps to install Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 and prepare to use VMware vSphere SDK on ESX 5.5. These instructions are for performing the core installation, but not the configuration using Studio. The XenDesktop server is in the Active Directory domain, and the Integrated DNS zone is A login to the 2008 R2 server as the Citrix administrator service account is assumed to exist. This service account is a member of the local Administrator group and having permission to vCenter.

The installation of XenDesktop and configuration is split into two sections. The installation is straightforward but there are prerequisites for the vSphere SDK. XenDesktop interfaces with the vSphere server to use the VMWare "datacenter" resources. Discussed here, Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 VMware SDK Certificate.

After logging in, locate the XenDesktop files copied locally or attached to the ISO copied to a VMware datastore.

PART1-IMAGE1.pngRunning "Autoselect.exe" ensures all components and prerequisites get installed. On the left-hand side click on "Delivery Controller"

PART1-IMAGE2.pngRead the "Software License Agreement" > Select "I have read......" button > Click Next > and choose the core components.

Use the existing license server as XenApp 7.6 farm.  > Uncheck "License Server"

PART1-IMAGE3.pngThe assumption here is that Storefront 3.0 installed for XenApp 7.6. We can use that environment to create a new StoreFront that points to the XenDesktop VDI Site Controller.  

Choose "Microsoft SQL 2012 SP1 Express". I do not recommend this for Pilot and Production and this is optional for this purpose. MSSQL Express is okay for a POC having 30 users or less. 

PART1-IMAGE4.pngAs an option, you can uncheck SQL Express to use an existing SQL Server. On the Firewall window the assumption is Windows Firewall is enabled and started. If that is the case choose "Automatically" and "Next".

Note: Sometimes Windows Firewall is disabled by Group Policy (if, for example, there is third-party software such as Trend or McAfee). If the "Windows Firewall" service is disabled choose "Manually" on this step.

PART-1-IMAGE-5.pngReview the Summary window with core and prerequisite software then click "Install." The installation proceeds to install the prerequisites.  

PART1-IMAGE-6.pngOn the "Summary" window uncheck "Launch Studio" and click "Finish".  At this point, the XenDesktop core and dependent software is installed. Instead of launching the Studio to configure XenDesktop there are tasks for completion specific to VMWare vSphere and ESX hypervisor provided here;
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 VMware SDK Certificate 
Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Citrix Studio Configure New Site

This covers the core installation of XenDesktop. In the next section, I show the steps to resolve common certificate problems with vSphere SDK.

[]1] Prepare the virtualization environment: VMware
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Brian MurphySenior Information Technology Consultant
Holistic technology infrastructure strategy, design, engineering and implementation that is highly scalable, secure, optimized, automated

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