Upgrading Citrix MetaFrame XP to Presentation Server 4.5 on a Windows 2003 Server

1griffith1
1griffith1 used Ask the Experts™
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I think I already know what everybody's going to say, but I'll ask anyway...

I have a single Citrix MetaFrame XP server, the only server in my only farm, running on Win2K3 Server Standard, and I want to upgrade to Presentation Server 4.5.  From what I understand, there is no direct upgrade path.  Everyone's favorite solution is to use a second server (I don't have one) or to just rebuild the old server from scratch (very time-consuming - I'd be down for several days).

The Administration Guide does mention one other possiblity: exporting the Citrix settings to an export file using scripts developed with the Citrix SDK, then installing PS 4.5 and importing the settings.  I've found some scripts already, but from what I can tell, they only move settings about.

What about my applications?  Will they stay in the same place?  I mean, I won't have to reinstall them to get them to work if the settings are re-imported?  This is critical because we have some very flaky 3rd party apps that are business critical... if I was just running Office I'd just plunge in and do the rebuild.

Has anyone used scripts in this fashion before, and did it work?  Thanks.
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Commented:
The scripts I have heard of would export and import published applications.  This involves the setup in Citrix itself and won't help get your apps installed on a new box.  What you have heard is pretty much right about a clean rebuild or a rolling upgrade (move to another box, rebuild the original, move back).  One thing that may help is practicing on a "whitebox".  You can take a workstation and rebuild your Citrix environment.  Then, do the upgrade in a lab environment so you know the ins and outs before tackling the production rebuild.  Then again, rebuilding your only production server is risky since you can't really know how long it will take.  Sometimes you run into nasty little problems that can delay things.  
Second server is the way to go even if you use an old workstation to assist.  
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Commented:
I agree.  We upgraded from Metaframe to Presentation Server, but we dared not to touch the Metaframe server until we knew things were working, so we purchaed a new server, built PS4 onto it, got things working, and switched people to the new farm.

In your case, biting the bullet and spending money on a new server may actually save you alot of time and money, because if the upgrade doesn't go smoothly, you have no fallback.  I do beleive that PS 4.5 is able to have Metafrane severs joined to it's farm, so if you bought a new server, built a new farm, then joined the exisitng Metaframe server to this new farm, you would only have to re-point your user's web interface / web server path.  Then they would be going through the new farm, but to the old server, then you can install apps onto the new PS 4.5 box, and slowly migrate people over for testing.

Then eventually, when the PS 4.5 server is behaving with all of the applications, you can disjoin the Metaframe server from the farm.

Regards,

Rob.
Commented:
I think there is a 3rd option here that may be better for your situation.  One common thing that I think people don't realize is that Citrix really is just an application that you install on your Terminal Server.  It can be installed/uninstalled without affecting other applications that you have installed on that server (MS Office, custom apps, etc...).  Since it is a pretty complex application that provides access (yes I know I sound like a citrix sales guy when I say "access" haha) to other applications, people often think it's somehow integrated to those other apps when it's really not.

So one suggestion to ponder:

1. Document everything about your farm
- the published apps (everything from the command line used to run the program,  to color/window size, etc..)
-policies (what they do and what they accomplish - these will change in PS 4.5 so just know the policies you need rather than exact settings because they probably won't migrate over directly)
-printer policies/settings (note - drivers will not be affected when you uninstall citrix)
-ica/tcp connection settings (settings from the "Citrix Connection Configuration" tool)
- don't worry about licensing because that is totally different in PS 4.5

2. Image/ghost your server
-use an imaging software that you trust because I'm sure you will need to restore at least once

the next steps will require nobody to be logged in so hopefully you have some late night hours where nobody is working... otherwise you need to schedule some maintenance periods.

3. uninstall Citrix MetaFrame XP - take your time and practice this as many times as needed (you can always re-image your server and be back to normal).  If you run into errors during the uninstall process revert back to your old server while you research why/what is going wrong.

4. once you have the uninstall working correctly, ghost/image your server again (but still keep your original image) so you have a good point to start from for the next step

5. install/configure/test Citrix PS 4.5 - again, take your time with this and do it as many times as needed to get it right.  Document what you do so that successive tries go pretty quickly.  You can also image your server at various steps along the way so that you don't have to redo work each time you try.  By the end all you'll have left to do is shut down the server and image it with your latest PS 4.5 image.

So you can see that this process may take a long time and will be spread over multiple days/nights but it is one method you can use where getting another server is NOT an option.  There is no limit to how many times you can do steps 3,4,5 so you really have as much time as you need to perfect this process.

Hope this helps.
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Commented:
That last post had some nice info I hadn't thought about/realized.  Actually, they are all helpful posts.

We've been trying to get a second Citrix server; maybe this will force management to cough up the cash.  If not, mgcIT's suggestion looks interesting.
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Commented:
I agree.  mgcIT's solution is definately viable if you can't get another server.  We are taking the same approach, but on a much smaller scale, in upgrading from PS4 to PS4.5 this weekend.  It was only planned a few days ago, but should go OK, seeing as our Citrix PS4 server is a virtual server, so backup and restoration is easy, if needed.

Rob.

Commented:
What about the IMA datastore? I know that the new citrix does not support tMSDE sql, so will i need to migrate the datastore to sql express or something like that, or cn i use the export scripts to populate a fresh sql database?

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