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XenDesktop/XenApp 6.0 Setup

Posted on 2010-11-28
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I have been looking for information on a new setup of XenDesktop in my environment.  I had reviewed a thread named "Is it possible to run Citrix XenDesktop DDC on the same 2008 server VM that runs AD/Domain?" and it had some helpful information however I have a few more questions.

We have a small organization but we may be outsourcing some work to employees working offsite.  Nearly all of our work focuses on approximately ten applications including the MSFT Office Suite.  On occasion there may be more that are used although with less frequency.

I have a XenDesktop 4.0 Express environment in place and have had for about the past year.  It works nearly flawlessly for me and a partner.  Others are having difficulty to some extent only due to what I think are licensing limitations and perhaps a problematic VM installation which needs to be rectified but as stated we are merely in a test environment at present.  This installation is based on a Windows 2003 VM installation.  

We use the DDC on the XenDesktop Server machine and I just installed XenApp 6.0 on a new Windows 2008 R2 VM.  The installation went well and the testing went well also with applications being published and utilized within a few hours after beginning the installation.  The installation of the XenApp 6.0 was done all on one virtual server with the SQL express server, the Citrix licensing server and the XenApp program all being installed on this particular 2008 R2 virtual box.

I note now that I have two choices to log on with the CItrix Online Plug In installed.  I can log in to one server or the other.  My goal is to have all applications and virtual desktops available with one central login of the Citrix Online Plug In.  This may be accomplished with the "Single Login" item from Citrix but I will be redoing my entire network server infrastructure shortly including my DC with a new domain so my interest is in getting everything on to one login situation.

Given that we are a small organization my question is whether or not XenApp and XenDesktop can coexist on one physical server.  It is understood that:
1.  NO ONE recommends putting any of this on a DC.  We will have the DC separate regardless.
2.  The DDC is not that busy of a server with a small environment like ours as it really helps in the authentication and getting going of the virtual desktops.  Therefore, with up to ten users we will never overwhelm this server.
3.  XenApp 6.0 CANNOT and IS NOT ALLOWED to be installed on a DC and the setup of the application confirms this.  
4.  XenApp exists within XenDesktop 4.0 (soon 5.0) Enterprise and above but only for applications within Virtual Desktops I believe.  XenApp 6.0 (standalone) is necessary for publishing individual applications to endpoints other than a virtual desktop.
5.  There may be issues with XenApp 6.0 and XenDesktop v4.0 cooperating but those should be rectified with the XenDesktop 5.0 release.

Questions:
a.  Can I keep the DC as is with Exchange running on it as the DC (DDC) which is mentioned for the Xen setup?  This is separate from the XenDesktop/XenApp servers.
b.  Can I implement another server or even a desktop operating system VM to manage one SQL Express instance?  We already have five applications for which our current SQL instance handles individual databases.  Does XenDesktop and XenApp require a DB each or is there a shared DB if both are installed and does it depend upon the order of installation?  Could this be accomplished on a third server handling these DBs with SQL Express and other functions such as backup and Antivirus etc?
c.  Can the DmC and the PvS live on the same server?  If so, will they have any difficulty with usage in an environment as small as ours?  Can one DmC be used for both XenDesktop and XenApp installations?
d.  We can accept an hour or two of downtime.  If we had a second XenServer running in a high availability scenario could we simply upload a known good copy of any of the servers to the second XenServer or should we be running in a failover high availability state?

Sorry for the long, long item above but I have been unable to find the answer to the single XenDesktop/XenApp server question anywhere.  As noted, there will always be a DC present but I really need to know if I can put the PvS and the DmC on the same box with SQL and other applications/processes run elsewhere and the licensing server elsewhere as well on a "overhead" server.
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Question by:WastCo
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by:WastCo
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I have found one article just after posting the above related to running the PvS and DdC on the same server.  It talks about SBS.  I do not have SBS and will not.  Also, we will be using iSCSI in the new installation.  We will allocate separate NICs for this.
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zoubi77 earned 325 total points
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Hi,

first thing - your XA and XD resources CAN be accessed normaly via Online Plug-In. You have to add additional (XenDesktop) farm to your Web Interface as described here -http://community.citrix.com/display/ocb/2010/05/20/Presenting+Both+XenApp+and+XenDesktop+Resources+to+Users.

I'm running a lot of XD4 & XA6 environments and do not have any headackes.

Answers to your other questions -
a) you shuold not do this (as you've already figured it out your self). It might just work, but for security reasons you should not mess with your AD server. Exchange should also not be instaled on DC (even though it will work OK in small environments)
b) XD and XA have different databases and CANNOT be consolidated to one. You have small environment, so there will be not a problem to host both of them on ANY existing SQL server. Databases can be installed on any server that has MS SQL (or Oracle) installed. You can manage SQL server through SQL Management Studio (free to download)
c) what is DmC (Domain controller or Desktop Delivery Controller). You can install DDC and PVS on same server, but it's not supported. It could work on such small environment as your. But do not hold me responsible if you'll run into problems ;). Every component should be on different server - DC, DDC, PVS and XenApp
d) You need some storage solution (NFS, FC, iSCSI...) to implement HA. Your iSCSI will be just fine to support HA, so you could migrate VM between servers at no downtime.

So, I hope that clarify things for you.

BR
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by:WastCo
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Zoubi77,

Thank you for your answer to the online plug in question.  That worked very well.  Is there a way that it could work for the online app that is not web based?  I usually have used the small blue icon on the bottom right to click and then the desktop appears.  When I logged in otherwise to the other server (XenApp) I would receive a list of the apps individually.  I don't know if both can show up this way.  Regardless, the web based item is very cool and functional. Thank you again for that.

Follow up items to my questions and your answer for a-b follow below:

a.    I think we'll follow your recommendation (and thank you for refreshing my recall on the DC not being an Exchange server) of a new DC with Exchange elsewhere.  I believe that the DC likely can (small environment remember - never more than 20 users and that is two years down the line as we have seven now) host the SQL DB in MDB/Express form.  It sounds like I should have a DC dedicate to only higher level authentication items and such and I should run all the background items such as Backup, A/V, BES, and the like on another box.  I could end up having six servers running to manage a network for ten users.  (DC, background process server, DDC, PvS, Exch, XenApp)  While this is best practice I might go broke with all the licensing.  Would your less than preferred route be to have the DC stand alone running maybe one or two other items, an EXCH server by itself, the DDC running with maybe another item or two running on it, and the XenApp server?  That would give me four servers.  Perhaps I can use the DC for 1/2 of the background items including SQL and the DDC for the remainder.  Then Exchange stands alone.  The PvS is where all the need for processing power is as I understand but I don't know if that is true with XenDesktop only.  Any thoughts here would help.
b.   Good.  SQL is what we will likely use.  Our CRM software is an MSDE version and if I go up to teh full SQL DB or version I end up paying triple.  We'll hold with SQL Express.
c.   DDC rather than DmC.  My error.  PvS is not required with the Express version of XD4.0 as I do not have one.  However, PvS is required for XD-VDi, Enterprise, and Platinum I believe.  Is this true?  Is this due to the fact that Enterprise and Platinum have their flavor of XA included?  My understanding is that XA included in XD Ent/Plat does not allow for an individual application only to be run.  Is this understanding correct?  (of course outside of the VD)
d.    HA is how I want to go I believe.  Would this allow for a failure of one server and instant migration to the other server by the servers?  Or is this requiring load balancing.  Not sure on this but either way, if I can turn up a server in an hour or less from the iSCSI on the second box that is good enough.

Thanks for this.  This is clearing up now.  

MGW
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by:amichaell
amichaell earned 175 total points
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C. PVS is only required when you want to stream your desktop image from a single Golden Image to multiple devices (physical or virtual).  Without PVS you are individually maintaining multiple images.  With PVS you maintain a single image.  

Can you clarify what you mean by the XA license included with XD not allowing an individual application to be run?

D. So long as you have multiple hypervisors, appropriate licensing, and shared storage you can achieve HA.  I don't believe it is quite instantaneous transfer should a hypervisor host fail, though it can be automated.
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by:WastCo
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C.  Perfect.  I have been running Express 4.0 for some time and this clears up the multiple images issue.  This will be perfect for us as we grow.

I read somewhere that XA is part of XD Enterprise and Platinum.  My understanding is that the XA allows only individual applications to be pushed to the XD desktops but not necessarily as simply a streaming application.  Think of an iPad accessing a XD.  Obviously all of the XA apps could be used by the XD desktop.  But, what if I wanted to see only Outlook in the Dazzle screen on the iPad without accessing the XD desktop?  Would the XA included in XD Platinum allow for single application delivery outside of a virtual desktop?

D.  Multiple hypervisors, proper licensing, shared storage - check (will be when I get all in place).  Great news.  This would be huge.

Thank you for the help here.  Both to you, amichaell and Zoubi77.  

I will look at how to award points as I am new to doing this.  Thank you both for the answers I was looking for.
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by:amichaell
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XA is part of XD Platinum (and I think Enterprise).  I was told by my local Citrix sales engineer that you are able to use the XA included with XD Platinum however you want, with our without XD.  I would check on that with Citrix to be sure, though that is what I was told.  Course, that could have just been SalesSpeak.
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by:WastCo
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Yes.  I do know about SalesSpeak.  I get the ending responsibility so I felt it necessary to drill down.

Thanks for the info.  We have been very pleased with XenServer and also XD4.0 Express.  I have a feeling that the new installation will make things even more easy.
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by:zoubi77
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Hi,

sorry for not beeing around lately. You can use XA with or without XD, but you will have per user licensing and not concurrent as it's the case with 'ordinary' XenApp. With XD enterprise you get XA Ent and with XD plat, you get XA platinum.

If you need anything else (help in setting up your environment), feel free to contact me at zoubi77 @ gmail . com

Glad I could help you with this solution
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