File type association - Citrix

pma111
pma111 used Ask the Experts™
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How does file type association work in citrix, say for example a user has a desktop PC, and the admin wants users to access apps/files via citrix not their desktop PC (no pass through authentication they have to login to the domain and then into citrix 2 logins), if a user has say a word document on a network drive that they want to use, does FTA kick in and log them into citrix, or will it just open via word on their PC? I dont really get it?

Also - I cant really see what encourages users to login via cirtix, i.e. if they have all their software and all their drives mapped on their desktop, why would the admin have them then login to citrix to do the exact same thing. Wheres the benefit or need to access citrix if all the tools are available on their desktop, i just dont get it/see the benefits?
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Commented:
When applications are published through citrix the app does not run on the client machine, but the server has the app installed. only the mouse clicks, keystrokes, and the screen info is exchanged on the client machine.

I am a newbie to citrix, above  is my understanding

Author

Commented:
Yes, but in our case, their is software on the users local PC that they login to first, and then they login to citrix, a shortcut on their desktop. So technically they could access word on either their local PC or on citrix.
Senior Consultant
Commented:
The user needs to browse to the file from the citrix session for file association to kick in and open the Word from Citrix. Browsing from the windows explorer on the desktop will launch the Word local to the user's desktop. So if you want the user to have the same experience you will have to publish the 'Windows Explorer' on Citrix. When launched from Citrix and the user navigates through his network share and clicks on a document, Word will launch from Citrix.

The benefits can be manifested when looking at your objectives. Being clear about your objectives will clear the vagueness on why would one prefer Citrix on a PC desktop. Some of the objectives considered:
1. Business continuity and preparedness for Disaster Recovery
2. Accessing your applications from wherever you want in your premises (say you go to conference and you want quick access to your apps from the conf. PC which has no apps at all)
3. Accessing your applications from anywhere; on mission for example or at home.
4. Security and encryption of communicating channels.
5. Reduce your data center costs by virtualizing your servers
6. Plan to shift to Cloud computing and benefit from all its advantages

This is just to mention a few.
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Author

Commented:
>>The user needs to browse to the file from the citrix session for file association to kick in and open the Word from Citrix.

I am still a bit lost. My understanding here is our login to citrix is

1) login to the domain from  a desktop PC
2) double click ICA client shortcut, re-enter domain creds and it logs you into citrix

But after 1, and before completing 2, they can use all their software as they used to from their desktop. Surely if an admin wants users to access apps via citrix this facility should not be available? It almost seems "an option" to use cirtix, rather than enforcing it. If you want to go thin client surely it should be enforced, not give the user the choice of where to work, locally or on a citrix server?

I had a feeling that if a user starts trying to open software or files after step 1, before step 2, that the local machine says "hang on you should be doing this via citrix and pops up the ica client login screen", or similar?
Ayman BakrSenior Consultant

Commented:
I had the impression that you were using the web interface part whereby apps are accessed through a URL on a browser. However, your description implies a services site.

The desktop then should have the apps icons for Citrix as well as those installed locally. It then depends on what the user clicks. Again, if the user wants to have a word document kick in Citrix Word app then you need to publish the Citrix 'Windows Explorer' from which the user should browse to the document. If he opens 'My Computer' and browse to the network share to open the document he/she will end up launching the locally installed Word app.

Enforcing using Citrix should be a managerial decision - again it all boils down to what the objectives are. Perhaps in your environment your managers are giving you a period of time to adapt to Citrix before the cutoff and enforcing Citrix and to give you a chance to pinpoint any challenges that might arise.

What you are saying in your last paragraph is true if the user clicks on any of the published desktop icons.

Author

Commented:
Sorry no its not via a web URL, its ICA Client they use to login to citrix.

>The desktop then should have the apps icons for Citrix as well as those installed locally. It then depends on what the user clicks.

yes the ICA client is just a shortcut, so is word. But it just seems very lax to me how you give the user the choice of working with software locally or on a citrix server, it just doesnt add up.

>Enforcing using Citrix should be a managerial decision - again it all boils down to what the objectives are.

it just seems to a novice a very expensive luxury or 2nd operating environment, if there are benefits to using citrix why give the user the choice.
Ayman BakrSenior Consultant

Commented:
But it just seems very lax to me how you give the user the choice of working with software locally or on a citrix server, it just doesnt add up...
it just seems to a novice a very expensive luxury or 2nd operating environment, if there are benefits to using citrix why give the user the choice

I certainly agree with you. I tried to give a reason where you might be shifting from a desktop to a Citrix environment and you want to give an early care period whereby you don't want your users to face any interruption to their operations whilst they discover the challenges on Citrix. Once the environment gets stabilized a complete shift decision might be made. However, at the end, I believe you need to direct these questions to the decision makers in your organization - no expert here will be able to tell you why your environment is setup as it is.

Author

Commented:
I agree it was just more a brain storiming as to why this could be. As a rule its not a current shift its been this way for a while. If you are using citrix via desktop PC's, what are the admins options to mitigate the use of local software applications, and ensure the user has nothing at their disposal locally so they have to access citrix.
Ayman BakrSenior Consultant

Commented:
Some of the options are as follows:

1. Use of Software Distribution software like Altiris or SCCM to uninstall the software from the desktop PCs.

2. Keep the software, however, create GPOs for denying the users launching any of them from their desktop PCs.

3. Manually uinstalling the software.

4. Any application having a server side you can configure it to disable any communication coming from clients with IP addresses pertaining to user's desktop PCs.

The above are some of the thoughts.

Author

Commented:
You have been a big help....

Author

Commented:
While I have your attention, can you give a managers overview into a couple of oints you made:

1. Business continuity and preparedness for Disaster Recovery
4. Security and encryption of communicating channels.

Re 1 and 4, can you go into a little more detail on how citrix lends/has benefits in these areas as opposed to traditional physical desktop environment. Please keep comments basic. Or perhaps if you show the cons of 1 and 4 in traditional desktop environment and the pros that using citrix has in this area.
Ayman BakrSenior Consultant

Commented:
1. With business continuity in mind, an organization would have, in addition to its main/HQ site, a disaster recovery site/s. This is usually active-passive. Maintaining the disaster recovery sites and keeping it prepared and up to date is costly and tedious (any upgrade to a software, any new software, any PC configuration, any change of PC/Printer specifications, any plugins introduced, any upgrade to the network infrastructure etc..., that is any change of any sort all need to be reflected in the disaster recovery sites as well). With Citrix most of the aforementioned, if not all, is eliminated. So you can see how Citrix can be a strong contributor to a business continuity strategy.

2. ICA protocol used by Citrix is encrypted and secure. Also, the security level can be selected in Citrix in terms of encryption. Published applications can be encrypted with different levels from 'None' to 128 bit. So the communication between the client (user's desktop) to a XenApp server will always be encrypted. In addition to that, more secure communication can be achieved by introducing Citrix Access Gateway, an SSL VPN - usually this is introduced for external communication to internal communication (but can also be used to add to securing communication internally).

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