Tuesday, April 3, 2012

XenDesktop 5.6 - Step by Step Guide

This article will show how to quickly create a XenDesktop 5.6 Proof Of Concept.
In this environment we will use XenServer 6 and the Citrix Machine Creation Service (and not Provisioning Services) in order to create and manage virtual desktops, see The Citrix Blog for more information about Machine Creation Service.
First of all, take a look at this link for the System Requirements.
The process can be divided into three parts:
  • 1 – Windows 7 (or XP) image preparation;
  • 2 – XenDesktop Installation;
  • 3 – XenDesktop Configuration.

1 – Windows 7 (or XP) image preparation

These are the major steps to consider when preparing the client image:
  • Install a Windows 7 virtual machine;
  • Install XenServer tools (or HyperV or VMWare tools) on it;
  • Join it to your domain;
  • Install any application you want to provide with your desktop;
  • Install the Citrix Virtual Desktop Agent; here’s how to do it:
Virtual Desktop Agent installation:
1) Insert the XenDesktop DVD into the virtual machine and click on Install Virtual Desktop Agent:
2) Select Quick Deploy, accept the License Agreement and the click on Install:
3) The installation will start; click Close when it ends and let the machine reboot:
The client is ready, now you can install XenDesktop 5.6.

2 – XenDesktop Installation

Now we will install the server components required to run the POC. As it will be a small demonstration environment, we will install all components in one single server.
1) Insert the XenDesktop 5.6 DVD into your Windows 2008 R2 server, select Install XenDesktop, accept the License Agreement and click Next:
2) Select the components to install and click Next. We will select all components, including SQL Server Express:
3) If you have the Windows firewall enabled, the installer will ask you the permission to open the License server ports, otherwise, if you use another firewall or even none at all, it will ask you to open the License server ports yourself (in my case no firewall is configured); click Next and then Install in the installation Summary:
4) The installation will begin. Once it will be completed, click on Close. The Desktop Studio console will start, from there you will be able to configure your POC environment:

3 – XenDesktop Configuration

We can now start the configuration.
1) In the Desktop Studio console click Quick Deploy, then enter the name of your site an the Hypervisor information, in my environment I use XenServer 6:
2) Select the Hypervisor’s network and storage that should be used by your virtual desktops. Then choose the virtual machine you want to use as the base image for your future virtual desktops, that is, the machine we created at the beginning of the guide:
3) Now you can choose how many virtual desktops you want to create and their hardware; furthermore, you can choose in which Active Directory OU the computer accounts will be created:
4) Once done click on Next and choose the users or groups that should be able to access these desktops:
5) In the Summary window click Finish and the machine creation process will start:
You can see how the disk images for your desktops are created in the XenServer storage:
In the Hypervisor console you will see the new desktops along with their disks:
6) Click Close in the Quick Deploy window and you will be redirected to the Desktop Studio console, you will see that the web interface is automatically configured with a default website for your desktops:
7) Connect to the web interface with your browser; the web interface will automatically detect whether you have the Citrix Receiver or not, if not, it will ask you to install it:
8 ) Click on install and run the Receiver installation. After the installation completes, you will be redirected to the logon page where you will add your user name and password:
9) You will see the desktop published for you:
10) Just click on the icon and the connection will start:
Your Virtual Desktops are now ready!!!
Now you can start playing with policies, catalogs, assignments and so on…

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