Citrix XenDesktop 7.0 is out!

XenDesktop 7XenDesktop 7 is a milestone in the Citrix end user computing experience. Citrix has merged XenDesktop (VDI) with XenApp, into a consolidated set of common consoles with common policies and HDX experiences. It also features full Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and SQL Server 2012 (with AlwaysOn clustering) support. Last year I had the pleasure of participating in a private beta, and really liked where Citrix was taking the product. You can now download it for yourself and give it a spin.

The entire installation experience is significantly improved, vastly easier, and reduced the number of consoles you had to deal with. The biggest change is for XenApp customers, as the administration experience is vastly different. For previous XenDesktop users it’s a welcomed evolution of Desktop Studio, Desktop Director, and StoreFront.

Briefly the ISOs appeared this morning, then disappeared, and re-appeared tonight. I grabbed a copy this morning, and have pretty much gone through a full install of Desktop Studio, StoreFront 2.0, licensing server, and configuring a NetScaler for load balancing StoreFront and the Desktop controllers. The experience was extremely smooth and only ran into one minor speed bump with SSL that I easily resolved.

Before you dive right into installing it, thoroughly read the release notes and install guide. You can find XenDesktop 7 on Citrix eDocs here. You can also download the highly detailed admin guide here. Once you login to My Citrix you can easily locate the install ISOs.

While I didn’t run into any show stopper or major issues, I do have some lessons learned from my install and some experience with StoreFront 1.2 that came in handy. Tips include:

  • If you configure two StoreFront servers for high availability, you may need to run the Citrix Configuration Replication service with Local System rights, or replication may fail between the two nodes.
  • StoreFront 1.2 really liked the Citrix Credential Wallet service startup mode set to Automatic (Delayed Start). Not sure if SF 2.0 needs that, but keep it in mind if you have issues after reboots.
  • NetScaler 10.1 has a new StoreFront monitor, which you should use to monitor the health of your StoreFront servers. Works like a charm for me.
  • If you install only the DDC role on a server, IIS is not installed. This is fine, but the DDC needs an SSL certificate bound to IP and port 443, or you can’t access the XML broker over SSL (which you should always do). This will also cause the NetScaler CITRIX-XD-DDC monitor to fail if you configure it for SSL. Use the following command on each DDC to bind your SSL certificate. The hash is the thumbprint value on the certificate, minus spaces. The appid is required, but you can use any valid GUID.

nettsh http add sslcert ipport=w.x.y.z:443 certhash=CertHash appid={8fbacae2-bd4e-8ef5-b202-1561845dd04f}

And that’s really about it. I haven’t yet created a machine catalog, but the bulk of the install is complete. SQL 2012 AlwaysOn is supported, and I verified that configuration works. So far this is looking like a solid release, and I look forward to beating up on it with Windows 8. I suspect a full install blog series is forthcoming.

Hands on labs from Synergy Los Angeles:

Taking a Tour of XenDesktop 7
Replacing Web Interface with StoreFront
What’s new in NetScaler 10.1
NetScaler Insight Center
NetScaler PoC
XenDesktop 7 Planning and Design

Updated on 6/30: 1800+ pg. XenDesktop 7 Administration Guide

 

 

 

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