Citrix Project Excalibur

For those that have been living under a rock for the last month or so (or hasn’t been to much involved in Citrix in a while) Citrix has just released a tech preview of their new solution (Which is at the
moment called Project Excalibur) Project Excalibur is the merging of XenDesktop and XenApp also with other components such as Storefront, the DDC and Citrix Studio(Desktop Studio)
And now with the merging of these products, the whole XenApp architecture is gone, there is no more IMA just FMA so no more Zones, Data Stores and so on.. It is much more reliant on the SQL database.

Now for those that aren’t so familiar with the Citrix terms and product names ill give a brief intro:

Receiver provides users with self-service access to resources published on
XenApp or XenDesktop servers. Receiver combines ease of deployment and use, and
offers quick, secure access to hosted applications, desktops, and data. Receiver also
provides on-demand access to Windows, Web, and Software as a Service (SaaS)

StoreFront authenticates users to XenDesktop sites and manages stores
of desktops and applications that users access.

Studio enables you to configure and manage your XenDesktop deployment.
Studio provides various wizards to guide you through the process of setting up your
environment, creating your desktops, and assigning desktops to users.

Delivery Controller.
The Delivery Controller is responsible for distributing
applications and desktops, managing user access, and optimizing connections to
applications. Each site has one or more delivery controllers.

Server OS Machines. (XenApp)
VMs or physical machines based on Windows Server operating
system used for delivering applications or hosted shared desktops to users.

Desktop OS Machines. (XenDesktop)
VMs or physical machines based on Windows Desktop
operating system used for delivering personalized desktops to users, or applications
from desktop operating systems.

This is a quick overview of how the topology is:


Also for those that are familiar with XenApp the term farm is now gone, it is now called a site
The Zone master function is also gone, in this release the function is distributed evenly across all controllers in a site.

Now lets take a walkthrough of the installation.
BTW: All of this was installed on one virtual server.


Now as you see there are basically two components here, Delivery Controller and you have the Deliver Agent.
The Studio can be installed as part of the delivery controller.


So since this is my first setup I’m going to install the Delivery Controller.With all the components!


This setup will also install a local SQL Express 2008 R2 if you choose it, (Which I only recommend for test / labs etc )


The Setup will also configure the firewall for incoming connections. After the setup is completed, you can have auto launch of the Studio where we can configure everything.


And now remember that farms are now switched out with Sites. So we are going to start with creating an empty site.




So here we just defined a name for the Site, and assigned a license to that site. After that is done we can start the “real” configuration.


Before we continue here I wish to explain what the different options here are –>

Search: says itself
Machine Catalog: A group of VMs or physical machines (For earlier XA people think of it as Worker Groups Smile
Deliver Groups: This is where you assign applications and desktops to users.
Applications: This is where to publish applications you wish to use.
HDX policy: Old Group Policy management
Logging: Configuration logging.
Here you set site administrator
Controllers: Here you have an overview of the site controllers
Hosting: Here you have the overview of what hosting environment you have, vSphere, SCVMM or XenServer.
Licensing: Overview of the license server.
Profile Management: Here you can define policy settings such as folder redirection etc (You can see how it is defined in the picture below)

Now Citrix has also implemented a lot of other nice to have features in the GUI for instance the PowerShell pane, shows all the commands that have been run as PowerShell commands.


And you also have a nice overview of the license usage.


Now part 1 of Excalibur post is complete, more will follow. Stay tuned Smile
But for System Center people like me there are new possibilities to get here.
Citrix recently released Project Thor which allows for an integration for XenApp into Configuration Manager. I’m exited to see what kind of integrations you can get here.

So something missing here, session lingering and session prelaunch where did it go?!!?

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