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Citrix Desktop Player & Citrix Synchronizer Part 1

Citrix Desktop Player & Citrix Synchronizer Part 1

One of my colleague was asking me about Citrix Desktop Player. And I must say I had heard about this product a couple of times over the years. But never had the time or need to look at this. So now here we go…

What is desktop Player..

So think about this, when you are flying up in the air in an airplane at 30,000 feet. And you are trying to get some work done. You don’t want to depend upon a Wifi connection to access your corporate desktop in the datacenter or cloud… You want to run it locally. And nowadays executive, sales, consultants, field engineers are traveling a lot and always roaming from place to place. With the consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device programs, more and more people are choosing MacBooks as their primary computing device. So what those people want is one device to access two environments; Personal and Corporate. Two platforms; Mac and Windows. Two desktop environments; local and hosted.

So where this fit into the Flexcast model.

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There are 3 things to think about.

Internet Connection

You would think these days it is rare to encounter a scenario when there is no internet available. But it is quit common to run into situations where there is no internet, or the internet is really crap…. You could think of Airplane the availability of Wi-Fi is increased but the quality is often a challenge. Events, many people are using the same Wireless connection. Hotels, will provide internet, but sometime the Wi-Fi Access Point is far away from your room, or other users are overloading the internet with streaming movies or something like that…

BYOD

We all heard the stories that PC’s are dead and sales are dramatically shrinking. And I think that in the consumer world that is the case. But looking in the business market i can see that laptop sales are still there, and I even think slowly growing. So if this is the case, any organization looking at implementing a VDI environment should consider this…

Management

Now you think, how can I manage all those devices. So here synchronizer comes into place

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You can also connect with XenClient which is a Type 1 Hypervisor. But I think Citrix is dropping this within its product line. So therefore I am not mentioning it.

About Citrix Synchronizer

Synchronizer is the server used to deliver Virtual Machines (VMs) to DesktopPlayer
clients.
It manages:

  •  Users (which computer is assigned to each, which virtual machines (VMs), policies,
    which virtual appliances are assigned, and the backups for each VM))
  •  Groups (which users belong to which groups, and group assignments)
  •  VMs (which OS and version, which groups and users, policies are assigned)
  •  Policies (backup frequency, USB and other device controls, VM and computer access control, and more)
  •  Software (what is available in the software library, and which VM has it been
    assigned to)
  •  Computers (computers running DesktopPlayer that are registered to users and which run virtual machines)
  •  Events (detailed audit trail of actions for each object in Synchronizer)

Synchronizer builds the VMs, manages users and their groups, handles integration with
Active Directory, and assigns VMs to users. When contacted by a computer, it sends
down updated VMs and policies.

Using Synchronizer, the Administrator can request information about the computer
running a VM (disk use, hardware available, and diagnostics).

So how those this work;

Centralized management is performed through Synchronizer. It is responsible for VM
deployment, policy, updates and simplified backups. Synchronizer also integrates with
Microsoft Active Directory allowing users and groups to be imported.

Synchronizer approaches the deployment of these items in a unique manner. Instead of
the traditional deployment of locally executed installation files (.exe, .msi, etc.),
Synchronizer employs a different approach. The Administrator is able to use a WYSIWIG
(what you see is what you get) approach by creating and manipulating the operating
system images directly through integration with Microsoft Hyper-V that presents a
running version of the OS image for the Administrator to manipulate.

The Administrator is able to add updates directly to the VM image and only the delta
differences are deployed to the clients, where they are added with the base images to
create the updated image. Essentially, the system is simply copying updates as an
image instead of relying on imperfect installation logic trees which leads to unforeseen
edge cases that can cause deployments of updates to fail.

Installation of Synchronizer

Before the installation of Synchronizer, you will need the following

• Clean install of Windows 2012 R2 computer
• Create and configure an Active Directory Service account for Synchronizer. Also create an OU for Synchronizer to create computer accounts
• Enable the Hyper-V role or have a Hyper-V server standing by
• Install .Net 3.5
• SQL Server or SQL Express

CPU and Memory Recommendations

The following table are some guideline one can consider for the install.

Table

The recommended disk space is calculated from a formula:

??????????? ???? ????? = 300 ?? + 150 ?? × (?????? ?? ??????? ???)

Installing Synchronizer

After all the Requirements have been set, you could start with the installation of Synchronizer.

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Click on Next to Continue

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Accept the ‘License Agreement” and click on Next to Continue

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At this point you can install a Central of Remote Server. Because I am installing this in my own home-lab I choose “Central Server”

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If you did not enable the Hyper-V role as one of the requirements you should get the following message. In my case I will use another Hyper-V server.

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Fill in a name

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Use the defaults, an click on Next

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Fill in your correct DNS settings and continue while selecting Next

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Because I am using another host as a Hypervisor, I should fill in the following information
Click Next

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I a am using SQL Express as a database

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Click on Next to continue

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I am using my existing License Server.

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Click on Next to continue

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You will get a summary of all the settings. Click on Next to start the installation.

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After the installation is finished you need to reboot you’re machine

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After the reboot. You can start up synchronizer console..

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In next blog post we will see how to make an actual new virtual machine….

REFERENCE MATERIALS USED: CITRIX.COM, SUPPORT.CITRIX.COM AND THE E-DOCS WEBSITE.