Welcome to my first post on Citrix XenApp, hopefully my first of many. My plan for this series of blog posts is to carry out a step by step walk through from creating a My Citrix Account, downloading your XenApp install sources, browsing the Citrix knowledgebase and finally installing and configuring XenApp 6.5 in a test Server 2008 R2 environment. I will also be adding articles related to technical issues I have come across and potential trouble shooting steps that can be taken but we must crawl before we can walk.
Who is the target audience for this series of posts? I am writing this to myself back in 2007, fresh out of University, lots of enthusiasm but absolutely no practical experience! Maybe you have just had an in depth conversation about Citrix Server management with your IT manager or tech lead, you nodded knowledgeably all the time. As soon as the conversation was over you hurried back to your PC and googled Citrix XenApp or similar to find out what the hell is going on. If good fortune brought you to this site then welcome to the party. I would hope that more experienced techies will be able to take something away from this blog also.
I suppose the best place to start is the beginning, what is Citrix XenApp you may ask?
Getting started with Citrix XenApp 6 by Guillermo Musumeci defines Citrix Xenapp as a technology that allows users from different OS platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux and various mobile devices to connect (using client software called a Receiver) and run applications from a central location (referred to as a XenApp farm)
For a decent half page description on Citrix XenApp I would recommend this blog post by Shaun Ritchie: http://www.shaunritchie.co.uk/what-is-citrix-xenapp-part-i
There are some other good posts on Shaun’s site regarding aspects of Citrix and related technologies so it is well worth a browse.
Below is a diagram of how a typical Citrix XenApp Infrastructure might hang together. The users (on the left of the diagram) use the Citrix Receiver client to connect to the XenApp Servers and their backend infrastructure (on the right of the diagram)
Your next question might be where can I learn more? Well hopefully you will be able to learn a lot from this site. If you are eager to learn more straight away I would personally recommend the sources below:
The Greg Shields CBT Nuggets series covering XenApp 6 and the subsequent changes in XenApp 6.5 is well worth a look if you are feeling flush or your company is willing to splash out on the 90 odd dollars a month required for a login.
In addition to CBTNuggets I used Getting started with Citrix XenApp 6 by Guillermo Musumeci to study for my CCA, the newer version for version 6.5 has since been released since the last time I looked. It’s not perfect but it’s one of the better books I have read on the subject. It’s a little bit pricy for what it is but if you buy the Kindle edition it is word searchable which makes it a nice go to reference. (Amazon link below)
If you have gotten as far as this page you will obviously have figured out that Google is your friend. Often googling the error will bring you directly to the Citrix support forum discussing the error you are having and the various approaches to fixing the problem. You can browse the support forms for the various Citrix technologies at the link below.
Setting up a My Citrix Account
So now that you have a reasonable idea of what Citrix XenApp is and how it works the next step is to get your hands on the install sources and licenses for XenApp 6.5
The first step is to set yourself up a My Citrix Account which you can do at www.citrix.com/account which will bring you to the login page below:
The next step is to click on the Create Account link below the login which will in turn bring you to the page below.
The choice you make below will depend on your person and/or company requirements.
A customer account will be an individual user account which you can use to access installers, licenses and the like for your own use. In the steps I follow I will be using a customer account that is not affiliated with any company in order to demonstrate the type of access you will have at its most basic.
The partner account would be the one you would set up on behalf of your company if they do not have an existing account already. The Citrix Partner program works in a similar way to the Microsoft program in that you get discounts on resale of their products and access to licenses and trials depending on the number of Citrix Certified professionals working in the company and of course the Partner level that has been achieved. If your employer has a Citrix Partner agreement already it will be in their interest to add your account as an authorised user, especially if you have taken Citrix exams and linked them to your My Citrix account (which I will demonstrate later)
Fill in your details below as required:
After filling in your personal details the next step is to pick a username and password.
Once this has been set up and verified/activated via a valid e-mail address you will be able to login as shown below, maybe it’s just me but sometimes I get a bit lost navigating through the various sections of the page. If you lose your place the best bet is to click on My Account on the top right under the search bar. This will bring you back to the hub of the site where you can access everything else.
Linking your My Citrix Account to your Certification ID
If you have an existing Cert from Citrix I would recommend that the first link on the page above would be My Certification Manager
This will initially bring you to the Overview Page below, the next step is to click on My Certification Manager.
Under My Certification Manager you can enter and submit your Citrix Candidate ID in order to link the account. If you can’t remember your Candidate ID will see Certification Linking Instructions, click on the highlighted Citrix Certification Manager link.
Clicking on the highlighted Citrix Certification Manager link will bring you to a separate login page. If you have passed a Citrix exam you will have received instructions/details on setting up a login for the site.
Once logged in you will be able to see your Candidate ID which begins with CTX and ends with a number
Once your account has been linked it will look similar to the below:
Managing and accessing your XenApp licenses
The next useful link on the My Account page is the Licensing link.
If you click View Licenses it will bring you the page where you can view, manage and allocate licenses for your Citrix products:
As this is a stand alone Citrix Customer Account there won’t be any licenses to work with, if your account has been associated with an existing partner account you will be able to see the licenses your company has access to.
As you will be using a standalone account without any Partner privileges the only licenses you will have available will be underneath Previews/Betas – License Retrieval
On this page you will see a number of tabs for the licenses you have available, XenApp Evaluation licenses last for 90 days and allow up to 99 users, the XenApp Developer Edition license gives you a year’s license but is limited to two concurrent connections. (I have blanked out the serial numbers for obvious reasons)
We will deal with licensing the XenApp product in a later post.
Accessing and Downloading XenApp install sources
Finally the most important link is Downloads where you can finally get around to downloading the XenApp installer sources.
On downloads page choose the XenApp link:
Expand the XenApp 6.5 link on the next page and choose one of the three editions. Here is the link to the various features available in the different editions: http://www.citrix.com/products/xenapp/features/editions.html
Depending on your level of access you may get the message below when attempting to download the sources:
If you get this message below you will need to request the sources as a free download by clicking on the Trial Software link: (just below Downloads)
From here you can click on XenApp:
I chose the Full featured trial for medium to large enterprise so you can get sources for the Enterprise version of XenApp with the most features, then click Try it FREE:
The next step is to give Citrix your details and promise them your first born and then click Proceed to Download:
You will be redirected to a page where you can download the ISO, you will also receive the same information in an e-mail.
My next post will deal with installing XenApp in a Server 2008 R2 environment using the sources downloaded from My Citrix. It can be accessed here.