Introduction to Desktop Virtualization

Desktop virtualization, often called client virtualization, is a virtualization technology used to separate a computer desktop environment from the physical computer. Desktop virtualization is considered a type of client-server computing model because the “virtualized” desktop is stored on a centralized, or remote, server and not the physical machine being virtualized.

Desktop Virtualization Types

Desktop virtualization “virtualizes desktop computers” and these virtual desktop environments are “served” to users on the network. You interact with a virtual desktop in the same way you would use a physical desktop. Another benefit of desktop virtualization is that is lets you remotely log in to access your desktop from any location.

VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure — or Interface) is a popular method of desktop virtualization. This type of desktop virtualization uses the server computing model, as the desktop virtualization in this scenario is enabled through hardware and software. VDI hosts the desktop environment in a virtual machine (VM) that runs on a centralized or remote server.

There are other types of DV:

  • Client Hypervisors (type 1 and Type 2)
  • Streaming
  • Application Virtualization
  • Terminal Server

Advantages of DV

  • Windows 7 migration
  • Cost saving and green IT
  • Helpdesk efficiency/desktop management
  • PC lifecycle Management
  • User Experience
  • Cloud integration
  • Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery
  • BYOPC/BYOC/CYOC – Bring, buy , Choose your own PC

Server Virtualization

Server Virtualization is about Consolidation, Containment and Availability

VDI- Server -Hosted Virtual Desktops

  • VMs reside on servers in the data center
  • Server-based computing model
  • Centralized management , access, performance, and security
  • VDI-Storage, Management and User Personalization

Advantages of Server-Hosted Virtual Desktops

  • Ease of management
  • Power savings
  • Replace broken hardware with Thin Clients
  • Support savings
  • Use of existing hardware
  • Business continuity
  • Backups
  • Device independence
  • Sensitive applications

Client Hypervisors -Type 1

  • Standardized HAL
  • Reduce initial investment
  • Single Windows image
  • Multiple VMs
  • Enable BYOC
  • Swap user machine
  • Easier management and update

Client Hypervisors -Type 2

  • Reliance on general purpose OS
  • Double, triple, or quadruple number of managed VMs
  • Parching
  • Upgrading
  • Antivirus

EX: Vmware workstation

Application Virtualization

  • Legacy Application Support
  • Reduced Storage Requirements
  • Reduce/Eliminate Application Conflicts
  • Centralized Management
  • Centralized Distribution
  • Not all apps can be virtualized

Thin Clients

  • Zero Clients
  • Netbooks
  • Smart Phones
Desktop Virtualization Challenges
  • VDI– Complexity and Costly, Performance depends on Network, Storage and protocol
  • Terminal Server: Limited personalization, Performance depends on Network, Storage and protocol, Limited Resource management
  • App Virtualization: Complexity, Compatibility and Interoperability
  • Client Hypervisor: Unproven Technology, Physical device management (Type 2: lower performance requires a PC)
Introducing Citrix XenDesktop
  1. End to End desktop virtualization solution:
  • VDI
  • Application virtualization
  • Streaming
  • Terminal Server/XenApp
  • Type -1 Client Hypervisor
  1. Robust remote protocol (LAN\WAN & Remote User support)
  2. No virtual infrastructure lock-in, support for:
  • Citrix Xenserver
  • VMware vSphere 4 & 4.1
  • Microsoft Hyper-V

XenDesktop Components

  • Host/Virtual Infrastructure (XenServer,vSphere & Hyper-V)
  • Controller/Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC)
  • Provisioning Services (PVS)
  • Machine Creation Service (MCS)
  • XenClient
  • Web Interface (WI)
  • License Server
  • SSL Gateway (Access Gateway, NetScaler, Secure gateway)

Planning Provisioning Server Deployment

Provisioning Server (PVS)

  • Bare-Metal OS & Applications Streaming
  • All processing is local to target device hardware
  • Centralized management


PVS Components

  • Provisioning -It means able to provision a VDisk and the vDisk is streams to the Target device
  • Target Devices -Laptop, Desktop, VMs
  • vDisks -Single image , setup data files
  • Licensing
  • Database

PVS Services

  • Stream Service -Responsible for delivering images to Target Devices
  • SOAP Service – Simple objects access protocol for communication
  • Licensing Service
  • DHCP
  • PXE
  • TFTP

Boot Device Management

Network Boot:

  • PXE
  • TFTP

Boot Device Management (BDM) Utility

  • USB
  • CD-ROM (ISO file)
  • Hard Drive Partition

Boot Process

  1. The target device is assigned an IP address by DHCP or a boot device manager
  2. The target device obtains a bootstrap file from the network or from a boot device manager
  3. The target device connects to the Stream Service running on a Provisioning Server
  4. The Provisioning Server begins streaming the vDisk image t the target device
  5. The target device requests new vDisk image sectors as necessary to access data

Infrastructure Requirements

  • DHCP
  • Router Configuration
  1. Allow DHCP Broadcast
  2. Disable Spanning Tree on PVS switch ports
  3. Enable Spanning Tree port fast must be enabled for all PVS switch ports
  • PXE Configuration
  1. PXE 0.99i or higher
  • TFTP


  • Option 60 – PXE Client
  • Option 66 – FQDN or IP address of the TFTP service
  • Option 67 – ARDBP32.BIN

Communication Ports

  • PVS to PVS : UDP 6905 – 6909
  • PVS to Target Device: UDP 6910-6930
  • PVS Login Server Port: UDP 6910
  • SOAP Service: TCP 54321 -54322
  • Target Device outbound: 6901
  • DHCP: 67
  • TFTP: UDP 69
  • TSB: UDP 6969
  • License Server: TCP 27000

PVS Farm Design

  • Farms – A Farm is collection of objects (PVS, Sites)
  • Sites – Logical grouping of PVS, vDisks, Devicce Collections
  • Stores – Logical & physical configuration of vDisks
  1. Farm Stores
  2. Site Stores
  3. Single Server Stores
  4. Distributed Server Stores
  • Write Cache – Writing the OS image cache
  1. Server Disk
  2. Target Device Disk
  3. Target Device RAM
  • Device Collections
  • Database -MSSQL Server 2005 & 2008 are supported
  • Licensing
  1. XenApp Platinum
  2. XenDesktop Platinum
  3. XenDesktop Enterprise
  4. PVS For Data Centers
  5. PVS For Desktops
  • Role-based access
  • High Availability

Role-Based Administration

  • Farm Administrator
  • Site Administrator
  • Device Administrator
  1. Assign/Unassign vDisks
  2. Modify target device Properties
  3. Move, Remove & Delete target device from a collection
  4. Modify device template for a collection
  • Device Operator
  1. View properties of vDisks assigned to target device
  2. View target devices properties
  • Boot, Shutdown & Send messages to target devices

Installing and Configuring Provisioning Server

  • DHCP – Scope Options- 066 Boot Server Host Name (PVS name or IP address) 067 Bootfile Name (ARDBP32.BIN)
  • Licensing Server – Install licensing -Enter Password for the License Administration Console – From Citrix License Administration Console – upload the license file
  • Go to PVS and install SQL server Express and Install .Net Frame Work
  • Turn OFF windows Firewall
  • Install Citrix -Server Installation
  • Create a Fram, Data base Server – localhost
  • Database name-
  • Farm Administartor Group
  • License Server:-
  • Network Cards:
  • TFTP Option and Bootstrap Location:
  • Stream Servers Boot List


  • Configuring Infrastructure
  • Installing Citrix License Server
  • Installing and Configuring PVS
  • Creating Sites
  • Testing Configuration
  • Role-Based Administration
  • Creating A Store

Creating vDisks and Configuring Target Devices

vDisk Modes

  • Microsoft Virtual hard Drive (VHD) format
  • Private Mode:
  1. Read/Write Access
  2. 1 Target Device at a time access
  • Standard Mode
  1. Read only Access
  2. Multiple simultaneous Target Device Access
  3. Changes discarded on reboot
  • Difference Disk
  1. Retain changes on reboot
  2. Multiple, simultaneous Target Device Access

Write Cache Types

Standard Mode Write Cache Type:

  • Cache on server disk
  • Cache encrypted on server disk
  • Cache on device RAM
  • Cache on device’s HDD
  • Cache encrypted on device’s HDD

Start Provisioning Services Console:

Stores->Site->Server used->file name (WIN07)->Description->Size->VHD format->Fixed/Dynamic->Create

Right Click->Properties->Load Balancing->Port Blocker->Edit File Properties->Mode-> Select image Mode ->Access Mode->Cache type->

Options->Active Directory machine account password management-tick-High availability

Assign to target device:

Device Collection -> select Device->Properties->vDisks->Add

Master target device for making golden image- we can use this for up gradation


vDisks pool->select the vDisks- mount vDisk-> my computer -> format the drive -> unmount the vDisks

Go to the PVS setup file-> Device -> copy the files to WIN 7 machine-> and install the setup -XenConvert

Run XenConvert

Managing vDisks, Target Devices, Servers and Printers

Update vDisks->Select a master image machine->Properties-> change to private image mode-> add the changes -> back to standard mode->change the version number

Incremental updates

Go Citix program folder->PVS-> copy the Autoupdate.exe to vDisks-> go CMD-> vDisk->run

Run command:Autoupdate create Windows7(vDisk name).vhd Windows7v2(vDisk name).vhd D1.pva

:autoupdate merge Windows7.vhd D1.pva

:autoupdate merge Windows7.vhd D:\Rollback\D1.pva

Create Template:

Right click the Virtual Device Collection->Properties->Select Template target device-> set a VDI01

Go to sites->Properties of any site name->Options->Add new device to this collection->Select Virtual->ok

Go to Farm Properties->Options->Auto-Add->Add new devices to this site->select site name

Port Blocker:

Target Device Properties->Port Blocker->Override Category-> Select the Device->

vDisk pool->Properties of image (vDisk) file->Port Blocker->Enable Port Blocker

Active Directory integration with PVS

  • Go to vDisk File Properties->Active Directory machine account password management

GO server Properties->option->Active Directory->Enable automatic password support

  • To add Active Directory -> go to target Device Properties->Properties->Active Directory->Create Machine Accounts->Domain Name->Organization Unit->Create

Printer Management

Go to Target Device->Properties->Printer

Planning XenDesktop 5 Deployment

XenDesktop 5 Versions:

  • Express
  • VDI
  • Enterprise
  • Platinum

FlexCast Technology:

Citrix FlexCast is a delivery technology that allows an IT administrator to personalize virtual desktops to meet the performance, security and flexibility requirements of end users. Currently, there are five different FlexCast models available.

Citrix FlexCast is a delivery technology that allows an IT administrator to personalize virtual desktops to meet the performance, security and flexibility requirements of end users. Currently, there are five different FlexCast models available.

Hosted Shared – hosts multiple user desktops on a single server-based operating system.

Hosted VDI – provides each user with their own individual desktop operating systems.

Streamed VHD – allows Windows 7, Vista, or XP desktops to be run locally on an end user’s desktop computer. Desktops are based on a single golden image and provisioned using Provisioning Services.

Local VM – allows Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, or XP desktops to run locally within a hypervisor on the end user’s laptop. The virtual desktop image in its entirety is delivered to the hypervisor to allow for offline connectivity.

On-Demand Apps – delivers Windows applications from the data center.  Allows software applications to be delivered online or offline. Does not provide end users with a virtual desktop.

FlexCast Technology

XenDesktop 5 Core Components:

  • Controller: -Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC)
  • Machine Creation Service -(Similar to VmWare link clone) link snap shots from master image VM
  • Desktop Provisioning-PVS
  • Virtual Desktop Agent – It’s a software install on the VM
  • Citrix Online Plug-in – Integration with XenApp to delivering published application to Virtual Desktops
  • Citrix XenApp
  • Citrix XenServer

XenDesktop 5 Additional Components:

  • NetScalers: – SSL VPN Load balancer
  • Branch Repeaters – WAN acceleration
  • EdgeSight – Monitoring suet
  • EasyCall – VoIP
  • Password Manager – Single sign on
  • StorageLink – API allows different storage arrays to tag in,

XenDesktop 5 System Requirements:

  • Controller
  • Database
  • Management Consoles
  1. Desktop Studio
  2. Desktop Director
  • Requirements
  1. License Server
  2. Clients
  3. Active Directory
  • Virtual Desktops
  • Host (Virtual Infrastructure)

XenDesktop 5 Site Design

  • Controller Server
  • License Server
  • Database Server
  • Desktop Studio Console
  • Desktop Director
  • Web Interface
  • Active Directory Domain
  • VMs or Physical Machine

Single Site:

  • Ideal if all users will connect back to single datacenter
  • Ideal if all user data is in the same datacenter

Multiple Sites:

  • Ideal for geographically dispersed datacenters
  • User data resides on server in multiple datacenter
  • Faster access
  • Higher reliability

Installing and Configuring XenDesktop 5

Desktop Catalog Types:

Catalogs are collections of VMs or Physical Machines managed as a single entity

  • Pooled:
  1. Pooled-random
  2. Pooled-static
  • Dedicated
  • Existing
  • Physical
  • Streamed

Desktop Groups

Desktop Groups are collections of VMs allocated to users and groups

A single desktop group can:

  • User Multiple Catalogs of the same type
  • Assign an end user to multiple machines
  • Assign multiple users to one machine

You cannot:

  • Cannot use the same machine in more than one group
  • Cannot create mixed groups from different catalog types

Desktop Group types:

  • Shared: Pooled -random and streamed
  • Private: Pooled-static, Dedicated, Existing and physical

Installation Tasks

  • Controller Server
  • Database
  • Web Interface Installation

Configuration Tasks

  • Create and configure Site
  • Configure Host Connectivity
  • Configure Desktop Catalogs
  • Configure Desktop Groups

Install XenDesktop:

Select Components to Install

  • XenDesktop Controller
  • Web Access
  • Desktop Studio
  • Desktop Director
  • License Server

Desktop Deployment

->name->New York->Use Default Data base

Machine Creation ->Configure ->Machine Type->

User Assignment -> Select machines for Assignment

Configuring Controller Discovery Method

  • Registry Based (Default)
  • Active Directory Based
  1. OU
  2. Controller Security Group
  3. Service Connection Point (SCP) Object
  4. RegistrationServices Container
  • Access this computer from the network privilege
  • Aet-ADControllerDiscovery.Ps1

Configuring Controller Discovery Method

  • Registry Based (Default)
  • Active Directory Based
  1. OU
  2. Controller Security Group
  3. Service Connection Point (SCP) Object
  4. RegistrationServices Container
  • Access this computer from the network privilege
  • Aet-ADControllerDiscovery.Ps1

Configuring AD Discovery Method

  • Create an OU in Active Directory
  • PowerShell’s execution policy is set to Restricted
  • Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
  • Set-ADControllerDiscovery.PS1

-ProgramFiles\Citrix\Broker\Service\Setup Scripts

Go to Citrix Studio-> Poweshell->Launch Powershell->run->Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned ->y

go to CD brocker->cd service-> cd “setup scripts” -> run .\Set-ADControllerDiscovery.ps1 -on -ExistingOuDN “ou=citix, dc=xxxxx,dc=xxxxx”

Web Access

Citrix Web Interface ->Create Site->Specify ISS location->IIS site->Default Web Site-Path->/Citrix/XenApp/->Name->XenApp ->Authentication

Specify Server Farm->Farm Name-> server Name ->Authentication Methods->Domain Restrication->

 Managing XenDesktop 5

  • Management Consoles:
  1. Desktop Studio
  2. Desktop Director
  • Provisioning Service
  1. Provisioning server Console
  2. XenDesktop Setup Wizard
  • License Server
  1. License Management Console
  • Web Interface
  1. Citrix Web Interface Management

Administration Roles

  • Full Administrator
  • Read-only Administrator
  • Machine Administrator
  • Assignment Administrator
  • Help desk Administrator

Citrix Policies

  • Two unfiltered policies by default (Machine & Users)
  • Active Directory GPOs take precedence
  • Citrix user policies only take effect during log on and reconnect
  • Citrix Machine policies only take effect during reboot or log on
  • Unfiltered policies take priority over filtered polices

Monitoring and Troubleshooting XenDesktop 5

 Desktop Director

A Citrix XenDesktop environment can be used to centralize user desktops back into the data center. By itself, Desktop Director enables a small number of high-level IT administrators to handle a large number of desktops. Desktop Director provides a secondary, web-based interface for first- and second-level Help desk staff to assist users and perform daily maintenance activities, without providing them access to the full XenDesktop console. With Desktop Director, Help desk staff can view and interact with user sessions to provide low-level support by troubleshooting user problems.

Desktop Director Pages:

  • Dashboard
  • User/Machines Details
  • Desktop Groups
  • Machine List

Default Filters

  • Unregistered
  • High CPU
  • High Latency
  • High Profile Load time
  • Last Connection Failed
  • Out of Date

User and Machine Management

  • Managing Machines:
  1. Power Management
  2. Maintenance Mode
  3. Assign/Unassign VM to user or group
  • Managing Users
  1. Log off or disconnect
  2. Send a message
  3. Shadow (remote control)

Working with Citrix Receiver

Clients and Plugins

  • Citrix Receiver:
  1. Online plugin
  2. Offline Plugin
  3. Secure Access
  4. Communications Plugins
  • Merchandising Server
  1. Auto-update plugins
  2. Automatic Plugin Push
  3. Automatic Client Configuration

Access Modes

Full-Screen-Only mode:

  • User access to single VM
  • Full Screen
  • Auto launch desktop
  • No user control of desktop appearance
  • Pass-through authentication needed

Window View Mode:

  • Receiver
  • Seamless Window
  • User control appearance of Desktop
  • User selects USB devices available to virtual desktop

Endpoint Devices

  • Managed/ Unmanaged Endpoint Devices
  • Fat clients, thin clients, tablets, smart phones etc…
  • Windows Embedded
  • Windows CE
  • Any device that supports Citrix Receiver: iPhone, iPad, Android Devices, Windows Mobile, MAC, Linux, Windows

XenDesktop User Experiences

  • Citrix Ready Endpoint Devices
  • Repurposed PCs
  • Fat Clients
  • Thin Clients
  • Tablets / Smart phones
  • Remote Systems


  • Native Support: Key boards, Mice, Smart Cards
  • Unsupported USB Devices: Bluetooth dongles, USB hubs, USB NIC

Profile Manager

Why Profile Management

  • Save User settings
  • Improved Logon time
  • Inconsistent user experience across different resources
  • Profile corruption
  • Not well understood

User Profile Types

  • Mandatory
  • Roaming
  • Local
  • Citrix Profile Manager
  • 3rd part (RES Software, AppSense)

Citrix Profile Management

  • Network-based profile
  • Profile solution for XenApp, XenDesktop and local desktops
  • GPO/ .ini configuration driven