Citrix Managed Desktops, a guided tour. Part 1


Citrix entered the DaaS market with Citrix Managed Desktops or CMD as it is called in a shortened way. I wrote several articles on CMD/WVD and the DaaS market, read one of them right here for some overview. – https://robbeekmans.net/euc/microsoft-windows-virtual-desktop-a-comprehensive-overview/ – There are more, search for WVD and DaaS and you’ll find them all. In this series I’ll be your guide and show you around Citrix Managed Desktop. See this as an introduction guide, so you know what is what.

Citrix Managed Desktop – console walkthrough

Citrix Managed Desktop is a new Citrix solution. There is a new console, but no worries this console is easy to use, it is Childs play. I’m going to split up the blog to make it easier for you to read. Let’s start with the console and the options there.

The console

To get to Citrix Managed Desktop console you go to https://daas.cloud.com and log on to Citrix Cloud. The managed desktop console will open after you’ve done so.

CMD console

If we leave out the monitoring, I will get back to that in a different blog article, this is the console. No matter how long you worked in IT, this is an easy to use console, right? All your options are on the right side, so easy to find. Let’s walk through the menu options one by one

Image management

The top one is image management, there are two options right here;

  • Import an image
  • Build an image from templates

You can see both option in the bottom of the screenshot. You don’t need to build or import and image, you can use the ones Citrix provides as well. But let’s assume you don’t want those and create a new one.

Image Management

Importing an image

Importing an image is the BYO image option of Citrix Managed Desktops. Your previously created image, running in your own Azure subscription can be imported here. Give it a name and it is added to your image repository.

Import your image from Azure

Building an image

The other option is the build your image based on templates. These templates are (beside your imported images) Citrix provided and optimised images.

Build your image

You select the master image, Windows 10, windows server 2016 or whatever suits you best.

Image selection

These are the steps you need to take to build that image;

  • Give it a name
  • Select your network connection (your connection to your on-premises environment if you need one)
  • Select a Azure region to deploy from
  • Set logon credentials
  • Pick the best instance type and you’re done

So you have multiple options, you pick what fits your needs best. I think that gives a lot of possibilities and freedom to customers.

Creating a catalog

Once you build that image or selected the image you need you start creating the catalog. A catalog is what Microsoft would call a Host Pool. Citrix has called it a catalog for ages and frankly it sounds better than a host pool.

There are two ways of going about;

  • A custom created catalog with all freedom to pick your choice
  • A quick create catalog with preset choices.

Let’s first take a look at the custom created catalog as that is what most customer will use I assume. First choice to make is the type of catalog, what kind of environment are you creating?

  • Multi-session (session based desktops)
  • Pooled (non-persistent desktops)
  • Static (persistent desktops)

Of course the connectivity to your network if required and the Azure region to deploy in.

Next steps would be to select the storage type (HDD, standard SSD or premium SSD) and the work load you will deploy on it. This gets a bit tricky as Citrix does not have the power to look into your users, apps and work loads. Tests have been done with various work loads to get average metrics but only real life testing will reveal true numbers. You need to work with this and tune while you are running.

Last you select the master image you want to work with you name your catalog with a name you like.

Create a catalog

With that you created a catalog, I think it is pretty easy.

Quick create

Sure it can be easier if you just need a desktop and don’t want the hassle. If you want that you click on Quick create and get the following options;

  • Instance choice
  • Azure region
  • Number of machines

With the Quick create option you create static machines connected to a managed Azure AD with no connectivity to you on-premises network and with cost-saver power setting preset. Quick and easy if that is what you want.

Quick create

Catalog management

Now that we have a catalog, let’s take a look at catalog management for a moment. When you click the three little dots behind the catalog you open the properties of the catalog.

There are 5 tabs there to help you manage the catalog and depending on whether it is a multi- or single-session catalog they differ a bit on options.

Updating the catalog

Updating the image for one is different for a static image then for a multi-session image. With a multi-session catalog you get the option to schedule log-off timers.

Details

The first tab shows the details of the catalog, number of machines, image you selected, versions, instance type and so on.

Catalog management

Desktops and apps

The second tab shows either desktops, if your catalog is a desktop catalog, or desktops and apps for a multi-session one. Citrix Managed Desktops allowed for both desktops and apps to be published to a user side by side. This is a differentiator to some others out there.

Adding applications to the catalog is easy, you can either search from the apps presented through the start menu or select them based on path. Click the arrow to add or remove them from the list. Still Childs play to me.

Subscribers

Next one is a bit of a messy screenshot but you’ll get it. It shows the subscribers to the catalog, the users that will have access to the catalog, the desktops and/or the apps. they are called subscribers. You don’t have to type each name or group in a box like with Microsoft WVD you can search and select them from a list. It has to be simple to use, right?

Catalog – subscribers

Machines

To see how you Citrix Managed Desktops machines are doing you click on the Machines tab. It will show the powered-on, powered-off machines and one registered or not. from this tab you can reset, power-off the machines or set them to maintenance mode.

Catalog – machines

Power management

Running workloads in the cloud will cost you money, the promise of cloud that is was cheaper to run workloads is true if you take care of the time instances run. No user in your org works 24/7, the ones that try burn out soon after, so why have workloads running 24/7. The sheer fact that you can doesn’t make it a good choice.

So with the catalog you have autoscale option, fully integrated in the console. You set the disconnect, logoff settings, pick the days it applies to, set your capacity buffer and you’re set.

Catalog – power management

Preset

You can create a preset of the settings so you can use them with other catalogs as well. Things are designed to make it easier. In a multi-session catalog the options are a bit different, you have sessions to work with so different setting here.

Catalog – multi-session power options

User access and authentication

So with that we completed the catalog creating, we have an image, a power settings, we have our users subscribed to the catalog. things are looking good I think. Let’s show one more thing for this part of the blog, let’s show where you find the url to connect to the catalog.

Workspace URL

In the right side menu, the second option there, is user access and authentication. A important thing to notice there is that you see the url your users will need to go to to logon to the catalog you just created. It is not hard to find, almost hidden in plain sight.

You can change the url to connect to Citrix Managed Desktops to something that fits you better, you see the info on how to do that in the question mark, but trust me if you click the hamburger icon in the left top corner you’re half way there.

It also shows where your users are authenticated too, so that is important to make sure that is correct.

With all that set – I’ll be going deeper in the menu option in a follow up blog – your users can logon, either with the workspace app or through a browser.

You guided tour part 1 stops here. you can get of the bus now. be on the lookout for the next part where we go deeper into the menu options and monitoring. Part2 is found here https://wp.me/p7hTwD-1mG


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