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Excalibur and Orchestrator Magic

When Citrix released Excalibur they also included a whole bunch of Powershell which allows you to run Powershell cmdlets to alter anything.
If you are inside the Studio console you can see that there is a PowerShell window there, which shows all of the cmdlets that you have run.

and how does this help ? With the combination of Orchestrator, we can add automation to the equation.
What if we could automate the assignment of application to users via Orchestrator? and we could also add an approval workflow if we used it with Service Manager.
If a new users want a set of 20 new desktop for his or hers company we could create a new workflow which would run a PowerShell script against MCS and do this automatically.
However, I’m not going to go ahead of myself here, this is a start post to show what we can do with the provided PowerShell modules.

First I’m going to show how to import the modules that Citrix provides in this release.
Head over to the Studio server and open Powershell ISE
From there you can run this import commands.

There are more modules but these cover most of the administrative tasks.
If you refresh the ISE modules list now, the Citrix components will show up.

If we created a simple «Publish Application task» We can use the New-BrokerApplication to publish notepad.

New-brokerApplication -CommandLineExecutable C:\windows\notepad -displayname notepad -Applicationtype HostedonDesktop

NOTE: A bit of advice if you are unsure of how the cmd should look like, create an application with the wizard and extract the info after using the get-brokerapplication cmdlet.
Now we have a functional PowerShell cmd to publish Notepad to the studio.

So we know now that we have to import the modules first, then we can run the command to publish notepad, but how do to this via Orchestrator?
First set set-executionpolicy unrestricted on the Studio server.

And your script should be saved.

Now we simplest way is to use the Run Command activity in Orchestrator

I saved the script file locally on the Studio server, and the script looks like the output from the PowerShell ISE above.
So when I run this runbook what happens ?

This just publishes the application in Desktop Studio, it still isn’t assigned a user yet, that requires a bit more in PowerShell ill come back to that later this is just to show the abilities you have with Excalibur and PowerShell

Excalibur and Configuration Manager

Now Citrix released a beta build of Excalibur a couple of months ago, which shows the next generation of XenDesktop and XenApp architecture. (Well actually just XenDestkop, since the XenApp architecture is disappearing)
In addition, with this release we have some fancy choices for how to manage the machines within XenDesktop.

Excalibur will add additional WMI classes to all its desktop.
Which are listed here à

http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-ibi/cds-manage-sccm-ibi.html

This allows you to create collections based upon if it’s VDI or Session host based, and even if it is assigned to a user or not.
Now in order to make these attributes available in Configuration Manager we have to add some WMI classes.

Go into Client Settings -> and alter the clients policy -> Go into hardware inventory and choose add classes. And from the list choose Add Hardware inventory class. From there you can browse to a remote computer that is installed as a VDA and in the namespace you can type \root\citrix\desktopinformation

And choose «Citrix_VirtualDesktopInfo»
Then Press OK

This will give you some more attributes on that WMI class

Which you can again use to create collections based on the variables.

Since Excalibur does not have any direct integration with for instance App-V you can now create user-based assignments to delivery groups.
So the user has multiple options of application deliveries.

Either via Software Portal and Configuration or Storefront with Citrix.

Citrix Project Excalibur training

Citrix has released a number of training videos regarding Project Excalibur, you can find them in the links below.

Part 1, Excalibur introduction
http://bit.ly/PN7vHD

Part 2, Excalibur installation
http://bit.ly/Q5Cq3o

Part 3, Citrix Studio
http://bit.ly/ZnP5z1

Part 4, Master Image
http://bit.ly/Z847K3

Part 5, Citrix Storefront
http://bit.ly/UvDMFG

Part 6, Machine Catalog
http://bit.ly/Z83Oi5

Part 7, Deliver Groups
http://bit.ly/RQdI3K

Part 8, Delivering Applications
http://bit.ly/WT60vN

Part 9, Citrix Receiver
http://bit.ly/SUzWTz

Part 10, Citrix Director
http://bit.ly/W0bHlu

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.
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)
applications.

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

Studio.
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:

image

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.

1

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.

2

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

3

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

5

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.

8

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

9

10

11

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.

12

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

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.
Configuration
Administration:
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)
20

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.

22

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

24

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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