Installing and Configuring Citrix XenApp 6.5 (Part 2)

by [Published on 23 Oct. 2012 / Last Updated on 23 Oct. 2012]

In this articles series the author goes through the installation and configuration steps to implement a basic XenApp 6.5 environment. In this second part he shows the steps how to create and/or join a Citrix XenApp Farm.

It you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Creating a XenApp Citrix Farm

The first server you install (well actually the first server you start the configuration process) will always create the Citrix XenApp farm for your infrastructure. We ended the first article with the figure showing the configure option in the XenApp Server Role Manager. When you choose configure the XenApp Server Configuration Wizard will be started. Sometimes you need to minimize the XenApp Server Role Manager window, because the XenApp Server Configuration window will be placed behind that window.


Figure 1: Choose Configure to start the XenApp Server Configuration.

The first step in the XenApp Configuration wizard is to choose to set-up a new server farm or add the server to an existing farm. Because this is our first server, we choose Create a new server farm.

 


Figure 2: Create a new farm or join an existing farm.

Every farm should have a (unique) name, so the first step in the farm creation is to give the farm a name. Also the account that will be the first Citrix Administrator needs to be specified. By default, the user which is logged in and starting the wizard will be filled in automatically, but the user can be changed when needed. Afterwards, more accounts/groups can be added via the XenApp AppCenter console.


Figure 3: Providing the XenApp Farm Name and the first Citrix administrator account.

The next question is about the database. As explained in part 1 use a normal SQL server when possible, only use the SQL express option when the farm is relatively small and you don’t have an SQL server available. I will choose Existing Microsoft SQL Server database.


Figure 4: Choosing the SQL database

After choosing an existing Microsoft SQL Server database, we need to provide the settings for the SQL server like the SQL server name, the name of the (predefined) database, and if you are using Windows or SQL authentication for the database. For this article I’m using SQL authentication.


Figure 5: Specifying the SQL details.

The next step is to specify the account which will be used to access the database. As I selected SQL server authentication in the previous step I need to fill in the account created on the SQL server. Don’t forget to add the domain name when you are using Windows authentication.


Figure 6: Providing the username and password for access to the database.

Because Shadowing of users is forbidden in some countries you can enable or disable shadowing during the initial configuration process. When disabling shadowing here, there is no possibility to enable it again (only by reinstalling the whole server). So if regulations allow it enable shadowing here, but configure it later using Citrix policies.


Figure 7: Enable or Disable Shadowing

The next window actually consists of four configuration options. The first tab called Data Collection is always grayed out for the first server. For the second and following server this option is configurable and I will describe it later on in this article. At the XML Service tab you can change the XML port if you want to change the default port. On the third tab Receiver you can configure the Service Site, it can be useful if you publish a desktop and have some silos for specific applications. With the Service Site this application can be shown within the desktop. But for other use cases you can leave this part empty. On the last tab you define which users will be added to Remote Desktop Users group and which are able to access the server later on.


Figure 8: Configure Advanced Server Settings

All necessary information is collected and the process of creating the farm will be started by pressing the Apply Button.


Figure 9: Start the process of creating the farm

During the process the progress is shown. At the end the server configuration a successful message is displayed and via the Finish button the process will be ended.


Figure 10: Configuration successfully

After this wizard you will see that within XenApp Server Role Manager a reboot option will be shown. After the reboot the XenApp farm is functional and you could configure the farm using the consoles.


Figure 11: Reboot the server to apply the configuration.

But before we start the consoles and configure the Farm, in this article series we will first add a second server to the farm. Because Citrix splits the installation and initial configuration, the installation steps are the same as the first server as described in part one.

After the installation, Figure 1 of this article will be shown at this server to perform the initial configuration of the server. Also Figure 2 will still be shown, however then we need to choose the option Add this server to an existing server Farm.

 


Figure 12: Choosing Add this server to an existing Farm.

Next, we need to select which database we are using. Logically this depends on the decision made when configuring the first server. As we used a dedicated SQL for the first server I chose Existing Microsoft SQL Server Database.

 


Figure 13: Choosing the SQL server to use.

Next step is providing the information of the SQL server and the name of the database used for the XenApp Farm on this SQL server. Also the way the database will be accessed (using an SQL account or Active Directory account via Windows Authentication). Logically the same information needs to be filled in and used by setting up the farm.


Figure 14: Providing SQL information.

To access the database using the selected authentication method, the username and password need to be provided. Be sure to test the connection in advance, otherwise you can get an error message later on.

 


Figure 15:
Providing SQL logon credentials to access the XenApp datastore.

Just like installing the first server you need to specify if you would like to enable or disable shadowing. Only select disable if regulations state that shadowing cannot be used. In other circumstances select allow shadowing and configure the behavior later using the Citrix policies component.

 


Figure 16:
Enable or Disable the possibility to shadow a session.

When installing the second or following server you can decide to configure the server to act as Session-Host only server. When configured as Session-Host only server, the server can never get the Data Collector role, so it will only host Published Applications and/or Published Desktops. This can be configured on the tab data collection of the XenApp Configuration. On this tab you can also configure a Zone Name. When you enter a non-existing zone name, this zone will be automatically created within the farm. The other three parts are already described earlier in this article, so I will not mention these again here.

 


Figure 17: Configuring the server as a session-host mode only server and specify a custom zone name.

Before the real configuration starts, all configured settings are shown once again, so you can check if everything is filled correctly. By pressing Apply the configuration will be set.

 


Figure 18:
Summarizing all configured settings, before applying them to the server.

Via the below shown window the progress will be shown. When the complete configuration is applied you can press Finish.

 


Figure 19:
Configuration is applied.

You will return into the XenApp Server Role Manager, after a few seconds the view will be updated and the reboot option will be shown. Choose the reboot, so that the configuration will become active. A restart confirmation will be shown, choose Yes to really restart the server.

 


Figure 20:
Choose reboot to activate the configuration and join the Farm.

After the reboot the server is joined to the farm. When you have many servers to install, it is a good idea to automate the installation and configuration process of the Citrix XenApp servers. I already wrote an article series about it published on VanBragt.Net Virtualization Centre if you are interested in reading more about the possibilities to install and configure XenApp silently.

Conclusion

In this article I explained how to set-up the XenApp Farm using the first installed server. Secondly we walked through the steps to join the second and following servers to the XenApp Farm. The next article in this series will continue with the configuration possibilities within the XenApp product.

It you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

The Author — Wilco van Bragt

Wilco van Bragt avatar

After working for a couple of consulting firms as a senior technical consultant and technical project leader Wilco started his own freelance company VanBragt.Net Consultancy in April 2008. Wilco is certified n Citrix (CCIA, CCEE/CCEA, CCA), Microsoft (MCITP, MCTS, MSCE, MSCA) and Prince2 (Foundation). Wilco is also a RSVP (RES Software Valued Professional), Citrix CTP (Citrix Technology Professional) and a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) on RDS.

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