Installing Virtual Desktop Agent – server OS and desktop OS

Desktop virtualization is increasingly important in the BYOD world and this book will bring you right up to date with the features of XenDesktop®. The cookbook approach makes it ideal for system administrators and IT professionals alike.

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You need to allow your Windows master image to communicate with your XenDesktop infrastructure. You can accomplish this task by installing Virtual Desktop Agent. In this latest release of the Citrix platform, VDA has been redeployed in three different versions: desktop operating systems, server operating systems, and Remote PC, a way to link an existing physical or virtual machine to your XenDesktop infrastructure.

Getting ready

You need to install and configure the described software with domain administrative credentials within both the desktop and server operating systems.

How to do it...

In the following section, we are going to explain the way to install and configure the three different types of Citrix Virtual Desktop Agents.

Installing VDA for a server OS machine

  1. Connect to the server OS master image with domain administrative credentials.
  2. Mount the Citrix XenDesktop 7.0 ISO on the server OS machine by right-clicking on it and selecting the Mount option
  3. Browse the mounted Citrix XenDesktop 7.0 DVD-ROM, and double-click on the AutoSelect.exe executable file.
  4. On the Welcome screen, click on the Start button to continue.
  5. On the XenDesktop 7.0 menu, click on the Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Server OS link, in the Prepare Machines and Images section.

  6. In the Environment section, select Create a master image if you want to create a master image for the VDI architecture (MCS/PVS). Or enable a direct connection to a physical or virtual server. After completing this step, click on Next.

  7. In the Core Components section, select a valid location to install the agent; then flag the Citrix Receiver component; and click on the Next button.
  8. In the Delivery Controller section, select Do it manually from the drop-down list in order to manually configure Delivery Controller; type a valid controller FQDN; and click on the Add button, as shown in the following screenshot. To continue with the installation, click on Next.

    To verify that you have entered a valid address, click on the Test connection...button.

  9. In the Features section flag, choose the optimization options that you want to enable, and then click on Next to continue, as shown in the following screenshot:

  10. In the Firewall section, select the correct radio button to open the required firewall ports automatically if you're using the Windows Firewall, or manually if you've got a firewall other than that on board. After completing this action, click on the Next button as shown in the following screenshot:

  11. If the options in the Summary screen are correct, click on the Install button to complete the installation procedure.

In order to complete the procedure, you'll need to restart the server OS machine several times.

Installing VDA for a desktop OS machine

  1. Connect to the desktop OS master image with domain administrative credentials.
  2. Mount or burn the Citrix XenDesktop 7.0 ISO on the desktop OS machine.
  3. Browse the mounted Citrix XenDesktop 7.0 DVD-ROM, and double-click on the AutoSelect.exe executable file.
  4. On the Welcome screen, click on the Start button to continue.
  5. On the XenDesktop 7.0 menu, click on the Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Desktop OS link in the Prepare Machines and Images section as shown in the following screenshot:

  6. In the Environment section, select Create a Master Image if you want to create a master image for the VDI architecture (MCS/PVS), or select Enable Remote PC Access to enable access to a physical or virtual desktop machine. After completing this action, click on Next.

  7. In the HDX 3D Pro section, select whether or not to install the Citrix HDX 3D Pro plugin, and click on Next.

  8. In the Core Components section, select a valid location to install the agent; flag the Citrix Receiver component; and click on the Next button.
  9. In the Delivery Controller section, select Do it manually from the drop-down list in order to manually configure the delivery controller; type a valid controller FQDN; then click on the Add button; and click on Next to continue.
  10. In the Features section, select the options you want to be enabled during the VDA installation. Take particular care about the Citrix Personal vDisk component activation based on your profile management policies. After completing this action, click on Next.

  11. In the Firewall section, select the correct radio button to open the required firewall ports, automatically, in case you're using the Windows Firewall, or manually if you've got a firewall other than that on board. After completing this action, click on the Next button.
  12. If the options in the Summary screen are correct, click on the Install button to complete the installation procedure.

How it works...

The Virtual Desktop Agent is the client software that connects your client machine to the XenDesktop infrastructural servers. A standard installation of the VDA will use the normal HDX protocol version using an ICA connection to interact with the centralized controller servers. In the case of the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) system driver, the agent setup will try to uninstall it in order to avoid graphical problems with your desktop instances.

Whenever possible, you should uninstall the WDDM driver before the Virtual Desktop Agent installation, especially when configuring XenDesktop with a VMWare ESX Hypervisor host. WDDM could give you unexpected graphical behaviors and system crashes.

The main difference between the previous releases of the Virtual Desktop Agent is the ability to choose whether to install it on a machine that will be used as a Master Image template, or on a physical/virtual machine, which will be accessed directly from a remote location. This is the new XenDesktop feature known as Remote PC Access; this powerful feature makes stronger use of company resources from a (remote) personal device in terms of user experience and security (any connection to the company device is encrypted and managed by the Netscaler Gateway and XenDesktop 7 architectures).

In the case of a configured server OS remote machine, IT professionals have got a different way to deploy desktops and applications. In fact, on the server OS machine, Remote Desktop licensing will be activated, enabling the administrator to publish resources in a XenApp style using the new version of this Citrix software integrated in the XenDesktop architecture.

Deploying server OS machines for MCS architectures will allow to provision XenApp style servers in a faster way.

In the next step, you will be prompted to choose whether to install the standard HDX suite or the HDX 3D Pro version. Unlike the previous version of XenDesktop, the 3D-Pro suite is an integrated part of VDA, configurable by the use of the Citrix policies.

After this section the installation procedure continues with the selection of the most important components for the VDA client: Virtual Desktop Agent, and Citrix Receiver.

Then, the next step requires inserting the Desktop Controller server FQDN and checking its availability. This is not mandatory in this section (you can also configure it later), but in order to complete all the required steps, you should insert this information now.

The last configuration step is about the firewall. You have to open the required ports for the VDA architecture in the case of a firewall different from the Windows Firewall platform. In the case of this last technology the XenDesktop VDA setup will be able to automatically open the following required ports:

  • Controller communications: TCP 80, TCP 1494, TCP 2598, TCP 8008
  • Remote assistance: TCP 3389
  • Real-time audio: UDP 16500 – 16509

There's more...

Users have also got the ability to run setup steps from the command line and not only from the graphical interface. Citrix offers an executable file that can substitute the previously seen installation procedure.

This file is named XenDesktop VdaSetup.exe, and you can find it either on your XenDesktop installation media at the x86\XenDesktop Setup path for 32-bit installations or at x64\XenDesktop Setup path for 64-bit installations. Run it from the command line to perform the required installation. To view the complete options list for this executable file, run the following command:

XenDesktopVdaSetup.exe /?

You will receive a pop-up screen with the entire list as shown in the following screenshot:

So, for example, to install Virtual Desktop Agent with the Personal vDisk enabled, with both the VDA and receiver components and with the specified delivery controller address, you have to run the following instructions from the Windows command line:

XenDesktop VdaSetup.exe /BASEIMAGE /COMPONENTS
VDA,PLUGINS /CONTROLLERS vmxd7-xddc-01.xdseven.local

Summary

This article discusses the ways to install the virtual desktop agent versions (Server and Desktop).

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