Citrix Health Check

Last Modified: Oct 19, 2019 @ 1:52 pm

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Health Check Overview

Health Checks review an environment for configurations that might cause future problems, not necessarily existing problems. Health Checks tend to focus on non-functional qualities like the following:

  • Availability
  • Security
  • Manageability
  • User Experience
  • Performance
  • Reliability

The rest of this article is an incomplete list of health check assertions for Citrix environments.

StoreFront Load Balancing

  • Citrix connectivity infrastructure design is documented: StoreFront, Gateways, ADCs, multiple datacenters, Delivery Controllers, SQL, etc.
    • Separate test Citrix environment has identical architecture as production: multiple data centers, high availability for all components, etc. – enables testing changes, including HA/DR changes, before performing those changes in production. Some upgrades are performed differently for HA/DR than for single components.
  • The FQDN that users use to access Citrix (e.g. https://citrix.company.com) resolves to a Load Balancing VIP, not a single server.
    • The FQDN automatically fails over (e.g. GSLB) to a VIP in a different data center if the primary data center is down.
  • The certificate for the SSL Load Balancing VIP is valid: trusted, not expired, matches FQDN, no errors in Chrome, etc.
    • Someone is responsible for ensuring the certificate is not expired and receives pending certificate expiration notifications.
  • The Load Balancing VIP sends SSL traffic to two or more StoreFront servers in the local data center – for redundancy.
    • The ADC-to-StoreFront server communication is SSL/TLS encrypted, not HTTP – this traffic contains user credentials.
  • The ADC monitor for the StoreFront servers is type STOREFRONT, or does a GET request to /Citrix/Store/discovery – other monitors might not detect stopped services.
  • X-Forwarded-For is configured in the Load Balancing Services (or Service Group) for Client IP header insertion.
  • Load balancing persistence is SOURCEIP with a timeout that is as long as the Receiver for Web timeout – COOKIEINSERT doesn’t work on all client devices.

StoreFront Servers

  • If the StoreFront servers are on the same hypervisor cluster, then anti-affinity is configured to keep them on separate hypervisor hosts.
  • StoreFront server VMs do no have any old snapshots – slows down performance, and consumes disk space.
  • StoreFront version is an LTSR Cumulative Update version (e.g. 3.12.4000), or the latest Current Release version (e.g. 1906) – No other versions are supported.
    • Upgrades are performed in a separate test environment that has identical architecture as production before the updates are performed in production.
  • StoreFront configuration is propagated to other servers in the StoreFront Server Group.
  • No recent unknown errors in Event Viewer at Applications and Services -> Citrix Delivery Services.
  • StoreFront Base URL is an https URL, not http. The FQDN resolves to the Load Balancing VIP, not a single server.
  • SSL certificates are installed on each StoreFront server and bound to IIS Default Web site. The SSL certificates are not expired.
  • C:\Users does not contain a bunch of user profiles. Delprof2.exe should be scheduled to delete these profiles – caused by users changing expired passwords.
  • If HTML5 Workspace app is enabled, then HTML5 Receiver is up to date – New versions are released at least monthly.
  • If Workspace app is stored on StoreFront servers, then the local Workspace apps in C:\Program Files\Citrix\Receiver StoreFront\Receiver Clients is current.
  • If Favorites are enabled, then Favorites (aka Subscriptions) are replicated to a StoreFront Server Group in a different data center.
  • If Federated Authentication Service (FAS), then multiple FAS servers configured through Group Policy.
    • FAS Servers are the same version as StoreFront.
    • If the FAS servers are on the same hypervisor cluster, then anti-affinity is configured to keep them on separate hypervisor hosts.
    • FAS Get-FasAuthorizationCertificate shows registration certificate is OK and not MaintenanceDue.
    • FAS group policy .admx template is up to date in SYSVOL.
    • FAS User Rules restricts usage to just some StoreFront servers, some VDAs, and some users – not all
    • Auto-enrollment is not enabled on the FAS certificate templates..
    • The Certificate Authority database is not excessively large.
  • Task Manager shows sufficient CPU and Memory for each StoreFront server.
  • A monitoring tool alerts administrators of any StoreFront performance metric issue, availability issue (e.g. service stopped), and Event Log errors.
  • Logon Simulator runs periodically to verify that StoreFront is functional.
  • StoreFront Disaster Recovery procedure is documented and tested.

StoreFront Configuration

  • Only one store. Or every store but one is hidden – if multiple stores are advertised, then Workspace app will prompt the user to select a store.
  • Each Delivery Controller farm is configured with two or more Delivery Controllers – for redundancy.
    • Or Delivery Controller XML can be load balanced. If load balanced, then ADC monitor is of type CITRIX-XD-DDC – so ADC can detect Local Host Cache outages.
    • Prefer separate farms per data center instead of stretched single farms (with zones) across multiple data centers.
  • Transport Type for Delivery Controllers is https, not http – this traffic includes user credentials.
  • Receiver for Web Session Timeout is not too short for user experience or too long for security.
  • Citrix Gateway configuration in StoreFront console:
    • The STAs in StoreFront match the STAs configured on the Citrix Gateway Virtual Server on the ADC appliances.
    • Session Reliability is enabled.
    • Callback URL is only needed for SmartAccess and Citrix FAS. Callback URL should be removed if it’s not needed.
    • Internal Beacon is only reachable internally.
    • External Beacon does not include citrix.com – ping.citrix.com is OK
  • HDX Optimal Routing can send ICA traffic through the Citrix Gateway that is closest to the VDA (i.e. farm).

Delivery Controllers

  • In CVAD 1906+, Citrix Scout Health Check does not show any errors or warnings. ūüí°
  • If the Delivery Controller servers are on the same hypervisor cluster, then ensure anti-affinity is configured to keep them on separate hypervisor hosts.
  • Delivery Controller VMs do not have any old snapshots.
  • Delivery Controller version is an LTSR Cumulative Update version (e.g. 7.15.4000), or the two latest Current Release versions (e.g. 1906). No other versions are supported – Citrix Product Matrix shows support dates.
    • Delivery Controller Upgrades are performed in a separate test environment before performed in production.
    • Citrix upgrades or updates are performed around twice per year.
  • Run Get-BrokerDBConnection to see the SQL connection string. No SQL Express. For AlwaysOn Availability Group (AAG):
    • SQL String points to AAG Listener, not single node.
    • All AAG SQL nodes in one data center. For multiple data centers, prefer separate farms in each data center with local SQL.
    • SQL String contains MultiSubnetFailover.
    • Each SQL server has SQL Logins for all Delivery Controllers – SQL Logins usually don’t replicate between SQL nodes.
    • Prefer Synchronous Commit with Automatic Failover over Asynchronous replication.
    • AAG Dashboard in SQL Studio does not show any issues.
  • SQL databases for Citrix are not excessively large. Database Backup tool is truncating the database logs.
  • SQL Servers have sufficient CPU/Memory to handle the Citrix SQL traffic. Monitoring tool alerts SQL DBAs of any performance or availability issues.
  • SQL Server version is supported by Citrix. https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX114501
  • Local Host Cache is enabled on the Delivery Controllers. Run Get-BrokerSite to confirm.
    • Delivery Controller virtual CPU allocation is 1 CPU socket with multiple cores – SQL Express Local DB for Local Host Cache only runs on a single socket (up to four cores).
    • How are non-persistent virtual desktops handled during SQL outage?
  • SQL Disaster Recovery plan is documented and tested.
  • SSL Certificates are installed on Delivery Controllers to encrypt XML traffic from StoreFront.
    • SSL certificates are bound to IIS Default Web Site, or netsh http sslcert to perform binding. IIS Binding does not include hostname.
    • SSL certificate not expired.
  • Trust XML Requests is enabled for pass-through authentication, SmartAccess, FAS, etc. Run Get-BrokerSite to confirm.
  • Task Manager shows sufficient CPU and Memory for each Delivery Controller server.
  • A monitoring tool alerts administrators of any Delivery Controller performance metric issue, availability issue (e.g. service stopped), and Event Log errors.

Citrix Studio

  • Citrix Studio consoles installed on administrator machines are the same version as the Delivery Controllers.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program is disabled in Citrix Studio > Configuration node > Product Support tab.
  • Licensing Model/Edition matches what you actually own.
  • Citrix Studio Administrators are periodically audited to ensure only authorized users are granted Studio access.
    • Administrators are added as Active Directory Groups, not individual users.
  • Applications are published to Active Directory Groups, not individual users.
  • If App Groups, applications are published to only App Groups. Applications are not published to both App Groups and Delivery Groups.
  • Hypervisor connection uses a service account, not an admin account.
    • Hypervisor permissions for the service account are the minimum permissions required (custom role), not full hypervisor administrator.
  • Each Hosting Resource only has one datastore selected, not multiple datastores – Citrix MCS does not have a datastore “Rebalance” option. More datastores means more copies of master image snapshots, which means longer time to push out an updated Master image.
  • MCS Memory Caching Option is not enabled unless VDA 1903 or newer – older VDA, including 7.15 VDA, has poor performing MCSIO driver.
  • StoreFront URLs are not assigned to Delivery Groups using Studio – instead use Workspace app group policy to assign StoreFront URL.

Citrix License Server

  • Citrix License Server is version 11.16.3.0 build 28000 or newer to resolve a security vulnerability. ūüí°
  • The licenses installed on Citrix License Server match the purchased licenses at http://mycitrix.com – some Citrix License Servers have too many licenses installed.
  • If multiple Citrix License Servers, installed license count across all License Servers does not exceed the purchased licenses shown at http://mycitrix.com
  • Administrators are not frequently clearing named user license assignments to simulate concurrent licensing – license assignments should only be cleared when the user permanently no longer uses Citrix.
  • Subscription Advantage dates are not expired – if expired, download new license files and install them.
  • Usage and Statistics tab is configured as intended in the Citrix Licensing Manager gear icon.
  • Citrix License Server Disaster Recovery procedure is documented and tested.

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Licensing

  • If RDSH VDAs, two or more activated RDS Licensing servers.
  • RDS Licensing Server operating system version matches (or newer) the RDSH VDA operating system version – e.g. Windows 2019 RDS Licensing for Windows 2019 RDSH servers. Windows 2019 RDS Licensing also works with Windows 2016 RDSH servers.
  • In RD Licensing Manager, right-click server -> Review Configuration shows green checkmarks.
  • The combined licenses installed on all RDS license servers do not exceed the purchased licenses.
  • On RDSH VDAs, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services\LicenseServers shows two servers.
    • LicensingMode = 4, which is Per User mode, which is not enforced.

Citrix Director

  • Director version matches the Delivery Controller version.
  • If multiple Director servers:
    • Hypervisor Anti-affinity is configured.
    • Director Saved Filters are relocated to a UNC path instead of local C: drive.
  • Director server VMs do not have old snapshots – slows down servers, and increases disk space.
  • SSL certificate is installed on Director servers.
    • Admins and Support teams always use https to access Director. IIS or load balancer redirects from http to https.
  • Director website is SSL load balanced.
    • SSL protocol, not http, between load balancer and Director servers – this traffic contains user credentials.
  • Director logon page auto-populates the domain name – for user convenience. Might have to reconfigure the domain name after every Director upgrade.
  • Citrix Policy Settings for Director:
    • Enable Process monitoring is enabled.
    • Enable monitoring of application failures is enabled.
  • If Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) is Premium Edition:
    • Director Alerts are configured to email CVAD administrators.
    • Citrix ADM HDX Insight is integrated with Director. HTTPS protocol, not HTTP.
    • Probes are configured – Probe Agent version matches the Director version.
  • Help Desk knows how to use Citrix Director to support users.
  • Average logon durations are not excessive.
  • Repetitive issues (e.g. profile resets) are analyzed for root cause analysis and future prevention.

VDAs

  • Catalog design is documented – storage design, network design, multiple datacenters design, recovery design, etc.
  • VDA version matches the Delivery Controller version.
  • VDA Subnets are added to Active Directory Sites & Services.
  • DHCP is highly available. VDA IP Subnet router forwards DHCP requests to more than one DHCP server. DHCP scope is replicated to more than one DHCP server.
    • DHCP Scope has sufficient address availability for VDAs.
  • If KMS, slmgr.vbs /dlv shows a unique KMS CMID for each VDA machine – another option is Active Directory-based activation.
  • If persistent (dedicated) Catalogs:
    • The VDA version matches the Delivery Controller version – VDA updates should be automated (e.g. SCCM).
    • Dedicated Catalogs are created as Full Clones – Fast Clones cannot be moved to different storage or different hypervisor cluster.
    • Persistent desktops are backed up, replicated, etc. Recovery process is documented and tested.
    • Persistent desktop provisioning process is automated, preferably from a self-service portal.
  • No Personal vDisk – prefer SCCM-managed persistent desktops. Or App Layering User Layers if SCCM is not mature.
  • No double-hop – prefer master images with every application installed locally instead of double-hop to published application. Single hop have faster logins than double hop. Single hop is less complex than double hop since double hop requires Workspace app and icon management on the first-hop VDA machine. FSLogix can hide local applications.
  • Catalogs are upgraded to latest Catalog version available.
  • VDA registrations are somewhat evenly distributed across the Delivery Controllers.
  • ListOfDDCs registry value on VDAs has two or more Delivery Controllers.
  • Daily Health Check report shows registration status and maintenance mode status of every VDA machine.
  • RDSH Load Index Policy has not been modified from the default. CPU Metric is too volatile, and can cause a Denial of Service and uneven distribution of sessions. Current Load Index values should be almost the same on every RDSH VDA and not be anywhere near 10000.
  • In-guest monitoring agent shows VDA memory usage. Allocated VM Memory matches or exceeds memory Committed Bytes – Hypervisor monitoring can’t show actual VM memory usage.
  • RDSH VDAs are periodically restarted – net statistics workstation or net server statistics shows uptime.
    • In CVAD 1909+, MaxDelayMins is configured in Get-BrokerRebootScheduleV2. ūüí°
  • If Cloud-hosting of VDAs, PowerScale controls VDA power management.

VDAs – Hypervisor Hardware Clusters

  • Desktop VDAs are in their own hypervisor cluster that does not contain any Server virtual machines – avoids Windows Server licensing.
    • Hypervisor clusters with Windows Servers have proper Windows Server licensing.
  • Hypervisor admins don’t perform any hypervisor updates without first reviewing Citrix’s Supported Hypervisors article.
  • VDA vCenter is separate from non-VDA vCenter – allows non-VDA vCenter to be upgraded without affecting Citrix.
  • Hypervisor performance is monitored and alerted: CPU contention (aka CPU Ready Percentage), disk latency, CPU Usage, etc.
  • Capacity planning tool warns admins when more hypervisor hardware is needed.
  • If VMFS6 datastores, vSphere 6.7 Update 3 is installed – see release notes
  • NTP is configured and running on hypervisor hosts.
  • Hypervisor hosts have High performance BIOS settings.
  • NVIDIA vGPU software is current on hypervisor host and virtual machines.
    • The newest hypervisors can vMotion GPU-configured virtual machines.
    • NVIDIA in-guest vGPU Driver is installed before the VDA is installed – otherwise HDX 3D Pro will not work.

VDAs – Virtual Machine Hardware (vSphere)

  • Network Interface type is VMXNET3, not E1000.
  • devices.hotplug=false is configured in Virtual Machine Configuration Settings.
  • If disk space is a concern, virtual machine memory is reserved to reduce .vswp file size.
  • If Citrix App Layering:
    • Paravirtual controller is not added.
    • Boot firmware is BIOS, not EFI.
  • Windows 10 version is supported by Citrix VDA version, and supported by App Layering version.
  • VMware Tools version is current.

VDAs – Master Image Build

  • Master Image build process is documented.
  • Master Image virtual machine was built from scratch – not converted from a physical machine.
  • Security scan of the VDA Master Images shows compliance with enterprise security requirements.
  • Master Image updates:
    • Master Image maintenance is automated – e.g. SCCM can push updates to Master Images. A script can push Master Images to Catalogs.
    • Software Deployment team notifies the Master Image maintainers when applications or Windows require an update.
    • Master Image is sealed before shutdown – e.g. antivirus is generalized, SCCM Client is generalized – Base Image Script Framework (BIS-F) can automate this
    • Master Image updates are tested before deployed to production. QA testing. Canary testing.
    • Master Image snapshots are deleted after a period of time.
  • Antivirus is installed. Antivirus is optimized for non-persistent machines (aka VDI).
  • Other IT agents (e.g. software auditing, SCCM Agent) are optimized for non-persistent machines.
  • Local Groups:
    • Administrators group does not contain any non-administrators.
    • Direct Access Users group only contains authorized RDP users.
  • Citrix Optimizer or similar has removed Windows 10 Store Apps.
  • Windows Default profile was not modified – instead use group policy to control Windows appearance.
  • Windows Updates are current (i.e. last install date is within the last 60 days).
  • C: drive permissions are changed so Users can’t create folders on root of C: drive.
  • Power management is set to High Performance with no sleep timers.
  • If Citrix Provisioning:
    • Pagefile is shrunk so it fits on PVS cache disk – there’s no need to move the pagefile since PVS will move it for you. Just make sure it’s small.
    • Event Logs are moved to PVS cache disk.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program is disabled in VDA registry.
  • Office 365 Shared Computer Activation is enabled.
    • FSLogix is implemented for Outlook search roaming.

Citrix App Layering

  • Prefer automated (e.g. SCCM) Master Image updates over manual App Layering layer updates – if SCCM is mature, then there’s no need for App Layering.
  • Prefer SCCM-managed dedicated desktops over User Layers – SCCM is a known technology. User Layers are proprietary to Citrix and might not support every application.
  • Enterprise Layer Manager (ELM) version is current – ELM updates are required to support newer Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) and newer Windows 10. There’s no LTSR version of ELM.
  • Citrix Provisioning Agent version matches the ELM version.
  • Directory Junction Bind account is a service account, not a regular user whose password expires.
    • LDAP is Secure (Use SSL).
  • Administrator role membership is periodically audited to ensure only authorized users are granted access.
  • ELM is backed up. Or layers are periodically exported from ELM.
  • Group Policy controls membership of local groups in VDA machines – e.g. add Domain Admins to local Administrators group.
  • Antivirus is configured properly for Layering.
  • Hypervisor Connector uses a service account with limited permissions.
  • Connector cache is enabled to speed up layering operations.
  • File servers hosting Elastic Layers and User Layers are monitored for performance issues and capacity planning.
  • User Layers are backed up, replicated, etc.

Citrix Provisioning

Provisioning Servers:

  • Provisioning Servers version matches the Delivery Controller version.
  • Multiple Provisioning Servers for High Availability.
    • Hypervisor Anti-affinity is configured.
  • Sufficient RAM for vDisk caching in memory – around 2-3 GB of memory per active vDisk.
  • Only one NIC per Provisioning Server – simplifies the configuration.
  • Server Bootstrap has multiple Provisioning Servers listed.
  • Threads times Ports are sufficient for the number of target devices.
  • vDisk Boot Menu is disabled in the registry – enables maintenance mode Target Devices to automatically boot from maintenance mode vDisks.
  • Antivirus has exclusions for Citrix Provisioning.
  • Provisioning Server performance metrics are monitored and alerted.
    • NIC throughput is not saturated.

Provisioning Farm Properties:

  • Offline database is enabled.
  • Auditing is enabled.
  • Administrators list only contains authorized administrators, preferably from an Active Directory Group.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program is disabled.
  • For AlwaysOn Availability Group, MultiSubnetFailover is configured in the database connection string.

vDisks:

  • If local storage, vDisk files are identical on all Provisioning Servers.
  • vDisk files are VHDX, not VHD – faster version merging.
  • vDisks are sized dynamic, not fixed – Saves disk space. Standard Mode vDisks don’t grow so no performance impact.
  • vDisk files are defragmented.
  • vDisk files are backed up.
  • vDisk updates are automated.

Target Devices:

  • Target Device Boot Method is highly available – Target Devices on same subnet Provisioning Servers. Or DHCP Option 66 with TFTP Load Balancing. Or Boot ISO/Boot Partition has multiple Provisioning Server addresses.
    • DHCP is highly available. Subnet’s router forwards DHCP requests to multiple DHCP servers. Replicated DHCP scope.
  • vDisk Write cache is configured for Target Device RAM with overflow to disk – health check script should periodically verify this.
  • WriteCache folders on Provisioning Servers are empty – no server-side caching.
  • If KMS, slmgr.vbs /dlv shows a unique KMS CMID for each Target Device machine – another option is Active Directory-based activation.
  • Target Devices are evenly distributed across multiple Provisioning servers.
  • System Reserved Partition is removed from inside vDisk.
  • VMware Tools in Target Devices (vDisks) is up to date.
  • Target Device Software version matches the Citrix Provisioning version.
  • Target Device status shows low number of retries.

Group Policies and Active Directory

  • VDAs are placed in VDA-only OUs, no users – group policies apply to VDAs without affecting physical endpoints.
    • Separate OUs per Delivery Group – different group policies apply to different Delivery Groups.
  • Master Images are located in VDA OUs – computer-level GPO settings apply to the Master Images to avoid GPO timing issues on linked clones.
  • Block Inheritance OUs and Enforced GPOs are minimized.
  • .admx templates in SYSVOL > PolicyDefinitions are current – Windows 10 templates, Office templates, Citrix templates, etc.
  • Group Policy Loopback Processing Mode is enabled.
  • Duplicate, conflicting GPO settings are minimized – e.g. Group Policy Loopback Processing Mode is sometimes enabled in several GPOs.
    • Group Policy Results shows the actual GPO settings that applied to a specific session.
  • Lockdown GPO applies to non-administrators that log into VDA machines. Lockdown GPO doesn’t apply to administrators.
  • Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) session timeouts are configured in a Microsoft GPO.
  • AppLocker or similar prevents users from running unauthorized executables (e.g. ransomware).
  • Initial application configuration is automated using group policy – e.g. auto configure application database connections, remove first time usage prompts.
  • Group Policy changes are tested in separate Test GPOs and separate Test VDAs before applying to production.
  • Monitoring tool shows group policy processing duration during logon.

Citrix Policies

  • Citrix Policies are configured in a Group Policy Object, not in Citrix Studio – a GPO can apply to multiple Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) farms in multiple datacenters. Citrix Studio is single farm only.
    • Citrix Policies are not configured in both Citrix Studio and Group Policy – avoids confusion over which setting wins
    • If configured in Citrix Studio, and if multiple farms/sites, then Citrix Policy settings are identical in all farms/sites.
  • Citrix Group Policy Management plug-in on GPMC machines is same version included with CVAD ISO.
  • Unfiltered policy is on the bottom of the list (lowest priority) – most specific filters on top, least specific filters on bottom.
  • Client drive mapping, client clipboard, client printing, and client USB are disabled when connecting from external (e.g. SmartAccess) – only enabled by exception.
  • Client printing is set to Use Universal Print Driver only – avoids installing print drivers on VDA machines.
  • Audio is set to Medium quality – High Quality uses more bandwidth than Medium Quality.
  • Time zone redirection is configured in both Citrix Policy and RDSH Microsoft Group Policy.
  • For HDX Insight, ICA Round-Trip Time policy is enabled.
  • Visual quality and video codec settings are not modified from the defaults.
    • Legacy Graphics Mode is disabled.
  • Adaptive Transport (EDT) is enabled – it’s default disabled in 7.15. MTU might need to be decreased.
  • Session Reliability is not disabled.
  • RDSH Session Timers are configured in Microsoft GPO, not Citrix Policy – Citrix Policy setting description shows if setting applies to Server OS or not.

Citrix Workspace Environment Management (WEM)

  • Prefer Group Policies over WEM – WEM requires extra infrastructure, extra learning, extra administration, and extra support. Some WEM user settings are per-machine (per configuration set) only. WEM can’t replace group policies since there’s currently no .admx support.
    • Citrix Profile Management and Microsoft Folder Redirection are configured using Microsoft Group Policy, not WEM – Group Policies are well known. WEM is proprietary to Citrix and requires WEM skills to troubleshoot.
  • WEM is within two versions of the latest – there’s no LTSR version of WEM.
    • WEM Consoles and WEM Agents match WEM Server version.
  • Multiple load balanced WEM Servers for High Availability.
    • If multiple WEM servers are on the same hypervisor cluster, then Hypervisor anti-affinity is configured for the multiple WEM servers.
    • WEM Agents point to WEM Server load balanced FQDN, not individual server.
    • WEM Console points to single WEM Server, not load balanced FQDN.
  • WEM Brokers are close the VDAs – WEM configuration can be exported/imported into WEM implementations in multiple data centers.
  • WEM Database is hosted on an AlwaysOn Availability Group or other Highly Available SQL solution.
    • SQL database is backed up. SQL database recovery is documented and tested.
  • In WEM 1909+, Infrastructure Service Enable performance tuning for Windows Communication Framework is enabled and set to the number of concurrent WEM Agents that will be connected to this one WEM server. Maximum value is 3000. ūüí°
  • Antivirus exclusions are configured for Citrix WEM.
  • WEM .admx group policy template in SYSVOL > PolicyDefinitions is updated whenever WEM Servers are updated.
  • Settings are in WEM, or Group Policy, but not both – helps troubleshooting. Reduces confusion.
  • Bypass ie4uinit Check is enabled (Advanced Settings > Service Options) – for faster logons.
  • Drive mappings and printer mappings are moved to WEM and processed asynchronously (Advanced Settings > Agent Options).
  • Check Application Existence is enabled (Advanced Settings > Agent Options) – doesn’t create shortcut unless application exists
  • CPU Optimization is enabled – Memory management trades memory for disk; which is cheaper? Process exclusions might be needed.
    • In WEM 1909 and newer, CPU Spike Protection = Auto instead of Customize. ūüí°
  • Fast logoff is enabled.
  • Unused action types are disabled from processing (Advanced Settings > Main Configuration) – speeds up logons.
  • Run Once enabled for Actions and scenarios that support it – speeds up logons.
  • WEM Agent Offline mode is enabled.
  • Computer startup script refreshes WEM Agent cache on each VDA reboot.
    • Script has correct Agent installation path and correct service name since they changed in 1909 and newer. ūüí°
  • WEM Logs are reviewed for problems – enable debug logging. Look for Active Directory timeouts.
  • WEM Server performance is monitored for metric thresholds and future capacity issues.
  • WEM Server recovery is documented and tested.

Citrix Profile Management and Folder Redirection

  • No mandatory profiles on Windows 10 – benchmarks show slower performance.
  • Profile Management is configured in Group Policy, not Citrix Policy or Citrix WEM – Group Policy is the most reliable and most well-known option.
  • Profile file share:
    • File server is close to the VDAs – users log into VDAs that are closest to the file server (aka home site).
    • File share is highly available.
    • No DFS multi-master replication. Single target only – neither Citrix nor Microsoft support merge replication.
    • Profiles are backed up and/or replicated. Recovery process is documented and tested.
    • Different profile folders for different operating system versions and/or different Delivery Groups.
    • NTFS permissions of individual user folders in the file share only grant access to the one user – no Users, no Domain Users, and no Authenticated Users.
    • Use TreeSize or similar to see profile size – adjust profile exclusions if too big.
    • Antivirus is not slowing down profile file transfer performance – time how long it takes to copy a profile folder to the local machine.
    • File servers are monitored for performance issues, including disk latency and free disk space.
  • Profile Management .admx file in SYSVOL > PolicyDefinitions matches the VDA version (or date).
  • Profile Management logs are stored on UNC share instead of local C: drive, especially if the VDAs are non-persistent.
    • Only Domain Computers have Modify permission to the Logs share – Users don’t need any permission.
  • Profile Management logs contain at least a few days of logons – if only a few minutes, then too much information is being logged and Log Settings GPO setting should be modified.
  • Profile streaming is enabled – speeds up logons.
  • Active Write Back is disabled – places extra load on file servers for not much benefit.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program is disabled.
  • Locally cached profiles are deleted at logoff from RDSH machines that don’t reboot often.
  • No Start Menu roaming issues – might need ResetCache registry value.
  • Microsoft FSLogix is implemented for Outlook Search roaming – better than UPM’s Outlook search roaming.

Folder Redirection:

  • Folder Redirection is configured in Microsoft GPO settings, not in Citrix Profile Management settings – Microsoft GPO configuration is most reliable, most known, and can migrate existing files.
  • No AppData redirection – slows down applications.
  • “Grant the user exclusive rights” option is unchecked – allows administrators to access redirected profile folders.
  • Folder Redirection file share:
    • File share is highly available.
    • No DFS multi-master replication. Single target only – neither Citrix nor Microsoft support merge replication.
    • Redirected Folders are backed up and/or replicated. Recovery process is documented and tested.
    • NTFS permissions of individual user folders in the file share only grant access to the one user – no Users, no Domain Users, and no Authenticated Users.
    • Antivirus is not slowing down folder redirection performance.
    • File servers are monitored for performance issues, including disk latency and free disk space.

Home Directories:

  • File server is close to the VDAs – users log into VDAs that are closest to the file server (aka home site).
  • File share is highly available.
  • No DFS multi-master replication. Single target only – neither Citrix nor Microsoft support merge replication.
  • Home Directories are backed up and/or replicated. Recovery process is documented and tested.
  • NTFS permissions of individual user folders in the file share only grant access to the one user – no Users, no Domain Users, and no Authenticated Users.
  • Antivirus is not slowing down file transfer performance – time how long it takes to copy a Home Directory folder to the local machine.
  • File servers are monitored for performance issues, including disk latency and free disk space.

Endpoint Devices

  • Prefer Windows 10 endpoints over thin clients – thin clients don’t support all Citrix functionality (e.g. local printing, browser content redirection). ThinKiosk can lock down Windows 10 endpoints.
  • Newest VDAs and newest Workspace apps have better WAN performance than LTSR 7.15.
  • Browser Content Redirection offloads video (e.g. YouTube) from VDAs to endpoint – reduces CPU consumption in the data center.
  • Receiver and/or Workspace app is periodically (e.g. twice per year) updated by endpoint management team.
  • Workspace app (or Receiver) ADMX templates in SYSVOL > PolicyDefinitions are current.
  • Group Policy adds StoreFront URL to Local Intranet zone.
  • Group Policy pushes StoreFront URL to Workspace app (or Receiver) – so users don’t have to enter the URL.
  • Pass-through authentication is enabled for internal PCs – SSON Configuration Checker can verify proper configuration.
  • HKCU\Software\Citrix\Dazzle\Sites\store\type shows DS, not PNA – store added as Delivery Services (StoreFront), not PNAgent (legacy).
  • Internal Beacon at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Citrix\Receiver\SR\Store\#\Beacons\Internal\Addr0 is internally reachable only – not reachable externally.
  • External Beacon¬†at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Citrix\Receiver\SR\Store\#\Beacons\External¬†does not include citrix.com – ping.citrix.com is OK.
  • EDT protocol (aka Adaptive Transport) is enabled. Director shows HDX protocol as UDP – Remote Display Analyzer can analyze problems with the graphics/codec.
  • HDX Insight: Newest VDAs and newest Workspace app have less AppFlow CPU impact on ADC than LTSR 7.15 VDAs.

Citrix ADC

  • ADC Admins have subscribed to Citrix Security Bulletins at https://support.citrix.com/user/alerts
  • ADC firmware build is not vulnerable to Authentication Bypass Vulnerability. ūüí°
  • ADC firmware updates are tested on separate test ADC appliances before performed in production. Test ADC appliances have test VIPs – application owners can test their VIPs on test ADC before firmware is upgraded in production.
  • ADC VPX on vSphere:
    • ADC NICs are VMXNET3, not E1000.
    • If ADC 12.0 or older, no vMotion/DRS (not supported).
    • In 12.1 and newer, DRS Cluster Anti-affinity is configured for the VPX appliances in the same HA pair.
    • CPU/Memory are reserved. Yield CPU is not enabled.
  • ADC license does not expire any time soon.
  • Physical ADC:
    • LOM port is connected and configured.
    • LOM nsroot password is changed from the default.
    • No VLAN is connected to multiple active interfaces unless those interfaces are in a port channel.
  • ADC nsroot password is not nsroot. nsroot password is managed by Privileged Identity Management tool. Admins don’t use nsroot to login.
  • Management authentication is configured for external authentication server, typically LDAP.
    • LDAP is load balanced instead of multiple LDAP Policies to individual LDAP servers – avoids premature account lockout.
    • LDAP is encrypted: LDAPS on port 636.
    • LDAP Bind account is a service account – not a regular user whose password expires.
    • LDAP Search Filter only allows ADC Admins Active Directory Group to authenticate.
  • If TACACS, firmware is 12.0 build 57 or newer to prevent TACACS Accounting from blocking AAA.
  • nsroot account has external authentication disabled.
  • No local ADC accounts except nsroot.
  • NTP and Time Zone are configured.
  • Syslog is configured to send logs to external SIEM, especially if ADC is performing authentication.
  • SNMP Traps are sent to Citrix ADM appliance.
    • Thresholds are configured for CPU and Memory alarms.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program (CUXIP) is disabled.
  • Recommended TCP Profile Settings are configured.
  • Drop Invalid HTTP requests is enabled in HTTP global settings.
  • Secure Access Only is enabled on all NSIPs and all management-enabled SNIPs – check both nodes of High Availability pair.
    • Management certificate has no certificate errors.
  • Networking:
    • If Dedicated Management Network, Policy Based Routes (PBR) are configured for NSIP reply traffic and NSIP-initiated traffic.
    • Unused network interfaces are disabled.
    • ADC instance is connected to only one security zone – if connected to multiple security zones, then a firewall is bypassed.
    • Default route should be Internet facing, or a data VLAN – not NSIP VLAN.
    • Only one default route – extra default routes can come from HA pairing or hardware migration.
  • Unused ADC configurations are removed – unused server objects, unused policies, etc.
  • Citrix ADM monitors and backs up the ADC appliances.
  • ADC Dashboard shows that CPU, Memory, and Throughput have not exceeded appliance capacity or appliance licensing.
  • /var/core and /var/crash do not have recent crash dumps.

ADC High Availability Pair

  • Firmware build is identical on both nodes.
  • Installed Licenses are identical on both nodes.
  • NTP and time zones are configured on both appliances – Configuration node shows System Time.
  • Unused interfaces are disabled.
  • HA is synchronizing without error.
  • Both HA nodes are set to ENABLED – not STAYPRIMARY and/or STAYSECONDARY.
  • Fail-safe mode is enabled.
  • “show ha node” shows heartbeats across all interfaces – no “interfaces on which heartbeats are not seen”.
  • High Availability failover has been tested, including RADIUS authentication, which might come from a different source IP.

ADC SDX

  • LOM port is connected and configured.
    • LOM nsroot password is not nsroot.
  • No hardware problems shown on SDX SVM dashboard page.
  • SDX firmware is current – should be same or newer than the VPX firmware.
  • SDX SVM nsroot password is not nsroot. nsroot password is complex. Admins don’t use nsroot to login.
  • Management authentication is configured for external authentication server, typically LDAP.
    • LDAP is load balanced instead of multiple LDAP Policies to individual LDAP servers – avoids premature account lockout.
    • LDAP is encrypted: LDAPS on port 636.
    • LDAP Bind account is a service account – not a regular user whose password expires.
    • LDAP Search Filter only allows ADC SDX Admins Active Directory Group to authenticate.
  • No local accounts except nsroot.
  • No certificate errors when accessing SVM management using htttps.
    • HTTPS is forced in System Settings – HTTP is not allowed.
  • Multiple DNS servers are configured in Networking Configuration – initial setup only asks for one DNS server.
  • Channels are created at SDX SVM instead of inside VPX instances.
  • NTP is configured and enabled.
  • Syslog is configured.
  • SNMP traps are sent to Citrix ADM.
  • The number of SDX instance licenses installed matches what’s owned at http://mycitrix.com/
  • SDX SVM Backups are configured with External Transfer – or download periodically – or ADM.
  • VPX Instances:
    • Platinum Edition license is assigned to instances.
    • SSL Chips are assigned to VPX instances.
    • All SDX hardware is allocated to VPX instances – If not, why not?
    • Production instances typically have Dedicated CPU cores. Test/Dev instances typically have Shared CPU.
    • VLANs are specified inside VPX instances instead of at instance properties on SDX Management Service – avoids reboot if you need to change the VLAN configuration.
    • No VMACs in instance interface settings.

ADC Load Balancing and SSL

  • Load Balancing configurations are documented.
  • Monitors do more than just telnet – e.g. LDAP monitor performs LDAP query.
    • LDAP monitor bind account uses service account, not domain admin.
    • LDAP monitor is filtered to cn=builtin – to reduce result size.
    • RADIUS monitor looks for response code 2 or 3.
  • If multiple Virtual Servers for multiple ports on the same VIP, configure Persistency Group – e.g. Horizon Load Balancing.
  • Rewrite policies remove web server header information (Server, X-Powered-By, etc.)
  • SSL Labs SSL Server Test shows A or A+ grade for all Internet-facing SSL vServers.
  • Redirect Virtual Servers are UP (Responder method) instead of DOWN (Backup URL method).
  • Custom (non-default) ciphers are bound to every SSL Virtual Server – see Citrix Networking SSL / TLS Best Practices.
  • SSL v3 and TLS v1.0 are disabled on every SSL Virtual Server.
  • SSL Renegotiation is set to NONSECURE: configured globally, or in SSL Profiles (including default profile).
  • Root certificate is not linked to intermediate certificate.
  • Certificates are not expired.
  • ADM alerts ADC administrators when certificates are soon to expire.
  • ADM Analytics is enabled for the HTTP Virtual Servers.
    • ADM Web Insight is viewed.
  • Bot Management (13.0 build 41+) and/or Web App Firewall are configured if ADC Premium Edition.
    • ADM Security Insight is enabled and viewed.

Citrix ADM

  • ADM exists and manages all ADC appliances.
    • Prompt credentials for instance login is enabled in ADM System Settings – if ADM does Single Sign-on to instances, then all instance changes are logged as nsroot instead of ADM user.
  • ADM firmware version is 12.1 build 54.13 and later or 13.0 build 41.20 and later – security vulnerability – many bugs are fixed in ADM 12.1 build 53 and newer. ūüí°
    • ADM Agents and DR nodes have same firmware version as ADM – check /var/mps/log/install_state
  • Two DNS servers are configured in ADM Network Configuration – initial setup only asks for one DNS server.
  • Two ADM appliances in High Availability mode with Floating IP – provides redundancy.
  • Every High Availability node and DR node has same disk size.
  • ADM nsroot password is not nsroot. nsroot password is complex. Admins don’t use nsroot to login.
  • Management authentication is configured for external authentication server, typically LDAP.
    • LDAP is load balanced instead of multiple LDAP Policies to individual LDAP servers – avoids premature account lockout.
    • LDAP is encrypted: LDAPS on port 636.
    • LDAP Bind account is a service account – not a regular user whose password expires.
    • LDAP Search Filter only allows ADM Admins Active Directory Group to authenticate.
  • No local accounts except nsroot.
  • No certificate errors when accessing ADM management using htttps.
    • HTTPS is forced in System Settings – HTTP is not allowed
  • Time zone is configured.
  • NTP is configured and enabled.
  • ADM Database is not full. Sufficient disk space.
  • Sufficient ADM CPU/Memory – verify at System > Statistics or System > Deployment.
  • SSL Dashboard alert notifications are enabled to warn of upcoming certificate expiration.
  • Event Rules are configured to email ADC administrators of Critical or Major ADC alarms.
  • ADC Instance Backup settings on ADM:
    • Number of ADC instance backups retained is sufficient for restoring from history.
    • ADC Backups are transferred to external SFTP, SCP, or FTP server.
    • ADC Restore process is documented and tested.
  • VIP Licensing:
    • Installed license count on ADM matches the licenses owned at http://mycitrix.com.
    • Licenses are assigned to Virtual Servers that need Analytics (e.g. HDX Insight) or Applications tab.
    • AppFlow/Insight is enabled on Gateway and HTTP Virtual Servers.
    • License expiration notifications are enabled.
  • Private IP Blocks are configured for geo mapping of ADC instances and Analytics sessions.
  • Analytics Thresholds are configured – e.g. ICA Latency threshold.
  • Session Reliability on HA Failover is enabled on ADC instances in ICA Parameters – if not enabled, then sessions drop on failover.
  • ADM HDX Insight is linked to Director Premium Edition using https protocol, not http protocol.

Citrix Gateway ICA Proxy

Gateway Virtual Server:

  • SSL Labs SSL Server Test shows A or A+ when it scans the Gateway external FQDN.
  • If ICA Only is unchecked on the Gateway Virtual Server, then System > Licenses shows sufficient Maximum Citrix Gateway Users Allowed.
  • Gateway Virtual Server Maximum Users is 0, which means unlimited.
  • TCP Profile is configured with Recommended TCP Profile Settings.
  • DTLS is enabled on the Virtual Server for EDT protocol.
    • UDP ports are open on firewall from Internet and to VDAs.
    • Director Session Details shows HDX protocol as UDP.
  • ICA Connections shows port 2598 (Session Reliability enabled), not 1494.
  • Gateway communication to StoreFront is https protocol, not http.
  • Gateway communication to StoreFront is load balanced to multiple StoreFront servers – not a single StoreFront server.
  • STAs on Citrix Gateway matches StoreFront configuration.
  • If EPA is used for SmartAccess, then Endpoint Analysis Libraries are updated.

Gateway Authentication:

  • Encrypted LDAP:
    • LDAP is load balanced instead of multiple LDAP Policies to individual LDAP servers – avoids premature account lockout.
    • LDAP is encrypted: LDAPS on port 636.
    • LDAP Bind account is a service account – not a regular user whose password expires.
    • LDAP Search Filter only allows authorized remote users in an Active Directory group to authenticate.
  • Two-factor authentication – RADIUS:
    • For Workspace app or Receiver, password fields are swapped.
    • Both factors are required to login. Can’t bypass second factor.
    • RADIUS tested from both High Availability nodes (perform failover).
  • SAML Authentication:
    • Prefer RADIUS over SAML so that ADC will have access to the user’s password to facilitate Single Sign-on to the VDA machines.
    • If SAML response does not provide user’s password, then Federated Authentication Service (FAS) is deployed .
    • For Workspace app support of SAML, SAML is configured in nFactor (AAA), not Gateway – requires ADC 12.1 and newest Workspace app.
    • SAML iDP Signing certificate is not expired. ADC administrators know how to update the Signing certificate.
  • Native OTP:
    • OTP Active Directory attribute is encrypted

Citrix ADC GSLB

  • If a DNS name resolves to multiple IP addresses, then the DNS name should be GSLB-enabled for automatic failover.
  • DNS Records are delegated to two or more ADC ADNS services, usually in separate data centers.
    • NS records and SOA records are added to ADC for delegated domain names and/or delegated sub zones.
  • All ADC nodes that have ADNS listeners for the same DNS name have identical GSLB configuration.
  • Public GSLB Services have monitors that verify remote Internet connectivity – don’t give out IP if users can’t reach it.
  • Separate ADC appliances for public DNS and internal DNS – If both are on one appliance, then how are the DNS configurations separated?
  • RPC nodes for Metric Exchange Protocol (MEP) should have Secure enabled.
  • Firewall should only allow the MEP endpoints to communicate over 3009 – don’t open to whole Internet.
  • If Static Proximity:
    • Static Proximity database is current.
    • GSLB Services show correct geo location.
    • Custom Entries are added for internal subnets.
  • If DNS Views, DNS Views are configured on all GSLB Services – if GSLB Service doesn’t have a DNS View, then that GSLB Service might not function correctly.
  • If Active/Active GSLB load balancing, then site persistence is functioning correctly.
  • DNS security options are configured to prevent ADNS Denial of Service.

EUC Weekly Digest – April 8, 2017

Last Modified: Sep 2, 2018 @ 7:53 am

Here are some EUC items I found interesting last week. For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

 

XenApp/XenDesktop

Receiver

NetScaler

XenMobile

XenServer

VMware

Microsoft

Other

  • HP Universal Print Driver 6.4.1 — Support for Windows 2016 + Win10 1607 fix – Jonathan Pitre on Twitter
  • Now available for XenDesktop 7.13: Nutanix AHV Plug-in for Citrix Director. Statistics for VM IOPS, I/O Bandwidth, Average I/O Latency –¬†Ren√© Bigler on Twitter

App Layering – App Layers, Image Templates, and Publishing

Last Modified: Aug 30, 2019 @ 12:14 pm

Navigation

Change Log

Create App Layer

Note: Citrix App Layering does not isolate applications. If you need isolation (e.g. multiple versions of Java), consider implementing Microsoft App-V. Citrix App Layering merges the layers without isolation.

  1. See Citrix CTX225952 4.x Layering Best Practices
  2. In the ELM Management Console, go to the Layers tab.
  3. Right-click in the grey, and click Create App Layer.
  4. In the Layer Details¬†page, give the layer a name and version. Since the App Layer is tied to the OS Layer, it’s a good idea to include the OS Layer name in the App Layer name.
  5. Give the layer a Max Size. The layer disk created for the vSphere Packaging Machine is Thick Provisioned. Click the down arrow.
  6. In the OS Layer page, select an OS Layer. An App Layer created for one OS Layer cannot be used with another OS Layer. Click the down arrow.
  7. In the Prerequisite Layers page, you can select additional layers to include in your packaging machine. If there are no dependent layers, just click the down arrow.
  8. In the Connector page, select a vSphere connector, and click the down arrow.
  9. In the Platform Layer page, if you are creating the App Layer on a different hypervisor than originally used for the OS Layer, you can select the Platform Layer for the new hypervisor. If the hypervisor has not changed, just click the down arrow. The hypervisor can also be changed when publishing the Image Template later.
  10. In the Packaging Disk page, give the .vmdk file a name, and click the down arrow.
  11. In the Icon Assignment page, select an icon, or upload a new one, and click the down arrow.
  12. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Create Layer.
  13. At the bottom of the page, open the Tasks panel.
  14. Click the information icon next to the running task.
  15. Eventually the task will finish deploying the Packaging Machine.
  16. In vSphere Web Client, find the new Packaging Machine (in the PackagingVMs folder in the Layering VM folder), open its console, and install your app normally.
  17. See App layer recipes at Citrix Docs for some application install instructions.
  18. Citrix CTX226984 App Layering/Unidesk: The list of Windows Updates is usually wrong in app/platform layers and published images/desktops.
  19. Antivirus can be installed on an App layer. See Deploy anti-virus software at Citrix Docs for instructions for the following:
    • Symantec
    • McAfee
    • Trend Micro
    • Sophos
    • AVG
    • Kaspersky
  20. User settings are not captured in an Application Layer.
  21. Domain Join – CTX224668¬†How to install applications that require joining the domain with Citrix App Layering –¬†In summary, you can join a layer to the domain while packaging, but you must remove it from that domain before finalization.
  22. For Office, put all Office apps in one layer.
    • Print to OneNote does not work in Elastic Layers.
  23. For Office 365 Click-to-run activation:
    1. After Office Click-to-run is installed, for all OSs other than Windows 7, run C:\Windows\Setup\scripts\Office2013Windows81_PREP.cmd as Administrator.
    2. In App Layering 4.6, Optimize.hta and Office Activate.cmd can handle Office 365 Click-to-run activation. For 4.5 and older, see Rob Zylowski at Office Activation Scripts for Office 365 at Citrix Discussions, to download these scripts . Also see O365 Office 2016 click to run online activation at Citrix Discussions.
    3. Go to C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts, right-click RunOptimizer.cmd, and click Run as administrator.
    4. Scroll down to J, check the box next to Process Office 365, and click Save Settings A-K.
    5. This creates a file called ProcessOffice365.txt.
    6. See Citrix CTX224566 Unidesk Recipe for Office 2016: Using Shared Computer Activation From Office 365 for more licensing guidance.
  24. For Office Volume License activation: (Source = Citrix CTX224900 Windows / Office 2016 KMS not activating in App Layering images (MCS Image Prep OS Rearm Failed)
    1. Go to C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts, right-click RunOptimizer.cmd, and click Run as administrator.
    2. Configure item H.
    3. Scroll down a little bit and click the button labelled Save Settings A-K. Then click the Optimizer.


    4. For all OSs other than Windows 7, run C:\Windows\Setup\scripts\Office2013Windows81_PREP.cmd as Administrator.
    5. Then rearm Office by running C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPPREAM.exe as administrator.
  25. When you are done installing your app, finalize the layer:
    1. George Spiers Citrix App Layering Preparation Script: runs a number of tasks to clean out temporary folders, clear out Event Log entries, remove ghost devices from Device Manager, etc.  ?
    2. Double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop. If it finds issues, it will tell you what to do (e.g. reboot needed). Otherwise, it will shut down the VM.
  26. After the machine is shutdown, in ELM Management Console, go to Layers > App Layers.
  27. Right-click the Layer that is currently being Edited, and click Finalize.
  28. In the Script Path page, if you embedded any scripts in the layer, specify the path. Otherwise, just click the down arrow.
  29. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  30. You can view the running tasks in the bottom window pane.
  31. It will eventually finish and say Deployable.

Windows Updates – From¬†Gunther Anderson: “Generally, the list of updates is unreliable anywhere except the layer where the updates were installed. If your OS layer says the updates were installed, then they were. The actual list (the list is not the same as the actual updates) tends to get stepped on by your other app layers, since they remember the updates list from when they were originally created. With all of your app layers trying to set their own personal misunderstanding based on when they were initially created, what winds up in the published image is not a good reflection of any reality. However, the information from the OS layer is correct. Likewise, the list of Office updates shown in the Office layer is correct even when the list of Windows updates shown in the Office layer is not.”

User Layer Repair – App Layering 1908 and newer create User Layer Repair files for any new or edited App Layer. Uses these files to repair User Layers so that the App Layer you just created or edited overrides the User Layer.

  1. Find the repair files in your file share under \Unidesk\Layers\App\Repair and \Unidesk\Layers\App\PackageAppRules.
  2. Copy the UserLayerRepair.json file for the App Layer to the user’s User Layer .vhd location.
  3. Make sure Domain Computers has Modify access to the user’s VHD location. The repair function runs as the computer, not the user.
  4. After logging into a published machine, C:\Programdata\Unidesk\Logs\ulayersvc.log shows the Repair status.

OS Layer Switching – if you enabled the OS Layer Switching Lab Feature, then do the following:

  1. Right-click on your App Layer, and click Edit Properties.
  2. On the¬†Layer Details page is a checkbox to Allow OS Layering Switching for this layer. You’ll need to repeat this for each additional App Layer. Source =¬†Elastic layers to other OS layers not working as expected at Citrix Discussions.

Image/Template

  1. In the Management Console, go to the Images tab.
  2. Right-click in the grey, and click Create Template.
  3. In the Name and Description page, give the Template a Name that indicates the OS Layer, Platform Layer, and App Layers. Then click the down arrow.
  4. In the OS Layer page, select an OS Layer, and click the down arrow.
  5. In the Application Assignment page, select zero or more applications. Any App Layer you select here will be merged into the machine pre-boot. Elastic Layers are assigned later. Click the down arrow.

  6. In the Connector page, select a Connector for the platform you want to push this image to. If publishing to MCS, select a vSphere Connector, and click the down arrow.
  7. If you are publishing to PVS, and if you don’t have a PVS Connector, click¬†New.

    1. From Citrix PVS connector configuration at Citrix Docs.
    2. In the Choose a Connector Type window, select Citrix PVS, and click New.
    3. For info on the other connectors, see Connectors for publishing (vSphere environment) at Citrix Docs.
    4. A new tab opens.
    5. Give the Connector a name. This Connector points to one PVS server, and one vDisk store, so the name should reflect that.
    6. The Console field contains the list of registered App Layering Agents running on PVS Servers.
    7. Enter credentials of a service account that is an administrator in PVS. Click Check Credentials.
    8. Scroll down. Use the drop-downs to select the vDisk store and other vDisk settings. Click Test.
    9. On the bottom, click Save.
    10. On the left, click Script Configuration.
    11. If you installed a PvS Connector Script, you can specify it here.
      1. Citrix CTX226060 Citrix App Layering 4.x: PVS Connector Script to Convert VHD to VHDX – a script that can convert the published VHD file to VHDX, and add it as a Version.
      2. Citrix CTX226062 Citrix App Layering 4.x: PVS Connector (BootPrivate) Рa script that provides a mechanism to modify the vDisk mode to Private, Boot the vDisk on a pre-defined target so that it can run pre-defined layer scripts, the scripts shut down the target, the script waits for that shutdown then switches the mode back to standard.
    12. Click Save when done.
    13. Then click Close.
    14. Note: in Layering 4.11 and newer, Connectors can also be created and edited from System > Connectors. This page also indicates Connector Cache information.
  8. Back in the Connector page, select the PVS connector, and click the down arrow.
  9. In the Platform Layer page, select one Platform Layer, and click the down arrow. For PVS, make sure the Platform Layer includes both VDA and PVS Target Device Software.
  10. In the¬†Layered Image Disk page, give the .vmdk file a name, specify a size, and decide if you want Sysprep to run or not. You typically don’t need to Sysprep the image if you’re using MCS, PVS, Composer, or Instant Clone.
  11. If you wish to enable Elastic Layering, select it here. Assignment of Elastic Layers to users is described later. Notes:
    • Disk Free Space – when you enable Elastic Layering, the published image only gets 20 GB of free space due to the addition of a writable partition. To change the size, see¬†CTX225030¬†How to set the default size of the Elastic Layering writable volume. You edit /usr/local/CAMService/CAMService.exe.config and add the line¬†<add key="ScratchVolumeSizeInMB" value="20480"/>
    • Login time delay – From Rob Zylowski at XenApp Image Template Application Assignment vs Elastic Delay at Citrix Discussions: “There is a 5-8 second penalty just for turning on elastic layering. But its not a straight x seconds per app because the mounts run in parallel. However more apps do take longer. What can have more of an effect is if the app has a service. We have to mount the disk, read it and then start the service before we allow the logon to ensure that the service is available if your logon actually needs it. There is a log at c:\programdata\unidesk\logs that will tell you the time associated with mounting and starting elastic layers so you will know how much of the logon impact is due to elastic layering.”
    • Elastic Layers Path Override – The path to Elastic Layers can be overridden by setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Unidesk\ULayer:RepositoryPath on the published machine. See¬†DFS path and Elastic Layers at Citrix Discussions, and¬†CTX222107¬†You can change the Elastic Layer repository in the registry without reimaging (4.x).
    • Citrix Profile Streaming Compatibility – App Layering 4.12 and newer support Citrix Profile Management Profile Streaming with Elastic Layers. Also see Elastic Layers and Profile issues at Citrix Discussions.
    • Delayed loading – By default, Elastically Assigned Layers are loaded at the end of the login process so that the user can get to a desktop quickly and not have to wait for their Elastic Layers to surface first. However, especially with Session Hosts, you may find that the Elastic Layers are not available quickly enough. It is possible to make Elastically Assigned Layers attach at the beginning of the login process. by setting HKLM\SOFTWARE\Unidesk\ULayer\MaxCompositingPhase = 0. More info at CTX246468 How to disable delayed loading of Elastic Layers on an image. ūüí°
  12. As of App Layering 4.14, User Layers is fully supported.
    1. User Layers have the same application compatibility limitations as Elastic Layers.
    2. Storage Locations for User Layers are configured at System > Storage Locations.
    3. The default size for User Layers is 10 GB. You can change this size by setting HKLM\Software\Unidesk\Ulayer\DefaultUserLayerSizeInGb on the managed machines. Source = Understanding Elastic Layering > Scaling (tab) > User Layer Size.
    4. Multiple access to the User Layer VHD is not allowed.
    5. After logging into a published, layered machine and mounting a user layer, you must revert the machine. Non-persistent Catalogs automatically revert the machine after logoff. Or take a snapshot before logging in and revert to snapshot after logging out.
    6. David Wilkinson describes User Layers in detail at¬†Citrix Application Layering ‚Äď User layers.
  13. As of App Layering 4.8, Office 365 User Layers is a fully supported feature. For details (including limitations), see:
  14. Layering 4.11 adds Session Office 365 Layers to roam Outlook OST files on RDSH VDAs.
  15. Click the down arrow.
  16. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Create Template.
  17. The Image is then displayed as Publishable.

Clone Template

App Layering 4.13 and newer have a Clone Template feature to more easily create multiple templates with similar configurations.

  1. On the Images tab, right-click an existing Image Template and click Clone Template.
  2. Right-click the newly created template and click Edit Template.
  3. Notice the name has РCopy on the end. Feel free to change the name, and edit the new template as desired.

Publish Image

  1. Right-click a publishable image template, and click Publish Layered Image.
  2. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Publish Layered Image.
  3. Open the Tasks pane, and click the information icon to view details of the running task.
  4. If publishing to MCS (vSphere):
    1. In the vSphere Web Client, you’ll find the Template VM under the TemplateVMs folder under the Virtual Machine folder you selected for the Connector.
    2. Citrix MCS creates VMs in the same Folder as the Master Image. You might want to move the Template VM to a different virtual machine folder.
    3. If you edit the VM’s hardware, you’ll see that the disk is Thick Provisioned.
    4. For MCS, in Citrix Studio, create a Machine Catalog using the Template VM as the Master Image.
    5. Notice that MCS creates VMs in the same Virtual Machine folder as the Master Image.
  5. If publishing to Provisioning Services (PVS):
    1. The image is uploaded to the vDisk Store as a .VHD file (not .VHDX).
    2. And it’s automatically added to the vDisk Store in the PVS Console. You can now assign it to your Target Devices.
    3. You can Redirect ulayersvc.log to another folder or drive by modifying C:\Program Files\Unidesk\Layering Services\ULayer.exe.config. You can only modify this file after the image is published. (Source =CTX237138 Redirect ulayersvc.log to another folder or drive)
    4. CTX226065¬†Citrix App Layering 4.x: PVS Image Management –¬†choose an image, then list all the targets using that image optionally filtering on one ore more collections, then ‚Äúpromote‚ÄĚ the image to all selected targets.
    5. If the PVS Image prompts for a reboot, then see CTX230767 App Layering: Published image to PVS prompts user to restart computer. Create a new Platform Layer version. Take an existing Write Cache disk and attach to the Packaging VM so it can detect the new hardware. Remove the second disk and Finalize the Layer.

Elastic Layers

Logon delay – From Rob Zylowski at XenApp Image Template Application Assignment vs Elastic Delay at Citrix Discussions: “There is a 5-8 second penalty just for turning on elastic layering. But its not a straight x seconds per app because the mounts run in parallel. However more apps do take longer. What can have more of an effect is if the app has a service. We have to mount the disk, read it and then start the service before we allow the logon to ensure that the service is available if your logon actually needs it. There is a log at c:\programdata\unidesk\logs that will tell you the time associated with mounting and starting elastic layers so you will know how much of the logon impact is due to elastic layering.”

Citrix.com Understanding Elastic Layering –¬†A technical overview of the Citrix App Layering 4.x Elastic Layering Architecture and Configuration details

Provisioning Cache Disks РCitrix CTX227454 App Layering: PVS Cache Disks May Need to Be Larger with Elastic Layering: you may need to add capacity to your Cache Disks and/or Cache Memory reservation on your Target Machines to support App Layering with Elastic Layers. App Layering caches entire modified files, not individual modified blocks.

Profile Streaming Compatibility – App Layering 4.12 adds support for Citrix Profile Management Profile Streaming with Elastic Layers. Also see Elastic Layers and Profile issues at Citrix Discussions.

Delayed loading – By default, Elastically Assigned Layers are loaded at the end of the login process so that the user can get to a desktop quickly and not have to wait for their Elastic Layers to surface first. However, especially with Session Hosts, you may find that the Elastic Layers are not available quickly enough. It is possible to make Elastically Assigned Layers attach at the beginning of the login process. by setting HKLM\SOFTWARE\Unidesk\ULayer\MaxCompositingPhase = 0. More info at CTX246468 How to disable delayed loading of Elastic Layers on an image. ūüí°

To assign elastic layers to users:

  1. In the ELM Management Console, go to Layers > App Layers.
  2. Right-click a Deployable App Layer, and click Add Assignments.
  3. In the Select Version page, select an App Layer version, and click the down arrow.
  4. In the¬†Image Template Assignment page, don’t select anything. This page lets you assign this App Layer to a Image Template for pre-boot merging. For Elastic merging/mounting, just click the down arrow.
  5. In the¬†Elastic Assignment¬†page, note any issues that Elastic Fit discovered that would prevent the app from merging elastically correctly. If you’re OK with the issues, click the¬†Assign Elastically button.
  6. Search for a user group you want to assign this Layer to, and check the box next to the group. Click the down arrow when done.
  7. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Assign Layer.
  8. Open the Tasks pane to see the progress while it copies the App Layer to the remote SMB share.
  9. When it’s done, go to the SMB share to see the files it uploaded, including the .json files that contain Layer assignments.
  10. To enable Elastic Layers in machines created from a ELM Image Template, edit the Template (Images), and make sure Elastic Layers is enabled in the Layered Image Disk page.
  11. Note: when you enable Elastic Layering, the published image only gets 20 GB of free space due to the addition of a writable partition.
  12. Note: if you find that App Layers are conflicting with each other, you can adjust the App Layer priority by using the Unidesk 4 Layer Priority Utility — Experimental tool.
  13. From Citrix Discussions Application from an Elastic Layer as “Published App”?¬†You can publish an elastic app. Simply publish an app, but manually specify the path to where executable would be. The app is mounted before the user logs in, so it will be there when Citrix tries to launch the app.
  14. The path to Elastic Layers can be overridden by setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Unidesk\ULayer:RepositoryPath on the published machine. See DFS path and Elastic Layers at Citrix Discussions, and CTX222107 You can change the Elastic Layer repository in the registry without reimaging (4.x).
  15. To debug Elastic Layers, see CTX222133 Elastic Layering Logs. Only Info logging is enabled by default.
    1. In C:\Program Files\Unidesk\Layering Services\ulayer.exe.config, set LogFileAppender level to Debug
      1. Must be set before machine boots.
    2. C:\ProgramData\Unidesk\Logs\ulayersvc.log

Update Layers

  1. In App Layering 1812 and newer, you can optionally right-click an existing App Layer and click Clone Layer. You would do this if want to create a new branch of app updates without affecting the main branch.

    1. You can select a particular version of the source layer.
    2. It takes a bit of time to clone the layer. Use the Task status panel to see when it’s done.
  2. Right-click an App Layer (including cloned app layers), and click Add Version.
  3. In the Version Details page, enter a new version, and click the down arrow.
  4. In the OS Layer page, click the down arrow.
  5. In the Prerequisites Layers page, click the down arrow.
  6. In the Connector page, select a Connector, and click the down arrow.
  7. In the Platform Layer page, click the down arrow.
  8. In the Packaging Disk page, click the down arrow.
  9. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Add Version.
  10. The task details shows the current progress.
  11. When the Packaging Machine is deployed, you can connect to its console and perform any desired updates. When you are done performing updates, finalize the layer:
    1. George Spiers Citrix App Layering Preparation Script: runs a number of tasks to clean out temporary folders, clear out Event Log entries, remove ghost devices from Device Manager, etc.  ?
    2. Double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop. If it finds issues, it will tell you what to do (e.g. reboot needed). Otherwise, it will shut down the VM.
  12. When done updating the Packaging Machine, right-click the App Layer that is marked as Editing, and click Finalize.
  13. In the Script Path page, click the down arrow.
  14. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  15. View the task details to see the current progress.
  16. To confirm that you have a new version, right-click the App Layer, and click Delete Versions.
  17. You can only delete versions that are not assigned to any Image.
  18. There are two methods of assigning a new version: one image at a time, or multiple images.
  19. To edit one image:
    1. Go to the Images tab. Right-click an Image, and click Edit Template.
    2. Click the Application Assignment page.
    3. Click the plus arrow next to a Layer and select the new version. Then complete the wizard.
  20. To update multiple images:
    1. Right-click the updated layer, and click Update Assignments.
    2. In the Select Version page, select the version you want to assign, and click the down arrow.
    3. In the Image Template Assignment page, select the templates you want to update, and click the down arrow.
    4. In the Elastic Assignment page, if this App Layer is assigned to users, you can update them too. Click the down arrow.
    5. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Update Assignments.
  21. Once an image has a new version assigned, you must republish it.

Export Layers

App Layering 4.3 and newer let you export all layers and versions to the SMB File Share.

  1. As of App Layering 4.8, Import and Export Layers is a fully supported feature.
    1. For App Layering versions 4.3 through 4.7, at System > Settings and Configuration > Labs, click Edit.
    2. Check the box next to Import and Export Layers, and click Save.
  2. Go to the Layers tab.
  3. Right-click on the background, and click Export.
  4. App Layering 4.4 and newer lets you specify a file share for the exported layers.
  5. ELM 4.5 and newer let you select the layers and versions that you want to export. Make your selections, and then click the down arrow.
  6. Review the list of layers/versions it will export, and click Export.
  7. If you look in your SMB share, in the¬†\Unidesk\Exported Layers folder, you’ll see a folder for the OS Layer, and in there, you’ll see a folder for each Platform and Application Layer.
  8. After creating new layer versions, if you export layers again, it will only export the layers/versions that haven’t already been exported.
  9. If you right-click the background, and click Import
  10. It only imports the layers/versions that are missing.

App Layering – OS Layer and Platform Layer

Last Modified: Oct 12, 2019 @ 3:34 pm

Navigation

This page assumes the Enterprise Layer Manager (ELM) has already been imported and configured. This page is based on VMware vSphere. For Hyper-V and PvS focused instructions, see Create and update the OS Layer by CTP George Spiers . For Azure, see How to configure Citrix Cloud ‚Äď App Layering 4.x to deliver virtualized apps and Office 365 caching ‚Äď User Layers for XenApp and XenDesktop Service Cloud Workspaces in Microsoft Azure by CTP Christiaan Brinkhoff.

Change Log

Layers Overview

25-page Citrix App Layering Reference Architecture at Citrix Tech Zone details the following:

  • Why App Layering
  • Technical Overview of Citrix App Layering
  • Types of Layers
  • App Layering Integration with Citrix Provisioning and Citrix Machine Creation Services
  • Cross-Platform Support
  • App Layering Communication Flow
  • Availability, Backup, and Recovery – including User Layers

A Technical Overview of Citrix Application Layering – 24-page Citrix whitepaper

Enterprise Layer Manager (ELM) uses several types of layers:

  • Operating System Layer
  • Platform Layer
  • Application Layer
  • Image Template
  • User Layer

The master versions of all Layers are stored inside the Enterprise Layer Manager virtual appliance.

Citrix CTX225952 4.x Layering Best Practices

Operating System Layer

Operating System Layer is just the base OS (with patches) and VMware Tools. Other components are usually installed in Platform and Application Layers.

  • If you install .NET Frameworks in the OS Layer, then you only need to run Windows Updates on the OS Layer. However, Office should always be installed in an Application Layer.
  • Windows Store apps should be removed from the OS Layer, not other layers.

Platform and Application Layers are tied to the OS Layer – The remaining layers (Platform and Application) are created from an OS Layer. These layers are linked to one OS Layer, and can’t be used on any other OS Layer.

  • If you upgrade the hypervisor tools in the OS Layer, then you might have to recreate the Platform Layer.

Only OS Layer captures changes to local groups and local apps – Any application that creates local users (e.g. XenApp 6.5) should be installed in the OS Layer. Platform Layer and Application Layers do not capture changes to local groups or local users.

Platform Layer

Platform Layer is the highest priority layer and should contain the following: (from CTX225997 Considerations When Creating a Platform Layer in Citrix App Layering 4.x)

  • Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent, or VMware Horizon Agent.
  • Citrix Provisioning Services Target Devices Software
  • NVIDIA Drivers
  • Join the Domain
  • Citrix Receiver – for the Single Sign-on Component
  • Citrix Workspace Environment Management Agent
  • Imprivata
  • Hypervisor Tools – if packaging or publishing to a different hypervisor than originally used to create the OS Layer.

SAM database changes (local users, local groups) are not captured in the Platform Layer. You might have to use group policy to create and populate local groups. For example, Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent creates local users adds domain users to local groups. See Direct Access Users Group Missing All Layers at Citrix Discussions.

  • Domain Join in Platform Layer does not capture adding Domain Admins to local Administrators group and Domain Users in the local Users group. Use Group Policy Restricted Groups or Group Policy Preferences Local Users and Groups to add these Domain Groups to the Local Groups.

  • Here are some additional settings in a Group Policy at Computer Configuration > Preferences folder > Control Panel Settings ¬†Right-click the Local Users and Groups node, point to New, and select Local Group. More info at CTX259057 VDAs are not registering using a published image – Use GPO/GPP to add the proper accounts and services.
    • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Remote Desktop Users ‚Äď Add Members “DOMAIN\Domain Users‚ÄĚ
    • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Remote Desktop Users ‚Äď Add Members “NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users”
    • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Performance Log Users ‚Äď Add Members “NT Service\CitrixTelemetryService”
    • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Performance Monitor Users ‚Äď Add Members “NT Service\BrokerAgent”
    • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Administrators ‚Äď Add Members DOMAIN\Your_Citrix_Admins_Group
    • Action ‚Äď Create ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Anonymous
    • Action ‚Äď Create ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Direct Access Users ‚Äď Add Members DOMAIN\Your_User_Group

Windows 10 apps should be removed from the OS Layer, not from the Platform Layer.

An Image Template (the composed machine that is published to the hypervisor) can contain only one Platform Layer. If you are creating a Platform Layer for Citrix Provisioning Services, then that one Platform Layer should include both the Citrix VDA, and the Citrix PvS Target Device Software.

Application Layers

Application Layers contain anything not in the OS Layer or Platform Layer, including the following:

  • Applications
  • Antivirus
  • Print Drivers
  • SCCM Client

Per-user settings (profile changes) are not captured in an Application Layer.

When creating a Layered Machine, there are two methods of merging the Application Layers:

  • Pre-boot – ELM merges the App Layers with the OS Layer and Platform Layer to create a single monolithic disk file. This method provides the greatest application compatibility. Use this method for Apps with boot time services or drivers.
  • Elastic – When the user logs into a Layered Machine, a service looks in a file share for any Elastic Layers assigned to the user, and merges (mounts)¬†them as¬†the user logs in. Different users can have different Elastic Layers, even on multi-user Remote Desktop Session Host (XenApp) machines. However, Elastic Layering doesn’t work for apps that need boot-time services/drivers.

A single App Layer can be merged¬†using either of these methods. If the App Layer doesn’t work Elastically, then you can mount it Pre-boot (Image Template) instead. There is no need to create separate App Layers for each mounting method.

Elastic App Layers are stored in a SMB file share. You can use any desired method to provide High Availability for this file share, including: Scale Out File Server, DFS Namespace/Replication, etc.

FSLogix creates local groups every time the service restarts. Thus it works when installed inside an Application Layer.

Image Template

Image Template contains one OS Layer, one Platform Layer, and zero or more App Layers. The App Layers assigned in the Image Template are merged pre-boot.

You then Publish the Image Template to your hosting platform.

  • For MCS, the Template is pushed to a hypervisor (e.g. vSphere) virtual machine, which becomes the master image for an MCS Catalog.
  • For PvS, ELM creates a VHD file, and pushes it to a PvS vDisk Store, so you can assign it to Target Devices.

For Elastic Layers, you must enable Elastic Layers in the Image Template.

User Layers

User Layers allow users to install their own applications. In ELM 4.14 and newer, User Layers are fully supported.

User Layers require additional consideration for backup, replication, and recovery.

User Layers are tied to OS Layer – From Gunther Anderson: “Like App and Platform Layers, User Layer disks are tied to the OS layer they were originally built from. If you have a user login to images from two different OS layers, you will see the User Layer disks in two different directories on the share, one for each OS layer. The image itself knows what OS layer it was built from, and the ULayer service uses that information.”

  • If you want profile portability, store the profile outside of the User Layer by implementing Citrix Profile Management.

The default size for User Layers is 10 GB. You can change this size by setting HKLM\Software\Unidesk\Ulayer\DefaultUserLayerSizeInGb on the managed machines. Source = Understanding Elastic Layering > Scaling (tab) > User Layer Size.

Layering Tips

From Citrix Blog Post 5 Tips for Packaging Your Apps with Citrix App Layering:

  1. .NET Frameworks go in the OS Layer
    1. Store apps are removed from the OS Layer.
  2. Keep the layer as clean and as small as possible
    1. A packaging machine will not be part of your domain
    2. Delete any installers from the desktop, delete any temp directories, and empty the recycling bin
    3. If Windows Updates, delete the contents of C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  3. Underlying applications should be layered first, and then selected as prerequisite layers when you go to create a layer for the subsequent application
  4. Use  Application Layer Recipes
    1. Turn off the application’s auto-updater
    2. For antivirus, follow the manufacturer‚Äôs steps to ‚Äúgeneralize‚ÄĚ or remove any unique client identifiers
    3. Handle application licensing – rearm, activation, etc.
  5. Run ngen.exe update

Also see Citrix CTX225952 4.x Layering Best Practices:

  • Operating System Layer:
    • Application Layers are tied to the Operating System Layer.
    • ELM automatically upgrades OS Layer drivers. However, OS Layer Scripts should be updated reinstalling the Machine Tools.
    • .NET should be in the OS Layer.
    • OS Layer is lowest priority.
    • Patch OS by creating an OS Layer Version.
    • When patching, ensure Windows is activated.
    • VMware Tools goes in the OS Layer. Update it too.
    • Windows Store apps should be removed from the OS Layer.
  • Application Layers:
    • Per-user profile settings are not captured.
    • Local users and local groups are not captured. Use Group Policy Restricted Groups instead.
    • A single utility layer can include Java, Flash, Adobe Reader.
    • Turn off application automatic updates.
    • If domain membership required for an app installation, join domain, install app, remove from domain.
    • Antivirus can go in OS Layer or App Layer.
    • Printer drivers can be layered – but not elastically
    • Use Layer Recipes.
    • All Office apps needed by a machine/user should be combined into a single Office Layer
    • Office cannot be elastically layered
    • When patching Office, update the OS Layer first.
    • Max 50 layers per desktop.

CTX226984 App Layering/Unidesk: The list of Windows Updates is usually wrong in app/platform layers and published images/desktops.

Operating System Preparation

  1. See Citrix CTX225952 4.x Layering Best Practices
  2. Windows Server 2019 – Windows Server 2019 is supported in App Layering 1905 and newer
  3. Office 2019 – Office 2019 is supported in App Layering 1905 and newer
  4. Windows 10
    1. Windows 10 version 1903 is supported in App Layering 1907 and newer.
    2. Windows 10 version 1809 is supported in App Layering 1902 and newer.
    3. Windows 10 version 1803 Professional Edition is supported in App Layering 4.15 and newer.
    4. Windows 10 version 1803 Enterprise Edition is supported, including Store Apps, in App Layering 4.12 and newer.
    5. Windows 10 version 1709 is supported, including Store Apps, in App Layering 4.11 and newer.
    6. Windows 10 version 1709 is supported, but only if all Store Apps are disabled, in App Layering 4.10.
      • From Gunther Anderson at Citrix Discussions: “Testing wasn’t completed in time for the 4.10 release, but it turns out that 4.10 actually does work with Store Apps.”
    7. Windows 10 version 1703 is supported, but only if all Store Apps are disabled, in App Layering 4.7 through App Layering 4.10.
  5. Create a virtual machine.
  6. If vSphere:
    1. Make sure your OS Layer creation machine has a NIC of type VMXNET 3.
    2. “We do not support Paravirtual SCSI controllers and do not have any current plans to do so.” (source = Citrix Discussions)
    3. On the VM Options tab, expand Boot Options, and make sure the Firmware is BIOS, not EFI.
  7. GPT and EFI are not supported, only MBR and BIOS.
  8. Install an operating system (Windows 10, or Windows 2016/2019 with Desktop Experience), and patch it.
  9. Install VMware Tools.
  10. DHCP – Make sure the NIC is set to DHCP.
  11. XenApp 6.5 – Since local accounts are not captured in a Platform Layer, Citrix recommends installing XenApp 6.5 in the OS Layer instead of the Platform Layer.
  12. Workgroup – Don’t join the template machine to the domain. Leave it in a workgroup.
  13. RDSH – For RDSH machines, Citrix recommends installing RDSH in the OS Layer instead of the Platform Layer.
  14. Remote Desktop – Enable remote connections (Remote Desktop).

  15. Install Windows Updates.
  16. Disable Automatic Updates on the template machine. You can use layers to install updates. An easy method to disable it is in Group Policy (gpedit.msc) at Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Windows Update | Configure Automatic Updates. Disable the setting.
  17. To stop Windows from performing maintenance and consuming 100% CPU, set the following registry value: (source = Win 10 Image РCPU Utilization 100% non-stop at Citrix Discussions):
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Schedule\Maintenance
      • MaintenanceDisabled (REG_DWORD) = 1
  18. For Windows 10 version 1703, mkelly439 at Unable to finalize App Layers with ELM 4.7 РDO NOT UPGRADE TO 4.7 at Citrix Discussions says Defender should be disabled to prevent an import error.
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
      • DisableAntiSpyware (REG_DWORD)¬†= 1
  19. If Citrix Provisioning, George Spiers says IPv6 should be disabled.
  20. Go to the downloaded App Layering 1910 files, right-click the citrix_app_layering_os_machine_tools_19.10.0.exe file, and click Run as administrator.
  21. Click Install.
  22. If you look on the taskbar, you might see an open program called Set KMS Version.
  23. Click Use KMS.
  24. Then close the window.
  25. If Set KMS Version did not run automatically, then manually run C:\Windows\Setup\scripts\SetKMSVersion.hta as administrator (elevated).
    1. Shift right-click the file to copy it’s full path.
    2. Open command prompt as administrator, paste the path, and run it from there.
    3. Click Use KMS.
    4. This adds the file runipkato.cmd to C:\Windows\Setup\scripts\kmsdir, which ELM will run when it publishes the image. The script installs the KMS Client key and activates it.
  26. If you have run KMS Setup multiple times (usually due to Machine Tools upgrades), check the registry for duplicates and remove the duplicates.
    1. In regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\Scripts\Startup\0\0. You should see kmssetup.cmd.
    2. If there are other registry keys named 1 or higher, check them for kmssetup.cmd. If true, then delete the duplicate keys so that only 0 remains.
    3. See CTX238316 After upgrading the OS Machine Tools, kmssetup.cmd runs twice at startup for more details.
  27. If this is a Windows 10 virtual machine, and if you want to remove Store apps, remove them from the OS Layer instead of the Platform Layer.
    1. In App Layering 4.11 and newer, Store apps are supported, and it is no longer necessary to remove them.
    2. App Layering 4.7 and newer has a script at C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts\RemoveStoreApps.cmd that can remove the store apps. Note: this script removes Calculator, so you’ll probably want to find a replacement Calculator.
    3. Citrix Optimizer can remove Store apps.
    4. The Citrix Optimizer community marketplace at https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ryancbutler/Citrix_Optimizer_Community_Template_Marketplace/master/communitymarketplace.xml also has a App Layering Supplement.

  28. Run setup_x64.exe from C:\Windows\Setup\scripts. Make sure you run it elevated.
  29. In the Welcome to the InstallShield Wizard for the Citrix App Layering Image Preparation Utility 19.10.0.10 page, click Next.
  30. In the Specify your answer file page, click Next.
  31. In the InstallShield Wizard Completed page, click Finish.
  32. CTP George Spiers Citrix App Layering Preparation Script: runs a number of tasks to clean out temporary folders, clear out Event Log entries, remove ghost devices from Device Manager, etc.
  33. Shut down the machine.

Import OS Layer

  1. In the ELM Management Console, go to the Layers tab.
  2. Right-click in the grey area, and click Create OS Layer.
  3. In the Layer Details page, give the OS Layer a name and version.
  4. Specify a Max Layer Size. Note: the packaging machine is thick provisioned using the size specified here.
  5. Click the down arrow to proceed to the next page.
  6. In the¬†Connector page, if you already have a vSphere connector, select it, and click the down arrow. If you don’t already have a vSphere connector, then click New.

    1. Note: in ELM 4.11 and newer, you can also create or edit connectors at System > Connectors. This page also shows Connector Cache information. Caching improves performance of the connectors.
    2. See System requirements at Citrix Docs for the list of supported hypervisors and brokers.
      • ¬†vCenter 6.7 is not supported until ELM 4.14.
      • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops¬†(CVAD) 1808 and Citrix Provisioning 1808 are not supported until ELM 4.15.
      • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops¬†(CVAD) 1811 and Citrix Provisioning 1811 are not supported until ELM 1901.
      • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) 1903 and Citrix Provisioning 1903 are supported in ELM 1905 and later.
      • Horizon 7.6 is not supported until ELM 4.15.
      • XenServer 7.6 is not supported until ELM 4.15.
      • Citrix Hypervisor 8.0 is supported in ELM 1905 and later
    3. To create the vSphere connector, in the Choose a Connector Type window, select VMware vSphere.
    4. Click New.
    5. A new tab opens.
    6. Give the Connector a name (e.g. vCenter name). The Connector specification includes specific storage, so the Connector name should indicate the storage name.
    7. Enter the vCenter FQDN and service account credentials.
      • The vCenter permissions needed by the service account are detailed at vSphere Permissions at Citrix Docs.
    8. Click Check Credentials.
    9. Scroll down and use the drop downs to select where you want Packaging VMs and Published Templates to be created.
    10. The Packaging VMs and Published Templates will be created under the Virtual Machine Folder that you specify here.
    11. If MCS, in the Virtual Machine Template (optional) field, search for a Template VM that will be copied to create the MCS master image. The Template VM needs CPU, Memory, and GPU settings, but no disks. See Required information for this Connector Configuration at Citrix Machine Creation Services for vSphere Connector Configuration at Citrix Docs.
      • To ensure that the published images have the correct time zone,¬†it may help to generate a new template for your Connector, by having (or building) a Windows VM that has booted in the correct time zone. Shut it down, clone it, delete the attached disk from the clone, and convert that to a template for your Connector configuration in the Layering Management Console. More info at¬†CTX230562¬†App Layering: Machine time on a published image is wrong at first boot.
    12. Layer Disk Cache Size in GB speeds up App Layer creation operations if you are creating multiple App Layers for the same OS/Platform combination. The size should be greater the size of the OS/Platform combinations.
    13. Click Test.

    14. When the Test is successful, click Save.
    15. Then click Close.
  7. Back in the Connector page, select the vSphere connector, and click the down arrow.
  8. In the OS Disk Details page, click Select Virtual Machine.
  9. Click the … next to Virtual Machine.
  10. Select the OS Layer Virtual Machine, and click OK.
  11. Click OK.
  12. Click the down arrow.
  13. In the Icon Assignment page, select an icon, or upload a new one. Then click the down arrow.
  14. In the Confirm and Complete page,  you can enter a Comment to indicate who created this layer and when. Then click Create Layer.
  15. At the bottom of the screen, click the up chevron to display the Tasks pane.
  16. You’ll see a Running task. Click the information icon to view more details.

  17. Eventually it will say completed successfully.
  18. And the OS Layer will be Deployable.

Platform Layer

  1. See Citrix CTX225952 4.x Layering Best Practices.
  2. See Citrix CTX225997 Considerations When Creating a Platform Layer in Citrix App Layering 4.x.
  3. In the Layers tab, Platform Layers sub-tab, right-click in the grey area, and click Create Platform Layer.
  4. In the¬†Layer Details page, give the Platform Layer a name and version. Note: Platform Layers are linked to OS Layers, so it’s best to indicate which OS Layer this Platform Layer is based on. You can’t use a Platform Layer created on one OS Layer on a different OS Layer.
  5. Enter a version number.
  6. Specify a Max Layer Size. Note: the packaging machine is thick provisioned using the size specified here, plus the size of the OS Layer.
  7. Click Next (down button).
  8. In the OS Layer page, select the OS Layer (and layer version) this Platform Layer will be based on, and click the down arrow.
  9. In the¬†Connector page, if you already have a vSphere connector, select it, and click Next. If you don’t already have a vSphere connector, then click New to create one. Click the down arrow.
  10. In the Platform Types page, change the selection to This platform layer will be used for publishing Layered Images. The other selection is if you want to deploy the vSphere OS Layer on a different hypervisor (e.g. Azure).
  11. Use the drop downs to select the Hypervisor, Provisioning Method, and Connection Broker. These can be changed later. Click the down arrow.
  12. In the Packaging Disk page, enter a name for the .vmdk disk that will be created in vSphere. Click the down arrow.
  13. In the Icon Assignment page, select an icon, or upload a new one. Click the down arrow.
  14. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Create Layer.
  15. On the bottom of the screen, open the Tasks pane.
  16. Click the information icon to view what the task is doing.
  17. Eventually it will say Pending (Action Required), meaning it’s waiting for you to perform the packaging in vSphere.
  18. In vSphere Web Client, in the VMs and Templates view, expand the Layering folder, expand Packaging VMs, and click the new Packaging Machine.
  19. If you edit the VM’s hardware, notice that the disk is Thick Provisioned.
  20. Login to the machine and Join it to the domain. Only join the Platform Layer to the domain. OS Layer and App Layers must not be joined to the domain. You’re welcome to change the computer name.

    1. After joining the domain, move the computer object to your VDA OU so the GPO computer settings are applied to the Platform Layer.
  21. You can now access the console of the Packaging VM and install VDA software.
    • VDA 1909 is supported with App Layering 1910 and newer.
    • VDA 1906 is supported with App Layering 1907 and newer.
    • VDA 1903 is supported with App Layering 1905 and newer.

  22. Feel free to reboot the Packaging VM.
  23. Rob Zylowski at Imprivata App Layers at Citrix Discussions recommends installing Imprivata in the same Platform Layer that contains the VDA.
  24. According to Direct Access Users Group Missing All Layers at Citrix Discussions, the Platform Layer does not capture or merge changes to local groups.
        1. Use Group Policy Restricted Groups or Group Policy Preferences Local Users and Groups to configure local groups.

      At

    Computer Configuration

      1. >

    Preferences

      1. folder >

    Control Panel Settings

      1. , right-click the

    Local Users and Groups

      1. node, point to

    New

      1. , and select

    Local Group

      1. . More info at CTX259057

    VDAs are not registering using a published image – Use GPO/GPP to add the proper accounts and services

      .

      • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Users ‚Äď Add Members: “DOMAIN\Domain Users‚ÄĚ
      • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Administrators ‚Äď Add Members: “DOMAIN\Your_Citrix_Admins_Group”, “DOMAIN\Domain Admins”
      • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Remote Desktop Users ‚Äď Add Members: “NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users”
      • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Performance Log Users ‚Äď Add Members: “NT Service\CitrixTelemetryService”
      • Action ‚Äď Update ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Performance Monitor Users ‚Äď Add Members: “NT Service\BrokerAgent”
      • Action ‚Äď Create ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Anonymous
      • Action ‚Äď Create ‚Äď Group ‚Äď Direct Access Users ‚Äď Add Members: “DOMAIN\Your_RDP_Allowed_User_Group”
  25. If Citrix Provisioning:
    1. Install the Citrix Provisioning Target Device Software in the Platform Layer. The ELM Templates only allow one Platform Layer per template, so you’d need to install both VDA and Provisioning Services Target Device components in a single Platform Layer.
    2. Rearm KMS licensing (slmgr /rearm). MCS does this automatically during Image Prep.
  26. From Citrix CTX225997 Considerations When Creating a Platform Layer in Citrix App Layering 4.x): Additional software to install in the Platform Layer:
    • NVIDIA Drivers
    • Join the Domain – after joining, login as network account, then login as local account, and delete the profile of the network account.
    • Citrix Workspace App – for the Single Sign-on Component
    • Citrix Workspace Environment Management Agent
    • Hypervisor Tools – if packaging or publishing to a different hypervisor than the one originally used to create the OS Layer.
  27. Windows 10 apps should be removed from the OS Layer, not from the Platform Layer.
  28. CTX226984 App Layering/Unidesk: The list of Windows Updates is usually wrong in app/platform layers and published images/desktops.
  29. When done installing components, finalize the layer:
    1. CTP George Spiers Citrix App Layering Preparation Script: runs a number of tasks to clean out temporary folders, clear out Event Log entries, remove ghost devices from Device Manager, etc.
    2. Double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop. If it finds issues, it will tell you what to do (e.g. reboot needed). Otherwise, it will shut down the VM.
  30. Back in the ELM Management Console, in Layers > Platform Layers, right-click the Editing layer, and click Finalize.
  31. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  32. You can click the information icon next to¬†the running task to see what it’s doing.

  33. Eventually the icon will say Deployable.
  34. You can click the information icon on the Platform Layer to view its details.

Next Steps

Update OS or Platform Layers

  1. Right-click an OS Layer or a Platform Layer, and click Add Version.
  2. In the Version Details page, in App Layering 4.8 and newer, select a Base Version that you want to update.
  3. In the New Version field, enter a new version, and click Next.
  4. In the OS Layer page, select an OS Layer version, and click Next.
  5. In the Connector page, select a Connector, and click Next.
  6. In the Platform Types page, click Next.
  7. In the Packaging Disk page, click Next.
  8. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Add Version.
  9. The task details shows the current progress.
  10. When the Packaging Machine is deployed, you can connect to its console and perform any desired updates.
  11. When done installing updates, finalize the layer:
    1. George Spiers Citrix App Layering Preparation Script: runs a number of tasks to clean out temporary folders, clear out Event Log entries, remove ghost devices from Device Manager, etc.
    2. Double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop. If it finds issues, it will tell you what to do (e.g. reboot needed). Otherwise, it will shut down the VM.
  12. When done updating the Packaging Machine, right-click the Layer that is marked as Editing, and click Finalize.
  13. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  14. View the task details to see the current progress.
  15. To confirm that you have a new version, move your mouse over the layer icon, and click the information icon.
  16. The available versions are shown.
  17. There are two methods of assigning a new version: one image at a time, or multiple images.
  18. To edit one image:
    1. Go to the Images tab.
    2. Right-click an Image, and click Edit Template.
    3. Click the OS Layer or Platform Layer page.
    4. Click the plus arrow next to a Layer and select the new version. Then complete the wizard.
  19. To update multiple images:
    1. On the Layers tab, right-click the updated layer, and click Update Assignments.
    2. In the Select Version page, select the version you want to assign, and click Next.
    3. In the Image Template Assignment page, select the templates you want to update, and click Next.
    4. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Update Assignments.
  20. Once an image has a new version assigned, go to the Images tab, and republish the image.

App Layering – Enterprise Layer Manager (ELM) 1910

Last Modified: Oct 12, 2019 @ 3:13 pm

Navigation

These App Layering pages focus on VMware vSphere as the hypervisor. For Hyper-V, see¬†Citrix App Layering by George Spiers. For Azure, see¬†How to configure Citrix Cloud ‚Äď App Layering 4.8 to deliver virtualized apps and Office 365 caching ‚Äď User Layers for XenApp and XenDesktop Service Cloud Workspaces in Microsoft Azure by¬†Christiaan Brinkhoff.

Change Log

Licensing

From Citrix Blog Post A Breakdown of Citrix App Layering Features by Edition: Citrix App Layering is available in all Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) editions. This means that you can do the following across any number of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) sites in your environment:

  • Create an unlimited number of OS, platform and application layers
  • Create an unlimited number of layered images
  • Create an unlimited number of elastic layers

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) Premium Edition customers also benefit from:

  • Multiple hypervisors and/or cloud connections (e.g. Citrix Hypervisor and Azure or Citrix Hypervisor and Hyper-V).
    • Non-Premium sites are limited to one hypervisor or cloud connection type.
  • Multiple provisioning mechanisms (e.g. Machine Creation Services and Citrix Provisioning).
    • Non-Premium sites must select MCS or CPV and use it exclusively with Citrix App Layering.
  • Multiple broker types/platforms (e.g. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) with VMware Horizon View).
    • Non-Premium sites can only use App Layering within their Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) sites
  • User Layers

For Citrix Cloud – Those customers using the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) Service are entitled to Premium-level features including all Citrix App Layering capabilities.

Upgrade Enterprise Layer Manager

If you are deploying a new ELM appliance, skip to Import Enterprise Layer Manager.

To upgrade:

  1. When you login to the ELM, you might see a notification about Version 19.10.0 (1910) is now available. Click Start Upgrade.
  2. If you don’t see the upgrade notification, then download it manually:
    1. Download the upgrade package from Citrix App Layering 1910 at Citrix Downloads. Look for the section named For an existing deployment, download the upgrade package.
    2. In the App Layering file share, create an Upgrade folder.
    3. Unzip the Upgrade Package, and copy the citrix_app_layering_upgrade_pkg_19.10.0.vhd file to the Upgrade folder in the App Layering file share.
    4. Login to the App Layering ELM management console.
    5. Switch to the System tab > Manage Appliance tab.
    6. On the right, click Upgrade.
    7. In the Upgrade Disk Details page, click Browse.
    8. Expand the Upgrade folder, select the citrix_app_layering_upgrade_pkg_19.10.0.vhd file, and click Choose.
  3. Click the down arrow (next).
  4. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Upgrade.
  5. The browser window changes to the upgrade progress page.
  6. It will eventually say that Upgrade Status is Complete. Refresh the browser.
  7. Login to the App Layering console.
  8. You might immediately see the upgrade notification. Click OK.
  9. Or, you might see some additional prompts:
    1. If the Citrix License Agreement window is displayed, check the box next to I accept the Terms and Conditions, and click Close.
    2. If the Setup Login Credentials wizard is displayed, in the About Your Credentials page, click the down arrow (next).
    3. In the Change Passwords page, enter passwords for the three accounts, and click the down arrow.
    4. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Change Credentials.
    5. Click OK when prompted that the passwords were changed successfully.
    6. Click OK when prompted that the ELM was upgraded.
  10. In the top right of the window, click About.
  11. Verify the ELM Software Version is 19.10.0.26.

Upgrade OS Layer

  1. From Gunther Anderson: You do not uninstall or upgrade the Unidesk Image Preparation Tool РSetup_x64.exe. The current drivers are installed in the ELM, and every time the ELM produces an image for any purpose, it injects the current drivers into it. You do not need to touch your OS layer for that. But you should re-publish all images.
  2. In a new OS Layer version, you should download and run¬†citrix_app_layering_os_machine_tools_19.10.0.exe¬†to allow it to upgrade your system scripts, but you don’t need to do anything beyond that. For Office 2019, your Machine Tools scripts must be version 1905 or later.
  3. Replace the existing files. This is especially important for fixing Office activation issues.
  4. If you look on the taskbar, you might see an open program called Set KMS Version.
  5. Click Use KMS.
  6. Then close the window.
  7. To fix Office activation issues, you’ll also need to create a new version of your Office layer, rerun the optimization tool, and then publish the updated image. More details at Office MAK licensing issues at Citrix Discussions.
  8. If Elastic Layers is enabled, then re-publish your images so ELM can inject the new Elastic Layer (and User Layer) driver.

Upgrade Provisioning Services Agent

  1. If you recently upgraded Provisioning Services server, then you might have to re-register the PVS snap-in:
    "C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\InstallUtil.exe" "c:\program files\citrix\provisioning services console\Citrix.PVS.snapin.dll"
  2. On your Provisioning Services server, open Programs and Features. If it says Citrix App Layering Agent, there’s no need to uninstall.

    1. If it says Unidesk Agent, then uninstall it before upgrading.
  3. Go to the Citrix App Layering 1910 files, and run citrix_app_layering_installer.exe.
  4. If upgrading from Agent 4.2 or newer, click Yes to upgrade the agent.
  5. In the Welcome to the InstallShield Wizard for Citrix App Layering Agent page, click Next.
  6. In the InstallShield Wizard Completed page, click Finish.
  7. Programs and Features shows the installed Agent version as 19.1000.9.

Import Enterprise Layer Manager Appliance

This section is for new installs.

App Layering 4.x availability and recovery concepts guide:

  • Layered images, Elastic Layers, and User Layers do not communicate with ELM, so ELM’s availability is not a concern.
    • Do not change the vCPUs or memory allocated to the ELM appliance.
  • All created layers are stored on the ELM appliance. Simply backup the appliance.
    • Layers can be exported¬†from the ELM appliance to a file share and optionally imported to another ELM appliance.
  • Elastic Layers and User Layers are always-open VHD files stored on a file share(s) that is separate from the ELM.
    • The file share(s) should be highly available. Use a clustering technology (e.g. Scale Out File Server) that supports always-open VHD files.
    • It’s not necessary to backup Elastic Layers, but you might want to replicate them to a different datacenter for multi-datacenter access. Make sure the replication tool supports always-open VHD files.
    • User Layers should be backed up and/or replicated. Use a backup method that supports always-open VHD files.

Download Appliance

  1. You can download App Layering 1910 Appliance Installation Package from Citrix Downloads.
  2. After downloading, extract the 1910 .zip file.

Import ELM Appliance

To import the ELM appliance:

  1. In vSphere Web Client, right-click a cluster, and click Deploy OVF Template.
  2. In the Select an OVF template page, browse to the vmware_19.10.0.10.ova file, and click Next.
  3. In the Select name and location page, give the machine a name, and click Next.
  4. In the Select a compute resource page, select a cluster, and click Next.
  5. In the Review details page, click Next.
  6. In the Accept license agreements page, click Accept, and then click Next.
  7. In the¬†Select storage page, select a datastore. The ELM appliance stores all master layers inside the appliance, so ensure there’s sufficient disk space (typically 300-500 GB) for the virtual appliance.
    1. You can view the appliance’s consumed disk space inside the ELM Management Console at System > Manage Appliance.
    2. To expand the storage, either increase the existing disk size, or add a disk to the VM. Then, on the right, is a link to Expand Storage.
  8. Select thin provision, or not. Then click Next.
  9. In the Select networks page, click Next.
  10. In the Ready to complete page, click Finish.
  11. See Firewall ports at Citrix Docs.

Configure ELM IP Address

  1. Once imported, power on the ELM appliance.
  2. After the RUN_ONCE commands are complete, login to the console as administrator with a password of Unidesk1. You might have to press enter before the logon prompt appears.
  3. Enter c to configure networking.
  4. Enter s to assign a static network.
  5. Enter a new IP address for this appliance. Then enter y to save settings and restart networking.
  6. Press <Enter> to continue.
  7. While here, feel free to configure the time zone.
  8. Press / to search. For Central Time, search for chicago, and note the time zone number.
  9. Press Q to quit the display.
  10. Enter the time zone number to configure it.
  11. NTP is configured to use Internet servers. Feel free to change them.

Silverlight

  1. Use Internet Explorer to connect to the ELM IP address. Silverlight does not work in Chrome.
  2. If Silverlight is not installed, click the button to install it.
  3. Uncheck the two boxes, and then click Install now.
  4. Click Close.
  5. When you go to the ELM console, the screen will be white for a few seconds. Be patient.
  6. You can login as administrator with Unidesk1 as the default password.

First Login

  1. The first time you logon you are prompted with the End User License Agreement. Check the box next to I accept the Terms and Conditions, and then click Close.
  2. If the Setup Login Credentials wizard is displayed, in the About Your Credentials page, click the down arrow (next).
  3. In the Change Passwords page, enter passwords for the three accounts, and click the down arrow.
  4. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Change Credentials.
  5. Click OK when prompted that the passwords were changed successfully.
  6. Feel free to close the welcome wizard.

Appliance Certificate

  1. In the ELM Management Console, go to System > Settings and Configuration.
  2. Scroll down until you see the HTTP Certificate Settings section. Click the Edit button.
  3. Scroll down, and click Upload.
  4. Browse to a PEM file that contains an unencrypted RSA key, and one certificate (no chain). You can use OpenSSL to convert a .pfx file to a PEM file.
  5. If you scroll up, it should show you the Common Name of the certificate you uploaded. If it’s the root certificate, then you need to remove the extra certificate from the PEM file.
  6. Scroll down and click Save.
  7. Click Yes to restart the web server.

  8. It might take a few minutes to apply. Eventually, you should be able to point your browser to the https URL and not see any certificate errors.
  9. At System > Settings and Configuration, you can scroll down to the Security Settings section to edit the Management Console idle timeout.

File Share

  1. On a Windows file server, create a new share that will store the Elastic Layers. Only SMB shares are supported with Elastic Layers. NFS shares will not work with Elastic Layers.
  2. For High Availability, you can use any file server High Availability technology like File Server Scale-out Clustering, DFS, etc. For local high availability, Citrix recommends clustering over DFS Replication since DFS failure requires reboot of Elastic Layered Machines. See DFS path and Elastic Layers at Citrix Discussions.
  3. For DR Elastic Layer machines, the registry value HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Unidesk\ULayer:RepositoryPath can be configured to point to a file share in a DR site. See DFS path and Elastic Layers at Citrix Discussions, and CTX222107 You can change the Elastic Layer repository in the registry without reimaging (4.x).
  4. Give Everyone (or equivalent) Full Control to the share.
  5. On the Security tab, make sure the Users groups only have Read access (no Modify/Write).
  6. Add a service account to the share, and give it Modify access. ELM uses this service account to upload elastic layers to the share.
  7. Back in the ELM, go to System > Settings and Configuration.
  8. Scroll down until you get to the Network File Shares section. Click Edit.
  9. Make sure¬†Windows share is selected. Elastic Layers don’t work on NFS.
  10. Enter the file share path, the service account credentials.
  11. Click Test Network File Share.
  12. Click Save.

User Layers Storage Locations¬† ūüí°

ELM 4.14 and newer support User Layers.

File shares for User Layers are configured at System > Storage Locations. The Elastic Layer file share is listed by default. But you can add more Locations. Each Storage Location can be assigned to different user groups. And you can prioritize the Storage Locations. See¬†Add storage locations for User layers at Citrix Docs. And see David Wilkinson¬†Citrix Application Layering ‚Äď User layers.

For each new Storage Location:

  1. Create a Users folder in the root of each share.
  2. Each Users folder needs permissions that look like the following. CREATOR OWNER needs Full Control. The Users group needs Create Folder/Append Data permission to This folder only.
  3. In ELM, add Storage Locations and assign them to groups.

  4. If users are assigned to multiple Storage Locations, click Prioritize Storage Locations to prioritize the assignment.

  1. Go to Users > Directory Service.
  2. On the right, click Create Directory Junction.
  3. Give the “junction” a friendly name (e.g. domain name).
  4. Enter one domain controller address or LDAP Load balancing VIP.
    • According to CTP George Spiers at Citrix Discussions, instead of entering a single domain controller address, you can enter your domain’s FQDN (domain.local) and it will use DNS to find a domain controller.
    • In this scenario, the SSL certificate check will indicate that the CN (common name) does not match the entered Server Address.
  5. Check the box next to Use SSL. (assuming you have certificates on your domain controllers)
  6. Change the port to¬†636 if it isn’t already.
  7. Click Test Connection.
  8. When prompted with a certificate error, click OK.
  9. Check the box next to Ignore Certificate Errors, and then click Next.
  10. You’ll need a bind account. Get the full Distinguished Name (look in Active Directory Users & Computers > user > Attribute Editor) and enter it here in the Authentication Details page¬†with the password. Click¬†Test Authentication.
  11. After successful authentication, click the down arrow.
  12. In the Distinguished Name (DN) Details page, click the drop down to select the Base DN. Click Test Base DN. And then click the down arrow.
  13. In the Attribute Mapping page, leave them set to the defaults, and click the down arrow.
  14. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Create Directory Junction.

Role Based Access

  1. Go to Users > Directory.
  2. Search through the tree and find your ELM Admins group. Select it. On the right, click Edit Properties.
  3. In the Machine Association page, click the down arrow.
  4. In the Roles page, change it to Administrator, and click the down arrow.
  5. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Update Group.
  6. Logout of ELM.
  7. Log back in using an AD account that’s in your ELM Admins group.

Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) Publishing Agent

To publish to PvS, you install the Unidesk Agent on the PvS Servers. It’s only needed on one PvS server.

The installation of the Agent can be automated. See Dennis Span Citrix App Layering Agent unattended installation.

From Install the App Layering Agent (required for PVS and Connector Scripts) at Citrix Docs.

  1. Ensure the PvS services are running as a domain account. Network Service won’t work.
  2. Run the following command on the PvS 7.7 or newer Server. Note, if you upgrade PvS, you’ll have to run this command again.
    "C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\InstallUtil.exe" "c:\program files\citrix\provisioning services console\Citrix.PVS.snapin.dll"

    1. If PvS 7.6, then run the following command instead:
      "C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\InstallUtil.exe" "c:\program files\citrix\provisioning services console\MCliPSSnapIn.dll"
  3. Go to the App Layering 1907 files you downloaded from Citrix Downloads, and run citrix_app_layering_agent_installer.exe.
  4. In the Welcome to the InstallShield Wizard for Citrix App Layering Agent page, click Next.
  5. In the License Agreement page, select I accept the terms in the license agreement, and click Next.
  6. In the Agent Port page, click Next.
  7. In the Ready to Install the Program page, click Install.
  8. Enter the ELM FQDN, enter ELM credentials, and click Register.
  9. Registration logs can be found at C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\Agent\Logs.
  10. In the InstallShield Wizard Completed page, click Finish.
  11. Programs and Features shows the installed Agent version as 19.1000.9.
  12. When an image is published to Provisioning Services, ELM can run a script. Citrix has a sample Versioning and Convert VHD to VHDX script that converts the VHD file to VHDX, and/or adds the published image as a version. The script files can be installed on the PvS server at this time. Later, you specify the path to the script when you create the PvS Connector in ELM while creating an image template.
  13. Citrix also has a BootPrivate script that modifies the vDisk mode to Private, boots the vDisk on a pre-defined target so that it can run pre-defined layer scripts, shuts down the target, waits for that shutdown, and then switches the mode back to standard.

Next Steps

Detailed Change Log

Last Modified: Nov 16, 2019 @ 7:26 pm

This post lists all minor and major changes made to carlstalhood.com since July 2018.