Planning terminal services with XenApp

November 30th, 2009 by Sebastian Leave a reply »

In the last years I’ve seen several terminal services environments – some of them were planned very well and others had a few design-mistakes, that produced a lot of work for the administrator or badly affect the overall system performance. But if you think about the following points, you may succeed with implementing your new farm ;-)

  • Deployment of the software-stack – Here you decide how much work you will have with adding new applications to your ts-farm. You have the following options:
  1. manual installation on every terminal server :(
  2. manual installation on the first terminal server and imaging for the following :|
  3. use of a shared disk (Provisioning Services) – with this you’ll get high flexibility :)
  4. use of a software deployment tool (i.e. Rapid Deployment Pack) – with this you’ll get a good documentation of your software stack  :) :)
  5. use of a software deployment tool + shared disk – with this you’ll get high flexibility and a good documentation of your software stack :) :) :)
  • Profile Management – Here you decide wether your users will say terminal servers are bad/slow or nice/fast. You have the following options:
  1. Local Profiles – that means each user has several profiles on different systems :(
  2. Roaming Profiles – that means each user has only one profile for all systems (depending on your terminal server deployment, profile-corruption can occur, which means, that you have a lot of work and unhappy users) :|
  3. Profile Management Solution (i.e. CTX User Profile Manager; aka Sepago) :)
  4. Personalization Virtualization (i.e. AppSense Environment Manager) :) :)
  • Give Access to the Applications – Here you decide how your users access their applications and how much trouble you have with the ICA-Client-Deployment. You have the following options:
  1. Use ICA-Files and unmanaged ICA-Client-Installations :(
  2. Use CTX-Webinterface with ICA-Webclient :|
  3. Use CTX-Webinterface with CTX-Online-Plugin (aka PN-Agent) – that gives you the ability to place icons on the users-desktop and in the startmenu :)
  • Give external Access – Here you choose the security level for external access. You have the following options:
  1. Use a VPN-Solution, that is already in use – that will make your users unhappy, because the usability is low and the performance of the ica-sessions can also be low :(
  2. Use Citrix Secure Gateway (CSG) – that is easy to install but gives access to everybody with username and password only :|
  3. Use Citrix Access Gateway (CAG) with Advanced Access Control – that gives you the ability to do endpoint analysis and forbid access (download, print, copy&paste)  from the internet cafe :)
  4. Use Citrix Access Gateway (CAG) with Advanced Access Control and Second Factor Authentication (i.e. RSA SecurID) – that gives you a very high security level :) :) :)
  • High Availability – here you decide about the availability of the whole terminal server environment. Things you have to think about are:
  1. Terminal Server – you should run two servers per farm.
  2. MS TS License Server – you should monitor your MS TS License Server.
  3. CTX License Server – you should monitor your CTX License Server.
  4. CTX Webinterface – you should consider using Windows NLB or CTX NetScaler (VPX) to Load Balance between two CTX Webinterfaces.
  5. XenApp Datastore – you might think of using a SQL-Cluster for storing the XA-DataStores.
  6. Profile-Store – you might think of using a File-Cluster for storing your User-Profiles.
  7. PVS – if you use Provisioning Server you might think of using SANbolics Melio-FS on SAN-Volumes for storing the PVS-Disk-Images.

If you have to decide whether your XenApps will be VMs or physical servers, you should decide between 32 or 64bit OS first – And if you’ve decided for 32bit OS, you should consider using VMs.

Furthermore there are a lot of other things to think about (printing, client-drive-mapping etc.) but therefor you have to go into more detail ;-)



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