XenApp Connector for System Center ConfigMgr 2012 Tech Preview

Project Thor Technical Preview (XenApp Connector) extends the deployment capabilities of Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (Configuration Manager), delivering any application, to any user, on virtually any device.

XenApp Connector integration with Configuration Manager provides administrators with a single infrastructure and tool to manage all enterprise applications including on-demand XenApp applications. Use XenApp Connector with Configuration Manager to:

  • Deploy to XenApp servers, farms, and worker groups:
    • MSI-based applications
    • App-V sequences subsequently made available to users as XenApp published applications
    • XenApp published applications (using the XenApp deployment type that XenApp Connector adds to Configuration Manager, seamlessly extending the console)

  • Extend Configuration Manager's rules-based delivery mechanism to choose the most appropriate deployment type based on the user's environment.

    For example, an application might be best delivered as an MSI (installed locally) on a user's primary device, but deployed virtually using the new XenApp deployment type to enable the same user to access the application from a non-Windows device such as an iPad.

  • Control how users access applications:
    • Configuration Manager Application Catalog
    • Citrix Receiver
    • Citrix Receiver for Web site or Citrix XenApp services site
  • Coordinate updates to XenApp vDisk images

    XenApp Connector fully integrates with Citrix Provisioning Services, allowing you to publish applications that are deployed to a base vDisk for a XenApp image.

  • Maintain high availability

    XenApp Connector uses the optional XenApp Power and Capacity Management Concentrator to manage the power states and load consolidation of XenApp servers when installing Configuration Manager applications or Windows Software Update Management (SUM) updates, with minimal disruption to user sessions.

Components

The XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager 2012 consists of the following components:

  • XenApp Connector service
  • Configuration Manager console extension
  • XenApp Agent service
  • XenApp deployment type handler

The XenApp Connector interacts with these related components:

  • XenApp Group Policies
  • Provisioning Services (PVS) Agent
  • Power and Capacity Management (PCM) Concentrator and Agent
  • Citrix Receiver, Receiver for Web sites, and XenApp services sites

XenApp Connector architectural diagram

XenApp Connector Service

XenApp Connector service is the bridge between a XenApp farm and Configuration Manager and performs the following tasks:

  • Application publishing

    The XenApp Connector service manages the association between XenApp servers, applications, and users by creating a published application in XenApp that end users can then install from the Application Catalog and access with Citrix Receiver.

    The XenApp Connector publishing task processes publishing items that are linked to a XenApp deployment type. Items published to a XenApp device collection appear under the ApplicationsConfigMgr12 folder in the XenApp AppCenter console.

    By default, the Publishing task runs every hour. Use the XenApp Connector Configuration wizard to change the publishing interval. Use the Start menu shortcut (Run Publishing Task) to manually run the task.

  • Synchronization of farm and worker group device collections

    The XenApp Connector service processes all worker groups in a XenApp farm (and all farms, in multi-farm environments) and creates or updates the corresponding device collections in Configuration Manager. By default, this task runs every 24 hours. Use the XenApp Connector Configuration wizard to change the synchronization interval and the maintenance schedule. Use the Start menu shortcut (Run Synchronization Task) to manually run the task.

  • Software Orchestration

    XenApp Connector determines which application deployments are pending for the XenApp workers in the deployment device collection, and then uses the Power and Capacity Management feature to start draining users off the targeted servers.

Configuration Manager Console Extension

The Configuration Manager console extension enables the Configuration Manager console to work seamlessly with XenApp. Installing the console extension adds these items to the Configuration Manager console:

  • A Citrix XenApp Farms node under Assets and Compliance > Device Collections. After synchronizing data from a XenApp farm, XenApp Connector updates the Citrix XenApp Farms node with all XenApp farms, servers, and worker groups.
    • Device Collections > Citrix XenApp Farms > farms
    • Device Collections > Citrix XenApp Farms > farms > Worker Groups > groups
  • A XenApp Publications folder under Software Library > Application Management. Items in this folder are published to XenApp.
  • A Citrix XenApp Client Settings item in Administration > Client Settings, with a Computer Agent setting, Agent extensions manage the deployment of applications and software updates, enabled. That setting enables the Configuration Manager idle policy feature.
  • A Citrix XenApp entry in the Type drop-down menu in all Configuration Manager console pages where deployment types are selected, such as in the Create Deployment Type wizard.

XenApp Agent Service

The XenApp Agent service runs on each server in a XenApp farm. It coordinates application and software installation and updates, through integration with the following components:

  • The XenApp Power and Capacity Management feature. See the PCM Agent and PCM Connector component descriptions in this section for more information.
  • Citrix Provisioning Services. See the PVS Agent component description for more information.
  • The XenApp Agent service can work with the Configuration Manager idle policy feature to defer software installs, allowing the XenApp Agent service to trigger the installation of applications and software updates.

The XenApp Agent service runs at the next known maintenance window or at other times when users need to be notified in advance, such as when a forced logoff is pending.

XenApp Deployment Type Handler

The XenApp deployment type handler detects and manages publications associated with an application configured with a XenApp deployment type. The handler communicates with Receiver and the Self-Service Plug-in, enabling managed devices to subscribe to published applications that are installed by the user through the Application Catalog or that are pushed as a mandatory deployment.

XenApp Group Policies

Computer group policies configure how the XenApp Agent service handles items such as advanced warning messages, forced logoff messages, XenApp Agent service maintenance frequency, and Provisioning Services integration. For more information, see Managing XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager 2012.

Provisioning Services (PVS) Agent

The XenApp Agent service running on a production XenApp vDisk image detects when a new vDisk image is available and delivers the new image after Power and Capacity Management drains the server of user sessions. The PVS agent is required only for shared images and must be installed on the master XenApp image.

Power and Capacity Management (PCM) Concentrator and Agent

For XenApp servers managed by the optional Power and Capacity Management feature:

  • XenApp Connector uses the PCM Concentrator to coordinate the power states and load consolidation of farm servers when installing applications. The PCM Concentrator monitors and manages the XenApp servers in the PCM farm and interacts with the PCM Agent running on each XenApp server to get and set the PCM tier and PCM control mode.
  • The PCM Agent registers host XenApp servers with the PCM Concentrator and acts on requests issued by the PCM Concentrator.

Citrix Receiver for Windows, Receiver for Web sites, and XenApp services sites

After a user subscribes to XenApp deployment type applications using the Configuration Manager Application Catalog, icons for those applications appear in the user's Start menu, on the Receiver for Windows home page (if Receiver is configured with StoreFront), and on Receiver for Web and XenApp services sites. When the user clicks the icon for a subscribed application, Receiver launches the application.

Note: Receiver for Web and XenApp services sites provide browser-based application access to users accessing applications from managed or unmanaged devices (mobile devices and Macs).

The Project Thor Tech Preview site has been created to evaluate and provide feedback via our support forum. Please read the Tech Preview documentation before getting started.

Read the eDocs section here for more information about this Tech Preview.

 

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