How to install Citrix Excalibur Tech Preview (part 3)

In my previous posts I covered the prerequisites and the installation of the next generation of XenApp and XenDesktop called “Excalibur”.

In this post I will cover the “Studio” part of the configuration of Excalibur.

  1. What is Excalibur, prerequisites and overview of test lab setup
  2. Installation of Excalibur
  3. Configuring Excalibur (Studio) <<Current page >>
  4. Configuration StoreFront
  5. Install Agent software on Windows 2012 machine
  6. Configure Application
  7. Test published application and desktop (old XenApp)

When the installation is complete and you launch the “Studio” application you are presented with this screen. From this “Welcome” page you can create an empty site , create a full deployment or join an existing deployment. As this is the first installation the latter option obviously doesn’t apply.

For the sake of this series I’ll guess it will be more interesting if I choose the “Full Deploy” option. Select “Start” to start the configuration.

Select “Next” at the first screen which explains a little about the “Getting started with Apps and Desktops”.

First of we need to think of a catchy Site name. Remember that the “Site” name is the new name for the old XenApp “Farm”. As I am very very very creative () I came up with the name “XAD_Test” for this site. You must select immediately a database which you use for this site. As I am running everything on the same server I choose for the default database.

In a production environment you would choose a database server on which you probably already have configured manually a database for this. In that case choose the “Use existing database” option and enter the correct database name and server name in the appropriate fields.

Select “Next” to configure more settings.

This screen is shown while the installation is searching for the database.

In this case no database was configured beforehand so this warning is displayed. Select “OK” to automatically create the database.

If you do have created a database beforehand and you receive this message then select “Cancel” to go back to the previous screen and check for any typos or check with the database server and see whether everything is configured correctly and that the server running “Studio” is able to connect to the database server.

Once this is all done we can continue with the Licensing part of the configuration. With this Tech Preview ISO a license file is included which can be used until end of June 2013. So we choose the “Select an existing license” option.

We now select “Add license file” to browse for the license file.

Select the license file “Project-Avalon-Excalibur-TechPreview-Expires-20130630”

After selecting the license file you see now that the product is licensed. Select “Next” in the License file screen to continue with the configuration.

On the “Host connection” page you can configure the Virtualization host you want to use for hosting your VM’s. Off course I’m choosing XenServer as my preferred virtualization host. But for you among us who want another hypervisor you can choose between VMWare ESX or Hyper-V (besides the obvious XenServer option).

Enter all information necessary to create and host the new Excalibur VM’s. You can choose how you want the VM’s to be created. You have the choice between “Studio tools (Machine Creation Services (MCS))” or “other tools”. In my lab I choose the “Studio Tools” option.

Select “Next” to continue the configuration.

On the next page of the configuration you can select which network will be used for your virtual machines. Enter a name for the virtualization settings and select “Next” to continue.

On the Storage page, choose the storage type and devices for the virtual machines, and optionally, personal vDisk storage. The storage type can be “Local” (on the host) or “Shared”. If you use shared storage, you can choose to use IntelliCache to reduce load on the storage device. If you plan to use personal vDisks to store user-installed applications and user profiles, specify their storage type and devices.

If you plan to use existing VMs or Provisioning Services, you do not need to specify a storage type.

Check the Summary page if all settings are as you want them to be. If you are confident everything is correct select “Finish” to start the installation.

During the configuration this screen is shown. If you want to grab a cup of coffee or tea. That’s what I did at least….

When the configuration is done you are back at the “Studio” main page. You are now ready to configure and create the Machine Catalog. Select “Start” to start the creation and configuring the Machine Catalog.

Select “Next” on the welcome screen to really start the creation.

On the “Operating System and Machine  Type” page you have come to the crossroad whether you want to create a “XenApp” or “XenDesktop” catalog. You can create multiple Catalogs if you want to. For this lab I’m choosing the old “XenApp” configuration and will select “Windows Server Operating System”. If you choose “Windows Desktop Operating System” you will get the “XenDesktop” experience. Select whether the applications and desktops are delivered from virtual or physical machines. I’m choosing the “Virtual Machine” option.

Select “Next” to continue with the creation of the Catalog.

Choose how you want to deliver the VM’s. You have two options:

  • Machine Creation Services
  • Provisioning Services
  • Existing Images (Another service or technology, manages and delivers desktops and applications that you have already migrated to VMs in the data center. You must manage target devices on an individual basis or collectively using third-party electronic software distribution (ESD) tools.

I choose the PVS option for this lab environment.

After you choose the option for hosting your VM’s (PVS in my case) you need to select the PVS server you want (I used the IP address of my server because I was lazy). Select the domain where the collection is being installed in. Also select the “Device Collection” where the new machines are being stored.

Once you’re done with the PVS part choose “Next” to continue.

In the summary page enter the “Machine Catalog Name” and a Catalog description (used for admins only in the “Studio” tool).

When everything is configured and setup the way you want choose “Finish” to finally create the Catalog.

One last thing you need to configure/setup before you can finally start using the new Excalibur software is to assign applications or desktops to users/groups.

Select “Start” at the 3rd step “Delivery Groups”.

And again select “Next” at the “Getting Started” page of the “Delivery Groups” portion of the configuration.

In the “Create Delivery group” screen select how may VM’s you want to add to your Delivery Group of PVS. I selected for the time being 1 VM to be added of the 2 available machines already created in the Device Collection I selected earlier on.

Select “Next” to go on and configure the next part of the Delivery groups.

Now it’s time to assign your users to the VM’s you just imported.  Select the “Add Users” button in the down left corner of the screen.

You are now able to select users or groups to your VM’s. In my case I only select  a test user “JackC”. After you select all users you want click “OK” to close the user selection screen.

Now that you added your users and/or groups to your VM’s, you can hit “Next” to continue on your quest.

Here’s the cool part, you can now choose how to manage the profiles of the users. You can choose between the two following options:

  1. I want to manage this on my own if you do not want to use Citrix Profile Management.
  2. I want to use/create a profile definition for this delivery group to specify how to manage profile and folder storage based on the profiles. You can create multiple profile definitions and assign one per delivery group.

If you are using Citrix Profile Management, in the Create a New Profile Definition page, name the profile, identify how to manage user profiles, where to store profiles, and where to locate folders.

You can test and validate a new or modified Profile definition to ensure that the folder share locations are valid and that the profile definition works as intended.

In my case I select the option “I want to manage this on my own” and hit “Next” to continue.

In the “Summary” screen you can enter a display name that users and administrators see and a descriptive delivery group name that only administrators see.

When the configuration of the Delivery groups has completed you see this overview in the “Studio” console.

Now we have completed the configuration of the Excalibur Studio console and configured everything for starting to use Excalibur.

The next post will be how to configure StoreFront for use with Excalibur. StoreFront version 1.3 is delivered with this Excalibur release.

Stay tuned for the next post on this mega Excalibur “how-to” experience.

  1. What is Excalibur, prerequisites and overview of test lab setup
  2. Installation of Excalibur
  3. Configuring Excalibur (Studio) <<Current page >>
  4. Configuration StoreFront
  5. Install Agent software on Windows 2012 machine
  6. Configure Application
  7. Test published application and desktop (old XenApp)

7 thoughts on “How to install Citrix Excalibur Tech Preview (part 3)”

  1. hi, Jack:

    i ‘m trying Excalibur , but when i go to “Full Deploy” -> start, there is always a error popup with error id: XDDS: CFC2DD97. i can’t figure out what happened. can you help me to explain this? Thanks

  2. Hi,

    Are you sure that the database you are trying to point to is created correctly? It seems that you are having trouble connecting to the database.

    Please check if the database server is available (and in case it’s hosted on the same machine, make sure the services are running and you can manually create a DB).

    Good luck,
    Jack

  3. Exaclibur is not giving much issue byt Windows 8 is. Excalibur is stuck configuring machines and it wont complete. Wondering if there are any updates for it. Its still a bit buggy.

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