Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service powered by Citrix Cloud is the best way to provide Windows/Linux applications and desktops virtually to your users. If you’ve been operating a Citrix Apps and/or Desktops environment “on-premises” for some time, you’ll want to make the move to the Cloud hosted service as soon as possible. Why? For starters:
No need to ever upgrade your Citrix infrastructure environment again means a huge savings in time spent planning and coordination of such upgrades, the elimination of downtime and risk, and, best of all, all newly introduced features are available to you as soon as they are available.
Built in High-Availability and Fault Tolerance results in instant Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery for “the brains” of your Citrix environment … again, saving your organization time spent on such a project. Who doesn’t love offloading a portion of a DR project? Think of what else you could be doing with that time! Hint: Perhaps planning to implement the entire Citrix Intelligent Workspace?
Decrease in support requests … since the environment is built to Citrix best practices/standards and maintained by Citrix, there’s nothing in the way of troubleshooting you’ll need to do for the site infrastructure. Support calls are shortened since Citrix hosts the control plane (i.e. there’s less to break)!
Cost savings via not having to maintain server resources for your Delivery Controllers, Citrix SQL DB’s, Studio, Director, etc…thus saving you on Windows Server, MS SQL licensing and hardware costs. I had a customer tell me that the costs savings within his storage environment would total around $20,000 by virtue of offloading the control plane into the Citrix Cloud.
Whoa, but the Cloud seems like quite a jump!
You may be saying, “Yes, Adam, but as you’ve said earlier, I’ve been operating this environment (all the way from Presentation Server 4.5 to XenApp 6.5 to XenDesktop 7.x) on-premises for quite some time! The forklift to the Cloud is going to be a massive undertaking! Heck it took us 365 days to move all our email to the cloud!”
And I’d like to reassure you it will not be in most cases (and if your current environment is super complex (i.e multiple sites, 1000’s of apps, Federated access, etc), contact me, we can help). So without further adieu, let’s go through how to migrate from on-prem to Citrix Cloud in 5 easy steps!
NOTE: The following steps assume you have already made connectivity from your environment to the Citrix Cloud. If you have not, go here or consult your Citrix account team for details on how to make this happen. Additionally, this is a high level overview and should not be carried out until you are comfortable with the steps taken in their entirety. If you require assistance, please also reach out to me, your Citrix account team or trusted partner!
Here’s the 5 (ok 7) easy steps:to move your Virtual Apps and Desktops environment to the Citrix Cloud:
1) First, you’ll Reconfigure VDA’s (Virtual Delivery Agents) to point to Cloud Connectors (as Delivery Controllers): Point your VDA’s to use Cloud Connectors as a Delivery Controller. You can use GPO or go through Programs and Features, Modify to make this change. Assuming you are using Machine Creation Services or Provisioning Services, which I hope is the case, edit your golden image (or a copy thereof) to use Cloud Connectors as the Delivery Controller, then follow step #3.
2) Then, Export Studio policies (preferably to Active Directory): As referenced in Citrix Discussions and by the always reliable Carl Stalhood, here’s how to accomplish this using Powershell:
New-PSDrive -PSProvider CitrixGroupPolicy -Name LocalFarmGpo -Root \ -Controller “MyController”
New-PSDrive -PSProvider CitrixGroupPolicy -Name TargetGPO -Root \ -DomainGpo “MyGPO”
copy * TargetGPO:\User
copy * TargetGPO:\Computerhttps://discussions.citrix.com/topic/367075-move-policies-to-gpo/#entry1883425
Once this is complete, apply this GPO to your apps and desktops computer and user accounts and utilize the GPO version instead of, or in addition to, Citrix Studio policies.
3) You’ll then Recreate machine catalogs using existing golden images (the same golden images you’ve reconfigured your VDA’s on in Step 1)
4) After rebuilding your machine catalogs, Recreate Delivery Groups, then publish apps and desktops. You may be able to simplify this process by making use of the Remote PowerShell SDK. A sample script to export and import Applications can be found in the discussions forum as well as from Citrix partner sepago.de! Note that these scripts may need to be modified slightly to work as a part of the Citrix Remote PoSH SDK, and I have not yet personally verified they will work out of the box. I will look to do so for a future posting. TEST AND MODIFY accordingly!
5) You have the option to make use of the Workspace Experience, which is truly awesome, but if you’d like to continue using Storefront, configure it to point to Cloud Connectors as Delivery Controllers.This is found under Stores, bottom-right, click Manage Delivery Controllers.Find the applicable store and click Edit. Add the Cloud Connectors’ FQDNs NOTE: I typically recommend utilizing an on-prem Storefront to take advantage of Local Host Cache.If you choose to use the native Workspace Experience and only use LHC as a manually assigned fallback, make sure the Workspace Service (yourcompanyname.cloud.com) URL is added to your Workspace App’s store configuration.
6) (Optional) Once retiring your current site, configure ADC Gateway (AKA Netscaler Gateway) – add the Cloud Controllers as STA entries within your ADC configuration. Also, check out Citrix’s built in MFA for the Gateway Service!
7) (Optional) You can also Aggregate your current on-prem site with the Citrix Workspace: If you would prefer to “phase in” your migration to the Citrix Cloud hosted site, you can aggregate apps and desktops from the new site and your existing infrastructure (going back to XenApp 6.5!) into the Workspace. Users will see icons from both sites, click, and their app launches without them needed to know which site is actually brokering the deliverable. Thus, a “0 downtime” migration is made possible! See “Add an on-premises site to Citrix Workspace” for the full rundown.
After reading this article, my hope is you have a better understanding of how a migration “TO THE CLOUD” (cue dramatic music) is a lot less burdensome than you may have anticipated. So, let’s book our flight and get you the user experience, costs savings, and administrative benefits you and your employees deserve! You’ve earned a break!-
(c) 2019, Adam Paul Shattuck