Getting Started with XenDesktop Beta (Feb 2008)

Some people have had trouble downloading the XenDesktop Beta (Feb 2008) and I concluded that at least I could help by providing the XenDesktop Getting Started Guide online. The guide is provided with the download kit so this is really just a preview of what you are going to get if you haven’t downloaded already or are having trouble getting it.

The guide is thirty six pages long and includes a couple of diagrams that help explain what XenDesktop is composed of and how it actually works.

The simplistic view of how it fits together is depicted here:

XenDesktop Layout

Click this thumbnail to expand. A more detailed view of the components is this:

Entire XenDesktop Beta Environment

Just for reference, the PortICA team works on providing the remoting of ICA with XP and Vista from the virtual machines running on XenServer. In this case our software will be running inside VMs on XenServer 2.

The included components in XenDesktop Beta are:

All Citrix components are supplied on the XenDesktop Beta installation ISO images. It is important that you use these versions and not versions that you may have previously acquired.

  • Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller Beta.
  • Citrix Provisioning Server 4.5 (This is the generic version and it is not specific to this beta release)
  • Citrix XenDesktop Setup Tool 2.0 Beta
  • Citrix XenServer 4.1 Enterprise Edition Beta
  • Citrix Presentation Server Client (XenDesktop) Beta 10.230. (This client incorporates advanced features that are specific to this beta release)
  • • XenCenter 4.1 – Beta

Instead of repeating much of what is in the PDF document for Getting Started, I will recommend that you read it instead.

I’ll leave you with some tips from the document that may help.

The document states that it will take about a day to setup this environment. You will need at least four physical machines to test this environment (2 XenServer, 1 XenCenter, and 1 Endpoint). You will need a test domain controller and you will need real copies of either XP or Vista to put on XenServer virtual machines. XenServer 1 runs the infrastructure for getting things working. XenServer 2 runs the actual virtual desktops.

For those of you who are wondering what is new between this Beta and the previous Tech Preview Kit, there is a section towards the bottom of the document that explains:

What’s New in the XenDesktop Beta
XenDesktop Beta is the successor to the XenDesktop Tech Preview Kit. The main changes are listed below.

Vista Support
This release supports both Windows XP and Windows Vista virtual desktops. This means that you can use an
XP endpoint to run a full-screen-only-mode Vista virtual desktop. Vista endpoints are also supported.
Note: Differences in the XP and Vista installation procedures are clearly shown where they occur. See to
the section Installation and Configuration Procedures for details.

User connection experience

The main use case in this release is for the full-screen-only-mode display of virtual desktops on an endpoint device. In this mode, when a user connects to a virtual desktop, the desktop is displayed as a full screen on the user’s machine. The user experience is nearly identical to that produced by using standard Windows XP or Windows Vista locally.

Enhanced XenDesktop Setup Tool Beta
The new XenServer Setup Tool automates many time-consuming setup tasks including:
• Running discovery
• Creating Web sites for Web Interface and the Program Neighborhood Agent service
• Publishing Desktops

What’s happened to…
• Desktop Server – Desktop Server has been renamed as Desktop Delivery Controller.
• Web Interface – Web Interface is still part of XenDesktop, but it is no longer a separately installable product. Web Interface and it related components do not need to be configurable as part of the standard installation procedures.

Supported Active Directory Modes
Active Directory in Windows Server 2003 can now run in both native mode and mixed mode. Previously only native mode was supported. Multiple domain controllers are not supported for this Beta.

ICA features
The following ICA features are available on this beta release through the Citrix ICA Service:
• Session reliability
• SpeedScreen Image Acceleration
• SpeedScreen Browser Acceleration
• Endpoint device drive, LPT, and COM port mapping
• Printing using the Universal Printer Driver
• Secure ICA
• Audio is available when connecting to Windows XP desktops, but not those running on Windows Vista
• Multimonitor support
• Microsoft ClearType support

There is no support for the following ICA features:
• Smart card authentication
• Kerberos single sign-on
• TWAIN mapping
• USB PDA synchronization
• SmartAuditor
• SpeedScreen Multimedia Remoting
• SpeedScreen Flash Acceleration

That’s probably enough information for this one post. There might be more XenDesktop Beta posts coming out later.


Live near Brisbane, Australia. Software developer currently focused on iOS and Android. Avid Google Local Guide

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