Yesterday I wrote a blog post, which you can find here, talking about Windows Server 2019 with Citrix Apps and Desktops 7 1808 (Current Release), which received a bit of buzz online. One online protagonist (who shall remain nameless) reached out to see if Citrix Cloud Apps and Desktops Service with Windows Server 2019 worked as advertised, and was just as easy to implement. To which my thought was, I don’t see why not, Citrix Cloud is Agile, DevOps oriented, evergreen and even more leading edge in the development cycles than its on-prem brethren, it should be a snap!

Then I thought to myself…Writing a Windows Server 2019 with Citrix Cloud article would seem somewhat boring or passé, what would make it more interesting? Deployment in Azure with NVIDIA graphics accelerated NV instances for GPU-intensive applications on Windows Server 2019, and throw in some single-user Windows 10 LTSC 2019 or 1809 (formerly HDX 3D Pro) for good fun. Well, that blog post may come at a later time, but for now I simply didn’t have enough time as there are a few more steps required. Microsoft has not yet released images for WS 2019 or Win 10 LTSC 2019/1809 in the Azure Marketplace, so I would need to upload custom images to my Azure subscription. For now, I’ll start with a simple blog post demonstrating just how easy it is to get Windows Server 2019 stood up, with apps and desktops published via Citrix Cloud Apps and Desktops Service. You’ll also get to see a bit of the Workspace web experience, which as many of you already know, takes the place of StoreFront for CR and LTSR traditional deployments.

To get started, we will need even fewer components (reference the previous post for more details):

  • Virtualization platform
  • Windows Server 2019 ISO
  • Valid e-mail address to request a Citrix Cloud trial

I’ll spare you the obligatory introductory overview showing how to Install and Configure Windows Server 2019 from an ISO, you can find that in my previous post. From that template I have deployed a new server named WS19CC01 (Cloud Connector 1) which will be used as my single server for this basic deployment. Again, for production deployments, Citrix and I would recommend multiple Cloud Connectors, and the VDAs should be deployed on separate systems. However, for basic evaluations it absolutely works to deploy all components on a single system. Here’s a great diagram showing the Citrix Cloud architecture with the Cloud Connectors and VDAs:

For more details, see:

Getting Started:

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through setting up a Citrix Cloud account. If you already have a trial or permanent account for Citrix Cloud (specifically the Apps and Desktops Service), you can certainly use that. Since I already have a fully configured permanent account, I wanted to show what the process looks like from the beginning. So, I reached out to my friends at Citrix to spin up a brand new clean environment and got everything requested and approved straight away, so you can see that process, starting from scratch.

You can see below that I have a Windows Server 2019 server deployed, renamed, and joined to the domain:

Setting Up a Citrix Cloud Account:

First, navigate to in your web browser. In the bottom left, click Sign up and try it free.

Select the appropriate option. For my new environment, I selected “I’m new to Citrix”:

Fill out the sign-up form with valid company contact details:

If you’ve previously used the business address, you may need to click Continue creating a new account:

Select your appropriate region. This is where your Citrix Cloud backend resources will be made available from. Accept the Terms of Service and click Continue.

Citrix will send you an automated e-mail message:

Check your e-mail and click Confirm Your Account:

When you do, you’ll be prompted to create a Password:

It will take a minute or two for the account to be provisioned and setup. Be patient:

Once done, you’ll be able to click the Sign In button to proceed:

Requesting a Trial of the Apps and Desktops Service:

Login with the username and password previously created:

You’ll see an initial welcome screen and can take a tour if you’d like. Otherwise, close or click Maybe Later:

For a brand new account, only the Smart Tools Service will be configured, but all others will be listed under Available Services:

Scroll down to see the complete list of Available Services. To get started, click Request Trial in the Virtual Apps and Desktops card/tile:

Provide answers to the 4 or 5 questions listed and click Request:

Once the trial has been requested, you can see it listed in the My Services section and click View Trial Status:

You’ll see there are several steps in the request process. This is where my friends at Citrix came in, to approve the trial request. This process can take longer than 24 hours, so just be patient!

Initial Configuration:

Once the trial has been provisioned, you should see a couple more cards in the My Services view, with a countdown timer in the top right of the Virtual Apps and Desktops service. Let’s click “Manage” on that card to get started:

First time going to this view, you’ll see a bit of a welcome screen with more information and a tour:

You’ll also see a pop-up for the Guide Center which can be helpful if you’re just getting started. To get started, click Install Connectors:

The browser will prompt you to Run or Save the connector. I’ll show you what happens if you’re impatient like me, and just click Run (don’t do that!):

Citrix Cloud Connector installer will launch:

However, since you didn’t Run As Administrator to elevate UAC, the installer will fail.

Go back to the download page but this time, Save the Connector file.

Provide a file path to download the Connector:

Click Open Folder once the download has completed:

Right click the file and click Run as administrator to elevate UAC.

Click Yes to the UAC prompt:

The installer will launch again, but this time properly elevated:

A quick connectivity test will commence, validating the Connector can talk to Citrix Cloud:

Click Sign In:

Use your Citrix Cloud credentials to Sign In:

The installation will kick off with a spinning wheel that will appear momentarily.

The installation will commence immediately following:

If successful, the following screen will appear. Click Close:

The Connectivity test will kick off automatically:

The test will take a moment to run:

Once completed with the connectivity test, click Close:

Back in the browser, you can click the Close bottom in the top right for the Cloud Connector download dialog:

Installing and Configuring the VDA:

Scroll down to review the next steps in the process. We’ll move to Step 2: Register resources (install the VDA). There are also super helpful videos if you want to learn more about any of these steps in the process!

The VDA and other installation media can be found in the Downloads section in the top right. Review the pop-up and click Downloads:

You’ll see a list of all the Downloads available. Click Download next to Virtual Delivery Agent:

Click Download File under the Server OS Virtual Delivery Agent 1808.2:

If you haven’t learned your lesson, you’ll click Run to the download prompt:

Otherwise, you’ll click Save -> Save As:

Specify a download location and click Save:

Once complete, click Open folder:

Right click the VDA installer and click Run as administrator to elevate UAC:

Click Yes:

The splash screen for Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 will load momentarily:

Select Enable Brokered Connections to a Server and click Next:

Leave defaults and click Next:

Select the following three components (Supportability, User Profile Manager and WMI Plugin):

Specify the Fully Qualified DNS Name (FQDN) of the Cloud Connector. Click Test Connection:

Test should pass successfully (green check). Click Add:

Once added, click Next:

Select all features and click Next:

Allow the firewall to be configured automatically by clicking Next:

Review and click Install:

A reboot will be required. Click Close:

Windows will restart automatically:

Once restarted, the installation will resume automatically:

Once installed, configure Call Home (or not) and click Next:

Review and click Finish to restart:

Windows will restart automatically:

Creating the Catalog and Delivery Group:

Once restarted, let’s go back to Citrix Cloud in a browser and review where we left off. The next step is to create the catalog (Step 3). Click Step 3:

A prompt will pop-up showing that you need to click the downward arrow next to Manage:

Doing so, you will see two options (Azure Quick Deploy and Full Configuration). Click Full Configuration to launch Studio in an embedded browser window:

The first time you launch Studio through Citrix Cloud, you’ll see the following prompt:

Navigate to Machine Catalog, right click and select Create Machine Catalog:

Review the welcome screen and click Next:

Select Server OS and click Next:

Select Another service or technology and click Next:

Click Add computers and browse Active Directory for the Server. Add it to the list and click Next:

Name the Catalog and click Finish:

The Catalog will take a minute to create:

Navigate to Delivery Groups, right click and select Create Delivery Group:

Click Next:

Click Next:

IMPORTANT: Leave the following option selected to manage these entitlements through Citrix Cloud directly: Leave user management to Citrix Cloud (this option obviously is not available in the traditional deployment of Citrix Apps and Desktops 7. Click Next:

Click Add -> From start menu:

Select the appropriate applications (Notepad and RDP Client). Click OK:

Review and click Next:

Name the Delivery Group and provide a Display Name and click Finish:

The Delivery Group will take just a moment to create:

You will see the newly created Delivery Group in studio. Next, we’ll click the three lines (Menu icon) in the top left to go back to the Library section of Citrix Cloud:

Subscribing the Users:

In the menu, click Library:

We’ll see the two recently created resources. In the Library view, all Applications from a Delivery Group will be grouped together, and the Desktop will be created separately. You can click the cards/tiles to see more details:

Applications view shows the two Apps:

Desktops view shows the Server OS published Desktop:

You’ll see a little gray icon that’s a checkmark in the bottom left. Click that icon and you’ll see a new option appear to Manage Subscribers:

Browse for the appropriate group, in my example, Domain Users:

It will take just a moment to provision:

Once completed, the Subscribers have been successfully Added:

Repeat the same process to Subscribe users to the Desktop:

When you’re done, you should have at least one Subscriber to each offering. Click the three lines (Menu icon):

Configuring Citrix Workspace:

Select Workspace Configuration from the menu:

Optionally you can take a tour. For now, I’ll just click the X in the top right:

Review the options for Workspace Configuration (including Branding and Customization) and click Service Integration:

By default the Virtual Apps and Desktops service is not Enabled for the Workspace Configuration service. Click the three dots on the right next to this entry in the list:

Click Enable:

Review the dialog and click Confirm:

Once configured, you’ll see a confirmation banner at the top. Once successfully Enabled, click the Menu in the top left:

Click Virtual Apps and Desktops:

Finally, we’ll review where we are in the process. At this point, we’re at Step 5 and ready to launch Apps and Desktops via the Workspace URL. Click the link next to Step 5:

Validate Functionality by Launching Apps and Desktops through Workspace:

The Workspace web portal will launch:

Sign in with credentials on your domain:

Click Detect Workspace:

Since I had previously installed the Citrix Workspace App (Receiver), it passes straight through to the Workspace interface (previously provided by StoreFront in my prior post):

Navigate to the Apps -> All Apps section and launch an application (RDP Client):

The application loads, as indicated by the spinning wheel on the card/tile:

The Citrix client launches:

And the App is presented!

We’ll do the same for Notepad. Click the icon:

Notepad launches:

Notepad loads as a published application:

Navigate to the Desktops section and launch the desktop:

The Desktop loads:

The Desktop launches:

After just a moment, the Windows Server 2019 desktop will be available to you:

Well, that’s a wrap! In this blog post, and the previous blog post which you can find here, I have shown how to get up and running with Current Release and Cloud variations of Citrix Apps and Desktops. This is a basic environment perfect for evaluation use, but not ideal for a scale-out production deployment. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Take care and enjoy Windows Server 2019 with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Service, powered by Citrix Cloud!

Dane Young, MBA
My Twitter | My LinkedIn