Citrix XenDesktop 7.5 – Installing XenDesktop Roles and Initial Configuration

by admin

Learning about the new XenDesktop has been on my list of things to do for a while now. I’m fairly familiar with XenDesktop 5.6, but haven’t done a lot with XenApp since version 5. With the introduction of XenDesktop 7, the features of XenDesktop and XenApp were merged into a single product, with a ‘single pane of glass’ for management. As the best way to learn is to do, I’m going to be setting up a XenDesktop 7.5 environment and will cover the steps in a series of posts, this being the first. As this is in a lab environment I will be installing all the XenDesktop roles on a single server. At this point, I have provisioned a Windows 2012 Server, configured its networking, and joined it to a domain. The next step is to install the XenDesktop roles.

Installing XenDesktop 7.5 Roles

After mounting the XenDesktop 7.5 media, it should AutoRun and you will shortly be presented with this menu:


So, here you get the opportunity to install individual roles (on the right-most side of the screen), however, I want to install all roles so will choose to install the ‘Delivery Controller’ from the option on the left-most side of the screen. This will install the core component along with presenting the options to install the additional services.

Immediately after selecting ‘Delivery Controller’, the EULA will be presented, which will need to be accepted before the installation can proceed. The follwing screen will give the opportunity to select which components to install:


I have decided to install all components on this server, except the Citrix License Server (as I already have on available). The next screen will ask whether you want to use Microsoft SQL Express:


I have chosen to do so in my lab environment, however in a production environment you are more likely to use an external SQL instance. The next screen will display the firewall ports that need to be opened, with the option to have the installer configure the Windows firewall accordingly:


The next screen is the Installation Summary screen. Not a lot to say here apart from that it is an opportunity to review your settings before clicking ‘Install’. Once the install tasks complete, you should see the following:


Click ‘Finish’ to close the Install wizard, and launch Studio, where we can begin to configure XenDestop.

Configuring XenDesktop

When the Studio application opens, you will have a number of options:


As we don’t yet have a site, one needs to be created. To do so, select the first option which is the Site Setup. A new window will appear to walk you through setting up the new site:


As this is a lab environemnt I have chosen the first option, which will help configure the site for us. Chose a name for the new site then click Next. The following screen is where you configure the database connectivity settings. If you selected to use SQL Express then the instance will be detected:


Alternatively you can specifiy an external SQL server. Optionally, you can generate the database script which can be ran on the external SQL server to create the database if required. The following screen is where you specify licensing information. You can use a 30-day trial to try out XenDesktop if you wish, or use a valid license that you have imported onto your license server. After selecting your licensing, the next screen is where you configure XenDesktop’s connection into a Hypervisor. There are a number of options to choose from here, such as XenServer and Hyper-V, however I will be using vCenter/ESXi as that is what I have available in my lab.


Now, when you first attempt the connection to vCenter it is quite common to receive a certificate error. The reason for this is because the vCenter certificate, by default, is self-signed and therefore not trusted by the server on which XenDesktop is installed. To get past this, without using trusted certs, is to download the vCenter certificate and import it into the XenDesktop servers trusted certificates store.  The easiest way to do this is to open a web browser on the XenDesktop server, and browse to the vCenter URL – e.g. https://vcenterserver. Once there you can download the certificate then install it into your XenDesktop server’s Trusted People certificate store (remember you will need to do this on each of your XenDesktop controllers). Once the certificate is imported/trusted, then you should be able to move onto the next screen, which is where you specify which vSphere cluster to use and which virtual network your virtual desktops will use:


The following screen allows you to select the datastore (s) where your XenDesktop virtual machines will be stored:


Next you can choose whether you wish to use App-V Publishing, which I won’t be in my lab, before finally you are presented with the install Summary page. Click finish to apply your chosen settings and create the new site.

At this point, XenDesktop has been deployed, with a number of additional components such as Storefront, and a new XenDesktop site has been created. That’s all for this post. My next one will look at installing the VDA agent and preparing a virtual machine for use with XenDesktop, along with creating a machine catalog.

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